Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Where I Am Now

     I'm taking a course called "Writing in the Spirit of William Stafford."  He's my favorite poet.  Why?  It's the gentleness behind his words, the kindness, the encouragement.  I especially love the poem, "You Reading This, Be Ready."   It's been used as a resource for teachers.

     The course has forced me to focus on my poetic voice.  I get so involved in "busyness," that I forget or neglect or don't have time to write.   I think of Rumi's voice:  about staying in one place and not fleeing.

     Stafford's voice has the quality of being soothing, encouraging, wise.
     So I've carved out spaces in my apartment where I can write.  I'm so fortunate to have a forest surrounding  me.  The morning light through the kitchen window lights up my kitchen counter, where I am writing now.  The shadows, the stillness are so comforting.  Sometimes I feel like I need someone there holding my hand while I write, saying "there, there, you're doing fine."

     I'm finding my voice and what I need during these troubling times we are living in.  I thought of John Lennon this morning before going to my writing, his song, "Imagine," has the line:  "Imagine all the people...living life in peace."

      "Living life in peace."  What a beautiful thought.

      Yusef Islam (previously known as Cat Stevens), was wildly popular in the U. S. and U.  K. in the 70's.  Before he stopped recording, he told the story of a miracle he experienced.  He was swimming in the ocean and got caught up in a riptide that swept him out to sea.  No matter how hard he tried to get back to shore, he couldn't.  So he started praying that if he was spared, he would devote the rest of his life to serving God.  That's when he converted to Islam, had an arranged marriage that produced five children, started a school and became involved in peaceful causes.   (He did have a concert in New York in 2016, his first in many years)

     More than ever, we need kindness, thoughtfulness, and artists to show us how to embrace the world.

     Poet Kim Stafford (Williams' son) has published a book of poetry of post election and inauguration poems called "The Flavor of Unity."  Here is sample:

     The Flavor of Unity
By Kim Stafford       
          El sabor que nos hace únicos.
                       — Inca Kola slogan
The flavor that makes us one cannot be bought
or sold, does not belong to a country, cannot
enrich the rich or be denied to the poor.
The flavor that makes us one emanates from the earth.
A butterfly can find it, a child in a house of grass, exiles coming home at last to taste wind off the sea, rain
falling into the trees, mist rising from home ground.
The flavor that makes us one we must feed
to one another with songs, kind words, and
human glances across the silent square.

     As President Obama said, "the sun will rise in the morning."  We need to hang in there and support each other more than ever.

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