Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Wambling...

April 17 and 18: Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

Yesterday, I was "spoonsless" energy, no focus, no nothing. So, I am doing today today and yesterday today....or something....

Yesterday: Today is a Two for Tuesday prompt day. Here they are: Write a science fiction poem. Write a fantasy poem.

I pick one, usually,. on Two for Tuesday. But I have had both of these ideas in my head recently, as in, science fiction or fantasy--which is which. So today, I will combine them.

Fairy Tale, NOT

It's science--
You can't get pregnant
Without having sex.
Really. Fact.

It's science fiction--
New legislation
In Air Zone "A",
That says you can.

No, take that back.
It says you ARE.
Two weeks before,
To be precise--

And just signed
Into toxic law
By the "Brewer",
Bad Witch of the South.

Precisely stupid.
Science, no.
Fiction, yes.
I think you call that

Fantasy. But not
The kind where elves
And loving fairies
Grant your wishes.

No. Not at all.
This fantasy is
Cruel and toxic.
The "bad witch" wins.

And now
We all know
How much lawmakers
Care for women,

Women's health.
Women's issues.
Not a bit.
Not at all.

And our new
Story of freedom?
Our new tale?
Our "his" story?

Evil. Impossible.
Not science. Fiction.
Fantasy. The dark kind.

Today: For today’s prompt, think of a favorite regional cuisine, make that the title of your poem, and then, write the poem.

Green Jello

It's become an icon,
A legend of our state,
Although it wasn't something
The Pioneers once ate,

It's now been made immortal
In an Olympics pin.
And there are competitions
About what you put in.

Cottage cheese and carrots?
Pineapple? Maybe so...
But if you want to make it
You first will have to know

The mystic secret (shhh--it's not repeated...)
It looks delightful. But---no one will eat it.

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 16, 2012


Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month; April 14-16

Was offline most of the weekend, so here are my poems for Saturday, Sunday, and today, with prompts attach. Hope you don't get an attack of poemitis reading three at a time...

April 14:

For today’s prompt, write a doomsday poem. Some of you may remember the world was supposed to end last year (actually twice last year), but that’s nothing new. Every few years there seems to be a new “end of world” prediction (anyone remember Y2K?). In fact, this year had a movie made after it in relation to the Mayan calendar (btw, my dad is one of those who actually believes in the 2012 doomsday prediction), and there’s a whole industry built around end times preparations. So why not write a poem about it?

I got silly here--I am actually quite annoyed with the topic of this poem, but there's nothing I can do about it, so why not laugh?

Doggie Doomsday

It's the end of the world as you know it--
Don't believe me? Well, wait, and I'll show it--
I'm calling the cops
On you and your pet--
Your dog hasn't learned
About "shut up!" yet...
At three a.m. I'm wide awake
Because of the noise he can't help but make.
And you're the main reason, you dumbass Jim.
You're supposed to have trained him. I don't blame him.
You're the one. Pay your fine, and don't blow it.
And if I had a shoe, I would throw it!!


April 15:

For today’s prompt, use the following five words in your poem: slash, button, mask, strap, and balloon. Use them in any order.

I chose alphabetically, just to make it more interesting. And my form here is a "Haiku Stack", which is a number of Haiku put together as one poem. I used one "required" word per haiku.

Prepare For Takeoff

It's all blowing up
Into a huge gossip game,
Ballooning wildly

Into a mad mess
Of hurt feelings.
People are
Pushing buttons. We

All wear the same mask
Of insouciance. No one
Will admit it, but

We feel every slash
Of another one's mean words.
We all want to stop

But no one will be
The first to shut up. Strap in.
Don't enjoy the ride.


April 16:

For today’s prompt, write a mixed up poem. I guess there are a few ways to come at this poem. Your narrator could have mixed feelings about something. Or a character could get “mixed up” in something. Or the poem could be about mixing up a drink. Or a mixtape. Or however you wish to mix this prompt/poem up.

I think I'll go with the "mixed feelings" suggestion here, and I think I'll try a sonnet form, because it's rigid and organized, and might help the feelings become more so.

Lost In The Mix

There's too much to remember when I speak
With one dear daughter, separated by
The miles of distance, and the years of life.
No matter how I try to fix it, I
Am sure to say the wrong thing. Not unique
To us is not recalling that we can't
Say things in e-mail (which, you know, is rife
With pitfalls!) which come out the way we want
Them to. The nuances are lost, and we
Can only see bleak words upon a page.
We hurt each other, and we never know
How we can fix it. I wish I could show
Her how I feel, but I know, at her age,
She just can't listen. After all, it's me.


All works
© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lucky, Eh?

