Month: May 2014

rosary: centering prayer

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Jesus, life pulls me in too many directions. I struggle to regain my sense of balance.

invitatory
Please, Christ, help me to calm the frantic madness and rediscover the well of peacefulness and contentment that I know sleeps within me.

cruciform
Jesus, please, clear away the external demands and stimuli from my consciousness while I pray.

week (a)
Please, empty and open my mind, heart and soul.
or week (b)
Please lead me to the calm, centered space within my soul.

invitatory
Lord Christ, I beg you: while I dwell within this state of sublime, gentle awareness, reach out to me.

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All this I pray in the Name of the Lord. Amen.

poem: creating

The compulsion has not vanished.

All yawning mouth and shining eyes,
it cries out within me,
not just during moments of idleness,
or those spent on the chorus of life,
but even while i feed it
with one form of art.

When i am a poet,
the hunger cries for clay.
While i throw,
paintings flow through my mind,
vivid and clear,
their edges dragging sharpness
across the plane of psyche.
i paint and then watch
as sculptures build themselves
in the back of my skull.
Through it all,
characters from stories
poke at me for attention,
not surrendering their cause
even though their novels
have become unmoored.

Even asleep, the need to explore
either image or tale or form
cannot take a break –
i dream what i do.

The truth of my compulsion
flows from my weary, eager hands.

Even though i collapsed in utter exhaustion,
these words continue to leak out my fingertips.

i am caught up in a river,
it flows through me in tides and torrents,
and i would not stop it if i could.

The urgency can take on calmer tones
when my soul rests in deep stillness –
indeed, it can soften to a whisper –
but the engine remains ready to turn,
to churn until all distractions are consumed.

At least a hundred times
i have asked friends and strangers,
anyone i thought could bring me answers,
why i have no lover,
no family,
why i am so unwillingly solitary
and aching with loneliness.

Tonight,
the clay, the paint,
and these lines
whisper the answer
to my overflowing heart.

8 february 2014

poem: the moon wears a wide skirt

The moon wears a wide skirt,
flowing about her like a silver crinoline,
her brilliance blocking out
all of the night’s lesser lights.

i find myself singing
rhymes to her beauty,
thanksgivings for her kindness,
for how she caresses my upturned face.

Quiet and peace
fill this glorious inky darkness,
allowing the canvas of my life
to flourish in color and complexity.dancer alt 320x480

i find myself dancing,
mirroring the fluidity of the form
poised to leap out of my painting,
joyous inside my own peculiar grace.

Nothing else is needed
within the miracle of an evening,
spent at the intersection of ability
and inspiration.

Inside this magical speck of space-time,
i let myself sit down while paint dries
so i may pick up pen and paper
to continue my grateful communion.

8 february 2014

rosary: prayers for another

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My Lord, my God, I pray for You to intercede on behalf of N . N needs You in obvious and subtle ways, and I pray for Your help.

invitatory
Every person on this world is vulnerable and small, compared to the rest of Your creation. Even so, You pay attention to our lives: You love us all and comfort us in our times of need. Please, Lord, find a way to shine through into N’s life/lives, soothe his/her/their soul(s).

cruciform
God, I pray for Your intervention:

week 1 Heal him/her/them.
week 2 Comfort him/her/them.
week 3 Bless him/her/them.
week 4 Cover him/her/them in Your grace.
week 5 Give him/her/them hope.
week 6 Nourish his/her/their spirit(s).
week 7 Fortify his/her/their faith and strength.

invitatory
Thank You, gentle Lord, for hearing my prayer and loving Your children.

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Glory be to the three aspects of God, el that created everything, el that saved us all, & el that works in the world & whispers in the trees. Amen.

a few reversals

I should have taken pictures of them. Visually, the remains were quite interesting. Two platters cracked during cooling in the kiln – one on Tuesday, one this morning – for reasons I cannot begin to identify.  There did not appear to be any fault inherent in either, they just fell to pieces.  One had been underglazed with a design of a hundred “loves” interlocking with each other.  The second bore a similar design with “hope” emblazoned across.

Each snapped into half a dozen pieces, when they were cool enough not to effect another pot – because they both banged into others that were in a perfect state.  Another, “peace,” came out undamaged only adding to the mystery.

If I am honest, the fact that they said hope and love bothered me more than losing pieces.  For example, when I lost the first platter, I also lost four casserole dishes, mostly due to my own clumsiness.  It left me muttering bad words, but beyond the instantaneous reaction, I was able to cope.  So, I had some practice with loss.  Still – “Hope” and “faith” – well, those are hard things to see smashed into bits.

