Thursday, May 31, 2018

Grateful Conversations: A Poetry Anthology by Friends

Grateful Conversations: A Poetry Anthology 

Edited by Maja Trochimczyk and Kathi Stafford

Paperback, 280 pages, with black and white illustrations

I am very happy to have completed the bulk of the work on the anthology of poetry by my writing group, Westside Women Writers.  Entitled Grateful Conversations: A Poetry Anthology, after a prompt by the founder of our group Millicent Borges Accardi, this 280 page volume was co-edited by Kathi Stafford and published on May 30, 2018. 

Grateful Conversations is a portrait of a group of female poets from California, who come together each month to hone their craft and share their verse.  Known as Westside Women Writers and active as a group since 2008, they include Millicent Borges Accardi, Madeleine S. Butcher, Georgia Jones Davis, Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, Kathi Stafford, Sonya Sabanac, Ambika Talwar and myself. 

In the words of the WWW founder, Millicent Borges Accardi, this is “a community of women writers working together to support each other with strong attention to craft, to grow as writers and as people in community.” The volume includes poems written for seven workshops and self-portraits in poetry of the nine writers. 

WWW at the Norton Simon Museum.August 2013.
L to R: Maja, Susan, Lois, Georgia, Sonya, Madeleine and Millicent.  

To read the preface and find out which poems are included in which workshop sections, please visit the Moonrise Press Blog.  My poems are found in most of the workshop sections: 1) Millicent's prompt, "The Lake of Claret," 2) A harpist at the Getty Villa - "Song of Stillness," 3) Van Gogh at Norton Simon Museum - "Into Color, Into Light," and "The Mulberry Song" 4) Grandparents - "How to Make a Mazurka," from Chopin with Cherries, and "Ciocia Tonia" from The Rainy Bread; 6. The Broad Museum - "The Infinity Room" and 7. Rivers - "Easter Apocalypsis."


The Lake of Claret

Maja Trochimczyk


The scent of cinnamon and nutmeg in the air
Hot sangria in my glass, white light shines
Through the rich hue of claret, opalescent
Like my silk scarf at a California party

I savor the taste of long ago – that evening 
On the lake by the bonfire heating a huge metal pot 
With cheap wine from bottles marked “Wino” 
In a fake handwriting – no provenance, 
no appellation controlée

We put plums, apples and piernik spices
Into our grzane wino during that fateful sailing trip
Spending nights under dark fir branches
Picking mushrooms and blueberries 
In the underbrush

They thrive in acidic soil fed by rotting needles
Where a pungent smell of decay and fruit lingers
Beneath prickly juniper swathed in cobwebs
Drops of moisture gather on pine bark 
Striped by shadows

A handful of wild strawberries glisten 
Among delicate blades of grass in forest clearings
We lose our way, lured on by their promise 
Of sweetness, their carmine hue, light aroma 
Brightened by sunshine

We did not talk much then, my last year
Of wandering through Mazurian Lakes
Stopping at island coves, setting camp, moving on
After a morning dive to the sandy bottom, 
Scattering the fish

It was best to listen to the wind in the treetops
Pine branches whispering to each other
About the end of summer, snow that will break them, 
Icicles that may kill –grateful conversations never had

But now taking place


In my own Self-Portrait section, I put two poems about writing and our group, two about immigration and nostalgia for lost country, two about romantic love, and two about spiritual lessons in life. Some of my poems have been previously published and only one brand new: "Definition: Writing;" "In Millicent’s World;" "An Ode of the Lost;" "On Eating a Donut at the Kraków Airport;" "Shambhala; "“Look at me…”; "On Divine Comedy and Ice Cream;" "Repeat after Me;" and  "In Morning Light." 

I also selected a variety of illustrations from my thousands of nature photos, it took a while to pick them and then I had to change the selected images, because they did not work in black and white of the original paperback book.  There will be color versions soon, so that's not a complete loss. 


