Monday, November 14, 2016

Photo by S. Auberle


And Still, the Roses

Rising this morning at my usual time before dawn, I look out the window to see a small light moving down the road, slowly, but steadily forward.  The beacon of it lights only one or two steps ahead.  Clearly, it's a walker at this early hour when the dark is deepest.  Man or woman, I can't tell.  But they seemed determined, holding a steady pace, and I marvel at their sure steps in such blackness.

There have been great winds blowing across the land for days.  Some are gleefully calling them winds of change.  Many are calling them winds of mourning.  All the while a great moon is setting out over the bay, leaving behind its faint glow.  Across the pewter-colored sky, light is rising in the east.

Later, passing by Joel's Coffee Shop, I notice pink roses still blooming in his front garden.   At our Sunday gathering deep purple chrysanthemums adorn the small altar.

Next to me sits my friend, who grew up in Nazi-occupied Denmark.  She is very frightened today, as am I, and no words of comfort come to me that will reassure her.  We, and the congregation, look to our speaker this morning for words of wisdom, for help on how to find good in this dark time.  It is written that everything is holy he says.  Everything is a miracle.  I want to believe this, take these words into my heart to help me go forward.  It feels nearly impossible.  I think of the walker this morning with that small light shining out ahead into darkness.  I don't know if it was man, woman, or angel.  I hold onto this picture for now.  I embrace it till I can believe again that everything is holy and that there are miracles all around us, if only we have the eyes to see.

For now, it is November, winter is near upon us.  Yet still, small roses are blooming before the time of long dark settles in …

Sharon Auberle
    November 13, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Good Friday

Art by S. Auberle

ON GOOD FRIDAY AT CALVARY CEMETERY

Mary Theresa is being laid to rest.
Out north of town the mountain
towers, brown in a dry season,
only a pale crown of white at the peak.
Mourners are gathering at the casket
while I chase my granddaughter
over graves warm in the afternoon sun.
In her dress the color of the sky,
she is a small chalice, filled with light.

Mariah is just learning language
and over and over she calls out
her newest word … angel …
She sees angels everywhere --
holding a delicate egg in Easter grasses,
offering a tulip, next to the small Pinocchio
guarding a spirit child, but she only bends to look,
knowing someone needs it more than her.

Mariah hugs a teddy bear, abandoned carelessly,
as a baby would have left it in life,
dances with windchimes hanging from branches,
considers the lilies beneath and
watching her, I feel the weight of mortality
slipping from my shoulders,
down into the warm earth that waits for Mary,
where Isaac and Jincy, Elijah and Annie,
Leo and Baby Annalise already rest and I,
walking quickly past their stones,
whisper my apologies.

Bird, Mariah sings, and tree
and behind me there is weeping
and a faint prayer drifting on the wind
off the mountain.  My long black skirt
holds me back, but I want to run
away from Death's empty vessel,
up to that snowy peak, see Seraphim
and white rabbits and risen gods,
hear Mary laugh once more and tell me
if you're lucky enough to be born Irish
then you're lucky enough …

Yet might this not be heaven right down here?
Could this be all that is really needed --
this lucky moment when my arms are filled
with singing child and sunlight
and silky mountain breezes?

~ S. Auberle

an old piece, but one that calls to me this Easter season..


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

CHIMAYO, HOW IT USED TO BE

Photo by S. Auberle

after my recent visit to Chimayo, I have to post this old piece...


CHIMAYO

Down Juan Medina road, I drive into the small green valley of Chimayo on a hot, August day at noon.  Father Rocca's mission bell is chiming twenty one times as I find an old stone bench near a statue of the crucified Christ, to eat my chicken burrito with green chile and a bowl of Leona's fine posole.  Giant cottonwoods shade me, the acequia sings quietly over stones.  Christ looks on, heavily laden with rosaries and photos, notes and message-inscribed rocks at His feet.  Doves coo softly from the tower.  Across the road, under the Holy Chile sign, Carlos beckons me--come in and taste his chile, he says.  Inside I meet his mama, feeding a child.  Do what you love--it is good for you and those you love.  Though I didn't ask, Carlos seems compelled to give me advice--everybody hurry--not good.  It occurs to me that I'll be unable to leave without a purchase of his chile and so I buy a small bag.  Ah, a picnic!  Carlos beams--with one of those little transistor radios, you know--the kind with just two batteries, a bottle of Cappellini wine--mix my chile with a little bit of honey, put on some fish and grill them…  He takes my hand then, looking into my eyes for the longest time.  I'm not sure how to escape, but finally Mama clears her throat and I turn back into the hot afternoon wondering what just happened.  Christ is still there, under the cottonwood; Father Rocca is crossing the dusty plaza and down along the acequia a faint, tinny music is playing--exactly like one of those little transistor radios… 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve

Photo by S. Auberle

My traditional Christmas Eve message, a day early this year, as I'll be busy tomorrow eve.  Fra Giovanni's letter, written in 1513, still says all I would like to say, only better.  I wish for you, my friends, a peaceful and blessed holiday, and drink a toast to your health and happiness in 2016!

