Every 3 Minutes – Every 5 Minutes

With No Immediate Cause

by Ntozake Shange


every 3 minutes a woman is beaten

every five minutes a

woman is raped/every ten minutes

a lil girl is molested

yet i rode the subway today

i sat next to an old man who

may have beaten his old wife

3 minutes ago or 3 days ago/30 years ago

he might have sodomized his

daughter  but i sat there

cuz the young man on the train

might beat some young women

later in the day or tomorrow

i might not shut my door fast

enuf/push hard enuf

every 3 minutes it happens

some woman’s innocence

rushes to her checks/pours from her mouth

like the betsy wetsy dolls have been torn

apart/their mouths

menses red & split/every

three minutes a shoulder

is jammed through plaster and the oven door/

chairs push through the rib cage/hot water or

boiling sperm decorate her body

i rode the subway today

& bought a paper from a

man who might

have held his old lady onto

a hot pressing iron/i dont know

maybe he catches lil girls in the

park & rips open their behinds

with steel rods/i can’t decide

what he might have done i only

know every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes every 10 minutes/so

i bought the paper

looking for the announcement

the discovery/of that dismembered

woman’s body/the

victims have not all been

identified/today they are

naked and dead/refuse to

testify/one girl out of 10’s not

coherent/i took the coffee

& spit it up/i found an

announcement/not the woman’s

bloated body in the river/floating

not the child bleeding in the

59th street corridor/not the baby

broken on the floor/

“there is some concern

that alleged battered women

might start to murder their

husbands and lovers with no

immediate cause”

I spit up i vomit i am screaming

we all have immediate cause

every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes

every 10 minutes

every day

women’s bodies are found

in alleys & bedrooms/at the top of the stairs

before i ride the subway/buy a paper/drink

coffee/i must know/

have you hurt a woman today

did you beat a woman today

throw a child across a room

are the lil girl’s panties

in yr pocket

did you hurt a woman today


i have to ask these obscene questions

the authorities require me to


immediate cause


every three minutes

every five minutes

every ten minutes

every day.



Born Paulette Williams in Trenton, New Jersey, Ntozake Shange took her pseudonym as an expression of her anger at the dilemma of being a black woman. In Zulu the name means “she who comes with her own things.” / “she who walks like a lion.” She was educated at Barnard College and the University of Southern California.




Black and White photo of Pacific coast.

Pacific Ocean


Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks

by Jane Kenyon


I am the blossom pressed in a book

and found again after 200 years


I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper


When the young girl who starves

sits down to a table

she will sit beside me


I am food on the prisoner’s plate


I am water rushing to the wellhead,

filling the pitcher until it spills


I am the patient gardener

of the dry and weedy garden


I am the stone step,

the latch, and the working hinge


I am the heart contracted by joy

the longest hair, white

before the rest


I am the basket of fans

presented to the widow


I am the musk rose opening

unattended, the fern on the boggy summit


I am the one whose love

overcomes you, already with you

when you think to call my name.


Welcome Morning

Anne Sexton


There is joy

in all

in the hair I brush each morning,

in the Cannon towel, newly washed,

that I rub my body with each morning,

in the chapel of eggs I cook

each morning,

in the outcry from the kettle

that heats my coffee

each morning,

in the spoon and the chair

that cry “hello there, Anne”

each morning,

in the godhead of the table

that I set my silver, plate, cup upon

each morning.


All this is God,

right here in my pea-green house

each morning

and I mean,

though often forget,

to give thanks,

to faint down by the kitchen table

in a prayer of rejoicing

as the holy birds at the kitchen window

peck into their marriage of seeds.


So while I think of it,

let me paint a thank-you on my palm

for this God, this laughter of the morning,

lest it go unspoken.


The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,

dies young.


Hello to all my friends and readers. The words of the feminists poets were in my mind so I shared them with you today. I hope everyone is well. We are having our first hurricane, Hurricane Arthur. I would like to ask that if you don’t mind. please send white light and prayers for my daughter who is just leaving her beach place and driving north to home. They live close to where the storm will come inland. Thank you all.  They were closing up and readying the beach house for the storm. This hurricane is coming with much less warning than people usually have to prepare. Thanks everyone. And may all of you be safe over this celebration of our country’s birth. Happy 4th of July!!







