Wendell Barry’s lines: “make a poem that does not disturb / the silence from which it came,” served as a writing prompt this week. Tall order, that! In fact, those lines would make a useful weekly prompt for the rest of my life (the full Berry poem, below).
Here’s a version of what I wrote on Tuesday.
Even when lids shut, the tissue
aquiver — the scroll of light
rolling on, a form of
I want to go through my days,
my nights, like a rib cage.
Each curving spear connected
at a central pole. Sure
in form, sure in purpose,
protecting the two wind
lobes and the single beating
fist — lungs and heart safer
for the bony embrace.
Instead, a vibrato of uncertainty.
How has the non-tactile
flow of damage gained ascendancy
over sinew and nerve,
crowding out all the places
in the body that crave
One day those ribs will spear
dirt and crumble. Shouldn’t the body
being Hand Maiden to Death wake
us out of stupor now
Let me eat a cracker
with a smidge of butter.
Let me sweep the steps free of snow
and then sleep under a blanket
that whispers ‘hallelujah.’
Let the sun falling on tabletops
The Solstice is here.
Let ‘standing still’ mean something.
Wendell Berry’s poem, “How to Be a Poet,” from “Given:”
Make a place to sit down
Sit down. Be quiet. [ . . .]
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditional air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensional life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
So many lines there to use as springboards!
I made my crack of day (not quite dawn) run to Wegman’s. Shallots, greens, prosciutto, corn meal, dill and sage, oranges and oyster mushrooms. Tonight: a Solstice Party at a neighbor’s (see last year’s post on ‘the Irish Goodbye’). I’ll bring an onion tart. Christmas Eve, dinner for eight. Ham, smashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and cukes in vinegar. Slight variation on a meal I’ve made many times.
Any nice ideas for dessert?
With the boys and now my niece living so far away (LA, Boulder, San Fran), I’m really looking forward to this.
Happy Solstice to you!
May the richness of the dark touch you, nourish you,
and bring us all forward into the light.
PS I went to see if my first blog post was December 2009 so as to mention TEN YEARS of blogging. Turns out the first came December 2008. Imagine that! Eleven years here.
Mail from Michelle. More on that to come.
Also, have to post this. It goes to season, darkness, and the hope for cycling into light, after all.
Happy Winter Solstice….the Yule! 🌿❄️ Dessert….perhaps lemon or coconut cream something or another. 🍰🍋. Curious on your tea tags…a couple weeks, ago I began throwing the tea tags in my hold all cigar box for some such reason. They are such lovelies and I’ve been beyond crazed in my tea ritual. Especially trying to ward off the ickies as I tend to one with the flu. 🤒🤞🌲
Lemon and coconut both sound yummy! The tea tags came from Michelle Slater’s contribution to Mo Crow’s collaborative art project, I dream of a world where love is the answer. Michelle’s pennant had tea messages and faux rose petals adhered to its entire length. When I sent her MY contribution to the project last week, little did I know she’d send me hers!
My favorite Celtic Winter Solstice blessing for you, your family and friends Dee:
Deep peace of the running waves to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the shades of night to you.
Moon and stars always giving light to you.
As for dessert: I just made one of my favorite Christmas cakes, been making it for over 45 yrs. Angel food cake mix but add 6-8 drops of green food coloring so the cake becomes a lovely soft green and add 1 tsp of peppermint extract. I make a chocolate glaze to pour down the top and sides then scatter flaked coconut (snow on top) and around the plate. Some years I decorate with miniature trees, reindeer, santa, elves, gingerbread houses etc. This year I have a little folk art wooden snowman and using clip art I printed out a wreath of snowmen and in the center i have miniature photos of my grandson, granddaughter, daughter and son in law to welcome them. They arrive in New Mexico from CA tomorrow.
Hello Marti! Your cake sounds divine! Enjoy everyone today! I want to give a special thanks for that Celtic blessing. At a solstice party last night (in an 18th century candlelight home), when people went round during a series of toasts, I read it to the group. Much appreciated.
Tonight I lit candles in three locations and everything glowed. Once, long ago, my Massachusetts friend lived upstairs and there was a solstice gathering where she wore the (tinfoil) crown of candles and there was a procession of beautiful women (former dancers) and we ate cake and drank too much. Each person who arrived starting about 8 O’clock brought candles and by the time the Solstice came, the whole apartment was a warm flickering glow of light. Magic.
“Let ‘standing still’ mean something” … I have taken to removing my hearing aids of late, the better to hear silence … especially as the recent epic fail of our interconnected smoke alarms brought interminable beeping and screeching into our lives … now finally quelled …
thank you for sharing poetry and images … food plans and headlines … it’s all of a piece … this crazy world and our place in it
Smoke alarms are the worst. Ours have battery back up so even flipping the fuse won’t turn them off. It’s torture for the dog. I usually cover his ears, open the back door, and wait it out. Interesting idea to leave sound diminished. I had something comparable when our tv recording system went belly up two weeks ago.
the balancing point of the year