April 13, 2012: Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

For today’s prompt, write an unlucky poem. Today is Friday the 13th, and I think it’s the perfect opportunity to wax poetic about anything and everything unlucky.

The whole concept of "luck" is an iffy one for me. I am not sure how I define that word, how I contrast it with Fate, and if I even believe there is such a thing as luck. And yet, and yet--there are those things that, anyhoo, here's my attempt to talk about "being unlucky".

Luck, Is It?

Why do I feel
As if I am never
The one who could
Call herself "lucky"?

So much in my life
Is wonderful, so
Why do I disdain
To call it all "luck"?

Nothing happens to me,
In my opinion,
That is "luck",
As I define it.

I work damn hard
For each and every
Thing I want to
Achieve in my life.

I don't take chances
Nor do I expect
The Universe to
Simply shit gold on me.

I don't have "luck"
When it comes to my life.
I plan it. I work it.
And sometimes, I miss it.

Sometimes, I don't win.
No lottery. No legacy.
But if I want it badly,
I'll work till it happens.

So, I am not "lucky".
I am "unlucky".
But, I don't care.
Because--I am happy.

© Aisling the Bard, 2011. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 12, 2012


April 12, 2012: Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Something (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Example titles might include: “Something New,” “Something Strange,” “Something at the End of This Book,” or “Something Something.”

And today, there was also a suggestion about writing a "Tanka" which is a Japanese poem-form resembling the haiku, but of five lines, arranged syllabically thus: 5, 7, 5, 7, 7. So I am going to write this prompt, as a Tanka.

Something Unusual

I saw this happen.
I saw someone smile at me,
I saw smiling eyes,
As I was kissing my wife.
In public. In Utah. Wow.

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


April 11, 2012: Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

For today’s prompt, pick a season (any season) and make it the title of your poem; then, write your poem. For instance, your poem might be titled “Winter” or “Spring” or “Rabbit Season” (if you have a sense of humor and like Looney Tunes cartoons).

Stupid Season

It's an election--
Once more,
Seeds of rhetoric
Scatter themselves
Across the airwaves.

It's predicated
To grow morons,
No matter how
The human humus.

No one thinks
Anything worth
Thinking, doing,
Will come of this.

But every four years
We do it anyway.
Stupid as those
Who keep planting
More seeds

In toxic ground
Thinking surely
This time
As never before
Something will grow.

We should plow them all under.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Forest? Trees? Difference?

April 10, 2012: Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

Today’s “Two-for-Tuesday” prompts are:

  1. Write a Forest poem.
  2. Write a Tree poem.

You can literally write about a forest. Or you can literally write about a tree. Or you can dive right into the metaphor separating the two. Your choice. Get creative with it.

I have been lost, a bit, in a couple of forests, bumping up against a few trees, the kind that keep moving when you're not looking. This is a very apt prompt for me, one that will help me figure out what part of my dilemma is forest (the underlying situation) and what part is trees (individual aspects thereof), and how to tell them apart when I am trying to find my way out of there...

The Aspen Conundrum...

This, not that.
Or, in some cases,
Do I really mean
That, not this?

I do not understand
The details of some forests
In which I find myself
Intrinsically entangled.

Perhaps each separate "tree"
Is more important than
The interconnections
Of something that is one thing.

But how can something
Borne in, born in,
The very blood
Become irrelevant?

I don't know which is tree.
I don't know which is forest.
I don't know where I fit.
Maybe I should explain...

It reminds me of
My back yard,
Where there is one
Amazing aspen tree...

And of course you know
An aspen tree
Sends out "suckers",
Attached new shoots

Which burrow underground
And eventually
Poke their heads up
To become new trunks.

Of course, beneath the soil
They're all still connected.
An "aspen grove" is,
In reality, one tree.

So when I try to
Clear the lawn of "suckers",
Shoots where I don't want them,
I am cutting the main tree.

It's kind of like family...
There's my conundrum.
I have wonderful kids
And they're all grownups.

They love me, I guess...
I know I love them...
My grandkids are amazing--
And yet--they are separate.

My kids have their own lives.
I have my own life.
I might be the "main tree"
But we grow independently.

So--what does one do
When one doesn't want
Aspen shoots all over
The rest of the yard,

But one does want to keep
A few selected shoots
Which have been pruned
And groomed into a grove?

And what does one do
When one feels connected
At the root, in the blood,
To one's children, now adults,

But also, I'm aware,
For the most part, I am
Irrelevant to dailyness--
They are they. I am I.

We are connected,
But not symbiotic,
Not identical, not aspen trees.
We're individual people.

And so, my conundrum...
Are these people, my "trees",
All in the family forest
Going to be injured

When we begin to disconnect?
Unlike aspens, which are all
One tree, we are simply
One forest, different trees...