In an essay about my personal approach to poetry, I wrote: 

Personally, I never considered poetry a “career.” I‘m already a musicologist (Ph.D.)  and a grant writer; I do not need to make poetry into a job! Thus, I have avoided competitions and conferences, and initially wrote only for myself. Meanwhile, I discovered that having a roomful of people wait with bated breath for my next word was and is completely addictive. And the shortest way to finding myself in front of such an awe-struck audience is to workshop my poems with really talented poets. 

In the following selections from 20 years of poetry-writing, I included self-portraits as an émigré, daughter, and lover, and a poem I wrote for Millicent, grateful for her charming and eccentric home with a rustic patio - daffodils in the spring, red-white-and-blue lanterns in the summer, and gold leaves in the autumn. I close my self-portrait with a “responsorial” poem from my Into Light book of spiritually inspired verse and incantations. Over the years, I wrote a lot of dirges and plaints; in this book, I gathered my positive, inspirational poems. It is time to think of what I’ll leave behind and those types of poems are my little treasures to be shared with children and friends. 


For me, poetry writing truly is about “Grateful Conversations” – with myself, with my friends, with the world… I am deeply thankful for the ten years and many hours of conversing with Westside Women Writers! 


The Infinity Room


At the Broad Museum, is closed, they say. 
I do not trust them, anyway. I would not go in.

I find my own Infinity on the beach –
floating on the waves that cross the Pacific
to lick my toes covered with sand crystals.
It is scattered among multicolored pebbles 
in shallow tide pools I walk through to reach you.

I’m home now.

My infinity stirs in dewdrops on the grass –
diamond sparks on moss green, chartreuse and celadon, 
shining  in early spring light.

It tastes refreshing in cold juice of an orange 
picked in my garden when it is 33 outside. It echoes 
in the melodious phrases of the mockingbird 
that claims the top of my pine, its contours 
outlined against the misty hilltops 
and the bluest of California skies.

Where is yours? Where have you found 
that spark, that voice, that calling?

Is it in the sunrays bouncing off the mirror surface of the lake,
splitting into a myriad prisms between your fingers -
your private rainbow?  Or the hot desert wind 
that challenges you to a race across sand dunes? 

Maybe you walk into the white expanse of the museum 
filled with a bunch of Jeff Koontz’s metallic balloons 
and see yourself reflected in the smooth, polished skins, 
bright and translucent like air bubbles, a giant child’s delight?

I hold a bouquet of infinity in my hand. 
It opens to blossom in ellipses, circles, petals –
intersecting trajectories of light, reverberations
of energy reflecting a multitude of timelines –

crystal after crystal – wave after wave –
carnelian into amber into gold – emerald into sapphire  
into quartz crystals – sparkling above a multitude 
of mirrored cupolas – other infinities that pass me by.
 




In Morning Light

We live on a planet where it rains diamonds —
hard rain, sparkling crystal droplets — in the clouds, 
in the air, on the ground under our feet.

Here, the Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday.
Red strawberries, wine-hot passion and Ashes to ashes,
dust to dust — lessons of impermanence of the body,
constantly reconfigured in a vortex of quarks and atoms
until the pattern dissolves like snow at the end of winter.
Delicate snowdrops peek from under the melting cover 
of phantasmagorical shapes and figures.

Here, the Annunciation Day of Mary’s greatest joy
falls on Palm Sunday — from rainbow wings of Fra Angelico’s 
Gabriel bowing before the shy, blushing maiden in royal blue
we look ahead to the green of palm fronds lining the streets
of Jerusalem. We welcome the destiny of the King.
We see red blood on the stones of Golgotha, 
the Place of the Skull. Not even this is real.

No wonder, then, that Easter, the greatest Mystery —
of Death into Life, Spirit over Matter, the Divine 
in an emptied human shell — Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachtani — 
Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei — it is done  — 
yes, that Easter — is on April’s  Fools Day this year.

