Month: June 2014

poem: Faith dissolves

A poem from my collection – available on amazon.com for kindle – Chaotic Poems of Love and Faith.

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Faith dissolves
into diffuse particles.
No dogma fully defines
anything,
yet the God i sense
as connection,
as pure unhesitating LOVE,
can be as tangible
as any part of Creation.
Images can point
to sacred things,
even when they don’t try;
myths and stories
can reveal deep Truth,
even when i doubt or deny
the specifics of the tale.
Poems have opened me up
with terrifying ease
to expose my soul
to the transformative wind
of the divine.
i am a mess of wonder,
driven by the whip of curiosity.
Moments in my journey
have almost felt certain;
a second later,
i drowned in doubt.
However, this time i find
some comfort in my confusion,
for i no longer take heed
of any calls
to make my faith
conform to another’s model.
i am at peace
within my small,
chaotic
portion of Love.

Four days in cooperatives

divineconversationWritten late Friday, 29 June 2014

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Wednesday, Thursday, today (and tomorrow) I have been working in cooperatives: Belfast, Southwest Harbor, and two days here in Boothbay Harbor.  Wednesday and Thursday next week, I will be in Belfast Harbor Artisans again.

It makes for quiet blogging days – since internet access is not always accessible.

Let me say, I actually enjoy this work quiet a lot.  Selling art – even here in Boothbay, where there is not one speck of my own art to be seen – gives me a great thrill.  tree_loversThere is something wonderfully special about selling work you know was made with an artist’s two hands.  I can tell them about the woman who made that fabulous photograph, or the one that hammered out that wonderful metal bell, or the maker of that sea-glass cup, or the sculptor of polymer clay fish, or the creators of this vast array of sparkling jewelry.  When I make a good amount of sales, it makes me giddy.  I know that I am helping other people who are walking down the same difficult road that chose me.

That said, as I close in on day four of cooperative sitting, with two more ahead of me next week, I am aching to make art.  Granted, I have had my pen and inks with me, and I can always find something on which to scratch out a poem or two, so I have managed to make some decent pieces.  However, there is nothing quite like being elbow deep in clay while you throw something huge and impressive on the wheel, or having a sculpture build itself through your hands, or getting lost in front of a virginal, unblemished canvas while you load up your paintbrush… I am filled with longing just imagining it…

How many people can wind up looking like a complete mud-covered wreck at the end of the day and know it means they have been productive?  I am blessed!

Soon.  Soon.  I will be back to the messier arts soon.

 

poem: Sunday prayer

My Lord, my God, my Christ.
i want to go to church today,
but other obligations
keep me away –
business, finances and health.
i need to open the studio by ten.
i have no money
for the gas, tithe or food
i would inevitably eat
and right now,
my body feels
more like angry pudding
than flesh and bone.

But i am dreaming church.
i fantasize about communion.
i long for you.

As always, i pray
that i am doing your work,
following the path
you have set for me,
and not embarrassing you
so much
that your anthropomorphized hand
leaves a bruise
on your imagined forehead.

Please forgive me
my absence from your table,
along with all my other
innumerable missteps.

This i pray to the Glory of your Name.

AMEN

22 june 2014

weakness

This level of weariness feels gratuitous, as though my flesh feels nothing so much as anger at the thought of movement.  I crave stillness and quiet.  These needs are remaking me.  Unless I am driving, I have stopped playing music.  My flesh revolts at relentless labor.  The moments that I steal from other activity to meditate or write feel blessed and transformational.  Perhaps I grow more inside stillness than I do when I am overwhelmed with energy and movement.  This is where the artist and the spirit are at odds – the former grieves the time lost to recuperation, but the latter knows that it is from these moments that art comes.

Either way, I have until 1 today to do what I like.  I can write, draw, paint, rest.  This is Sunday’s reward.  Customers might derail my quiet, but as long as the studio is open for them to enter, I am free.

This morning, I had neither the money nor energy nor ability for church.  Instead, here I am.  Still.  Only the movement in the room is my pen sliding arose the page.

If I let my thoughts stray, worry will consume me.  So, I sit here, coaxing my mind into the same stillness as my body.

My spirit can soar, though, I am perfectly content with her graceful dance.

poem: another Sunday poem

My Lord, my God,
i know that if i wrote no more words
after this poem, the universe would survive.

i do not possess enough hubris
to believe my work is essential
for the world to spin.

And yet,
i love doing this
to the point of insanity.

i crave time to write, paint and draw;
if i stay away from clay too long,
my hands icy for the sensation
of the pot forming between them.

My Christ, i have enough madness
tucked away inside my breast
that i believe you want me
to be doing this work.

Only, my God, i m drowning.
Losing myself in an ocean
of anxiety, weariness, pain and stress,
to the point i lose sight
of where you want me to be,
what you need me to do.

So, as always,
i beg you for help
surviving.
i grovel with you.
i plead.
Help me pay the bills.
Stoke the fire in my soul
that gets me through.
Give me guidance
as i move through
this day.

When i work,
i am filled with love,
joy,
connection –
when i cannot fill
my obligations or my stomach,
i face despair,
full of certainty
that i have failed
your purpose for me.