The Holiday of Passover Part 2

Gratitude is a big part of Judaism and many other spiritual paths. The greatest story is the story of Moses. To save his life his mother and sister who had named this Jewish baby, put him into a tightly woven basket and floated it in the river. They prayed to G-d to keep him safe. The Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket and looked inside. She looked inside an found an infant, she knew is was a Jewish baby. She took him home to the palace and raised his as her son, naming him Moses. From the water I drew him. The Jews to this day have never changed his name back to his given name. For eternity the Jewish people show Adonai their gratitude for the life of Moses.


The evil of those who sought to destroy the Jews and made slaves of them must be remembered as well as recalling the kindness of those who intervened to deliver the Jewish people from slavery. Gratitude is so important, it’s meant to be eternal.


“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”   —Cicero


“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”   —Melody Beattie





The Jewish people believe in family and  gratitude and education. Every Jewish child grows up knowing he/she must get a good education.


“I dreamt I stood in a studio

And watched two sculptors there.


The clay they used was a young child’s mind

And they fashioned it with care.


One was a teacher–the tools he used

Were books, music, and art.


The other, a parent, worked with a guiding hand

And a gentle loving heart.


Day after day, the teacher toiled

With touch that was deft and sure.


While the parent labored by his side

And polished and smoothed it o’er.


And when at last, their task was done

They were proud of what they’d wrought.


For the things they had molded into the child

Could neither be sold nor boutht.


And each agreed they would have failed

If each had worked alome.

For behind the teacher stood the school

And behind the parent stood the home.”   —Author unknown




A Passover blessing



“I doubt anyone will ever see-anywhere—a memorial to a pessimist.”   —Unknown


“Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.”   —Golda Meir


The Jewish people have a tradition in many families to light not just two candles but an additional candle for every child in the family as well.  Parents explain to their children that every one of them brought extra light to their home when they came into their lives. The light of a candle, the sages teach, is a symbol of the soul.


“Rather light candles than curse the darkness.”   —Adlai E. Stevenson


“if a drop if ink fell at the same time on your book and on your coat, clean first the book and then the garment.”   —Talmud


” If you drop gold and books, pick up first the books and then the gold.”   —Talmud


” Jews are the People of the Book.”   —Mohammed, the Koran






The Lord be Praised

Flower heart

Flower heart

The lips of the one I love are my perpetual pleasure:

The Lord be praised, for my heart’s desire is attained.

O Fate,  cherish my darling close to your breast:

Present now the golden wine-cup, now the rubies of those lips.

They talk scandal about us, and  say we are drunk—

The old silly old men, the elders lost in their error.

But we have done penance on the pious man’s behalf,

And ask God’s pardon for what the religious do.

O my dear, how can I speak of being apart from you?

The eyes know a hundred tears, and the soul has a hundred sighs.

I’d not have even an infidel suffer the torment your beauty has caused

To the cypress which envies your body, and the moon that’s outshone by your face.

Desire for you lips has stolen from Hafiz’ thought

His evening lectionary, and reciting the Book at dawn.

—-Hafiz; Translated from Persian by Peter Avery and John Heath-Stubbs

Valentine roses

Valentine roses


Women with Stories to Tell

Let's choose to be happy

Let’s choose to be happy

Angela Weld Grimke lived from 1880-1958. She was the daughter of a white abolitionist mother and a black father who was the vice-president of the NAACP. Grimke studied at Harvard. A book of her poems wasn’t published until 1991.


I am the woman with the black black skin
I am the laughing woman with the black black face
I am living in the cellars and in every crowded place
I am toiling just to eat
In the cold and in the heat
And I laugh
I am the laughing woman who’s forgotten how to weep
I am the laughing woman who’s afraid to go to sleep. –1930

Adrienne Rich was born in 1929 She was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from Radcliffe College. Her poetry underwent a change as she outgrew her interest in traditional poetric scture. She became increasingly interested in feminism and a peotry of community.

