January 10th, 2006

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Great Morning!!


Water tastes good today.  I feel unlaced.   I honor the change.  Two friends tell me this week of friends who have newly diagnosed breast cancer.  They want advice.  I find myself offering exactly what I have done.  I would do chemo again.  I trust the medical advice.  

That said, I want to advise each of you to take care of yourselves.  There is a common thread in those who get breast cancer.  Their care is directed outward to others.  Men get breast cancer too.  Care for yourself. 

Because my feet were such a problem last time, the nurse practitioner advised me to care for them this time, and so each evening,  I rub them with a fragrant, moisturizing cream.  I suggest the same to you.   My feet are doing fine.  

Jan spoke to her parents.  I am delighted to see her not only as a doctor of Western medicine, but also of the human heart.   Yay, Jan!!

This morning I am so delighted at the taste of water that I find myself feeling like a fish who has broken out of a bowl into a vast pond, and then, I wonder if fish drink water since they live in it, so I realize I must be climbing out to shore.   Here is my poem on that. 


Fog this morning outside my bowl which broke today,
so I could climb to shore
where the taste of water refreshes my throat,
and my legs begin to form.


Jane says I sound different today, and I feel different.  I am poetry.



Words hung on a line,
like wet clothes,
waving in the wind,
offering moisture,
to the sky,
and the listening
passing by -  


Again, I read the words of Rilke,  “Poetry is the natural prayer of the human soul.”    Here is my prayer for today.



Today I unbraid the waterfalls
flowing in and around
and make a field in which to face
the grace,
all ripening,


Jane's poem today contains a bowl also.  We speak of containers.  Though my bowl breaks, I could not know that without feeling the container I am.   Yesterday I practiced being. I found it challenging.   I sat in a chair for five minutes at a time with no book, no idea of meditation, no need to stuff something into myself or take something out.  I practiced being.   Today, I reap delight. 

I am also realizing I don't  need to keep trying to stuff  food in my mouth.  I’m not hungry.  Why do I think I need to keep eating?  Do I really think I am going to starve?   I let myself have space around food yesterday.     I am told that when I was a baby, we would go to a restaurant, and I would obediently open my mouth and my parents would place food in it.  I would store it there like a chipmunk, and, then, we would leave the restaurant, and my parents would tilt me over and the food would pour out.  Sometimes now, I feel like a baby.  I have no agenda.  I am 56;  the stars are where they were when I was born;  I have only a few light hairs, and I need a lot of sleep and care.  I am learning a new way of being.  Perhaps I don’t need so much food.  Perhaps I can honor lightness, and move past the compulsive and become space and time.



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Jane's poem for today!!

Here is Jane's "waiting moment for today."    She is waiting to hear on her new job!!
I LOVE this poem!!

In the before, the world turned to face the sun, like everyday.

In the after, the world will turn away, like everyday.

Here in the in between everything is itself, exact and true.

Again I wash the bowl.

It has waited on the shelf.

It has held my breakfast.  

Not perfection.

Not enlightenment.

Only love and love and love.

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Check it out!!

Need something?     Take... Panexa

Go to www.panexa.com.      Check it out... www.panexa.com. I'm not sure why it isn't coming out in blue. You may have to copy and paste, or type it in. It is worth doing!
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Checking in -

Since I was feeling well, I went to the nursery for some Primrose plants to replace some of the water-laden Impatiens, and I stopped at the grocery store too. Well, that little venture wiped me out, so I am home, resting, and reading the New York Times on mirror neurons, quite fascinating, and visualizing this suggestion of Nicolas Kristof today. He suggests that Bush launch a "high-profile Global War on Poverty." He points out that this would be a war the whole world could support. Before Bush became president, I had high hopes of this. It seemed there was a chance for peace and consideration of the environment, and the poor and the ill. Maybe now, since Bush's reason for war has been proven to have been fabricated, and, since he surely wants more than a legacy of creating more enemies for the US, he will look at something he might do to help people other than himself and his cronies, and, in so doing, he will help us all.
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Atlantic Monthly -

I am informed that you have to subscribe to the Atlantic Monthly to see the articles I mentioned.  That might be worth doing, as the article on Bush's proposed library is mainly pictures as you might expect.  I can't place it here, but here is one-half of Garrison Keillor's article on poetry, with thanks to Garrison Keillor and the Atlantic Monthly.  


The Anthem

If famous poets had written "The Star-Spangled Banner"

by Garrison Keillor


Here on the shore of Baltimore observing the barrage of rockets and bombs from the man o' war,
The gunnery mates stripp'd to the waist and glistening with sweat,
Shouting each to the other and working together in close drill,
Ramming the powder charge and then the enormous projectile,
Each of them a man like myself and possessed of secret longings,
Each of them comely and well-appointed,
Especially the tall one on the left with black curls and taut abdominal muscles,
Who looks so long and lovingly at me, a stranger in big boots,
And I return his gaze—O aficionado, come, take my hand—
Leave your cannonading and we shall travel the open road
Where there are no banners except of affection and the love of dear comrades.
Walt Whitman

The Banner—that we watched in Air
So Proudly as it Gleamed
Was Proven by the Rocket Glare
Or so to us it Seemed—

And so we waited for the Dawn
To see if it still flew
Or if—in Tatters—it is Gone—
As happened once—with You.