I salute you. I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got. But there is much, very much, that while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy! Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty...that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it, that is all! And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.

                           ~ Fra Giovanni, Christmas Eve, 1513

Monday, December 07, 2015

In Memoriam

Photo by S. Auberle


DECEMBER, 1941

I imagine my mother that night
December 7, 1941,
listening to the radio:
Glenn Miller’s String of Pearls,
Edward R. Murrow, wishing the world
good night and good luck,
breaking news…
the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

My mother’s hands are folded
on the mound that is me,
that pulsating cord connecting us.
Do I sense her fear,
feel the tightening, the pain?

Beneath her dress I float,
extending a hand, a foot now and then,
wanting reassurance, perhaps
that all will be well
and my mother strokes her belly,
thinking of Japanese women
and their babies soon to be born,
as I will be three months later…

I have not yet lived long enough
to see world peace.
So many never have the chance.

~  Sharon Auberle

an old poem I haven't posted for awhile, but it seems a good time to do so...

Thursday, December 03, 2015

NO MAN'S LAND

Mixed Media by S. Auberle


NO MAN’S LAND

December 24, 1914 – the last known Christmas Truce 

Somewhere in Belgium
a German soldier, his face
not so different from yours,
lays down his gun   
steps out of the trenches
and begins singing…

            Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
            Alles in schlaft, einsam wacht

The man is very cold
and very, very brave.
In the stink of blood and mud
he knows what love is.
He listens for the hiss of bullets,
the rattle of artillery fire,
then realizes the night has grown silent.

            ‘round yon Virgin, Mother and child
            Holy Infant so tender and mild

Other soldiers join him
in that No Man’s Land between,
their raw voices cracking in the cold.
Soon British soldiers begin
laying down their weapons,
joining in the hymn.    They bring gifts
of cigarettes and drinks to share.

Perhaps the men touch,
reach out shaking hands
that no longer hold death,
instead, pour tin cups of whiskey,
send smoke up to the stars
like prayers to a god, in whom,
forever after, if  they survive,
they want to still believe. 

            Sleep in heavenly peace…

~  Sharon Auberle

Thursday, November 26, 2015

THANKS GIVING

Photo by S. Auberle

an old post, yes, but a good one for Thanksgiving...

THANKSGIVING PRAYER

Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive with one another,
we walk here in the light of this unlikely world that isn't ours for long.
                                                                          ~  John Daniel

Friend, the road is the destinationso they say, but my destination this morning is a sunny meadow.  The air is crisp, a bit of frost lingers on leaves beneath my feet and a little north wind teases at me.  Across the field, and into crow-talking woods for a while--I am warmer in here, out of the wind.  The trail winds deeper through tall trees, past old settlers' discard heaps.  The crows and I converse for a while, then, wing to wing, they fly off into late autumn blue, and I return to the dry grass meadow and its ancient apple trees.  Here and there hangs a yellow or red globe, a bright spot of color in the dead branches.  Garlands of bittersweet drape their bright orange against a cerulean sky.  Small, abandoned nests dot the trees and a mud-dauber house hangs heavy in a branch, its swirls and patterns  exquisitely fashioned.  At my feet grasses are hollowed out, where deer have bedded down in the night.  A dog barks somewhere, far off.  I am just another child grown old, yet my heart still beats, lungs take in air, legs carry me over the land--what gifts--what blessings!  The fourteenth century mystic, Meister Eckhart, said if the only prayer you said in your whole life was thank you, it would suffice.  And today I kneel in cold grass, whispering my two word love poem…over and over and over.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends...

