Valentines from Writers

After our exercise in Monday’s meeting touched so many heart strings I thought you would appreciate and be inspired by these amazing quotes. I’ve linked each writer’s name in case you want to learn more about them.

They appeared this week in Rob Brezny ‘s marvelous Free Will Astrology weekly newsletter. I encourage you to subscribe for a weekly dose of crazy wisdom, even if you don’t believe we’re steered by the stars. 

 

“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.”

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning


“Love imperfectly. Be a love idiot. Let yourself forget any love ideal.”

Sark


“You are my inspiration and my folly. You are my light across the sea, my million nameless joys, and my day’s wage. You are my divinity, my madness, my selfishness, my transfiguration and purification. You are my rapscallionly fellow vagabond, my tempter and star. I want you.”

George Bernard Shaw


“I love you between shadow and soul. I love you as the plant that hasn’t bloomed yet, and carries hidden within itself the light of flowers. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. Because of you, the dense fragrance that rises from the earth lives in my body, rioting with hunger for the eternity of our victorious kisses.”

—Pablo Neruda


“Be my ruckus, my perfect non-sequitur. Be my circuit-breaker, my lengthening shadows at dusk, my nest of pine needles, my second-story window. Be my if-you-stare-long-enough-you’ll-see. Be my subatomic particle. Be my backbeat, my key of C minor, my surly apostle, my scandalous reparté, my maximum payload. Be my simmering, seething, flickering, radiating, shimmering, and undulating.”

Andrew Varnon


“Love is the only game where two can play and both win.”

—Erma Freesman.


When I think of you,
fireflies in the marsh rise
like the soul’s jewels,
lost to eternal longing,
abandoning my body

Izumi Shikibu


“Love is a great beautifier.”

Louisa May Alcott


Fall in love over and over again every day. Love your family, your neighbors, your enemies, and yourself. And don’t stop with humans. Love animals, plants, stones, even galaxies.

Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat


“The air I breathe in a room empty of you is unhealthy. The merest whisper of your name awakes in me a shuddering sixth sense. I am longing for a kiss that makes time stand still.”

—a blend of words from Edgar Allan Poe, Pamela Moore, and John Keats


“We are pain and what cures pain, both. We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours. I want to hold you close like a lute, so that we can cry out with loving. Would you rather throw stones at a mirror? I am your mirror and here are the stones.”

Rumi


“I love you more than it’s possible to love anyone. I love you more than love itself. I love you more than you love yourself. I love you more than God loves you. I love you more than anyone has ever loved anyone in the history of the universe. In fact, I love you more than I love you.”

Rob Brezny


“For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.”

James Hillman


“Our love is like a well in the wilderness where time watches over the wandering lightning. Our sleep is a secret tunnel that leads to the scent of apples carried on the wind. When I hold you, I hold everything that is–swans, volcanoes, river rocks, maple trees drinking the fragrance of the moon, bread that the fire adores. In your life I see everything that lives.”

Pablo Neruda


“Your body needs to be held and to hold, to be touched and to touch. None of these needs is to be despised, denied, or repressed. But you have to keep searching for your body’s deeper need, the need for genuine love. Every time you are able to go beyond the body’s superficial desires for love, you are bringing your body home and moving toward integration and unity.”

Henri Nouwen


“Let’s heat up the night to a boil. Let’s cook every drop of liquid out of our flesh till we sizzle, not a drop of come left. We are pots on too high a flame. Our insides char and flake dark like sinister snow idling down. We breathe out smoke. We die out and sleep covers us in ashes. We lie without dreaming, empty as clean grates. Yet we wake rebuilt, clattering and hungry as waterfalls leaping off, rushing into the day, roaring our bright intentions. It is the old riddle in the Yiddish song, what can burn and not burn up, a passion that gives birth to itself every day.”

Marge Piercy

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Poems from Ursula K. LeGuin

Thanks to Carrie for sharing this amazing poem in our January meeting, 1/28/19.