I woke up—at the Matin Bell—
A vast and empty Bed—
The Pillow bore—the slightest smell
Of Oil—from your Head.

A fleeting Phantasy—perhaps—
The Ghost of—Not To Be—
And Postmen—in their Crimson Caps—
Aim their Artillery.
Emily Dickinson

Whose flag this is I think I know
His house is being bombed now though
He will not see that I have come
To watch the twilight's ebbing glow.

My little horse must think it dumb,
The cannons' pandemonium,
The rockets bursting in the air,
The sound of bugle, fife, and drum,

He turns and shakes his derrière
To show me that he doesn't care
Who takes this battle flag or why,
When in the redness of the glare

I see the banner flying high
Through the tumult in the sky
And, knowing all is now okay,
We walk away, my horse and I.

The flag is lovely, hip hooray,
But I have things to do today,
Some here and others far away,
Before I stop to hit the hay.
Robert Frost

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The other half of the poems by Garrison Keillor -

Here are the rest of the poems as created by Garrison Keillor for the Atlantic Monthly.   Enjoy!!   I found them fun, and very true to the poet's voice and form. 

She being brand
New he threw
A flag over h
Er & began
The bombard
Ment & was soon
A (long) & feeling
Can you see? Said he
Oui oui, said she
And it was love and it was
Spring and roses and it was
Dawn &
Into song.
E. E. Cummings

This is just to say
I have taken
The flag
That was

And which
You probably expected
To see
This morning

Forgive me
It was beautiful
So free
And so brave
William Carlos Williams

Up in the night to piss
Saw the flag
Stripes & stars
Reflected in the stream
& in the morning
Still there
Gary Snyder

On the ship, I sit and wait for the dawn
In the midst of the bombs and rockets and so forth,
A prisoner of these British marines who might shoot me,
You never know in a situation like this.

Like so many great moments in history,
You come upon it without meaning to.
You're a lawyer who goes to negotiate for the release of a prisoner
And voilà you become one yourself.

There is this incredibly perilous fight going on
And I suppose a person should be thinking about freedom
Or bravery but I must admit
I would give anything for a cup of coffee right now.

Like a Starbucks made by a girl in a striped blouse,
A latte streaming and gleaming.
But that seems less likely at the moment
Than Betsy Ross doing a striptease, stripe by stripe.

The graceful arc of the rockets, like Don
Larsen's curve ball for the Bronx Bombers.
He was a hero and then suddenly he was gone.
I wonder what's going to happen to that flag.

Somebody could write a poem about this,
Something to mark this whole thing that's going on,
But if they did, probably they shouldn't include
The coffee and the part about Betsy dropping the flag.
Billy Collins

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Evening -

My neighbor came by today around 5 with beautiful spring tulips of rose-pink and a pink breast cancer watch. It is adorable with a pink band, and a little pink ribbon on the watch face. Who would have ever guessed that there is not only a breast cancer teddy bear, and breast cancer wine glasses, but also, a pink breast cancer watch? I find it very funny, and I like my new watch very much. I am quite pleased.

We talked about our street, the incredibly unique Shasta Way, our non-county maintained road, which is no longer a road with the winter rains, but is more a stream, a creek bed, and some very deep holes. We will re-pave, but there is still the question of how to deal with all the water and silt that come streaming down our hill. We discuss various approaches, and may soon have a somewhat legitimate road of our own design.

We also discuss the novelty of having power this year. In the past, when the wind blew, which it often does in Tam Valley, the power immediately went out. I point out that we have had power since the year we didn't have power for five days, and a furious Peter Coyote went on the television news and demanded to know how people who lived ten minutes from a major city like San Francisco could not have power for five days. I was okay with it. I walked every day. I couldn't use my computer, and I lost everything in my refrigerator, but it was a peaceful time. It was somewhat like now. Now, though, we are in the modern world, even though when people come down our little street, they think they have entered a time-warp, and, in some ways, they have. Many of elders of our street built their homes with their own hands after the war, World War II. They raised their children here, and grew vegetables, and lived a long, long time. Now, though, they are dying, and though, in some places, houses change hands, on this end of Tam Valley, the children hold on, and everything seems to stay the same. We like it that way.

When the big money people representing our great national park Muir Woods came in with proposals for sidewalks and streetlights, we pointed out we like it this way. They think we are nuts, but light pollution is a real issue in Tam Valley. When our neighbors wanted to build a home with sky-lights, it was turned down because of light pollution. I am grateful for that. I like to see the moon and the stars. I like the dark.