Sunday, November 08, 2015

FOR ANNIE

Photo by S. Auberle


ALMOST CENTENARIAN

Annie turns 99 today -- soon she'll be just another star, looking down and wondering what on earth all the fuss was about.  Her house is filled with paper lanterns, her black and white photos, rocks and bones and birdwings.   For her birthday I think I'll take her a bowl of sweet cherries, though she never believed that about life.  Just like she never believed she'd live to be 99.  Survived cancer twice, heart attacks, yet whenever you left, instead of goodbye, Annie always said cheers!  As if it was enough to wish it, she didn't have to believe.  On the day Pavarotti died, she called to tell me that once, upon hearing him in person, she nearly fainted.  These days small Annie grows smaller by the moment, and rarely speaks.  Perhaps, after all this time, there is nothing left to say.   Annie has fierce masks hanging on her walls and owls watch her, she once said, from the forest outside her windows.  I don't know for sure if she speaks their language, but it wouldn't surprise me.  Or dragonfly, perhaps.  I asked Annie one day if she believed in a god.  I don't remember her answer, but I doubt that she does.  Maybe as her time draws near, she's reconsidering that.  Or perhaps she's just enjoying this cool west wind today that sets the lanterns to dancing and the birdwings preparing to take flight…

(I wrote this piece a few months back, Annie died yesterday)

RIP Annie R.  1916-2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015

AUTUMN MORNING

Photo art by S. Auberle

AUTUMN MORNING

fine as any
ever seen
you step out
your door
breathe    smile
at your good fortune
to be alive

and then
in the orchard
you see her
a doe    limping pitifully
among the trees
her delicate foreleg
bent and broken…

no graceful leap
away into sunrise
no flag of white tail
flashing
only her neck 
bowed    weary

you want so badly
to do something…
enfold her in your arms
feed and heal her

you try to grasp
how such a thing
can be on a day
as fine as this
but the best you can do
is understand…

we will all break
someday
and for now
let the good fortune
of your day
begin ...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

FOR VINCENT

Photo by S. Auberle

I imagine you, Vincent,
on a summer morning
in your village in Provence,
whispering to yourself,
arranging sunflowers
in a cracked, blue vase.

I see you painting them,
over and over—your symbols of hope
that you will awaken one day
into a sunny world,
leaving behind your darkness
of potato eaters and crows.

But o, Vincent,
how brief the dance…
how quickly blossoms fade,
leaving only hope behind
and a trail of yellow petals
to follow into the sun.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

MOONSTRUCK

Photo by S. Auberle


How to Photograph the Moon 

first, of course, you must be naked
even on a cold night      yes
you may wear a long coat
but naked is the good way

then you must laugh
and pray      maybe both at once
singing is good too     and drumming
to the beat of your heart

all this must happen before
you get out the camera…
next     whisper to Her
say you understand

her longing     her loneliness
her wistful gaze at Jupiter
high above    who seems
in ignorance of her charm

she will reward you
with her brightest light
knowing you understand
this fragile territory of love

Saturday, July 18, 2015

WHAT I WOULD LIKE

Photo by S. Auberle


I would like to have Makepeace
for my middle name
like William Thackeray
and I would like to think he did ...

I would like the sky
to always be that shade
of golden peach
shining at 5:00 this morning

I should like for everyone
to have a lemon tree
in their backyard because
lemon juice is good for everything

and a wild garden to turn
cocoons into butterflies ...
lastly I would like soft shawls for all
to wrap up little dogs

who tremble terribly when it storms
and need you to soothe them

whisper over and over
everything's gonna be alright ... 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

EARTH DAY 2015

Photo by S. Auberle

 PRAYER FOR VILLAGE EARTH

 Mother Earth, we pray today
to join with our brothers and sisters
in the company of whom we share this web of life.
We will not take from you lightly, nor do harm.

We will respect those creatures with whom we live.
Wolf, Hawk, Turtle and Bear, we honor you
and all our four-legged brothers and sisters.
Bless us, please, you Flying People,
Crawling People, the Swimmers,
Plant and Tree People.

Father Sun, we beseech you
to shine down your light upon us.

Sister Rain and Brother Wind, walk softly here,
for we are small beneath your power.

Sister Moon, shine gently
 as you guide us into dreamtime,
and when you journey across the world,
send your stars to light our way home.

Mother Earth, accept our prayer,
bless us with your energy and healing.
Help us remember that we are connected
to all who share your sacred web of life—past,
present, and future—that in divinity
we may exist as one…


                                                            Sharon Auberle

Thursday, April 16, 2015

MASQUERADE

Digital collage by S. Auberle       ~"Masquerade"
multi-media, hand colored pastel & watercolor

MASQUERADE 

She believed long ago
that every one except her knew
something she didn’t…
Important people knew,
successful people knew,
nuns and priests,
in their stern pulpits knew…
how to go through this world
purely, with wisdom the girl felt
she would never possess.
It seemed to her that she was broken
or missing something and, somehow,
needed to be fixed.