How It Seems To Me

In the vast abyss before time, self
is not, and soul commingles
with mist, and rock, and light. In time,
soul brings the misty self to be.
Then slow time hardens self to stone
while ever lightening the soul,
till soul can loose its hold of self
and both are free and can return
to vastness and dissolve in light,
the long light after time.

 A few links to more LeGuin verse

From her own website

Three new poems from Ursula LeGuin

from Poets.org

Writer’s Retreat

Retreat

IMG_5543Cheryl, Wanda, Libby, Gwen, Pat, Beverly, TJ and Patrise
We all decided to come to Matthews, VA to release
Eating, talking, sharing and caring
Simple minds with one common goal in mind

We have bonded and learned
I’ve discovered some news that I never knew
Libby you’re an amazing you
Fighting the C and never looking back
It’s an ugly thing that loves to attack
Pat what a noble thing to do
Having a voice for a culture that most don’t have a clue
Cheryl always with a funny tale
I’m glad you didn’t bring the sexy spell
IMG_5530Wanda always the voice of reason
So glad you got to let loose and be you for just a season
Gwen the MacGyver who came in the still of the night
With her bright shining light
Beverly with all the wisdom and knowledge
She’s a walking college
Patrise I learned something new
Therapy is all about you
TJ you are a damn hoot
I swear I almost peed in my boot
Whatever the reason God has bought us together
We will never know
But this RETREAT will always remind us
That we are women but writers first!

GL 2015

We are either beginning or dead: Wendell Berry on the source of writing

Are you feeling blue because you haven’t “done-it-right enough,” “been published enough,” “written enough?” Next time you sit down to write, read this poem, and begin again!

To Hayden Carruth
by Wendell Berry 

Dear Hayden, when I read your book I was aching
in head, back, heart, and mind, and aching
with your aches added to my own, and yet for joy
I read on without stopping, made eager
by your true mastery, wit, sorrow, and joy,
each made true by the others. My reading done,
I swear I am feeling better. Here in Port Royal
I take off my hat to you up there in Munnsville
in vour great dignity of being necessary. I swear
it appears to me you’re one of the rare fellows
who may finally amount to something. What shall
I say? I greet you at the beginning of a great career?
No. I greet you at the beginning, for we are
either beginning or we are dead. And let us have
no careers, lest one day we be found dead in them.
I greet you at the beginning that you have made
authentically in your art, again and again.
“To Hayden Carruth” by Wendell Berry from New Collected Poems. © Counterpoint Press, 2012.

WOW!

“I greet you at the beginning, for we are
either beginning or we are dead. And let us have
no careers, lest one day we be found dead in them.
I greet you at the beginning that you have made
authentically in your art, again and again.”

Today, commit to making that authentic beginning, somehow, in your writing. Put down that sack of baggage and regrets and disappointments and fears — if only for 1 hour — that makes you wonder if you even are a writer. (Stop it! YOU ARE A WRITER!) And then write. Let this Monday be a good day!

That process is the authenticity we crave as writers. That is where we live most.

Carol Burbank is a writing and life coach, an editor, and a published writer. You can find out more at www.carolburbank.com, or email her.

 

A Poem from James Tate

Consumed

James Tate

Why should you believe in magic,
pretend an interest in astrology
or the tarot? Truth is, you are

free, and what might happen to you
today, nobody knows. And your
personality may undergo a radical

transformation in the next half
hour. So it goes. You are consumed
by your faith in justice, your

hope for a better day, the rightness
of fate, the dreams, the lies,
the taunts. —Nobody gets what he

wants. A dark star passes through
you on your way home from
the grocery: never again are you

the same—an experience which is
impossible to forget, impossible
to share. The longing to be pure

is over. You are the stranger
who gets stranger by the hour.

James Tate, poet and distinguished professor at U. Mass Amherst, died yesterday at age 71. 

Happy Birthday Allen

Today is Allen Ginsberg‘s birthday.