I don't want to lose connection.
I don't want to be irrelevant.
And yet I want to live
My own life, without symbiotes.

I want my kids and grandkids
To be strong, independent,
Sufficient in themselves,
And yet, I want connection...

And of course, this is not
At all the same situation
As wanting my aspen tree
To live, but be separate

From the ubiquitous shoots
It sends out, continually,
In places where the last thing
I want is another tree.

So I'm thinking. Am I
The forest, or a tree, here?
Am I, are my children
Connected at the bloodroot,

Or are we, must we be
Separate, each entity
A member of a forest
But a different kind of tree?

I have yet to decide.
Every day, I am thinking--
And I do it when I go
To the yard to prune aspens.

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 9, 2012


April 9: Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

For today’s prompt, write a shady poem. I’ll leave the interpretation of this prompt up to you. It could be a poem that includes shadows and/or shading. It could be about a shady part of town or a shady person. Or well, something else.

In The Shade...

It was shady,
Up on the porch
Watching grandkids
Hunting eggs
In the sun,
Watching daughters
Laughing, hugging, dancing.
Watching with Mom,
As life sparkled by.
Once in a while
Someone came up,
David, mostly,
To speak to us.
Siblings stopped
And chatted a bit.
People came by
For photos, for hugs.
I was honored
With flan, made special
By T, just for me...
I held hands
With Brie, with Mom,
And looked and laughed
And watched the swing,
And the tree-climb,
And the egg-hunt,
And the interactions
Of children, and grandkids
And dogs, and siblings
And butterflies and birds
And sunshine and cameras.
I danced a bit,
I sat in the shade
At the picnic table
And was hugged by,
And talked to by,
Various grandkids,
On their way to
Somewhere else.
I thought of trying
The tree-climb,
But didn't.
The day was a
Of people and actions,
Of light and color,
Of impressions--
A symphony
Of sound and life.
I was part of it,
I think.
But somehow the moments
That most define the day
Are the ones I spent
Sitting on the deck,
Holding Mom's hand,
Or Brie's hand
And watching life
Pass before me
As I relaxed
In the shade.

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Don't Say No....

April 8, Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

For today’s prompt, write a rejected poem. Despite some acceptances, many of my poems have been rejected for submission over the years–but that’s not quite what I mean by rejected poem. I’m more interested in poems that work the idea of rejection into the poem somehow. This could take the form of a poet lamenting rejection, though also a rejected friend or student or whatever.

Not Again...

I watch the eyes
Not quite meeting mine
Looking to the side,
And I know...
It's going to be the same
Old, tired story--

I keep trying;
With renewed hope,
With a bit more courage,
With determination,
Knowing this time,
Some time,
It will be "yes".

Yet, here we are again.
And I see, once more,
Eyes sliding to the side.
Once more, the slight step back.
Quirk of mouth, once more
Forming the dreaded syllable.

One more "No"--one more
"Not now". One more
Rejection of my truth--
I can't deal with it again.
Not this time.

I turn from the mirror.

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 7, 2012

So Sweetly Silent

April 7, 2012: Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

For today’s prompt, write a poem describing a scene in which two or more people interact without speaking. Such moments happen every day. Some are happy; some are sad; and some are angry.

In Silence

Looking across the room
Over by the window,
Very still, I see her.
Every morning, I look.
Breathing deeply, she smiles,
Responding unconsciously,
I wonder if she senses,
Each time my eyes touch her
Sleeping face. Sometimes,
One of the cats will turn,
Moving to regard me,
Uneasily aware. But my eyes
Caress only her face.
Hearts meet, in silence.

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 6, 2012


April 6, 2012: Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

For today’s prompt, write a hiding poem. You could be hiding. Someone else could be hiding. Something could be hidden. Or maybe there could even be a hidden meaning. I’m flexible with any interpretations poets want to put on the prompt. Have at it.

Funny thing, this prompt intersects with something that has been on my mind lately, anyway. I didn't think to make poesy out of it--I had been contemplating it along other lines. But perhaps poeming it will bring it down to its essential elements, and then perhaps I will be able to figure it out...

Inside the Rabbit Hole...

"Who AAAARRREEE you?", he said,
Gazing over my head
From his secure spot
On the elevated mushroom...

I looked around...
That echoing sound
Fell like a swat
Of a fly in the hushed room...

He couldn't mean me,
Not myself, could he?
My name is my own.
But no one else was there.

And it wasn't his task,
To accost me, to ask
Who I was, in that tone--
Well, just how did he dare

To demand such as I
To self-identify?
As if he had some right
To intrude on my life!

