Meeting my Muses

Some writers talk about their muse, like they have only one.  I have an entire family of muses; some of them I know REALLY well, and some of them I'm still meeting and learning about.  (It's almost like marrying into a family and learning about your in-laws over the course of time.)  My muses ACT like a family: they love and respect one another, but they also know how to tear each other apart (but no one else better try to tear them down...).  Each one has a distinct personality, distinct quirks, and distinct ways of reacting to my life.

My poetic muse is the silent dreamer, the hopeless romantic.  Often she manifests as a 17 year old girl, but from time to time, she is wise beyond her years and is more like an older and wiser version of herself.  She sees life as it could be, but lives in the world as it is.  She is hiding quietly in the corner right now, playing with words, phrases, thoughts and feelings that are better left unshared in public again.  

My babbling muse, however, tends to take over and won't EVER shut up, more than thrilled that the poet has left the main stage for a bit.  Apparently the babbling muse is a 7-year-old child (probably more female than male, judging by the babbling, but you've met my son, right?).  She will ramble on and on about anything and everything in the hopes that somewhere along the line, something profound and meaningful will eventually emerge.  (Guess which muse is working right now!)

My philosophical muse is somewhere around 40 years old and refuses to tell me how old he really is.  He says that age is unimportant and gets annoyed if and when I even try to figure it out.  He's far more interested in the "more important" parts of life: the how and why of everything, understanding people, politics, religion, and any other nebulous idea.  He listens intently to the babbler, always scribbling down something in his notebook for further contemplation.

My erotic muse (which I'm convinced every writer has hidden inside, but many choose to keep locked away) is an exotic seductress.  She spends most of her time dreaming up fantastical adventures that could probably never happen in real life.  She's quite fond of teasing the rest of the family, throwing all sorts of crazy ideas into their projects, just to see what they will do with them.  No one is sure how old she is either (and everyone knows better than to ask a woman her age).  I wouldn't even begin to guess with her; she can be rather vindictive and I don't know that I'd like her when she's angry.

My lyrical muse is a twin to the poet.  I'm only starting to get to know him, but he likes to take the ideas of the philosopher and mix them with the babbling and the hopeless dreaming of the poet and turn them into something that brings honor to them all.  He's the most level headed of the bunch and can generally put even the erotic in her place and make her behave... sometimes.

My storyteller muse is the grandfather/mother of the family.  (S)He has seen it all and knows all.  I think (s)he is the spry-est 93 year old I've ever met.  And (s)he LOVES to talk, oversee the family, make sure they all do what they're supposed to, and then bring them all together for holiday dinners or a family picnic from time to time.  (S)He is the glue that holds them all together, reminds them that they need one another, and generally loves and encourages them when they fall.

They influence one another, assisting each other with their daily tasks and "household maintenance" (where the house is my mind, of course).  They have long conversations and arguments all the time which drive me to set up semi-permanent residence in the land of insanity (maybe I'm just living in the suburbs?).

There are others who live here.  I know I haven't met them all, but as I meet them, I'll share.


You Never Asked Me

Every night when we put our son to bed (who's 5 and a half if you've lost track), we read him a story from a Bible story book that hubby had when he was little.  Last night's story was one of my favorites: the parable of the prodigal son.  There are a lot of reasons this has always been a favorite for me, mostly because I've always identified with the "older son" in the story.  When you spend your life doing and saying exactly what is expected of you, it's no wonder you'd relate to him, right?

But here's what hit me last night.  I've always been sort of perturbed by the father's response to the older child's anger, and I've never been entirely sure why.  It's always struck me as a bit of a flip response.  So, I'm sitting on my son's bed last night, worrying about all sorts of things that are falling apart inside me right now, just sort of half-listening to the story, and I hear my husband read: 
"All these years, I've been working for you and never disobeyed your orders.  Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends."
This grabs my attention and I identify, hearing my own resentment, loss and frustration echoed in the sons words. And suddenly, clear as day, in my head I hear the heart of the father's response ~ probably for the first time ever ~ directed at my own anger and feelings of this "unfairness".  As the father in the story replies, "everything I have is yours," I hear my Father say to me, "Sweetheart, you never asked me..."

