The Power of Poetry
My first intention was to write this quick post (which will consist of pictures more than text, I'm thinking) on Wednesday before my poetry group meeting but that didn't happen and I'm rattling it off now, very quickly, on Friday evening before bed.
I wrote a couple of quickish poems for our meeting, one of which was inspired by a poem from one of the other poets. So lovely when creativity fosters further creativity. This post was originally going to be a bolster against quite negative but necessary critiques from the Guild about my latest short story and it can still be that. My poems fared better than the story. Either way I learn so much from my writing groups and I treasure them and my peers greatly. But I like to write a variety of things and such variety keeps me creating. If a story is received negatively, for instance, I can temper the self-doubt with a different aspect of creating...writing non-fiction or poetry or painting or creating ATCs for instance. And the variety keeps me creating.
So to bolster myself after the Guild reviews (I suspected, even knew in my heart of hearts, that the story needed more work and had a weak ending that seemed unrelated) I reminded myself of my poetry success which arrived a couple of weeks ago: a poem published in an annual anthology. This year they got the spelling of my name right so I include it here.
Mary Frost, a member of our poetry group, who anointed us ParaTactics Poetry Group, deservedly won first prize in this year's contest for The Banister. She also had three other poems published in it. Reading this copy of The Banister is like reading letters from an old friend. Mary relocated to southern Ontario over a year ago, maybe it's been almost two years now, but she remains a vital part of our small but nourishing group, still critiquing our work and we still critique hers. One of her poems in this edition of The Banister wonderfully encapsulates the idea I put forth in my rambly post at the end of October. If she'll let me, I'll ask her if I can include it in my next post...or give it a post all its own. I simply love it.
As I gathered my critiques for the ParaTactics meeting, I thought again how I should pick up a new folder. This one is getting torn and raggedy. But Mary gave it to me. She bought it on impulse, saying that the romantic picture on the cover reminded her of a set of White Knight poems (now lost due to the computer piracy a few years ago...I shall have to hunt emails for them) I was working on when we first formed the group. But the folder helps keep Mary close. Examining it closer I realise I can simply use some pretty, strong tape to reinforce it.
Its beautiful image is a poem in itself.
My latest Moonshine painting (new moon in Scorpio) was inspired by a partial poem quote from a poet I hadn't heard of before: Wendell Berry. The quote is hard to read on my painting. I may go over it in black. It is:
"Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Such wise words. So tread lightly, my friends, and be like the fox!
My blogs are getting written less often which doesn't please me but sometimes there seems to be lots of demands on my time. Sometimes i don't manage my time so well. Sometimes I just need downtime. And sometimes I need to process emotions in other ways.
Like when Dane was preparing to leave...to emigrate I suppose. The last few days he was here, when there was the possibility of a private time (possibly lunch) with him, that didn't materialise, I sank low. I grieved, got down on myself. What kind of a mother was I that he was too busy to find time to spend with me? Sandy and Dad had planned a big family dinner (our family and Sandy's family) on the Friday, the night before Dane and Sandy were both scheduled to leave for the States: Dane to live in Tucson and be with Jonathan and Sandy to leave for 6 weeks in Florida. So that was nice. And I sat next to Dane but everyone seemed to leave early and I had nothing to say, emotions too deep, too precarious to say much. I sobbed with aching on the dark drive home after saying bye to Dane in Dad's driveway. His friend Katie scuttled into her van. "I can't watch you say bye to your mom," she said. Of course I cried. Goodbyes dredge up all the other British goodbyes, parent goodbyes and friend goodbyes over the years and I'm overcome with emotion. But I did manage to sputter to Dane while hugging him that this time of him being in town had been a blessing. A real treat.
When he was actually on his way the next day, I was working a split shift (both morning and evening) and surprised myself to find that instead of feeling too sad, I felt excited for Dane and Jonathan. This is the way things were supposed to be. They had been apart for so long.
However, in those darker days, I painted out my feelings. A couple of interesting things happened, one of which proved to be the inspiration for the painting which was also inspired by the most recent full moon painting in Effy Wild's Moonshine course.
I had bought a $2 spiral ring at a craft fair last December and wore it constantly on my pinky finger. I repeatedly lost it, at times for a few weeks, and always found it again, sometimes by actively looking for it, other times by stumbling across it. In the last two weeks or so before Dane left, I lost it and couldn't find it anywhere even though I asked at Lost &Founds. I resigned myself to the fact that it had really been lost this time. My good friend Louise likes to think that someone else has found it and is wearing it now, trusting that it will bring them the same sense of trust and faith that it afforded me. The Monday before Dane left, when I was still full of hope for some alone time with him, I bought myself a new bronze ring. This one doesn't fall off anywhere. And it has a cool energy. Perhaps it's a far reach but I took it that the spiral ring symbolised Dane leaving so it seemed fitting that I lost it close to when he left town. It symbolised a letting go and I painted it into my picture, spirals raising skyward from my left hand fingers. I put a heart on the woman's sleeve (she represents me of course) as I felt I was too full of emotion and perhaps scaring Dane off because of that. But I wrote "Au revoir" on it, finding the meaning of 'until we meet again' extremely comforting. The woman holds out her right hand to gather all the beautiful silver gifts (Dane coming here to live back in his hometown for a while) while realising that the gifts also cause tears. But her left hand is open realeasing everything that is meant to be released, what is meant to be, the best for everyone, showing a spiral connectedness. The painting was incredibly soothing and healing for me, allowing me all my feelings yet also allowing the process of healing to take place.
The words above her head say (in order): ALLOW * PROCESS * LET GO * TRUST
The other thing that happened was really interesting. Just when Dane and I discussed plans about him moving back while Jonathan was in Tucson, I was ready to start a new gratitude book and had chosen the one from Hawaii that Dane had sent me for my birthday last year. But when I knew he was going to be closer by, I switched to a different journal, choosing to keep him closer with the Hawaii one when he was further away. The one I chose lasted until he moved away, leaving only one page. So when he moved, i was ready to start a new journal and of course chose the Hawaii one to keep him close just a little longer.
In all this, as I mentioned in my last post I think, I was worried that Dad, who had now lost two people very close to him at the same time, would be super-needy and revert back to the daily calling at 3:30. But the absolute loveliest thing happened. He suggested going out for dinner one night, just the two of us. Dad never eats out. I eat out all the time. So that alone was interesting. And we went to Applebees and had a delicious dinner (Dad, who eats barely nothing, ate 3/4 of a large bowl of pasta plus a small loaf). We had a good chat and he said some thoughtful things which touched my heart. He mentioned that he feels a little overwhelmed by how well things are going with Sandy, how quickly his life (himself even!) has turned around and that he feels like he's on a fairground ride. i could understand all this. Then he mentioned that, although he knew it would sound strange, he wished that Mam could be with him on this ride, that she could see how happy he was but also that she could know that he wished they could have had the same freedom. I understood exactly what he meant. I love Sandy and have no reservations about how good she is for Dad but at first especially I found myself wishing that Dad could have been so flexible and 'daring' with Mam all these years, and in her last few years especially. I understood why and know that as people age together, they may tend to stick to the tried and true ways. For Dad to be able to feel and express that to me, seemed like a huge breakthrough. I told him, as I have before, that I think Mam would be very happy for him and that she would like Sandy.
We walked together across the dark parking lot, sharing such views, Dad shining the way from the flashlight on his cane. And the night seemed brighter. And I was reminded of how amazing life can be with its assortment of emotions and surprising twists and turns.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.