1948 : Jews

a mother”s letter torn open
In a college mailroom:
…Some of them will be
the most brilliant, fascinating
you’ll ever meet
but don’t get taken up by any clique
trying to claim you.

–Marry out, like your father
she didn’t write She wrote for wrote
against him

It was a burden for anyone
to be fascinating, brilliant
after the six million
Never mind just coming home
and trying to get some sleep
like and ordinary person —1990

Myrtle Beach, SC Photograph taken and copyrighted 2003

Myrtle Beach, SC Photograph taken and copyrighted 2003

Seven Sisters Mountain twilight, Black Mountain. Photograph copyrighted by Barbara Mattio

Seven Sisters Mountain twilight, Black Mountain.
Photograph copyrighted by Barbara Mattio

Unity of All

Deepok Chopra's wisdom

Deepok Chopra’s wisdom

Each of us has a story. Some of them are happy, some are about rising above tragedy, some are so sad that the heart is torn open and bleeding. I love history and still read a lot of history and biographies. I seek to know the world better. To understand more and how to avoid some of the toxic situations.

Mysticism is a way to rise about all that has hurt, scarred or tortured us in our pasts. Mystics from various traditions have in common the experience of feeling at one with all that exists. Spirit prevails if we look for it. Mystic writers acknowledge the oneness of everyone, the absolute lack of separation of the mystic religions. The mystics show us that when we see others as being “them” instead of part of us, hatred and violence are the results.

I am going to share excerpts from Marge Piercy’s poem with you. It is called

The Sabbath of Mutual Respect

Habondia, the real abundance, is the power
to say yes and to say no, to open
and to close, to take or to leave
and not to be taken by force or law
or fear or poverty or hunger.
To bear children or not to bear by choice
is holy. To bear children unwanted is to be used like a public sewer. To be sterilized unchosen is to have
your heart cut out. To love women
is holy and holy is the free love of men
and precious to live taking whichever comes
and precious to live unmated as a peachtree.

Praise the lives you did not choose.

They will heal you, tell your story, fight

for you. You eat the bread of their labor

You drink the wine of their joy. I tell you

after I went under the surgeon’s knife

for the laparoscopy I felt like a trumpet

an Amazon was blowing sonorous charges on

Then my womb learned to open on the full

moon without pain and my pleasure deepened

till my body shuddered like troubled water.

When my friend gave birth I held her in joy

as the child’s head thrust from her vagina

like the sun rising as dawn wet and red.

Praise our choices, sisters, for each doorway

open to us was taken by squads of fighting

women who paid years of trouble and struggle,

who paid their wombs, their sleep, their lives

that we might walk through these gates upright.

Doorways are sacred to women for we

are the doorways of life and we must choose

what comes in and what goes out. Freedom

is our real abundance.

——–Marge Piercy, feminist writer and poet

“The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors.”

—-Czeslaw Milosz

sciulpture on cruise ship

Some sculpture is so beautiful it opens the heart and the heart breathes the beauty as if it were oxygen. Photo and copyright by Barbara Mattio

Poems to Soothe the Heart

Praying hands that mean so much to God

Praying hands that mean so much to God

Many scholars feel that Rumi is the greatest poet the world has every known. I think they are quite possibly right. But I do love the poems of many gifted poets. I would like to share a couple of them with you today.

We Point to the New Moon

“This time when you and I sit here, two figures
with one soul, we’re a garden,
with plants and birdsong moving through us like rain.

The stars come out. We’re out
of ourselves, but collected. We point
to the new moon, its discipline and slender joy.

We don’t listen to stories
full of frustrated anger. We feed
on laughter and a tenderness
we hear around us.
when we’re together.

And even more incredible, sitting here in Konya,
we’er this moment in Khorasan and Iraq.
We have these forms in time.
and another in the elsewhere
that’s made of this closeness.”

Midnight Question

“Near midnight, in disarray, you come asking,
is it still like this, my love,
when your‘re old?”

Who would refuse to answer?
The same was heard
before the creation of the universe,
“Am I not your Lord?”

Whatever’s poured then must be drunk.
It may be pure soul, merely grape-wine,
or some combination, but say Yes,

as I have many times,
as we all once did in unison
outside time and space.

Never regret that answer!

