Friday, September 30, 2011


Thank you to Will Nixon, who invited me to be a guest blogger on his Hudson Valley Poetry Blog. I'm not sure exactly what Will anticipated, or actually wanted, but this is what I felt like writing about: Tenderness. In poetry. Here's how my essay begins:


"I want to feel my life. That unbidden line keeps circulating through my mind these days, reminding me to pay attention, to be open, to let the world in. To say yes. Toward that end, poetry widens and deepens what I feel. It colors and enriches my existence, joins me to humanity.

One of the ways a poem awakens the heart is through revealing our human tenderness. In a fabulous piece by Stan Rice, "Monkey Hill," there is a gift of a line: "Over and over the egg of tenderness will break in our hearts." That kills me.... " (Simply click on the "Tenderness" link to leap to Will's blog and finish reading the essay.)

Scrolling through my photos for an image to accompany the piece, I came across this picture. By contrast, the essay is serious, but somehow this bit of over-the-top visual silliness works in tandem. Look, apparently I'm incapable of keeping my camera away from my mother-daughter monkeys, one of my favorite gifts, from my dear CSJ, who knew I needed them.

Click on image to enlarge.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Here is a passage from a book that beckoned to me to pick it up the other morning, to let my finger (like a dowser's divining rod!) find a meaningful passage. It was an "aha!"

People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many ... people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun's motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

-- Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet, tr. by Stephen Mitchell

Just love Rilke's way of thinking.

The photo of the leaf was taken 8/30/11.