Saturday, April 19, 2014

FOR EARTH DAY APRIL 22ND

Photo and poem by S. Auberle


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WHEN I AM OLD


Photo by R. Murre


WHEN I AM OLD
after Jenny Joseph

I shall wear red
cowboy boots
and green silk
stockings
not together
of course
but maybe
because
when I am old
I'll be able
to do anything
I freakin' want
but wait
I AM old
already
how the hell
did that happen?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

YOM HASHOAH

Painting by Marc Chagall - "Fiddler on the Roof"

in memory of the six million Holocaust victims...

MARCH 11, 1942

Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, asocials, criminals 
and prisoners of war were gathered, stuffed into
 cattle cars on trains and sent to Auschwitz.
                                              ~  Google
Paris--first deportation
of those to be murdered
are herded into train cars
this day,  bound for Auschwitz--
the first of over one million to die there
and across the ocean in America
I am born the day before.

            Here stops my poem…

Will it change anything
for me to remember
a Jewish child born in Paris,
City of Love, the same day as me
or the small Gypsy girl,
the father who stole bread to feed her?
And should I say I'm sorry
and by the grace of some god
might they, somewhere, hear? 
Will those two words change anything    
in this world of instant everything?
           
            Maybe the one word left to say
            is the one word never to forget--
            remember…

Seventy years later I want to say something
that hasn't already been said,  
but it is as though I am newly born again--
possessing  the same number of words today
as I had that first hour, lying there safe--
by the luck of some heavenly lottery
a long straw waving in my tiny fist.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

PERSEPHONE'S RETURN

Photo by S. Auberle

PERSEPHONE'S RETURN

…and everything is mother-of-pearl and
jasper, but the light's source is a secret.
                ~  Anna Akhmatova

all night long
wind keened
over the frozen lake
where Winter still
gripped fiercely
icy fingers trying
to hold on tight 
but now in morning sun
a goddess tiptoes
over the land
basket of seeds
over her arm
clear orange light
trailing in her wake
beneath a bed
of old snow   
first dandelion stirs
combs her yellow hair
birds begin their
courting songs
flaunting fancy
nuptial finery
and you and I
awake at dawn
our hearts breaking
open with happiness
to be here
yet another
Spring

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MY FRIEND WHO IS NOT A POET

Photo by S. Auberle

MY FRIEND WHO IS NOT A POET 

for Lucha

says she wants birds and water
and green grass
because it's been a long winter

she wants warm dirt and stars
because it's been cold and dark
and coyotes just because

and marsh marigolds
for sure says my friend
who is not a poet

the one whose lines I steal
because she never uses them twice
just casually tosses them out there

and goes on her way
words falling like blossoms
into my outstretched hands

no this is not my backyard this year...but soon I hope



Friday, March 21, 2014

A LOVE POEM

Photo by S. Auberle

A LOVE CENTO 

after it has been winter for half a year
benign and dozy from our gluttonies

your pastel maps lie open on the counter
i am sitting in the blue chair listening to stillness

this    we say    is our life—watched over
allowed to go where we want

it hardly matters, what time of year
nothing can stop our tenderness
                         ~  Mimi
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
for those of you who are unfamiliar with a cento, it is simply a collection of lines--only one from each poet, and then combined in a new way.  Yes, this is an actual form, not just plagiarism!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Soul Talk

"Cathedral" by S. Auberle"

SOUL TALK

So as my birth day approaches, I am thinking about Soul.  I am a Pisces.  Supposedly, we Pisceans are the old souls of the Zodiac.  I could not possibly feel less like an old soul.  Rather a baby soul, or toddler at best.  And the older I get, the less wise I feel.  Not that I ever did feel wise, but in some youthful time I felt a small understanding, or so it seemed, about who we are, why we're here, where we're going.  No more.   

