Sunday, November 25, 2012

Poetry as spiritual practice

The Poetry Reading


As we gather our poems together tonight

We stand in our courage

Excited, frightened and awed

By our willingness to speak, to listen,

And to expose the territory of our Souls.


We’ve come here to embrace

 The idea of the holy

And to rage against the sorrows

That have no voice

We’ve come to bless

The landscapes of our lives

Now bestowed with meaning,

And with grieving,

With cries and sounds and shouts

That have saturated the pages

Of our notebooks

And soothed the ragged edges

Of our lives.


We come together to share our stories…

Those words that have spilled out

Across the page—

Sloppilly, haltingly, torrentially,

Those words we’ve used to extract the marrow

And particulars of a life.


As Rumi said: “There are many ways

To kneel and kiss the ground.”

As poets, we know this…

Struggling to find the sacred in the ordinary.


With poems we come to know ourselves

Differently, passionately, personally

Hearing our true voice,

Perhaps for the first time

As we’ve shaken off

The unexamined life

The way a dog shakes off

His sluggishness

And bounds back into the scent

Of a place, a time, a story.



In these moments tonight

We hold each other with a knowing regard,

As we speak our truth:

“This is how it was for me”

And we listen to hear

How the other has caught the way--

How light has come into their life

And then left--

How night comes in,

And then the morning follows.

 It is good to hear each other….


~J. Elizabeth Spring

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Book~"Saturn Returns; The Private Papers of a Reluctant Astrologer"

 "Saturn Returns; The Private Papers of A Reluctant Astrologer", is both a fictionalized memoir and a guide to understanding Saturn Returns in your astrological chart and life. It is available in paperback and Kindle only on . Take a "Look Inside the Book" and see if it speaks to you....     ~elizabeth

Monday, July 27, 2009

Morning Memory

As I lie in bed this morning
loosely pondering the motivation
to awake or remain motionless...
I float between worlds, wandering lightly
amid some nuance of a half forgotten dream
rising from that other world.

I am the beach. It is hot.
The ocean rolls over me
I don’t think I remember how to swim.

I am no longer in that other world
I am instead in this familiar dream
I call my life.
It shouldn’t be so easy to get lost here.
or drown.

The fragments of my life
strewn around the room—
sweaters thrown in corners
shoes tossed
beside the bed
white sheets of paper slithering
across the desk
precipitously close to the edge.

Then the unbidden voices
of uncertainty, critique and obligation
crash in upon me—
beads of water across my forehead.

I rise in the gray twilight
of the June morning
and ponder--
Who knows what I shall find today?
a lost ring among the sweaters?
a forgotten place to go among the shoes?
A lost syllable of my life
dropped among the papers?
What forgotten piece of my true nature
—what Zen particle—
might I find under the stack of books?

I step outside
the kitchen door
to meet another world--
where the gently moving
morning air caresses my skin
and the chatter of birdsong
quiets the night’s fear.

Here the world prepares itself
fresh for a new day
stirring my Soul
with such kind remembrances
of a softer life—
distracting and seducing it
from its long night-journey home.

Here in the garden,
the grasses and flowers
hold no grievance
nor tell troubled tales of what
transpired during the night:
the deer that wandered through the yard
the nesting creatures that tunneled
through the earth—

Here there is no worry
whether sun or rain
will shorten life
or what wild weed is taking over.

The nostalgia of the Iris
And the mystery
Of the wide-leafed weed
Dissolve this morning’s melancholy
Like amber tea
Brewing in the teapot…
Its pungent fragrance awakening
Deeper wells of memory.

The night dreams have passed.
I will not drown.
As the morning mist lifts
the quiet sorrow
that steeped my Soul
in shades of gray
gives way
to this pearly dawn
I rejoice
as night dreams
become day dreams
and I choose again
which story
I’ll live today.
(c) elizabeth spring

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Old Photographs...

I was in the café, sitting in front of the potted geraniums
wearing the straw hat I just bought.
I was writing a postcard to my mother
when I looked up to see the shadows
of the early autumn evening
dancing on the stucco walls.

Then you walked by—you were taking pictures of the light.
I watched you… trying to imagine what you were seeing there.
And then you turned your gaze on me
and shot this one here—
a little out of focus—but it was then that I saw them—
the tenderest eyes I’d ever seen.

Look. This is where we found ourselves standing later
by the edge of the river—the one Van Gogh painted.
We walked for hours feeling Van Gogh.
You talked apertures, lens and focus.

This was the hotel, Le D’Arlatan…
Do you remember wandering the back streets—
lost in the cobbled labyrinths—
till we found ourselves here?

The oversized antique bed held expectations. I felt shy.
You said—“Pull the curtains,” and I pulled the heavy curtains back.
I read you a poem by candlelight.
You smiled right into my soul—then served us farmer’s wine
in the opalescent glasses we’d bought that day.

I put the photographs down.
“It was so good,” you say.
“Like the wisp of a dream I can barely remember.”
I lean into your eyes; those milky apertures
transparent with the film of a lifetime.

Now, I offer you wine and pull the curtains open
catching the last dance of light on the peach colored walls.
You put on the old songs…
We sit in chairs by the window,
admiring the blue hydrangeas
our knees will touch, and we will speak about how
the quality of light makes everything different
and everything the same.

Friday, June 12, 2009

All Poets Need to Wander...

All poets need to wander
through the bramble and the bush
through the labyrinths of city streets
lost and listening
in a foreign land
till they find themselves
cast up—
upon the ragged edge
of some blank
and questioning page.

All poets need to wander
the untrodden routes
and unclocked byways
of memory
till they’ve shaken off
the familiar ways
the unexamined life
the way a dog
shakes off his sluggishness,
then bounds back
nto the scent of a place,
a time, a story.

All poets need to wander
through labyrinths of lines
saturating their pages
with cries and shouts and sounds—
black ink raging
against the sorrows that have no voice—
bestowing meaning where
there once was none,
bestowing blessings
upon the luminous
yet ravaged landscapes
of our lives.

All poets need to wander
through blackened pages,
red with wine and tears,
till finding the words that
allow us to hear
as if for the first time—
the sound of our one true voice.

All poets need to wander
lost and listening, till we hear ourselves say:
“And this is how it was for me”
then listen to hear how others too—
have caught the way: found a path--
seen how light has entered their lives
then left; how night comes,
and morning follows…
how different and yet the same
held together by
this one uncommon life.

All poets need to wander….

(c) janet fenn