Again, I looked around.
No, there wasn't a sound.
And the imposing sight
Of his smoke-wreath was rife

With foreboding, with power.
In that very hour
I knew that my soul
Still had some way to go

To complete such a task--
For when someone might ask
"Who are you?" the truth, whole,
And entire? I don't know!

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ancient Mother.....

April 5, 2012: Poem-A-Day Challenge, National Poetry Month

For today’s prompt, write a poem about something before your time. Maybe it’s a certain time in history. Or a type of music. Or a story that was shared by friends or family–before your time.

Here is a picture of Mary Sandiford, born in 1848, 99 years before I was born. She is my great-grandmother, and she has a look about her that makes me wish I had known her...

Mother of the Folk

You look, in this picture,
Proud, focused, very self-aware;
This reminds me
Of my father,
Your youngest grandson...

He was three years old
And a month, to the day
When you died.
He didn't know you.
He was like you, though...

He had that same air
Of self-possession.
You look like
The pictures I have seen
Of other Duffys--

No, you weren't "Duffy"
But you seem to have brought
One Duffy-ness
To all the family
Following you...

It's that look, the one
That says, without a word,
"I am who I am."
Of all the traits
Of all my family

That is the one feature
I believe most defines us.
Loving people, yes.
But strong, Irish,
Determined to stand.

I look at your picture
And wonder what formed you?
What made you
So strong, focused,
A matriarch?

I've had my own challenges
And when I see your face,
I believe, somehow,
Your bloodline
Gave me strength.

I see myself in you,
And hope to live up, always
To your legacy.
To your strong gaze.
I wish I'd known you.

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


April 4, 2012: Day 4, Poem-A-Day Challenge

For today’s prompt, take the phrase, “100% (blank);” replace the blank with a new word or phrase; make the new phrase the title of your poem; and then, write your poem. Example titles might include: “100% Beef,” “100% Cotton,” “100% Awesome,” “100% Etc.”

100% Confuzzled

I really do not know
Exactly what I think
About it all.

I'm sure my actions show
I teeter on the brink--
I'm gonna fall!

I read the daily news
And my heart screams in pain--
Or, does it sing?

My mind soars high, then stews--
No sane mind could sustain
This kind of thing.

I waver side to side,
From being full of joy
To furious...

I really can't abide
Each newest faction's ploy;
All spurious!

First, "poly-ticks", you know,
The tiny little bugs
That suck your blood...

But then, I start to glow,
Brim up with tears and hugs,
When something good

Makes YouTube or the news--
A large lad, with a voice
Like golden light

Contrasted with the views
Of ugly, anti-choice
Men--freedom's blight!

My head is spinning, here...
Whenever I've decided
How I feel

The next thing to appear
Has my heart subdivided--
Nothing's real.

So, one-hundred percent?
I'm sure of all my views?
Yes, settled here--

I'm one hundred per cent
Convinced that, of the news,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sorry Song...

April 3, 2012: Day 3, National Poetry Month Poem-A-Day Challenge

Daily Prompt: For today’s prompt, there are actually two options, because it’s Tuesday, which means a “Two for Tuesday” prompt. They are:
  • Write an apology poem, or…
  • Write an unapologetic poem.

Your choice. You can be sorry–or not. Or write about someone who is sorry–or not.


I have some thoughts on this--here they are:

Sorry, Are Ya?

So I see you up there,
On the podium,
Exhorting the "little people",
Reminding us how much better
Things would be if you
Got to be the POTUS.

I hear your ringing tones
Declaiming your recipe
For massive change, for how
You would put a Repugnicant
Band-aid on the cancer
And make it all better.

I hear you saying, always,
Whether in word or in tone
Or in toxic implication
How the guy in the White House
Has made things so much worse--
But you, you will fix it.

And I hear you saying
How very sorry you are
That our country has come to this...
How sorry you are about it all,
The economy, godlessness, gay rights,
Such a mess! All his fault!!

And I? I believe you.
I believe you are sorry,
Sorry in ways you can't imagine.
A sorrier excuse for a human being
I have never seen, nor heard.
You're sorry, all right. Shut up.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Poems, Prayers, and Promises....

April 2, 2012: Today my mind is going on and on in several directions at once (ok, those of you out there who know me, stop laughing and saying "what else is new"...I mean it!) This evening I have a very very special ritual I am going to be performing, I am still thinking about some of the earlier things I have posted in this blog that I said would be ongoing, I am still focusing on the Poetry Month Challenge, and there's even more---but for that, those three things are the ones I want to focus on this morning, because they did remind me of a wonderful song I used to love, "Poems, Prayers, and Promises" by John Denver, which contains the following refrain:

And talk of poems and prayers and promises

And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it's been since yesterday
And what about tomorrow
And what about our dreams
And all the memories we share

He did speak eerily prophetic words in this song, about wondering whether he would get to "see it all"...if you like, you can hear the whole song and read the lyrics here.

