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

BJWordPressDivider

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.

Fragment

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.”
—-Rumi

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!
—Hafiz

“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
dances
sings
amid the brilliant gushings of
everlasting
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Preparation

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
mother

Encouraging mother
loving mother
taking me with her
mother

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

Suffering mother
gifted mother
conflicted, compassionate
mother

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.

mothersculpture

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

A Basket of Poetry


Flowers in South Beach

South Beach Florida
Photo by Barbara Mattio

“Love more often is to be found in kitchens at the dinner hour,
tired out and hungry, lingers over tables in houses where
the walls record movements; while the cook is probably angry,
and the ingredients of the meal are budgeted, while some
where a child cries feed me now and her mother not quite
hysterical says over and over, wait just a bit, just a bit,
love should grow up in the fields like a wild iris
but never does.”
—–Susan Griffin

“Anger shines through me.
Anger shines through me.
I am a burning bush
My rage is a cloud of flame.
My rage is a cloud of flame.
in which I walk
seeking justice
like a precipice.” —Marge Piercy

Photo by Barbara Mattio

Photo by Barbara Mattio

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked the wind
roaring and whinpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm. —-Marge Piercy

"June

June Rose
Photo by Barbara Mattio

“Neighbors, the old woman who knows you
turns over in me
and I wake up
another country. There’s no more
north and south
Asleep, we pass through one another
like blowing snow,
all of us
all. —Native American,Linda Hogan

The Miracle of the one single flower. Photo by Barbara Mattio

The Miracle of the one single flower. Photo by Barbara Mattio

“So you’re God
Tell me I’m straw, chaff, mist.

Tell me the sea has springs
deep and cold as dreams
that make me wake exhausted.

Enough thunder
What have you done
with my children?” ——Betsy Sholl

"Spring

Greenhouse at Niagara Falls, Canada; Photo by Barbara Mattio

“God is fed up
All the oceans she gave us
All the fields
All the acres of steep seedful forests
and we did what
Invented the Great Chain of Being and the chain saw
Invented sin.” —-George Ella Lyon

"Gerber

“Gerber Daisy” – Acrylic Paint on Stretched Canvas
Painting by Barbara Mattio

The Passing of an Icon


My heart is heavy as I heard of the passing of one of the great feminist leaders of our time. Adrienne Rich was a feminist and a poet. She authored the book ” Of Woman Born ” and many books of poetry.

Adrienne was born in 1929. In the 1960′s her poetry took a turn from the more traditional style to a radical feminist format. She wrote about how poetry can break isolation,she  reminded us of creating beauty where there is no beauty and  reminded us of our Sisterhood.

From a Survivor

The pact that we made was the ordinary pact
of men and women in those days
I don’t know who we thought we were
that our personalities
could resist the failures of the race
Lucky or unlucky, we didn’t know the race had failures of that order
and that we were going to share them
Like everybody else, we thought of ourselves as special
Your body is as vivid to me as it ever was;
even more since my feeling for it is clearer;
I know what it could do and could not do
it is no longer the body of a god or anything
with power over my life
Next year it would have been 20 years
and you are wastefully dead
who might have make the leap we talked,
too late, of making which I live now not as a leap
but a succession of brief, amazing
movements each one making possible the next.”

—–Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich described her poetry as political and as personal. One of her poems, “Power ” speaks of how women find it very difficult to grab onto and to raise up their talents and successes and dreams. In “Power.” she speaks of Marie Curie, the scientist.

“She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
denying
her wounds came from the same source
as her power.”
This is from one of her books of poetry called, “The Dream of a Common Language; Poems 1974-1977.

So I say goodbye to a heroine and icon and I will end with this excerpt from her poem “Translations.”

You show me the poems of some woman
my age, or younger
translated from your language

Certain words occur; enemy, oven, sorrow
enough to let me know
she’s a woman of my time.”

Thank you for your contributions to the cause of women’s rights and RIP.

Mindful


 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Barbara Mattio

“Every day
I see or I hear
something
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It is what I was born for—
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world—
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant—
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations,
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself, how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these—
the untrimmable light

of the world
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?”
—Mary Oliver

This poem is taken from one of my favorite poetry books, “Dancing With Joy.” For me reading poetry is akin to meditation. It is slowly drawing up that long slow breath and holding it for those moments of balance, and then the slow gradual exhale. Then the energy begins to flow and you dance with the Divine.

Dancing With Joy; Photo by Barbara Mattio