10414910_10203104942895966_2449259623964739159_nOn Tuesday, after it was clear that I could not be trusted with bone dry pots, I responded by starting to sculpt a dragon.  At first, I thought it would be a more serious or inspirational form, but as she started to come together, I realized she was going to be a dragon and fighting it would be absolutely futile.  And she is a fine dragon.  A happy one.

Yesterday, I sat for a day at the Belfast Harbor Artisans – it always makes me feel better when I get a chance to talk to my customers, to be a part of the world beyond my studio.

On the way home, I took my car to the wonderful local garage to address the screaming sound that was coming from the back of the car.  I found out today that I need new rear breaks, with a few other bits in addition.  I was already struggling to pay bills and get things done – living right on the edge of function and dissolution – and this feels like one reversal more than I particularly want to deal with at this juncture.  Today is supposed to be my day off, so I have thrown it into poetry (Maya Angelou died yesterday, too, leading me to a grief that I did not expect would be so deep and poignant) and laundry.  My body is thrilled to have a chance to rest. For whatever reason, I just could not face the thought of throwing or sculpting or firing.  I needed a day ‘off.’

Now that I have reached the point that the blog should have a snappy conclusion, I don’t know what to say about the cracked plates or the destroyed casserole dishes or my car’s breaks. I don’t have any idea what importance these reversals should have – if any – in the way I think about what I am doing.

All I know, in this exact moment, is that I am grateful I had enough hope and love to spare for those platters.

visually

poem: gratitude poem

This business has already failed.
This body is already dust.
All my animals have left my life,
even though they sleep
beside my writing hand –
which, frankly, has finished writing
even as it forms these words.
This impermanence confounds me,
even as it comforts.
If the business has already failed,
then the time i have to work
is a gift.
Every second with my animals
becomes more precious
than any jewel.
These words
pouring out of my pen
become miracles
to be cherished.
Even life itself
does not commit
to constancy,
so every breath
like this one searing out of me,
calls for gratitude.

written 2 november 2011

rosary: a plea for patience

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O sweet Jesus, I am besieged with impatience. The reason is unimportant, but I itch inside my skin. The world moves too slowly. Everything is taking too much time. I cannot focus on anything.

invitatory
I beg You Christ, comfort me when I think I will jump out of my skin. If I am on the verge of a metamorphosis, please prevent my impatience from becoming irritability, anger or rage.

cruciform
As a man, Jesus, You learned about human impatience and how potent it can be. Help me!

week 1 Please soothe me.
week 2 Say that I am not failing.
week 3 Remind me that this is not a dire situation.
week 4 Let my muscles relax. Slow my heart.
week 5 Nurture peacefulness in me.
week 6 Bring contentment to my present.
week 7 Tell me: this moment will not last forever.

invitatory
Jesus this day is just one day set against Your infinity: one day out of all that has come before and all that will come after. What for me is so crucial, frustrating, and slow right now has no real effect on the universe. So, please, while I am stuck in this temporal life, overcome with impatience, comfort me.

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Thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving me again, even if I do not feel it yet. I love You and trust You and release my impatience to You. Glory to You for ever and ever. Amen.

poem: another prayer poem

Please,
God,
please,
Lord,
please,
my Christ,
please
Holy Spirit,
please,
i flounder.
i drown.
i fear
that like a shark
if i stop moving
i will die.
Oh, but God,
i am so tired.
The pit of self-loathing
yawns inside of me
like an endless chasm –
too often i cannot see
any good in tomorrow.
Please, God.
Please, Lord.
Try to help
as i find my way,
a path back
to the place where
i can sense love
again.

written 15 october 2011

rosary: in the morning

In the Morning (from the Book of Common Prayer – another rosary with specific verses put in as each pair of cruciform and week)

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This is another day, Lord.

invitatory
I know not what it will bring forth, but

1st cruciform
make me ready for whatever it may be:

1st week
If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.

2nd cruciform
Please, Lord, make me ready for whatever will come:

2nd week
If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly.

3rd cruciform
Please, Lord, make me ready for whatever will come:

3rd week
If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently.

4th cruciform
Please, Lord, make me ready for whatever will come:

4th week
If I am to do nothing, help me to do it gallantly.

5th cruciform
Please, Lord, make me ready for whatever will come.

invitatory
Make these words more than words,

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and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.