But for me, today, the title says it all. I have, today, on my mind, Poems, Prayers, and Promises, and so I am going to try to do justice to each of them in this posting, and see if that will lead me more joyfully into the rest of my day. So--here we go:

Poems: The lovely Poem-A-Day challenge in celebration of National Poetry Month, which gives us a prompt every day to enable us to spark creative juices, is once again letting me play. Today's prompt reads, "For today’s prompt, write a visitor poem. The poem can be from the point of view of a visitor–or the people receiving the visitor. The visitor could be expected or unexpected. The visitor could be welcome or unwelcome. The visitor doesn’t even have to be human." And here's what sprung to my mind when I saw this prompt. Here's my poem:

Don't Come Over

It bothers me
That my house
Is unfit for company,,,

It somehow says
That there is
Something very wrong with me,

That I don't keep
My home clean
And quite ready for the day

When any friend
Could drop in
Any time or any way...

I used to clean--
A Virgo
Who could pick a nit quite well--

But as I've aged
My housework,
Like my weight, has gone to hell.

And yet I know
I'm doing
All I can to stay afloat;

I simply feel
That housework
Is an anchor on the boat!

I teach, I share,
I'm doing
Many things outside my home,

And scrubbing floors
And dusting
Gives one far less time to roam.

If I don't do
The cleaning
That I always used to do

Then I will have
More free time
Just to come and visit you!

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Prayers: Tonight is the culmination of a spiritual work I have long envisioned--those in the 1734 Study Circle will be walking into the Stream even deeper this night. I am deeply focused on this and so very grateful it is happening. Yes, I am a little nervous--I have never done this kind of Work with other people before. And yet, I know it is the right way, and the right thing--and I feel deeply connected with All That Is as I approach this threshold. And I am moved to share something I wrote some time ago, something that embodies the way this endeavor makes me feel:

Again She rises, white, distant, complete in Herself....
Once more I attempt to decipher the feelings She engenders...
I cannot fault myself for failing to comprehend Her...

Indeed, it is in Her nature to be integrally cryptic.
And the precious knowledge She withholds is not for the taking...
The message is concealed in rays of moonlit Glamour...

If timely action is required...I may miss it....
Mother...I need direct communication this time...
Or my response will honour neither Thee....nor me....

© Aisling the Bard, 2008. All Rights Reserved

My prayer is that this threshold I am crossing will honor both the God/dess and my Self, and the others who cross with me. I cannot know. But I can try. And I can remind myself of what I say often to those in this Circle...'You can't do it wrong'....


Promises: We have two ongoing ideas floating right now, the bits and pieces of "Desiderata" as well as the ongoing "workshop" on creating your personal mythology. I have made a promise that we would periodically re-visit both these things with some ongoing commentary. Today, in light of what I have already written, a bit of "Desiderata" seems like where my mind is going. Here it is with a few thoughts:

As far as possible without surrender
Be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
Even the dull and the ignorant. They too have their story.

I have "my truth", and others have "their truth". I need to be aware, and I hope you are, too, that even if someone else's "truth" is different from yours, that does not mean that both are not "true". I use a small acronym when I look at the word "true"...I need to remember that it stands for "things really unique, eternally", because the fact is that even two people who seem to believe the exact same thing about the Universe don't have the same Truth. So--today, I am going to go joyfully into what **I** think this day is about, and not worry a single bit about what the "others" think this day is about--because, in the last analysis, we're all right. I promise!

So there we have it. For today, here are my poems, prayers, and promises--and I know that you also have yours. This is YOUR day. Do with it as you will. And Walk in Beauty!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fire In The Head--National Poetry Month, Again..

I am once again participating in the Poem-A-Day Challenge from the Writer's Digest in honor of National Poetry Month. So, here's my first attempt, following today's prompt:

April 1: For today’s prompt, write a communication poem. The communication could be dialogue between two (or more people); a postcard correspondence; a letter; a voicemail; a text message; a series of tweets; or whatever. Heck, I guess a poem is a form of communication–so there’s really no way to screw up today’s prompt (outside of writing nothing at all). Let’s get this party started!

Are You Up There?

Sometimes I feel
There's no one home,
Whenever I try
Communicating with Deity.

I never seem to connect.
I sometimes hear buzzing
Like a busy signal,
Or party-line static.

I know there are others
Who are also trying...
I guess if there's really
One God up there,

With all the people who pray,
He/She/It might not have
Time to do anything
But listen, not answer.

