Keeping it Holy

Cleaning the wax off the Sabbath candle holders tonight, I couldn’t remember the last time I had had seen them shiny. I had forgotten how beautiful they were, the words, “Holy Land”  carved above little houses built into the hillside. “Is it Friday?” one of the kids asked when they saw what I was doing.

“No, it’s Saturday,” I said. Normally we light the candles on Friday but I’m not all about rules. Because if we aren’t keeping the Sabbath in our heart, then we aren’t really keeping it. The point is, if it isn’t meaningful, why do we just go through the motions? It’s what we do, I suppose, go through the motions sometimes when we get tired, lazy, bored. I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ve been on autopilot for years, it seems…. just going through the motions. But I’m done with that. Like the years of wax I cleaned out of those candle holders tonight, I have remembered that I can shine too. It calls to mind a poem by Marge Piercy, If They Come in The Night. I forget that’s what we are meant to do and then when I come back to center, I remember.  When I look at my children, my husband… when I connect with others in a meaningful way and remember the divinity in our humanity…..I remember.

If They Come In The Night – Marge Piercy
Long ago on a night of danger and vigil
a friend said, why are you happy?
He explained (we lay together
on a cold hard floor) what prison
meant because he had done
time, and I talked of the death
of friends. Why are you happy
then, he asked, close to

I said, I like my life. If I
have to give it back, if they
take it from me, let me
not feel I wasted any, let me
not feel I forgot to love anyone
I meant to love, that I forgot
to give what I held in my hands,
that I forgot to do some little
piece of the work that wanted
to come through.

Sun and moonshine, starshine,
the muted light off the waters
of the bay at night, the white
light of the fog stealing in,
the first spears of morning
touching a face
I love. We all lose
everything. We lose
ourselves. We are lost.

Only what we manage to do
lasts, what love sculpts from us;
but what I count, my rubies, my
children, are those moments
wide open when I know clearly
who I am, who you are, what we
do, a marigold, an oakleaf, a meteor,
with all my senses hungry and filled
at once like a pitcher with light.


The Journey

The Journey by David Whyte
The Journey by David Whyte
The Journey
by David Whyte

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

If Poems Come

DSC_0841“And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Poetic DNA


If words could become part of our DNA (they can), then these must be part of my genetic code by now. Words I’ve read so many times they’ve no doubt been translated into corresponding base pairs and amino acids, ones that have become rungs in the ladder of my double-helices. Maybe that is why sometimes they are the only thing I can find sense in, as if my very cells recognize their song from memory. These are words that always feel like home…

Continue reading “Poetic DNA”

Living In the Shimmer

IMG_7482“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
Henry David Thoreau

When we first moved to the valley, watching the lights from the summit of our new home was unsettling to me. Mesmerized by the orange urban glow, I was left with an uneasiness watching the shimmer of the lights although I couldn’t place why. When anyone visits for the first time, they nearly always go to the windows and comment on the view- it is truly stunning. But the lights that I had expected to be still, were in fact, Continue reading “Living In the Shimmer”

The Math of Gestation- Calculating Loss

IMG_122112- the number of weeks gestation according to an 8 week ultrasound and my last menstrual period.

9 weeks, 2 days- approximate development of the fetus with no heartbeat inside me.

2 weeks, 5 days- approximate time lapse since fetal heartbeat stopped and development ceased, approximate time she’s been dead inside of me.

They say that time seems to stop during significant and critical times in our lives. I have found that is true but this isn’t all. It then replays again and again on infinite repeat.

0 seconds since my eyes searched desperately for that small pulsing we witnessed just a few short weeks ago on a grainy black and white screen.

0 seconds since the tech said, “It happens.”

0 seconds since it happened to me.

They call it a missed miscarriage. Some sites I came across used the term “silent”. Silence is an apt description of what comes right before the pause in your wail, in between the breathless pulse in your ear. It’s the noise you hear cry out from your womb when there is no heartbeat – when you find out the baby you’ve been carrying inside you is dead. Continue reading “The Math of Gestation- Calculating Loss”

Lost in Translation- My Induction Into the Dead Poets Society

IMG_0650I have so many half written ideas, parts of essays, chapters, and poems floating around in Word, it looks like a spare parts yard where nice words go to find their mates. Maybe it’s a bit of a mirror representation of the state of my mind most of the time, as long as we are confessing over Sunday morning coffee. My documents have become a jumbled mess of sentiment, awaiting a clear and focused mind who can sort through and make sense of it all. I’m still searching for some way to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation.

But when you are easily distracted and trying to write a book– it’s sometimes hard to know what direction to go.

This morning, the poets and sages of yesteryear were reminding me of where my passion has been hiding. It isn’t where it used to be. I think I must have left it in the tree house in the backyard when I was 9.

Leonard Cohen said,

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. “

Well apparently it’s something you can smoke.

Dammit, Leonard Cohen, why didn’t I know this when I was perched up in my tree house looking for some way to be a farm girl version of a West Village beatnik poet in a cool hat, life burning to ash between my fumbling fingers? Continue reading “Lost in Translation- My Induction Into the Dead Poets Society”