August 27th, 2006

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Morning -

I wake this morning, dreaming I am making a most wondrous lentil soup.   I rise, after kitty play, to find Jane Hirshfield's poem on making soup.  As I look on-line and search through her books, I feel how just holding a book of poetry, especially hers, touches me inside.  I have stepped away from poetry.  No wonder there has been a flutter in my pulse.  It is time to ground my breath in the step of words, the chime of sound.

Since I have known Terry, she has wanted land and a place for wild animals and a garden.   She has found her garden of Eden, and Jeff, Jan, Steve, and I are going to visit there today.  There are owls and bobcats and the moon is more full there than anywhere else.  I have seen it once and dream about it.  I see it again today.

Well, I have not yet found the lentil soup poem, but I find this one of Jane's called "Cook."

Tucked in the book from which it comes is a postcard from friends who went cruising around the world in their boat.  The book and postcard are from 1988.   Bob and Ginne say the "islands and coast off Yugoslavia are a cruiser's paradise."    Wikipedia has this to say about Yugoslavia.   "On February 4, 2003, the name Yugoslavia was officially abolished when the state transformed into a loose commonwealth called Serbia and Montenegro. After a successful referendum in the republic, Montenegro officially declared its independence on June 3, 2006, while Serbia declared independence on June 5, thereby ending the last remnants of the former Yugoslav federation."

I'm not sure why I feel a sadness about that, but perhaps it is the continuing recognition of change.  I struggle to keep up with all the unravelings, gatherings, and forms.   The fog is in again today, and my world appears small, and yet, inside I feel continents shift.  I am most grateful for life.   Yesterday, in watering, I noticed the place where trees branch.  That is where I sit  today.


Each night you come home with five continents on your hands:
garlic, olive oil, saffron, anise, coriander, tea,
your fingernails blackened wtih marjoram and thyme.
Sometimes the zucchini's flesh seems like a fish-steak,
cut into neat filets, or the salt-rubbed eggplant
yields not bitter water, but dark mystery.
You cut everything into bits.
No core, no kernel, no seed is sacred:  you cut
onions for hours and do not cry,
cut them to thin transparencies, the red ones
spreading before you like fallen flowers;
you cut scallions from white to green, you cut
radishes, apples, broccoli, you cut oranges, watercress,
romaine, you cut your fingers, you cut and cut
beyond the heart of things, where
nothing remains, and you cut that too, scoring coup
on the butcherblock, leaving your mark,
when you go
your feet are as pounded as brioche dough.  
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Heartbeat -

This morning I notice the difference in my breathing, pulse, heartbeat, and expansiveness between reading Jane Hirshfield, and the NY Times.  What a difference there is!  I was careful with the ingestion of news when I was in treatment.  I think I have been reading more than I need.  I feel what it does to me to read the bombardment of negativity that is the news.  I know I need to be involved and aware of what is going on, and I see there is a balance I need to find to stay well. 

I offer this poem of Jane Hirshfield.

Late Prayer

Tenderness does not choose its own uses.
It goes out to everything equally,
circling rabbit and hawk.
Look:  in the iron bucket,
a single nail, a single ruby -
all the heavens and hells.
They rattle in the heart and make one sound.

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Here is the poem on lentils -

Da Capo

                                by Jane Hirshfield

Take the used-up heart like a pebble
and throw it far out.

Soon there is nothing left.
Soon the last ripple exhausts itself
in the weeds.

Returning home, slice carrots, onions, celery.
Glaze them in oil before adding
the lentils, water, and herbs.

Then the roasted chestnuts, a little pepper, the salt.
Finish with goat cheese and parsley.  Eat.
You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted.
Begin again the story of your life.
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kittens and flow -

This morning, I am aware of the many moods of my kittens.  They cuddle and run, explore and watch, settle and hop.   I hear children cry, and stop.   There is a continuum, a flow  of life for children and cats.  I settle myself into that stream today, permission granted,  but grateful, also,  for the permission to settle naked into a hard-to-reach hot spring of a pond in the mud and rocks,  as Vicki and I did four autumns ago in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, a place to which I want, one day,  to return.