So, it's discouraging...
But wait! Here's the Sun,
And here's a fresh breeze
Carrying a ladybug--

It's March. It's early...
Never saw one quite this soon--
But it landed on my blouse.
Guess this is my answer.

Thanks. I'll call again later.

© Aisling the Bard, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's Not "History"...It's "Yourstory"

March 31, 2012: Of course, you studied "history" in school. But there's one huge piece of information I bet not one of your teachers told you, the whole however-many-years-it-was that you had to take that class. That piece of vital information is simply the meaning of the word that named the subject you were studying. It was called "history", not "theirstory". Significant here is the idea that the word is SINGULAR--it was "his" in, the ideas of one person who wrote things down, about what HE thought was happening, and sometimes about what HE thought it meant. And the other piece of that word is "story", as in, a tale we tell. Unless you were actually there and watching, all you ever know about something that happened is what someone told you--a story. And it is important to remember that there is no such thing as an unbiased story, no matter how much people talk about journalistic objectivity. History, the old saying goes, is written by the victors.

And so, dear people, each of us, when it comes to our own lives, is, must be, and can be, a "yourstorian", not only telling, but creating, our own "history". As people of Craft, we all have access to myriads of mythos in the form of stories of Gods and heroes, folk tales, created lore like the "Charge of the Goddess", and books, books, books. Why would anyone need or want to go to the trouble of making up some kind of fairy story to explain their own life? Isn't that a little bit too right-brain? And what good would it do, anyway? The things that happen to us are normally just that, right? Things that happen. They're random and out of our control. I'm sure getting fired or having to move or flunking a class or getting a girlfriend or finding a new friend are really the kind of stuff myths are made of, right? (note presence here of heavy sarcasm) So why bother?

It is my belief that the reason anyone becomes Craft at all is to answer the age-old human questions which deal with the purpose and meaning of life. Why am I here? Where am I going? Does my life matter to anyone but me? Does it even matter to me? In organized religions, there are answers to these questions. The Baltimore Catechism, which I grew up with, says "Why did God make me?" and answers, "God made me to love him, serve him, and be happy with him forever in heaven." But Witches have no God like that, no heaven, no game plan imposed on them by Sacred Scripture, and no easy answers. The question "Does my life matter?" can only be answered, "Yes, if you make it matter." And a personal mythos is one way of doing that.

Don't misunderstand. You already HAVE personal mythos, whether or not you are aware of it. Myth is not "some not-true story people make up to explain things." Myth means a story that transcends the events in it, that means something beyond itself. By definition, all myth is true, because it is someone's description of reality. Myth is the way your world works. If you are living your life you have already made assumptions about your own reality, about the way your world works. You are acting in accordance with these assumptions every time you do anything at all. My purpose in being here is to show you how to deliberately construct the myth that defines your life, to use that construct to assimilate and understand the events in your life which now appear random, and in so doing, change your life in accordance with your own Will and desires, or, in other words, to be aware of, and if you choose to do so, alter, your "mythconceptions" about yourself and your life.

So, you say, what is this myth I am living my life by? Well, here is a worksheet to help you figure out what some of your present assumptions are. No one will see this but you, so be as accurate as you can.

WORKSHEET #1...Myths I Live By

I. Answer as completely as you can:

1. What is the quality I admire most in other people? How do I think a person achieves that quality?
2. What is the thing I wish most I could change in my life? How do I believe it could change?
3. What quality in myself do I most value? Where do I believe it came from?
4. Name something I feel I can never achieve. Why can't I?
5. What is the worst thing that ever happened to me? Why do I believe it happened?
6. What is the best thing that ever happened to me? Why do I believe it happened?
7. What do I like the most in my life? How do I believe it came about?
8. What do I dislike the most about my life? What do I intend to do about it?

Now you should be holding a paper full of your own (tentative) answers to a lot of mythic questions. We might call them your "myth-conceptions". The answers you have given are a rough construct of some ways in which you perceive your world works. In looking at your own answers, you will discover that there are several similarities between you and any mythic hero/heroine you could name: I haven't seen anyone's paper but I will wager most of the following is true:

1. You believe that you were basically handed some challenges in your life which have nothing to do with what you thought you wanted. So you believe those challenges are obstacles on your journey to where you want to go.
2. Some of the circumstances of your life at present came about without your wishing them to occur.
3. There are qualities you admire in others which you believe you do not possess.
4. You feel more responsible for the difficulties of your own life than you do for your achievements.
5. Some of the happenings in your life seem meaningless or random.
6. There are things you wish to achieve which you think are impossible.

