Saturday, October 30, 2010


On a walk just a short while ago, I had fun setting up this photo. Perfect for tomorrow's holiday and the wheeling season. Happy Almost-Halloween!

For an eerie experience, click on Her Kind on The Academy of American Poets site to listen to Anne Sexton read her famous witch poem. Here's the first stanza of "Her Kind" to get you started:

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind ....

-- Anne Sexton

Continue reading and listening to "Her Kind" by following the link above. For more about the troll, visit this earlier 2008 post, "Troll, Raku, Orkney Islands."

Click on photo to enlarge image.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Thank you, Charles Wright, for the following beautiful lines from "Poem Almost Wholly in My Own Manner" in Black Zodiac:

Interstices. We live in the cracks.
Under Ezekiel and his prophesies,
under the wheel.

Poetry's what's left between the lines --
a strange speech and a hard language,
It's all in the unwritten, it's all in the unsaid ...

-- Charles Wright, Black Zodiac (1997)
(Please forgive the formatting.)

The photo of lichens was taken 10/22/10 at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, New York. Click on image to enlarge.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Heart Like a Compass Needle

These days my directionless heart twitches like a compass needle. The mind wants to hold it firm -- steady north -- but the heart longs for the wild meander; wants to skip a beat; to race, breathless; to dance to its own syncopated music. Shrugging off the mind's stubborn grip, where will the heart point? Where will it wander? And toward whom?

I want to feel my life, even when it jangles the heart. I want to exist fully, intensely, inside its expanding borders. The world has suddenly opened up in all directions, revealing both turquoise seas and thorned thickets, blinding sunlight and startling darkness. I want to look both joys and shadows directly in the eyes. My pupils constantly dilate and contract. Which way shall I head out into this flickering light?

As guidance, my friends and family offer amazing advice, comforting wisdom, and their own experiences. One of my "invisible friends," superb singer and songwriter Wendy Lewis, came to me as an unexpected gift through poet Guy Reed. A fellow participant at a group Riverine anthology reading in Poughkeepsie, Guy thought Wendy and I would appreciate each other's creativity. We absolutely did. We have never met or even heard each other's speaking voice, but I have listened obsessively to Wendy's powerful singing and lyrics on CD's of her music she assembled and mailed to me. She gave permission for me to quote some of her wise words from our e-mail correspondence.

Chris: I like what you said: "You seem lighter -- and denser, all at once." You're insightful ... that sums it up somehow. I do feel lighter, but more intense, more focused, more me. After all those months of being in robot warrior mode, it feels good to start peeling off some of the armor. Only problem is, it makes you vulnerable. Hey, it was good/essential to get stronger, just don't want to permanently impair the sensitivity and trust.

Wendy: Yeah—"stripping off of armor" does make a person more vulnerable, but I guess I've always seen vulnerability as strength. It takes a lot of courage to surrender to ones' circumstances, roll on your back and just float down that river, trusting the current to take you somewhere, anywhere away from where you've been. The armor is all about protection—and I think both you and I would agree that life doesn't work that way for long, if ever. Clearly, from your entries over the last year, your sensitivity has been intensely illuminated and I've come to understand that trust is as ethereal as humanity is fallible.

Yes, "vulnerability as strength." Thanks, Wendy ... and thank you to all the others who have stood by me, pointing my heart in the right direction.

The above photo seemed like a good match to Wendy's words, as well as the post topic. It's another meaningful/symbolic shot, taken on July 12, 2008, a day of momentous decisions, at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, NY. (Yes, I will float. Onward!) To enlarge the photo, click on the image.