It seems so stupid and elementary, but it makes me wonder how much I missed out on simply because I failed to ask.  How many things did I find unfair in life that I didn't have to.  Now, I'm not saying that this is some magic spell, but there is truth in the concept of asking and receiving. How many times do I live in want and desperation, depriving myself of what God has for me, simply because I fail to ask?

"Sweetheart, you never asked me..."


Laying Down the Track

   (for my Little Man & Baby Girl)

reconfigured pieces
make a different path each time
determination bending
to make the journey fit his will

caught in endless circles
he'll rearrange again
to take a path more worthy
or destroy and start again

climbing mountains, building bridges
until they disappear again --
uncoupled pieces replaced in boxes
before the next adventure begins


Taking One for the Earth

The skies crack and tear
bleeding for the pain
the swords we use
to play these games

For the reasons
we die and kill each other
for injustice reborn on our daughters
and our alienated brothers

It’s natures own way
to balance and clean
pooling our troubles gracefully
in swiftly moving streams

Carried to the oceans
rising heated in the sun
realizing we mingle our issues
with ancient and future ones


The Song of the Dryad

I speak for the trees
for the dead falling leaves
for spring buds revealed
for hardened knots concealed

I speak for the woods
for somebody should
for the things that we waste
for things uneasily replaced

I speak for their souls
for their lack of control
for their sad siren songs
for the trees have no tongues


"I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues." 
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss


In Step with You

The bride of Christ is barefoot
with dirty feet
 worn rough

I long to take them in my hands
immersed in scented drops
 of spicy peppermint 
 and lavender-laced steam
and soak away her pain

to massage away the cares of the world
the stress that she maintains
from other people's pain
 the broken 
 the hurting...
from the miles she walks for those in need
 through stone
 and glass
 and searing heat...

to wash it all away...
to anoint her feet in jasmine oil
 glistening with lovely adoration
to soften the places hardened
 and draw feeling through the shell

to gloss her toes in heavenly hues
to encircle them in gold and silver
 and shimmering diamond iridescence
as through this broken
 time-hardened pain
restored to supple delicacy

Symbolic of the bride herself
 and the change her True Love brings.


Nunca Olvidaremos

right before
 the lights go out
and the band plays
 under cover
hiding from the rain

there assembled
 in the courtyard
slipping through
 exclusive entrance
reserved for those who lead

here we gaze
 through soul windows
into the unfinished part
 of the church
from broken bottles poured

housing the visitors
 to the coming revival
drinking the life
 from the heart of fruit
and rain moves in as we depart



gently swaying
pieces fall to the ground
snowy blossoms
of delicate feathers
ascending on the breeze
significant of life
in death reborn
to make a wish
if you dare to chase it
granting your dream
like weeds in the wind



one soul comes
in another soul's wake
as they merge to create

in passionate moments
this conception of thought
shows promises parental

fertility dances as she grows inside
developing his smile
the laughter in his eyes

hand rests on her belly
feeling stirring beneath
revealing her secret dreams

this reflection of love
of one and one to one
through transfer in time

takes emptiness and distance
and springs life in them anew
to make one and one to three

Where the World Ends

Your words 

in foreign 
  from distant places

as your heart 
that clings
   to me

in buried themes

to spirit

I'm speechless 
  at the intimation


Clairvoyant Masquerade

The gypsy reads the tea leaves
in shadows of surprise
and mundane scheduled chaos

The cards turn into shallow breath
and images blur as karma retreats

There's a penny on the sidewalk
nestled beneath the overdrawn flower
on an ordinary morning

While in illusion of identity
we cut losses within reach

Considering Blasphemy

Summarize yourself for me
in a book of storming chronicles
as expectations trickle to
indulgent spontaneous routines

