Art Life

 



Hand

In the gray of the subway platform,
bodies pressed close, 
coats wet with melting snow.
At my face, a hand.
It wrapped around the pole,
its nails, curved and sharpened like a cat's,
caked black with dirt. 

It was a weapon, 
a paw with which to slash,
a hand shaped by fear.
Someone lived in danger,
might need to tumble sideways from sleep
and strike--to defend their life 
or their blankets 
or their single coin. 

When I edged my eyes to see whose hand
I found a short, slight man in worn clothes,
a man grown old unsafe.
He saw through his rheumy eyes
a world different from mine.

But don't we all know fear?
need to defend? wake in darkness?
I recognized that face.


—Sarah Webb

Beliefs

Do I believe as you believe?
Probably not.
Did I believe as you believe?
Somewhat.
Will I believe as you believe?
Definitely Not.

To me, belief is like the ocean near the shore.
Big waves forcing me back to the beach.
Medium waves covering me from head to toe.
Small waves gently lapping at my feet.

Core beliefs
I feel, I was born with these.
Equality for all.
Be kind.
Stand Strong.
Hold the hand of the helpless.
Remove the burden from someone’s back.
Protect the child.

Religious beliefs
I feel, I was gifted.
Love thy Neighbor as thyself.
Feed the people.
Place others’ needs before your own.
Bless the children and the animals.
Gather the lost sheep.

Beliefs can be mystical and contain Grace.
They can be the butterfly in a field of flowers.
They can be Evil, causing destruction and Death.
They can be the hurricane in the ocean.
Beliefs can come and go.

Will my beliefs ever match yours exactly?
Probably not.
Will you try to make your beliefs my own or the other way round?
Probably.
Can we learn to teach our children well?
Can we have our beliefs walk side by side?
Definitely.


—Melissa K. Tolliver

Untitled

you give of yourself
the universe is grateful
the world sighs and smiles


—Paul Causey

Longing

A galaxy coils.
It echoes 
in nautilus, in the spiral of our ear
in the sunflower's seeds curving and crossing.

As above, so below
say the ones before us.
The whirlwind curves round,
and the fern.

And what of longing?
Why does my dog gaze out the window
when I am gone, 
the child lift her arms to be held?
Does the bee long for the flower,
the wave for the shore?

I gaze at the hills
as light falls across them
and slowly fades.
What is this hidden land,
this pattern above us in the night? 

When I stop, when I feel it,
it is sad but also sweet.
It reaches curious--
it wants to kiss and hold,
it flows out, cups my hands tenderly. 

So above, so below.
Does the swirl of stars reach tenderly,
the pear hold out its fruit, tenderly
asking
Who are you?

Rocks burn with this fire, waves rise,
the fox curls round her young,
I quieten, listening,
all of us asking
where are you? what are you?
will you come, will you
come at last?


—Sarah Webb

All the things I cannot know

All the things I will never know, I will never know and in my not knowing, I am comforted and consoled by all the things I have known and can know.  There is no sadness in my not knowing, for there is unbounded joy in that which I am blessed to know.  I cannot expect to be a glorious, blooming flower but I can bloom where I am planted.   I get to be part of this natural world in ways I could not have imagined – living in the mountains, in the desert, by a river, near the woods, on a lake.  Having feasted in all the seasons as well as on the seasons of my life, I am humbled and bowed in gratitude.

Today I saw fresh cow parsley as green as green can be on this first day of December as I walked on the trail.  The cows had been there and left patties of thanks too.  I walk through the trees, watching the leaves fall and accumulate, die and decay and then provide food for new plants and growth next Spring.  The birds are fewer and they will return soon in greater numbers, small and large, colorful and camouflaged.  The vermilion flycatcher stays and flashes his red coat so we recognize him.

As one of the creatures who inhabit this natural world, I sense my place in it, not as a blooming flower in all its glory but rather as a species able to describe where I am, who I am, what my place is and how I am to be in these sacred moments.  Yes, sacred because, like the one who said he sees through a glass dimly and then face to face, I see Creator Spirit where I look and, like Denise Levertov said, being in the orchard, being hungry and tasting the fruit. That is one of a thousand sacred moments that are given to us every day.

When I move from the common and ordinary to the uncommon and extraordinary, that’s a good moment in time and that happens often and comes in many forms.  Sometimes it is a slight shift in perception, sometimes it is a big shift in movement. Some are planned, some are not.  The latter ones I file under surprised by Grace.  


—Gary Gruber

Stop and Go

 



scars

a constellation of sorrows 
and terrors: 

ugly,
repellent: a tally 
of ravages unscreamed. 

traces of shame, 
averted from my kind, 
shocking in glimpses:
how? how can this be 
what I have become? 

a text in red and pink 
and brown; a score 
of devil's tones: 
augmented rages;
flatted fists. 

were you to read
this tracery in braille—
eyes closed 
and open heart—
you would come 
to know your soul 
and how 
at last 
to love. 


—Genéve Gil

Snowfall

Snowfall crept in with night
and bathed my waking
in unearthly light,
casting ice into the morning air,
refracting, refracting. 

Trees sugared like 
Viennese crescent cookies,
boughs adorned in elegant 
lace brocade. 

Delicate stars winking
in their constellations 
amid twigs,
naming their place in the
wholeness of being. 

And my heart, alive:
is it not wondrous
to meet death as a miracle? 


—Genéve Gil

JustThis tribute to Martha Koock Ward

On September 29, 2022, this group lost a cherished member. We were some of her precious people, and she touched many of our lives. The poems that follow are our tribute to Martha. 

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Rain Crow Haikus

 

Dreams of Rain by Sarah Webb

Hot days beckon clouds
Wishful wistful billowing
Dreams of cool wet rain


Clouds Waking by Paul Causey


Dry parched earth slumbers
Under heavy sun-drenched dreams
Wait for clouds to wake


—Paul Causey

Dreams of Rain

 
Rain is Coming by Sarah Webb


In hot, dry summer,
memories of spring,
a cooler time, 
bringing dreams of rain,
droplets wet and cool,
dripping from hair 
washed in an April shower,
droplets heralding the advance 
of warm breezes in summer,
drying wet towels wringing with sweat,
parching lips, cracking earth,
 heat radiates off the horizon,
wavering in the noon day sun, 
cloudless skies, 
harboring memories of spring, 
a cooler time, 
bringing dreams of rain.


—Paul Causey

All that Love…

I never felt unloved by you,
it was there like a shared, sacred
vibration in the air, merged in hugs, 
laughter, shared graces.

It’s the outpouring that has washed me
off my stalwart stance, feeling both
its surge and undertow as I try to 
catch the next wave of change
coming in, and wanting to ride the crest. 

I know I am not in control of this
condition. Instead, I exercise beliefs
not challenged before, to bear witness
to who I truly am, and this condition
is not me. I affirm me and let the 
condition die off, as it will. 

I do crave your riding this wave with
me. My position is different than that
we’ve been conditioned to feel & express
in this world. 

Will you walk with me?


—Martha Koock Ward