Allegiances

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photo at pixabay

Allegiances

It is time for all the heroes to go home
if they have any, time for all of us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things
we live by.

Far to the north, or indeed in any direction,
strange mountains and creatures have always lurked –
elves, goblins, trolls, and spiders: – we
encounter them in dread and wonder,

But once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold,
found some limit beyond the waterfall,
a season changes, and we come back, changed
but safe, quiet, grateful.

Suppose an insane wind holds all the hills
while strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, sturdy for common things.

William Stafford
The Way It Is – New & Selected Poems

A few key dates in William Stafford’s life: born in Kansas in 1914. A conscientious objector in World War II. A man whose habit was to write something daily, who would rise at 4.30am to ‘sit and wait’ for what he knew lay within to be written. His volume West of Your City published by Talisman Press in 1960; Allegiances published by Harper in New York in 1970; the author of over fifty books, he died at his home in Oregon in 1993.

William Stafford thoroughly understood that once we have tasted far streams … / found some limit beyond the waterfall, / a season changes, and we come back, changed …

And therein lies our hope for this old world in our own time and season.

Dreadful elves, goblins, trolls and spiders have always existed. Some of them, some of us too, have sought to be ‘heroes’ – fenced around by their and our own ignorance. It is time for all the heroes to go home.

How then may I and we locate ourselves by the real things / we live by – ?

Perhaps – having tasted – it has always to start with me, with what I now clearly see: that instead of kidding myself it’s my job to change the entire world (whoever I am, whatever my place of birth, gender, skin colour, creed or lack thereof, and wherever on earth I think myself called to be the hero, the unsolicited ‘saviour of the world’) my best contribution to that same world will be to allow seasons and experience to change me.

While strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, sturdy for common things.

Note sturdy. Not wimps without cogniscence of – or willingness sometimes to act upon – right or wrong. Not people who turn blind eyes to goblins and trolls. Not people who do not grieve, or hope, or offer healing or hospitality, or pray, or live and die. But sturdy. Believing in the possibility of being positively changed. Experienced in the quiet and slow methods and the poetry of seasons.

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Pppp pick up a pen

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Writing can be such a joy, on so many levels. A regular highpoint for me involves getting together with my local writing group, comprised of an inspirational tutor and a number of very different people who write about anything and everything.

There’s always something new to learn and, as ever, inspiration is drawn from listening deeply to, and / or reading others’ work. Often we celebrate this among ourselves and some of us occasionally reflect upon the truth that among the best gifts we humans can give one another is the sharing of our real selves – and allowing others to share themselves, in intentional and purposeful space.

How often I surprise myself when I read what has flowed from my own pen!

Illumination

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Hans Christian Andersen by Anne Grahame Johnstone – see art.co.uk

for MWG

Green velvet smoking jacket
svelte and warm and treasured
since Cambridge
the pool of light that quickened
the grain in his oak desk was
as much a portal for him
into other worlds as was the
oak door through which he entered
his library at every
opportunity

Sometimes the desk supported
the console of a racing carriage and
at others the cockpit of
a spaceship from the pen of
Leonardo da Vinci and
at others still the pool of light
upon the desk resembled that upon
the spectacles of a tiny Rumpelstiltskin
or the chestnut hair of Lydia
the one and only he’d ever
truly adored

And his pen added a carrot-nose
to a snowman fashioned
by his father and the slowing
pace of his seventy-five year
old legs was rejuvenated as
his pen pointed brighter than
candle flame into the
archives of an always fertile mind

His eyes could appear as blank
black discs in a handsome patrician visage
when observed at the desk from
eventide street window but
only because there they gazed
inward, remembering, rejoicing
resurrecting realities borne of
fairy tales of wingéd truth

SRM

Light with purpose

firmament
Photo at Pixabay

Light with glad purpose shone from an
echo in the firmament. This
one’s for you as you wait here to
do homage to eternal word
within, and rest awhile to hear
the writer’s modest voice and art’s
vocation take honoured seat that
pen sets and honestly repeats
for community here above
Rydal’s poetry. The bowl heals
as it calls and the tone is home
within the heights of a reborn
universe.

SRM

Light behind letters

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Photo at Pixabay

Here is light behind letters that turn into words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters and stories. Expressions of my life – or of yours.

That’s why I write. That’s what brings writers back to blank pages every day. The pursuit of illumination beneath letters.

The light behind letters speaks to me of Creation herself. Darkness and light. Something of light inscribed upon dark. Something dark frames light. One does not exist without the other.

As music needs silence to sound its aliveness, so writers paint dark upon light or light upon dark and know that there is a knowing.

Life behind the letters.