Decorate yourself for me
as childish prompting tires
and records accumulate history's title
while dependent icons oppose

Idealize yourself for me
as gasping consciousness relates
to fair attraction suspected
and seasonal accomplishments fade

Protect yourself for me
in elemental calamity cringing
under boxes of ordinary bubbles
as external characters condescend



I was the wisest one
so many years ago
an expert in all of it

And then there was you

lost at sea in a sieve
bailing faster than sailing
and didn't even have a clue

Even once I'd met you

nothing more than a stranger
but your greeting negated
all certainty in me

Since I recognized you

I tried not to notice it then
and sometimes even now
those things I forget

The love found in you



The hubby and I were talking about how we've officially known each other for 15 years as of this July.  We celebrate 11 years of marriage this weekend.  While we don't always have the perfect relationship (show me who does), it seems funny to me to realize that 15 years ago I didn't even know him.  

The first time we met, we were both in love with other people, but there was a moment of recognition the second we met.  I knew he was important to me.  

He still is...

Happy Anniversary, Baby!  I love you!


knowledge more sociable

are cities 
with gravity 
with skies 
always needed
with satellites 
a curious kind

like the secret 
happy girl
who wants
the world

the secret
happy girl
who's jealous 
of the early 
in celtic 
line faded 

the secret 
happy girl
who generates 
young flowers
in hidden chambers
devouring time

and of he
who forgot haste
as one place
was interconnected


Dancing Alone

I hold out my hand
and ask you to dance
you shudder
and push me away

Am I that vile
that you should reject
this chance
at sweet intimacy?

Our life is a dance
the kind I can't follow
I've forgotten the steps
as music slowly fades

Just want you to hold me
to want to be near me
to keep me
in time and sway

It's not your thing
this much I know
but it's mine 
you reject again

I'll dance this one


Why is it this way?
I can be on top of the world
Starting the day
Knowing I'm your girl
only to fall
run my head in the wall

Don't wanna be here
Lost in this blind self-doubt
Drowning in tears
And fighting through dark clouds
Help me see
The truth I want to believe

Prayer for Waking in the Arms of Love

the more I feel
for the world around me
the more I love
the One ~
the Creator of it all
(S)He who birthed
in me this heart
this love

Sweet Author of Romance,
Deep Lover of Passion,

Who knows my name
and calls me
in darkness 
and in light

Who brings me
to my knees
in tears
both in grief
and in ecstasy

Who knows my heart
more fully
more deeply
than any human lover 
can or will

may You be the Love
I share today

may You be the Grace
I dance with today

may You be the Peace
I rest in today

Love overflowing
Love all-knowing

My Love
consume me


The Moon and the Chalice

Blood red moon pales to fill the chalice
Reflecting ties that bind our history
Through ancient tales maintaining malice
Drops of ever deepening mystery

Within Celtic scroll we keep our story
Unable to mask this beauty contained
This light we hold, this simple glory
We view ourselves in life maintained

With softer hearts our souls can mingle
For love more worthy and still true
Through gracious arts we let them linger
You in me and I in you


Sometimes poems write themselves, and often when this happens, I'm lucky if I understand them.  This is one of those times and I'll likely be pondering its implications for a while.  

What I do know, is that it's a reflection of my own journey into a deepening understanding of Celtic religious influences and how they resonate with me.  It was inspired by a mandala that I was coloring in church this morning while pondering the topic of "What new thing is God doing in your life?"  The irony is that the old is new again for me.  I'm delving into more ancient and traditional paths to God, particularly through contemplative methods.  

Still, my answer to the question is fairly simple: to love more fully and more truly.  There have been a lot of changes in me recently, thanks to me delving into these roots and how the things I've been learning affect my relationship to the people in my life and the world around me, as well as to the God who is in and through all.  

This is a road I'll be traveling for a while, and I welcome any and all companions who want to risk this trip with me in grace & love.