Allen-Ginsberg-Quotes-5

I must confess, the naive midwesterner I once was once dismissed him as a pervy sensationalist. That was before I read his work. Like this one:

SONG

The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
constructs
a miracle,
in imagination
anguishes
till born
in human–
looks out of the heart
burning with purity–
for the burden of life
is love,

but we carry the weight
wearily,
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.

No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love–
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
–cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:

the weight is too heavy

–must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.

The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye–

yes, yes,
that’s what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.

Allen Ginsberg
San Jose, 1954

When writers “hear what’s going on/not in my own head?” Inspiration and prompt from Louise Erdrich…

I’m proposing this poem, posted today by the Writer’s Almanac as both inspiration and as a prompt. First, it’s an amazing poem — simple, layered, evocative. But it also proposes something radical, even paradoxical. What if we listened to the world instead of our own brainheart ramblings? Could we write about what is not in our heads?

Well, see what you think…

two-horses-3Spring Evening on Blind Mountain
by Louise Erdrich  

I won’t drink wine tonight
I want to hear what is going on
not in my own head
but all around me.
I sit for hours
outside our house on Blind Mountain.
Below this scrap of yard
across the ragged old pasture,
two horses move
pulling grass into their mouths, tearing up
wildflowers by the roots.
They graze shoulder to shoulder.
Every night they lean together in sleep.
Up here, there is no one
for me to fail.
You are gone.
Our children are sleeping.
I don’t even have to write this down.
“Spring Evening on Blind Mountain” by Louise Erdrich from Original Fire. © Harper Collins, 2003.

Clearly, words written down map the world and the world inside. Today, try the exercise she models. Sit and observe, and write the world down on your page. If you want to share your experiment, post it in the comments section so we can all see what you’ve seen!

Write on!

Carol

If you want more inspiration and support, contact me at www.carolburbank.com to find out about how writing coaching, editing and manuscript evaluation services can jumpstart your creativity and get that project into the world!

Tell a New Story about an Ancient Myth: Ansel Elkins’ Autobiography of Eve

One of my favorite tricks (if trick is the right word) that poets do really well is shifting the perspective of an old story we think we know, and showing us something entirely new! Here’s a new way to look at Eve — fierce, powerful, free!

HFCZ54135181083015628

Autobiography of Eve
Ansel Elkins

Wearing nothing but snakeskin
boots, I blazed a footpath, the first
radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates
of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold
between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a mysterious echo:
my own voice
singing to me from across the forbidden
side. I shook awake—
at once alive in a blaze of green fire.

Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.

I leapt
to freedom.

***

If you’re feeling stuck, or want to expand your writing mind, stretch your writing muscles, why not try retelling one of the ur stories of your particular culture? Take the leap!

Bloggers & Poets!! Great free course

Writers, the folks behind WordPress are launching a free poetry course. I’ve participated in their blogging workshops and they’re great! Free, participatory, as much or as little work as you want to put in, and did I mention, FREE?

Poets of the world, unite!

The idea behind Writing 201: Poetry is to bring together poets of all styles, temperaments, and experience levels in a way that encourages writing, sharing, and discussion.

You get to decide how laid back or challenging you want the course to be.

Each day for the duration of the course (not counting weekends), you’ll receive an assignment, made up of three parts: a word prompt, a poetic form, and a poetic device. You get to choose which of these you want to explore (if any).

Read more: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/writing-201-poetry-signup/

Poem: Recipe for a Broken Man

By Pat Crews ©2015

He is a man who wings
never fully expand
Whose frozen smile
and toasty reception
greet you at the door and
attempt to penetrate your trust
He is a man
who does the bidding of others
and knows not of any
system he would dare to buck

He is a Shepard
with an obscured vision
who does not see the saddened eyes
and broken spirits
of those in his flock
He is a captain
who comes upon deck,
only, after the rough seas
have subsided and the ship
is back on course

He is a pioneer
setting foot on frontier lands
who will never have the weight
to leave one footprint behind.