What you have here is the raw material of a mythic hero or heroine, one who overcomes obstacles and succeeds through weakness where others fail in their strength. We have all met such hero figures... Cinderella, Tom Thumb, Robin Hood, Snow White. Only this time the hero can be you. And you can use the raw materials of classic myth in several symbol systems to create mythos which will make real, tangible, repeatable changes in your life, here and now.

Check in again tomorrow for some ideas on how to go about that...

Friday, March 30, 2012

An Icon Gone...

March 30, 2012: Yesterday, a beloved poet, Adrienne Rich, passed away. She is and was an avatar for writers, women's rights advocates, lesbians (far earlier than Stonewall) and queerity of many many kinds, not to mention amazing talent with the written word. I can do no better today than share with you three of my favorite Adrienne Rich poems, in hopes that they will make you look at the world a little differently:

One Kind of Terror: A Love Poem


So, then as if by plan
I turn and you are lost

How have I lived knowing
that day of your laugh so alive/so nothing

even the clothes you wore then
rotted away How can I live believing

any year can be the deciding year
when I know the book of plans

how it disallows us
time for change for growing older

truthfully in our own way


I used to think you ought to be
a woman in charge in a desperate time

of whole populations
such seemed the power of your restlessness

I saw you a rescuer
amid huge events diasporas

scatterings and returnings
I needed this for us

I would have gone to help you
flinging myself into the fray

both of us treading free
of the roads we started on


In the book of plans it says no one
will speak of the book of plans

the appearance will contine
that all this is natural

It says my grief for you is natural
but my anger for us is not

that the image of a white curtain trembling
across a stormy pane

is acceptable but not
the image I make of you

arm raised hurling signalling
the squatters the refugees

storming the food supply
the book of plans says only that you must die

that we all, very soon, must die


Well, I am studying a difvferent book
taking notes wherever I go

the movement of the wrist does not change
but the pen plows deeper

my handwriting flows into words
I have not yet spoken

I'm the sole author of nothing
the book moves from field to field

of testimony recording
how the wounded teach each other the old

refuse to be organized
by fools how the women say

in more than one language You have struck a rock --
prepare to meet the unplanned

the ignored the unforeseen that which breaks
despair which has always travelled

underground or in the spaces
between the fixed stars

gazing full-faced wild
and calm on the Revolution


Love: I am studying a different book
and yes, a book is a finite thing

In it your death will never be reversed
the deaths I have witnessed since never undone

The light drained from the living eyes
can never flash again from those same eyes

I make you no promises
but something's breaking open here

there were certain extremes we had to know
before we could continue

Call it a book, or not
call it a map of constant travel

Call it a book, or not
call it a song a ray

of images thrown on a screen
in open lots in cellars

and among those images
one woman's meaning to another woman

long after death
in a different world.


North American Time


When my dreams showed signs
of becoming
politically correct
no unruly images
escaping beyond borders
when walking in the street I found my
themes cut out for me
knew what I would not report
for fear of enemies' usage
then I began to wonder


Everything we write
will be used against us
or against those we love.
These are the terms,
take them or leave them.
Poetry never stood a chance
of standing outside history.
One line typed twenty years ago
can be blazed on a wall in spraypaint
to glorify art as detachment
or torture of those we
did not love but also
did not want to kill.

We move but our words stand
become responsibly
for more than we intended

and this is verbal privilege


I am thinking this in a country
where words are stolen out of mouths
as bread is stolen out of mouths
where poets don't go to jail
for being poets, but for being
dark-skinned, female, poor.
I am writing this in a time
when anything we write
can be used against those we love
where the context is never given
though we try to explain, over and over
For the sake of poetry at least
I need to know these things.


Dreams before Waking

Despair is the question
- Elie Wiesel

Hasta tu pais cambio. Lo has cambiado tu mismo.
- Nancy Morejon

Despair falls:
the shadow of a building
they are raising in the direct path
of your slender ray of sunlight
Slowly the steel girders grow
the skeletal framework rises
yet teh western light still filters
through it all
still glances off the plastic sheeting
they wrap around it
for dead of winter.

At the end of winter something changes
a faint subtraction
from consolations you expected
an innocent brilliance that does not come
through the flower shops set out
once again on teh pagement
their pots of tight-budded sprays
the bunches of jonquils stiff with cold
and at such a price
though someone must buy them
you study those hues as if with hunger

Despair falls
like the day you come home
from work, a summer evening
transparent with rose-blue light
and see they are filling in
the framework
the girders are rising
beyond your window
that seriously you live
in a different place
though you have never moved

and will not move, not yet
but will give away
your potted plants ot a friend
on the other side of town
along with the cut crystal
flashing in the window-frame
will forget the evenings
of watching the street, the sky
the planes in the feathered afterglow:
will learn to feel grateful simply for this foothold

where still you can manage
to go on paying rent
where still you can believe
it's the old neighborhood:
even the woman who sleeps at night
in the barred doorway -- wasn't she always there?
and the man glancing, darting
for food in the supermarket trash --
when did his hunger come to this?
what made the diffence?
what will make it for you?