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.” —Rumi

Radiating energy and light as you meditate or chant

Radiating energy and light as you meditate or chant

A Mother’s Day Tribute to Mother’s Everywhere

Joan Papalia Eisert has a B.A. in English from Gannon University. Over the past thirty-six years she has had numerous poems published in small press magazines, newspaper articles, on the Internet, and in Daystar Productions. Two of her poems earned blue ribbons, and one was awarded the Editor’s Choice Award (Sulfur and Sawdust, Scars Publications). Joan’s poetry has also been used in English classes, prison ministry, and various outreach missions. Her first chapbook of poetry, Flat Days was published in 1996. She has read her work at several poetry venues including: Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, NY), Erie Book Store, Uncrowned Queens of Western New York’s poetry reading (Buffalo, NY), Mt. St. Benedict (Erie, PA), Maria House Projects’ Diocesan Lodge (West Spring Creek, PA), poetry reading venues in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and Authors Books and Music (Warren, PA). Joan’s poetry will be published in the premier issue of Mending Reality, and she is currently working on her latest poetry collection, Fluency.
Joan taught a Poetry/Creative Writing class at the Maria House Projects’ Diocesan Lodge in West Spring Creek, PA for 10 years. The Maria House Projects provide homes for troubled men who are in need of community for healing. They include alcoholics, drug addicts, men deeply disturbed emotionally, and men suffering from the effects of homelessness and imprisonment. Joan uses creative writing to help the residents heal through artistic expression. She is publisher/editor of ten volumes of For Pete’s Sake, which are the class’ literary collections.
Joan is also an accomplished singer, performing professional since 1971 starting out as a soloist. She was taught voice by Mary Jane Gregan, and extraordinary vocalist herself, from Edinboro, PA. Joan is half of the duo, Fire and Ice (with her husband Paul), now in their 32nd year of performing together, and she sang in the band, Daystar, for seven years.

March 9th 2010 (for Mom)

Her richly variegated eyes of brown and struggle
dilating in graceful homage
to the rays of this tender
early, ubiquitous sun
on this day of fragile yielding
to the promise of coming warmth
soothing like the balm in Gilead

In this golden spectrum
of such a fleeting moment
our love glistens
amid the brilliant gushings of

A Backyard Day

Reminiscent of my mother’s sheets
looking lonely on the line
when September was too warm
and we were gone
has my sweet caramel daughter
nibbling an apple in her wading pool
each look a book
while I’m clinging to the buzz and flutter
of this August afternoon

She’ll be gone before I know it
like my shadow
in this particular sun

A Warm Day in March

kissing the cat
curled beneath the breath
of tide laundered sheets
no noise today
conjures me returning to the upstairs
of her house
on one of those days
she’d gone to the market
with my mother
her bedroom first
to finger the jewelry and rosary beads
on the mirrored filigree tray
displayed on the dresser
across from the wall-wide closet
with drawers and drawers
full of leather purses
and shoes and shoes and shoes
rich syrupy savory leather shoes

look and touch
look and inhale
then pad to the bathroom
i’d already passed
at the top of the stairs
her aroma greets and lingers
staying awhile
in that small stuffed room
absorbing the tub tucked underneath
the glass block window
oscillating low afternoon rays
the trolley crowded with perfumes
atomizers soaps creams lipsticks
custom-blended foundations
and me me in the medicine chest mirror
melting into a delicious bouquet of the illusion
that I matter


You gave me an aluminum pot
with a wooden grip in the
middle of its wooden handle
And there’s a small metal
grip on one side to hold onto
while pouring
And most clever of all
there’s a little section of the
pot’s lid that’s perforated for
straining or releasing steam
and even these efficient
clustered holes have their
own hinged cover
Jesus– all in one pot

You tell me you have two
of these pots
You got this one
a long time ago
For my pasta and my potatoes
you tell me

You tell me you never had
such a nice pot
“They no maka them lika
thees no more”

You tell me one day this summer
I can help you clean
Who knows what we’ll find

Good Friday (for Mom)

My mother
faithful mother
anointed, sensitive

Encouraging mother
loving mother
taking me with her

Shepherding mother
complicated mother
fearing no evil, no shadow of death

Suffering mother
gifted mother
conflicted, compassionate

Generous mother
Mary’s daughter
Christ’s sister
My mother

Joannie is a published peot and a very dear freind. I am honored to share her work. These poems are in loving memory of her Mother, Valda Papalia and Mary Ann Eisert,  her mother in law. I thank you Joannie for sharing this day and your memories with my readers.  May The Beloved bless all the Mothers and Grandmothers that are no longer with us in this life.


