Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Trading Symptoms

Headache says –
I’ll see your spasm and
raise you an ache.
Stomach throws down her cards
in disgust.

Lousy hand – she says.

Well – says Headache.
You had a good run.
You played:
            esophageal spasms,
            throat thickening,
            reflux and

Yeah –she says –
And who knows?
Maybe I still have a trick or two
hiding in the pipes.

Headache cleared the pot.
I’ll take it while I can – he shrugged.
Stomach gurgled a salute
and nodded off.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Invitation

I’m inviting Persephone back into my life.
She’s been gone for a while.
Either she’s been in the underworld and
I’ve been wandering the earth
(like grieving Demeter on her way to Eleusis),
or I’ve been down below and
she’s been up here with Mom.
Funny.  I’m not sure which.

Anyway, I’m calling her back.
We’ve been invited to guide an expedition.
I can’t do it without her
(not very well, at least).
She really needs a channel,
and I’m willing,
if She so chooses.
Which I hope She does since
I already accepted the job.

What a fiasco it will be
if She doesn’t show.
She doesn’t often let me down, though.
Once or twice I felt abandoned,
left to fend for myself in a
gust of cold wind.
Made a fool of myself.
Once or twice.
You can’t count on the gods
to do what you want,
now can you?
But those old ones,
they need us humans.
They’ve been abandoned, too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Lessons of the Elders

The house has been joyfully warmed, and we dare to hope that this long transitional year of moving is coming to a close.  Of course, there are still many challenges.  The house continues to require lots of attention.  I decided last week that the reason why we were having so many issues pop up is not that the house is hating us - it's just showing us all the ways it's been neglected!  The aesthetics were lovingly attended to, but the foundational, structural, nitty gritty aspects of caring for a house built in 1908 had been...well...somewhat postponed.  I do hope we'll still have a little money at the end of this period!  

But we love it here - the house, the neighborhood, our extended family on-site.  We've had four mornings of rainbows, and gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.

What I will be doing (beyond home and family) is still unclear to me.  I am pleased to be working with Jennifer Berezan on next November's big concert, Song for All Beings.  Ever since my trip to Malta with Jennifer and Joan Marler I have wanted to do more work with Jennifer.  Now that I'm in the east bay, it's become possible.

One of the things on my mind lately (and kind of a lot on an ongoing basis) is (no surprise here) aging.  I'm working on this poem.  It doesn't feel totally finished, but I wanted to share it while it's fresh.  The title is the title of this blog post.

In the heart of midlife
I began observing my elders
I wanted to learn how to inhabit 
the final stage of life.

What I saw:
Aging is a process of
distilling down, of
drying, like fruit, into
essential flavors.
And so I found both hope
and a warning.

The warning:
Without work and awareness
an elder ripens into
the essence of her flaws.
If fear or anger or denial dominates,
she risks dying as she has lived.

The hope:
By turning away from oneself and
towards the world, the children, and
those in her sphere of influence,
an elder assumes the power
to bless.

Soon – too soon – the time will come
when my elders are all gone,
(should all pass in order.)
I will no longer be able
to look ahead for guidance
except to the otherworld.
I will be one of the ones
on the leading edge.
Making our way to that cliff
is not optional.
How we traverse it is.

I want to be one of the one who blesses.
I want to be regarded
as a guide of hope.
So I must take my fundamental fears
and hold them up to a forgiving heart
and a generous universe.
I hope to learn how to set myself aside
and become a gift of aging.