For some time I've been curious as to whether this mystical part of us ages as we do.  Does it get tattered, rusty, torn and stained?  Does it start out tiny and then grow as we do, put on weight, grow tall, encompass canyons, as Edward Abbey believed?  I find it a great mystery that as a child, when I supposedly knew nothing of the soul, I would only fall asleep at night if I lay on my side and covered the above eye with my hand, because somehow I believed an important part of me would escape, through my eye, as I slept, and wing its way out into vast darkness.  Where did I get that idea?  And I pictured this part, oddly enough, as a sort of crest or coat-of-arms.  Now I have two thoughts about the image of my soul--as that of a very tall and light filled young replica of me, in a long flowing white dress, or a beautiful white mare.  These images come from two different dreams I once had.  In the first, I saw the tall woman at the end of a hall, walking toward me, with great love and acceptance in her eyes.  We met in the darkness and began to dance, and I have never felt so loved.  The other dream I remember vividly as well-- I am standing on the narrow ledge of a mountain, holding the bridle of a white horse.  The odd part of this dream is that the horse and I seem to be floating through space on this ledge, for out beyond is only darkness and stars and planets.  Yet I am not afraid in the least. 

I don't know what the soul is for sure, and certainly don't expect to know in this lifetime.  And that's okay.  What I am certain of is that we all have one.  And I suspect that we are not alone, that the crooked old apple tree out in my yard and the small brown rabbit under it have one too.  And the ancient sequoia and clear winding rivers and muddy ones too and a salty gray and yellow rock I picked up on the ocean's edge might have one as well.  In the end, of course, it doesn't matter.   I may not see my soul, but she lets me know now and then that she is there…and I am grateful.

there is a small postscript to this entry.  In typing the above words, I of course did it all in one font, size, color, etc.  I saved it, and went into another room to print a different piece, which I opened on top of this one.  When I had finished with the printing, I closed that piece and re-opened this one, only to find that the last paragraph had changed color, font, size, changed to BOLD and was centered--the paragraph which ends with "I may not see my soul, but she lets me know now and then that she is there...and I am grateful."  I had NOT touched the keyboard, and it was in a font I never use, and in blue...


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

ABOUT THIS TIME

Photo/Collage by S. Auberle

an old poem from Crow Ink...says it all this time of year...

PAINTING THE SKY

Five degrees
this fourth day
of February
and about this time
winter begins to hurt
but the black brush
of crow wings still
inks this white sky

a Chinese painting
in flowing progress
cracked voices singing
all is joy…

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DOVES IN THE SNOW

Photo by S. Auberle
finally, first poem of 2014 has arrived...


DOVES IN THE SNOW
make something    learn something
see beauty    love someone…
                ~Robert Genn
doves in the snow on
this morning ten below
zero hums the furnace song

a red-capped woodpecker
zig-zags up the tree and cardinals
flash by in natty crimson shirts

today I will compose poems
absorb the warm language of sun
admire the humility of doves --  

their wobbly  plumpness 
delicate aprons of feathers --
how they remind me

of the old grandmothers I loved
in their brown shawls
and modest everyday-dresses

always making tidy and fresh
the seed-scattered snow
the messy world around them

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"FIND ME IN MY WRITING"

Photo by S. Auberle

Though I've made it a tradition the last few years to post the beautiful letter of Fra Giovanni on Christmas Eve, this year I want to share a part of the piece "Christmas Eve in Door" by my mentor and friend--Norbert Blei, who died this year...

"I think of my family in other places.  I think of friends spread out in so many directions.  I think of my own journey in place this Christmas Eve in Door.  

I think . . .of Christmas as spirit, alive in all men, in all seasons, in all places, and how it flickers in the darkest recesses imaginable.  I think of my gift, my work:  to find the people, the place, the time, the words and forms to say these things for all, yet make them mine.

Call it Christmas.  Call it spirit.  Call it love.  Call it light.

In the midnight hours I read a Hopi incantation, and turn to sleep:


The day has risen.
Go I to behold the dawn.
Go behold the dawn!
The white-rising!
The yellow rising!
It has become light.

And on Christmas morning, on the road, a clarity of sky, a gift of sun."

excerpted from the book "Door Steps" by Norbert Blei, The Ellis Press, Peoria, IL
the words "Find Me In My Writing" on his tombstone...


Saturday, December 21, 2013

A LITTLE CHRISTMAS TALE

Book Illustration by Vlidislav Erko
A CHRISTMAS TALE
We are reminded sometimes of important things in unexpected places.  Once upon a winter's eve, at a school holiday pageant, this happened.  In a small village on a small peninsula, reaching out into a mighty lake, a theater curtain rose on a production of Christmas Around the World.  The spotlights shone on a kindergarten class--four rows of children in their bright costumes.  Wiggling, bouncing, dancing, laughing, they stood on stage risers--all except one little boy.  In the front row, he alone sat, his face a study in woebegone misery.  He was brave, not crying--yet.  But clearly, tears seemed only seconds away.  The pageant director, resplendent in her Snow Queen silver and blue, knelt down to talk with him.  All was still in the auditorium as they whispered for a moment, and then the Queen stood, walked back to the front of the stage and lifted her baton.  The boy rubbed his eyes, and sadly looked out at the vast sea of faces.  But he did not move.  For the three happy songs of the class performance, he sat, still as a tiny Buddha.  When the music ended, he rose and marched out with the rest.  As the child's ordeal ended,  I wondered who among us did not want to wrap this little guy in a bear hug, wrap the child we ourselves once were, hug every child in this scary world today, and whisper it's okay, everything's gonna be alright.  Was there anyone in this audience who did not feel compassion this night?   Did not remember, in some distant corner of their mind, a moment of their own--of being different, of being alone in a crowd, everyone brave and happy but us?  Even kings and splendid Snow Queens, I suspect, did not always shine so bright…



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NEARING SOLSTICE

Photo by S. Auberle

A candle lights this gray dawn--no sunrise yet at 7:15, only a faint lightening over the old orchard.  The coffee is dark and sweet and the furnace hums.  14 degrees, and a small south wind gives hope for a brief respite from the cold.  Ice creeps further out from the shore, into the deepest indigo waters, and only a few open patches remain.  The ice is early this year.  Last night a full moon lighted the frozen land.  "Small Spirit" is the Anishnaabe name for  December's moon, while out on the vast plains, the Cheyenne named it "Moon When Wolves Gather Together."  In the dreams of poets and children, wolf song still rings through the night.  Yesterday the dawn sky was a bowl of peaches suspended above a white table.  This morning the only color is a radiance of cardinals in the twisted old crabapple tree.  What better name for a gathering of these bright birds!  Inside, the geranium, the orchid and Christmas cactus still bravely bloom, though the cactus holds only one pink blossom now, soon to fall.  Cards lie scattered on the oak table by the window, waiting to be written, waiting to touch old friends, assure that yes, we are still here, and all is well, as another year joins the great book of memories.  Suddenly across the road, the very tip of an old cedar flames, then another and another.  Tuesday, December 17, 2013, the miracle of sunrise once more…

Saturday, December 14, 2013

TOUCH THE HOLY

Photo by S. Auberle

"All this hurrying
soon will be over.
Only when we tarry
do we touch the holy."
~  Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, November 28, 2013

THANKSGIVING DAY

Photo by S. Auberle


yes, I've posted this before, and yes, I'll post it again, for I think it is a lovely and perfect prayer for this day of giving thanks...

Thanks and Blessings be to the Sun and the Earth
for this bread and this wine,
this fruit, this meat, this salt,
this food;
Thanks be and Blessing to them
who prepare it, who serve it;
Thanks and Blessings to them
who share it
(and also the absent and the dead).
Thanks and Blessing to them who bring it
(may they not want),
to them who plant and tend it,
harvest and gather it
(may they not want):
Thanks and Blessing to them who work
and Blessings to them who cannot;
may they not want--for their hunger
sours the wine and robs
the taste from the salt.
Thanks be for the sustenance and strength
for our dance and work of justice, of peace.
~Rafael Jesus Gonzalez

Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving to all...

Sunday, November 03, 2013

NOVEMBER

Photo by S. Auberle

This first appeared in Crow Ink...

NOVEMBER 

There is always that last day,
the one you never want to see
and yet what is more perfect?
This is the day before the day
when November settles in.
This is the day out in the woods
when last silver moths
are winging from branch to leaf,
a day of the last chorus
of swans in the bay.
Today last leaves are letting go,
tumbling down
to the beckoning earth.
Today is the day
I watch a sleek mink
trotting into the forest
fur     gleaming     dark     wet
a fish in its mouth
wriggling in the ecstasy
of November’s little deaths.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

LONESOME THINGS

Photo by S. Auberle

LONESOME THINGS, MAYBE

        a house
unlighted
but for one window

old sheet music
unplayed
since 1942

one dog
unquiet
barking at the hidden moon

last sailing boats
unoccupied
moored in the harbor

autumn rain
unwelcome
blackening the road

wet, red leaves
unappreciated
            except in old love songs

Monday, October 21, 2013

CONSIDER THIS, SENORA

Photo by S. Auberle

CONSIDER THIS, SENORA 

(a mostly found poem of titles on my bookshelf)

Living Out Loud
means Loving What Is--
the Grapes of Wrath
that Fool's Crow
Midnight in the Garden
   of Good and Evil
            but

Senora, remember this--
Any Woman's Blues
can be An Unspoken Hunger
or The Sweetest Dream
they can be Beach Music
The Farming of Bones
Refuge   or    Poison  
            still

these Wild Hearts
go on Hunting and Gathering
while The God of Small Things
and a Devil At Large
Line Dance on our backs
and An Unfinished Life          
            whispers

            Never Let Me Go…



Thursday, October 17, 2013

STONE FENCE

Photo by S. Auberle


STONE FENCE

the smell of herb and flower
along the road wall…
stones tumbling down now
once carefully locked together
sun and shadow
skipping along the length

brawny were the men
who built this wall
rough-handed
digging the earth
hoisting  stones
their good sweat
their endless work
to make it work

they've gone to rest now
beneath other stones
old wives beside them
vines twining
up from earth
black as the crow
calling down night
declaring everything
is truly right

~  Sharon Auberle

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

IsAbel

Photo by S. Auberle

While enduring a garage cleaning this week, I found this photo which had been missing for years.  IsAbel Beaudoin was a great lady and an amazing, multi-talented artist.  The poem only tells a small portion of who she was...

IsAbel 

“…originality above all else.”
                 ~  IsAbel Beaudoin 

It was all there, all that was left
of the passion that consumed her…

prints, metal sculptures, fabric, batiks;
Noah’s Ark—the procession of carved animals
marching across an entire wall;
handmade paper, cast and painted; 
a purple lady, tall and regal, like IsAbel herself,
oils, watercolors, acrylics,  pastels,
all the pieces shining as brightly as she. 

Two times I was privileged to meet her,
once, at her home, with bright batiks fluttering
from a clothes line in the sun
like flags announcing the country of art,
and then at the great show of her life’s work,
with treasures enough to fill a warehouse,
where she looked at me from her wheelchair,
smiled and said,  “I’d like to paint you in those blue beads…”

At eighty-seven, IsAbel began to fail.
Creation no longer emerged from those trembling hands,
and that is how we knew, her caregiver explains.
Except for one day, the woman says,
when she arrived to find a plain white cabinet
that held Isabel’s paints had been transformed. 
Tall trees danced on the doors and sides of the white box,
painted in a shaky hand, but vibrant and alive.

IsAbel never could bear a colorless world,
not when there was so much splendor in hers.

In Memoriam:  Isabel Beaudoin 1921-2009

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

OOPS

Painting detail by S. Auberle

someone close to me just pointed out that the birds above, and in the below post are, in fact, cranes.  My only defense is that when I painted this in 2001, I didn't realize that geese do not fly with outstretched legs, as cranes do.  So these birds are cranes, which I also love, but I'm not changing the poem title.  Mea culpa...

WILD GEESE

Painting by S. Auberle

an old painting, an old poem, revised...originally published in Crow Ink...

WILD GEESE 


Is it that old wish for flight that halts you on the street as vees of geese wing   overhead?  A stab of lonesome, quickened desire—what stops you?  Could it be the thought of another year slipping away from your life--once more that bare oak by the front door, Basho’s lone crow brooding again on a branch?  Raucous conversation drifts down from the sky--language of poetry, of passion, language of loss--that shivers down your back, but you huddle into your coat as rain begins, and hurry on into that life you were given, the only one you'll ever dare to know…

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

AND THESE THY GIFTS

Photo by S. Auberle

AND THESE THY GIFTS

for Maggie

She weighs it in her hand--
the day to come--the grace
of morning light on cracked pitcher
the scarlet of rose hips
from which she will make tea
the yellow of eggs, the blue plate.