Thoughts on Twilight

Twilight at Holden Beach. One last romp with the waves. Photograply copywrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013

Twilight at Holden Beach. One last romp with the waves. Photography copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013

I find, that for me, there is a moment, one pure, crystalline moment when the day begins to fade and the night begins to wrap its arms around you, that brings the bitter sweetness pain and love.  I don’t know why it happens. I have experienced it since I was a child. There are times that this moment brings tears to my eyes. Not sad or happy tears. I believe they are the tears of knowing that in those precious seconds, you live.

Twilight reminds us of our invisible and silken thread which connects us to the Universe. The air smells pure. You take a breath and know that all that matters is the fact you are alive and you are in every living thing on this planet and they are all in you. You might be sitting on a porch, walking along a beach, standing breathing the mountain air or driving along a highway,  but this moment will flutter your heart. You are alive.

Shakespeare was the English bard and controversy not withstanding, he moves us as few others ever have . He was an expert in the craft of words. He crafted them for the common people and for Kings and Queens. For me there is an American bard. It Is Walt Whitman. While I don’t write poetry I love to read it and Whitman is my default poet when my heart and soul truly needs comfort.
I hope you will enjoy these selections as much as I do.

A Twilight Song

As I sit in twilight late alone by the flickering oak flame,
Musing on long-pass’d war-scenes–of the countless buried unknown soldiers,
Of the vacant names, as unindented air’s and sea’s–the unreturn’d,
The brief truce after battle, with grim burial-squads, and the deep-fill’d trenches
Of gather‘d dead from all America, North, South East, West, whence they came up,
From wooded Maine, New England’s farms, from fertile Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio,
From the measureless West, Virginia, the South, the Carolinas, Texas,
(even here in my room-shadows and half-lights in the noiseless flickering flames,
Again I see the stalwart ranks on-filing, rising—–
I hear the rhythmic tramp of the armies;)
You million unwrit names all, all-you dark bequest from all the war,
A special verse for you–a flash of duty long neglected–
your mystic roll strangely gather‘d here,
Each name recall‘d by me from out the darkness and death’s ashes,
Henceforth to, deep,deep within my heart recording, for many a future year,
Your mystic roll entire of unknown names, or North or South,
Embalm’d with love in this twilight song.:

—Walt Whitman

“Come, said my Soul,
Such verses for my Body let us write (for we are one)
That should I after death invisibly return,
Or, long, long hence, in other spheres, There to some group of mates the chanting resuming,
(Tallying Earth’s soil, trees, winds, and tumultuous waves,)
Ever with pleas’d smile I may keep on,
Ever and ever yet the verses owning–as, first, I here and now,
Signing for Soul and Body, set to them my name.
Walt Whitman

The beach at twilight. Photgraph copyrighted by Barbara Mattio

The beach at twilight. Photgraph copyrighted by Barbara Mattio


Blue Ridge Mountain twilight. Photograph copyrighted by Barbara Mattio

Blue Ridge Mountain twilight. Photograph copyrighted by Barbara Mattio


Seven Sisters Mountain twilight, Black Mountain.Photograph copyrighted by Barbara Mattio

Seven Sisters Mountain twilight, Black Mountain.
Photograph copyrighted by Barbara Mattio

For You, O Democracy

Sketch of Walt Whitman in his younger days

Sketch of Walt Whitman in his younger days

Come, I will make the continent indisoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.

I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America,
and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies,
I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other’s necks,
By the love of Comrades,
By the manly love of Comrades.

For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme!
For you, for you I am trilling these songs.

—–From Leaves of Greas; Deathbed Edition by Walt Whitman

Volumes of Whitman's Leaves of Grass

Volumes of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass