Thursday, September 26, 2013

Night Time Prayer

Night Time Prayer

"It is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done.
Let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world 
and of our own lives rest in You.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us...
The night heralds the dawn,
so let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys,
and new possibilities."

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rumi: "This Too Shall Pass"

Rumi (c)

We are here,

An eclectic group of people,

to share an hour together,

an hour at the library.

The professor came

from UNC

to teach

this group of kindred souls

and me,

about Rumi.

Rumi --

"Our Master"--

an enchanting poet,

writer of exquisite poetry,

who encompasses

raw, erotic, romantic,



Rumi says

we move from "raw"

to "cooked,"

to "on fire."

At the end of our lives,

we are "on fire!"

Not a bad thing!

The professor said,

The Universe "already has God's love."

It is flowing...

He said that all we need to do

"is remove the ego,

the rawness,

and when that happens,

love flows."

What a wonderful thing,

to hear these words

(exquisite words)

spoken at the Durham County Library,

to my friends and me,

on Saturday, 

September 22, 

in the year 2013.

Over 800 years,

since Rumi lived.

Where is My Something Beautiful

Where is my something beautiful?

I can see it now,

from the kitchen table.

 The cafe curtains

are parted,

giving sight to the 

red cedar three,

planted 8 years ago,

now towering high,

gleaming in the sun...



What I Need on September 23, 2013

I need  

To see something beautiful,

That makes my eyes widen in wonder,

The same way the Eiffel Tower

made me feel

on seeing it

for the first time.

Something that makes me catch my breath

and say, "ah....

I'm here!"

I need a vacation

Some inspiration...

Where can it be found?

Will I be Boston bound?

I need to see


the List Gallery,

the Blacksmith's House,

that place 

that gave grace

to the spreading chestnut tree,

on the village green...

this is what I need.

To see something beautiful.

This Morning

This morning,

I woke up singing,

As I thought of the soul

of poetry--

the soul

that was captured by Rumi,

Inspiring people for 800


Perhaps Ram Dass

put it best--

"At the end of our wanderings,

there is only the soul's yearning

to return to God.

No one speaks that yearning

better than Rumi..." 

Morning, view from my backyard

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Robert Frost (c)

Robert Frost

was wrong.

Good fences

do make good neighbors.

And what is a good fence?

A high one

That shields me 

from prying eyes,

that surprise me

by staring,


at me as I descend,

the back steps.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ebony and Ivy

 MIT professor Stephen Wilder has written a book on the history of slavery and race at some of the best universities in the U. S.  Universities like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, William & Mary, UNC, institutions to which slaves contributed toil, tears, and yes, sometimes, blood.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Stagville Festival a Phenomenal Success

     Visitors came from as far away as California and Utah and as close by as Durham for the Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 7th.  The purpose of the festival was to raise money for the Historic Stagville Foundation and to educate the public about slave life on the plantation, one of the largest in North Carolina prior to the Civil War.  Owned by the Bennehan-Cameron families, the Stagville Plantation consisted of several thousand acres and lay at the center of an enormous estate of 30,000 acres.  Nearly 900 slaves worked the property.
Visitors to Saturday’s event were able to see the Brennehan House, built in 1787 (impressive for its time period and built in the Georgian style), as well as Horton Cottage a two story, four room dwelling that is a rare survivor among slave quarters.  Further down the road is the Great Barn, a huge structure used mainly to store farm equipment and mules.   Standing nearly 3 stories tall and about 135 feet long, it features rare complex joinery.

Brandon Brinkley of the End of the Drive Mule Team

On hand to escort small groups to the Great Barn was the End of the Road Mule Farm of Ashboro, NC.  Brandon Brinkley and his grandfather, Ronald Hudson, helped small groups into a wagon pulled by two mules.
On the Way to the Great Barn

Colleen Minton leading discussion with Hugh Acheson and Michael Twitty

Nicole Moore begins preparations for the feast at the Stagville Historic Site

Preparations for the dinner began the night before as Neal Sexton, a field archeologist with Dovetail Cultural Resources Group in Fredericksburg, Virginia, arrived from Fayetteville to start the fires needed to cook the food.  He could be seen all day on Saturday splitting logs and tending the fire pits, resplendent in attire he sewed himself (handmade trousers, vest, and shirt).   Another key figure in the cooking brigade was Nicole Moore, an historic interpreter from Virginia Beach.  Crowds gathered to watch her working and to hear her explain key ingredients and cooking methods.  (For more information, consult her website at

Some of Nicole Moore's offerings for the Stagville Feast

Nicole Moore and Hugh Acheson

Michael Twitty preparing the meat for the Stagville Feast

Michael makes biscuits under the watchful eye of a photographer from Garden and Gun Magazine

Prior to the dinner, Stagville Assistant Site Manager, Jeremiah Digennero, gave an overview of Horton  Cottage, a four room slave dwelling on the estate.  Banjo music played by Jason Roberson delighted the guests.  Before meal was served , everyone patiently awaited the outcome of Michael Twitty’s DNA testing.  Gina Paige, founder of African Ancestry DNA, enthralled the audience as she revealed Michael’s results.
Gina Page revealing Michael Twitty's DNA results 
 Guests agreed that this event was of historic proportions, and one organizer stated that it was the largest crowd ever assembled on the grounds.  It was indeed a day to be long remembered.


Monday, September 9, 2013

"Welcome to Tarboro?"

       This was one of my most popular columns and I appreciated the response to it.  I ran across it again tonight while looking for something else.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Five for Flannery

Young girl...
Reading her picture book...
Transported by images, words.
Steady gaze
Poised, pretty, wise,
Already successful,
Discovering her audience
Is evident.
The attack was acute,
Giving her a bit of a half-moon face.
Straw hat. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

On My Walk Today (c)

On my walk today, 
I saw five deer and two blue herons,
And they saw me too!
The deer ran away,
But the herons remained.
It's times like these when 
I breathe in -- 
Started by the joy
Of such a delight;
the last time was in Paris
two years ago.
(Ah, to wake up in there is something else!)

On my walk today
The deer posed motionless
In front of the ancient,
Wrought-iron fence
Enclosing the house,
(Still stately after two centuries).
It sits alone --
High on a hill
Amid the groves of trees
And daffodiles.
Dark clouds gather,
And I head home --
Up the hill,
And down the hill,
And along the meandering paths --
aged tree trunks,
And clumps
Of ferns and wiregrass --
The now deserted golf course
That now serves
As a refuge
For deer and herons,
And streams that grace the land,
As old as time.
Back to my house now,
Feeling blessed,
By these things, so near to me.
It is hot,
And the sun has been causing me
To sweat bullits.
I pause in the shade
Of a neighbor's tree,
Then continue on.
Should I be so lucky
To have these things
So close by.

Back home,
The clothes come off,
And I'm naked,
Watching the rain fall
Cooling off
In front of the fan,
While I reflect on these scenes
Of the town.