Chapter 3: NOW
"It's not tomorrow it's always NOW not yesterday." Squeak Carnwath
No Other Way
lead boys to death
women to woe
children to stare
There's a little flower
shaded by the grass
sunned by the breeze
seeds upon the earth
Every season promises another
I know of no other way
The Singing Tree
When I lose my voice,
I have a feeling
it may return
if I sit under
the backyard willow
and listen for awhile.
I go to the cover of its branches,
listen to its song.
Then suddenly I hear wingbeats--
the tree now stands silently.
Don't think of this as loss,
I hear a voice say.
You can be that free.
I hear the words
Philip Lewenthal, Tree, Mt. Diablo Foothills, Photograph
Leaf on water
i am a leaf
floating on still water
moving to the blow of wind
except for the trace
of ripples on my tail
that smooth over and become
the unbreakable mirror again
i cannot see my own reflection
i am submerged in it
The moment you find a companion in joy
Is the moment you find your life's own fate.
Beware that you don't waste that moment in vain
You will find very few such moments again.
Salma Arastu, Your Gifts, Acrylics and mixed media on board
Ring of fire
singes dreamy edges
leaving indelible marks
a violent purple
The time clearly here to believe no one whose skin
we cannot touch within a two-day journey.
What will touch of skin determine about the merits
or demerits of warfare?
pink and pulsing
warm and sleek
cold and swampy.
Skin as membrane
skin as fabric
skin a curtain.
Skin is not woven tightly to be torn
The TV screen is only so much frozen sand.
Let us touch the skin of those we know to try to really know.
Elaine Drew, Resolution, Egg tempera on panel
"The marriage of my opposing selves gives birth to creativity, symbolized by the egg."
The moon flowers
into full bloom.
We cradle hands
for mystical light.
We have waited years
for such a night.
into cupped hands
like a prayer
we were born to
© Claire J. Baker
BECOMING A GARDEN
The air is different.
It is essential to breathe in a new way;
a more fluent respiration, receptive
to cinnamon and rain, roses and salt,
the blessed green.
This spiced air awakens my skin,
stirs unexpectedly fierce longing.
I arise to receive this verdance
into every cell and nerve,
become a garden.
Arthur Secunda, Paradise, Monotype on paper
Grace meets you between two heartbeats.
In a blink, pulse, shift of breeze rippling cat’s fur, all is changed.
And the world, which leaned into its negative pole, glances,
fascinated by the positive, all
before breakfast, before the day’s first tasks.
The great longing lifts
like a voice, like wings, and soars
effortlessly, splendidly, a thing of such joy
the birds stop singing and the animals
come out to listen. All the people put down their masks and
tools and stand awash in the moment. What
will we tell the children? How remember the instant
we glimpsed grace and knew true peace like
stars at night, water in the desert, the first great
breath on surfacing.
Gliding Through Solstice
Black pen, black ink,
slow spew of words
wandering over the page
like a deliberate wader in the marsh
leaving behind forked prints,
clues to tomorrow’s puzzle.
Outside it’s gray,
the still, weightless gray
at the clearing of a storm.
Water in the lagoon reflects
even fish-nibbles on the surface
and a lazy mallard goes tail up
for what seems an unreasonable time
like a bobber with no bait-tugs.
Along the shores are the ovals
of small sailboats
drawn up and tilted on their sides to spill rain,
white and blue overlaps,
occasional spurt of red
and above this field of stillness
a lone egret trying out her pause in the day,
glides slowly, a kite-string of white
trailing through the sky
while below in the water
a mirror-egret keeps its shadowy pace.
INSTRUCTION IN WIRE
for Ruth Asawa
Bend or crochet wire to the need
Observe how light blazes copper
Do not rest
Cut the form
Watch it sag
As it opens
Leave the seeds for birds
Kazumi Cranney, Little Sparrows, Haiga painting
standing fast ––
a puff of wind. "
I have let the bird out of its cage for freedom
in a room that we're in together. The bird flaps
frantically, begins to fly in circles close to the walls
as if even the space of the room is not enough.
I whistle a tune, hoping to restore calm, but the bird
continues its frenzied flight. We are divided and
cannot go on like this. I realize that I must let go.
I raise a shade, then open a window--
the bird flies away into the cloud-swirled sky.
I sit down in the center of the room, lament for
what is gone. Closing my eyes, I imagine a journey
into the unknown--into a place of great silence.
A peace grows in this silence. After awhile
I open my eyes. To my surprise the bird has returned,
perched on the windowsill, staring at me.
from the Portuguese
literally “the science of peace”