Then, as in every day of her life,
she crosses herself
folds small, strong hands
and prays thanks
to her white-bearded god
who must surely soften
just a little, as he watches...

Thursday, September 05, 2013

HOW TO GET THROUGH A DAY WHEN ALL THE TALK IS OF WAR

Photo by S. Auberle

In the midst of all this saber rattling, an old poem of mine...


First you notice the mellow afternoon,
with the oak glowing bronze
by your front door and one last bee,
drunk on September and fallen apples,
weaving down your window screen.
Then you might try
frying an onion and lots
of garlic in some olive oil.
While that fragrance is luring
all manner of creatures to your door,
you could puree two cans
of Caribbean-style black beans
with about one half can of chicken broth,
then mix it all together, along
with the rest of the can of broth
to heat through.  Add a dollop
of sour cream in each bowl and
serve with red wine, some olives,
a green salad with the hint of oil and vinegar,
and a fresh, crusty French baguette
that you must tear apart in the best spirit
of breaking bread—with an old lover,
or a friend who knew you when.
Alone is good, too, with Bach
and a book of poems.
Then indulge, enjoy, surrender
to this moment that is all there is,
to the bee, the oak, the falling night,
to this prelude of smoky light,
golden against evening shadows...

Monday, September 02, 2013

SUMMER PASSING

Photo by S. Auberle

A cold wind is comingn down out of the north today...it won't last, I know, but is surely a sign.  This is an older piece which was published in "Haibun Today" which seems just right...


SUMMER PASSING
The sky is filled with terns tonight, their red bills arrowing down into the water.  Fishing boats wend their way home to the harbor, while on the dock a small boy runs, heedless of dark and danger.   His father scoops him up at the edge.  Old men sit alone.  Two women wrap shawls about their white shoulders.  For a moment there is silence, all pausing to watch an impossibly pink moon rise up out of the lake.  Behind the village, sunset paints indigo slashes across the sky.   Lights are coming on, one by one, in the deserted streets.  Even the corner tavern is quiet, and the wind, thinking of turning northward, stills itself for awhile.   
                                   from somewhere
                       on the other side of the world
                                  autumn approaches

 




Thursday, August 22, 2013

Manatee Dreaming

Photo from the internet

     manatee comes from the word 'manati,' meaning breast
     in the Taino (a pre-Columbian/Caribbean tribe) language

So I'm driving home from the dentist
mouth aching     numb lipped
it's hot and tourists are everywhere
crowding in summer's last frenzy

on the radio someone's singing
Havana Dreaming--but my fuzzy brain
hears manatee dreaming because it's hot     
because I'm glum     because my lips are numb

and suddenly I'm there--
off with those monstrous looking angels
of the deep and we are cool
and placid in turquoise waters

not your fancy dolphin-types
leaping gaily into the air  
but solid      Midwestern sort
of creatures     no nonsense animals…

I remember once at an aquarium
coming face to face with one
only thin glass between
the wrinkled head and me   

and nose to nose we exchanged smiles
the small gentle eyes
seeming to know me
and she seeming happy

as if her life on display
were no matter
as if I were the one to be pitied
more than her and she would have

if she could  have      hugged me
to her great pillowy breast
and kindly told me all
I would ever need to know

Monday, August 12, 2013

IF ONLY

Artwork by Nina, Henry, and Mimi
this poem won an Honorable Mention in a recent contest...

IF ONLY 
for David

We are cooking biryani
my boy and I, and drinking wine. 

Children of our blood
and dogs tumble at our feet, 

cinnamon, ginger and garlic
permeate the kitchen air.

Breathing in the fragrance
we share these happy hours

and I imagine a day when I am gone--
my boy an old man,

his long-legged daughter
whirling now about the kitchen,

coming home to him again
and pouring the celebration wine,

he'll understand--there are moments
         you wish could go on forever...       


.