What will make it for you?
you don't want to know the stages
and those who go through them don't want to tell
You have your four locks on the door
your savings, your respectable past
your strangely querulous body, suffering
sicknesses of the city no one can name
You have your pride, your bitterness
your memories of sunset
you think you can make it straight through
you don't speak of despair.

What would it mean to live
in a city whose people were changing
each other's despair into hope? --
You yourself must change it. --
what would it feel like to know
your country was canging? --
You yourself must change it. --
Though your life felt arduous
new and unmapped and strange
what would it mean to stand on the first
page to the end of despair?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The God Question

I am a member of the Utah Pride Interfaith Coalition, and tonight we will meet to finalize the program for Salt Lake City's Pride Interfaith Service, to be held as a part of SLC Gay Pride Weekend. So I have been thinking about the concepts of the service, and it led me to some thoughts on Deity, ones I propounded many years ago as the President of CUUPS-Continental. As you all may know, Unitarian Universalism is "covenental", not "creedal". One is asked to follow, not a shibboleth of belief, but a statement of principles on how we shall treat one another. However, once in a while it is something UUs speculate about--what do I "believe"? Do I "believe" anything? Are "think" and "believe" the same thing? And in one such conversation, many years ago, I came to the following ideas. I am re-visiting them now to see where my thinking will take me next. Perhaps you would like to think about them too--

Q: I would like to ask what each of you thinks about the Divine?

I would love to answer this with the disclaimer that the answers I give here are not "My Answers, set in stone" ... they are some answers I am thinking about, for now .... ask me next week, and ...? (Oh, fine, now you've talked about your answers. Now how about giving us some?)

Q: Do you believe that "the Divine" is multiple or singular in nature?

I believe Deity is innumerable, because I don't think of a Being or a Substance, I think of a Force, mutable, (yes, I think the Divine changes) immeasurable, incomprehensible to me in my present incarnation...but in any case, not something one may number.

Q. Is it unique or one of many?

I think It/They cannot be numbered, so this question for me is essentially meaningless. But I
think the APPROACHES to the Divine are without number...and yet each is Unique as the
person/being doing the approaching.

Q. Do you think it is omniscient or omnipresent, omnipotent or omniverous? (and no one laugh!)

I think of Deity as that which is beyond and behind Life. All things that in any way live, change,
develop, give birth, reproduce or have any type of cyclical force of being (which in my universe
includes everything) are reflections of the Divine. It/They are the Reason for existence, and the
goal of existence, and the essence of existence, to be discovered, grasped at, studied, beheld,
delighted in, but never encompassed. As far as Its attributes, those attributes probably exist on
a level that I cannot discuss with any understanding, since their Essence is of another substance than mine. For me to approach or attempt to understand the Divine is rather like a treatise on nuclear physics written by a butterfly. Yet the search and the journey are that thing in my life which gives me and has given me the most profound satisfaction. Of anything I believe I know about the Divine, the only thing of which I am certain is that It is in essence beneficent...or, if one must, by my own paradigm, keep this impersonal, a positive Force.

Q. Do you hold that we may deduce the divine from the incredible order and complexity found in nature, or is it a leap of faith alone?

My personal Universe deduces the Divine from the fact that I Am, and that I can envision that
which is greater than myself, and that I cannot believe that the only things that exist are things
humanity can understand and create. And the fact that there are so many things extant that
humanity can neither fully understand nor create.

Q. Do you believe that each god worshipped exists somewhere and somehow?

Yes, in the mind and heart of every worshipper. Thoughts are extant, so if even one person has
envisioned and worships the God/dess Bludge, s/he exists somewhere. I also believe that the
Force of years of belief in an essentially identical thought-form by millions of people can and
does generate existence for that being on levels we can understand and experience. For this
reason, although they are not in my personal pantheon, I believe in the existence of both
Yahweh and Satan.

Q. Do you think that Gods are thoughtforms only or did they have an existence separate from humanity?

I believe the Gods are humanity's attempts to comprehend elements of the Divine, in forms and
with attributes that reflect either a belief, a hope, a fear, or a wish. And, as I said above, by dint
of belief in these thought-forms. I think they manifest on some level.

Q. Do the Gods walk the Earth or do they live in spirit and soul?


Hmm....I say to myself this Thursday morning of 2012, as I regard this document, generated over 8 years ago...hmm.... I wonder if I still think this way? I wonder what I think about Deity now? Maybe I should go and think about this.....