The masks were available
as she grew, and like other women
in that time and place,
she chose several…good girl,
good wife, good mother.
They never quite fit.
She couldn’t see well in them,
but it didn’t matter--this way
no one would know her true self.
With her vision askew,
the woman didn’t realize
that other people wore masks—
crooked ones, shabby ones, 
masks that had fallen,
been trampled on the ground.

But this is no new story
and I wish I could tell you a happy ending…
I can’t.  Except that
even the finest masks wear out.
Feathers and jewels drop, one by one.
The edges tatter and tear, till
one day, the masquerade ends.
The woman sees her face,
naked, scarred, criss-crossed
with living.  She touches herself,
tenderly, to be sure….and finds herself
whole and beautiful.  
She was never  broken. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

A CAROUSEL STATE OF MIND

Photo by S. Auberle

A CAROUSEL STATE OF MIND

in response to the painting "Winter Carousel"
by Robert William Addison

In the deep of winter it may come to you,
as though sent by wizards who know
the human heart can grow cold,
in need of small magicks…

say on a February day, perhaps,
when the season begins to hurt,
out of the blue you will catch a melody,
hear the prancing of riderless horses

and the bitter wind will soften,
frosty edges of your heart begin to melt.
Suddenly it is summer, and you are ready
to begin the whirling dance once more…

Saturday, January 31, 2015

WINTER BLUES

Photo by S. Auberle

BLUE IS A FUGITIVE COLOR

It is the color of ambiguous depth,
of the heavens and of the abyss at once…
               ~  Alexander Theroux

do you remember that night
I said I would have to leave?

under a blue moon
in Clem & Ursie's Bar

you asked would I walk toward
something      or away
           
            and I said a horizon

is what I need 
a road rising to meet me...    

Dante's 9th Circle of Hell isn't fire
but ice     
           
            yet blue light

has the energy to escape ice
and remain visible

too often invisible to you 
I became     
           
                        blue

is a fugitive color  
fades quicker than any other

Monday, January 19, 2015

ODE TO BOSTICK

Photo from the Internet

Okay, so any of you who know me know that until I moved to Wisconsin I couldn't have cared less about football...but then I fell into caring...about the Packers (especially #12) and after Sunday's game I wish I was back to not caring.  But o well, que sera sera, as they say, and then this poem seemed to want to be written...

ODE TO BOSTICK

doesn't matter if you don't know
who Bostick is    
this isn't about him
it's about screwing up
we've all done it
badly      admit it     you have
I have       even Mother Theresa
I suspect

Bostick       we feel for you
more than you know
sure you coulda' done better
coulda'     shoulda'      woulda'
if only     so what

we do the damn best we can
nobody can do more
not even the pope
not even Mother Theresa  
and she'd be the first
to tell you    about that guy
in the gutter she missed one day
          so Bostick   it's okay
          nobody died








            

Saturday, December 27, 2014

IN DARK DECEMBER

Photo by S. Auberle

Though you may have seen this poem before, by my good poet friend and partner, Ralph Murre, it's worth re-posting on a dark and dreary day...

In Dark December

Whatever you believe,
whatever you do not,
there are sacred rites
you must perform
in dark December.
Do this for me:
Pull together
the kitchen table,
the folding table,
and that odd half-oval
usually covered
with bills and broken pencils
and red ink.
Pull together family and friends,
cool cats and stray dogs alike.
Turn off everything
except colored lights,
the roaster,
the toaster, the stove.
Cook.  Bake.  Eat.
Yes, even the fruitcake.
Eat, crowded around
those assembled tables
with mismatched chairs.
Reach so far
in your sharing
that you hold the sun
in one hand,
the stars in the other,
and no one between is hungry.
Now walk together,
talk together,
be together
on these darkest nights.
Give and forgive.
Light candles and ring bells.
Sing the old songs.
Tell the old stories
one more time,
leaving nothing out,
leaving no one out
in the long night,
leaving nothing wrong
that you can make right.

                        ~  Ralph Murre  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

CHRISTMAS EVE

Photo painting by S. Auberle

I have made it a tradition to post this beautiful letter by Fra Giovanni every year, for I can think of no better way to wish you all a gentle and peaceful holiday, whatever your beliefs are...

I salute you. I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got. But there is much, very much, that while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy! Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty...that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it, that is all! And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.

                                    ~ Fra Giovanni, Christmas Eve, 1513