So, i grovel, Jesus,
although i know not what for
exactly.
This goes deeper than bandaids
to cover immediate needs.

i pray, my God,
with open heart and open hands,
for i see my ignorance
too clearly.

Spirit, fill me up
with inspiration, energy,
and a direction to go
on this Sunday morning.

All this i pray in the Glory of your Name.
AMEN

dishes

I actually wrote this on Wednesday, but lacked the internet access to post it!

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dishesOh. My. God.

I just sold an entire set of dishes off of one bowl.

She picked it up off the display and asked why one small bowl was $85.  Promptly, I explained it was part of a set, with two sizes of plates, all waiting in the back to go.  At her request I ran back and got the box full of pottery.

Without batting an eye, she bought the entire set.  From me.  I checked out my own pottery.  My own dishes, from me, at one of the cooperatives.  I am so happy, I can barely stand myself.  I had to write about it or I would have exploded!

So glorious!

In case you do not fully understand my joy: I make good sales at these cooperatives, but I have always excelled at selling other people’s art more than my own.  The first year I worked here, I sold not one of my own pieces until late in the season – one massive porcelain bowl shipped to California for a wedding.  This year, I had one impressive agate piece that I was able to sell in Southwest Harbor.

However, a full set of dishes!  This is my first huge triumph for my own art at this particular cooperative.  , and it came on a day when I felt acutely worried about my future as an artist.

I have been singing praises ever since!

Huzzah!

poem: intercession

Several years ago, when i went by another name, i published a chapbook called “Passage to Faith.” This poem is from that work.

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We all pray for the same things, don’t we?
For months and months,
I’ve been listening to intercessions:
the prayers of others spoken
from the mouths of priests –
it’s almost like eavesdropping
on the deepest desires of strangers.
By now, I’ve heard several hundred,
I’m sure.
And every day someone –
a face never seen,
a soul utterly unknown to me –
prays for what I need in this life:
health, strength, love, faith.
They beg for friends, for family,
for enemies, for themselves.
Each time, I realize again,
that the similarities drive me,
they focus my place here,
pulling me into this Cathedral,
into this Chapel of silence,
like nothing else can.
It pulls me in because people
who used to be so foreign,
who, in the end, remain mysteries,
suddenly become kindred –
subject to the same needs,
craving the same things.
It becomes a transformation so complete
that, in a moment, even the alien
appears intensely comprehensible.
I like to think, that in God’s eyes,
our similarities overwhelm
the differences we humans focus upon.
Despite ourselves, He loves us all,
because we are all part of him,
elements of this glorious universe
that, out of love, He’s created.
All of our good and all of our bad
exist in harmony within the cosmos,
even if it remains chaos within ourselves.
In these prayers I hear us as we beg:
we’re all calling out to God,
asking Him to provide protection for our souls
from the tempests without and within.
Globally, continually, desperately and happily,
we rejoice in our thanksgivings,
and we cry out for His solace;
which, for me, can be sweetly derived
from the commonness of the appeal.
We are alike, deep within our souls.

That’s what Intercession teaches me.

poem: dissolution or reinvention

My Lord, my God,
am i on the edge
of dissolution
or reinvention –
of consummation
or devastation?
The constriction in my chest
has grown hard,
like a cocoon –
is it a burial shroud
or something that will break away?

Mary, Spirit,
you both know
i am a creature
of wild opposites –
haunting despair and wild joy,
kindness and self-loathing,
sexual and repressed,
overflowing with love
as open and needy as a child,
and shut down in fear
if any comes back.

My heart moves constantly
between poles.
Will this incubation
so hot and deep
vanquish the bad in me
and leave the good –
or am i falling, Mary,
into places i should not go?

Christ, O my Christ,
i have been experiencing union again
in the midst of my madness.
My perceptions keep opening
even as i am told
that my mind is diminishing.
My Christ,
i am so afraid
to be alone
and yet, i fear the influence
of those who would diminish me.
Particularly myself.
Too often have i broken myself down.

i beg for help,
my Lord, my Christ,
Spirit and Sweet Mary,
i beg you for guidance.

My heart overflows
with this longing for love –
and i realize you are the One
i really cry out to,
with every lonely word.
You are the One
who stokes
the fire inside me –
my Lord,
my Christ,
Holy Spirit,
Mother of God,
this divine miracle of many names.

i fall into my darkness
like my feet trip in the night,
and i cry like a baby.

i give you my broken love,
i give you my gratitude,
and i beg you for a light
to show the way
out of my soul’s night.

26 july 2012

poem: Thank God

An old prayer of thanksgiving, from a chapbook i wrote called “Passage to Faith”. It still feels true, all these years later.

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Thank God for strangers who listen,
for moments of unexpected connection,
for spontaneous kindness and beautiful smiles.

Thank God for friendship and understanding,
for beautiful places to come to and pray,
for countless others in this world who help us.

Thank God for the refreshing beauty of spring,
the white stillness of winter,
the beauty of fall, heat of summer.

Thank God for the blessings of life
and the lessons it has us learn.
Thanks for the pain which lets us know joy.

Thank God for those who love us,
for all those we don’t know, those we will meet,
and for the critics who teach us about ourselves.

Thank God for loving us,
for helping us find peace, for guiding us, unseen,
through this beautiful, troubling world.