We fool ourselves when we see death as enemy.
We spin our lives into thin filaments of a spider-web.
Illusion woven into illusion. Deception after deception.
They rise and fall with the rhythm of seductive charm.
The smiling demon is the most persistent. Incorrigible,

it pulls us down, down, down into the mud, 
from whence we did not come. Nothingness 
ties us up with bonds of non-belonging.

My revelation is this — we live on the planet 
where it rains diamonds. We walk on untold treasures 
that we do not notice — we forget and forget and forget 
where we came from, where we are, where we are going.
We spin our future out of spider silk and shadows.

Our lives fill with the sand of dreams, changing 
like shards of glass, broken bits of colored plastic 
in a kaleidoscope — transfigured into the most 
astounding waltz of the rosettes, reflected 
in hexagonal mirrors of transcendence —

My revelation is this — we are the children 
of Sunlight — blessed by Radiance — wearing 
Love’s golden halos — we shine and blossom — 
in Light’s cosmic garden of stars — lilies — violets — 
peonies — daffodils —and roses — always roses — 
in this brilliant garden — on a diamond planet —
of what is — in the Heart of the Great, Great Silence —

— there’s no here — nor  there —
— no before  — nor  after —
— no inside  — nor  outside —

——— All is Always Now———
——— All is Always One———

——— Where We Are ——— 





Monday, April 23, 2018

The Spirituality of Spring Cleaning: Open the Windows, Let in the Light!

my tree smiles
in shy shades of pink
pointing to clouds 

When the sun starts shining brighter and days become longer, Nature wakes up - the first snowdrops peek from under the snow in cold countries, and you start to hear songbirds, even though trees do not have leaves yet.

Camellia in Desanso Gardens

The Weaver weaves
soft crowns of camellia petals - 
Spring has come

In California, grass is never as green as in the spring - depending on the length of the rain season it may last through the second half of January or all the way into mid-April. All the plants have new buds, grow a mile a minute, blossom. What a beautiful symphony!


emerald grace 
in sunlight, in shadow
blooms into green

Out with the old, in with the new.  Usually, the California seasons overlap - the trees still have yellow leaves and the liquid amber is covered in color, but the grass becomes greener and tulips with daffodils make an appearance. This year, though, we have a real spring - with fresh, green leaves on fresh green trees, above fresh green grass. Everything fresh! Even the chemtrails last for a day and dissipate quickly in the blaze of sunlight. Maybe there's something out there mopping them out...That would be very nice, indeed!

Easter egg Ukrainian style by Susan Rogers, of Sukyo Mahikari and Jewish roots.

everything 
starts from an egg
of an idea

It is also time to clean the soul - out with old beliefs and ways of thinking, in with new principles of spiritual beliefs... People seem to be genetically constructed to seek for and worship the Divine. There are various approaches to this search, various ways of giving thanks, or making offerings to the Pantheon of deities that humanity  worshiped over thousands of years of its existence.

Angel and Buddha with their crystal balls 

look within - 
find knowledge in crystals
without seeing


dark creatures
flee the sweetest scent 
of white hyacinth 

In my recent readings I found a Dolphin Star Temple, Crystal Stairs of Ascension,  Unveiled Mysteries by Godfre Ray King (AKA Guy Ballard, founder of "I AM" activities in the 1930s and the St. Germain Foundation later), and Violet Rays of St. Germain. All full of Light... Fascinating...

In fact, some people claim we live on the surface of one benevolent, generous and infinitely kind Divine Being, Gaia, our Living Earth! Time to celebrate her bounty this spring.

Magnolia in Descanso Gardens.

blush pink and white
magnolia petals open wide
to drink sunlight

The search for enlightenment, so crucial to celebrating the spring is beautifully summarized in three key ideas: Seeing the Divine in All, Nurturing of Life, and Gratitude. I found these three ideas in an essay attributed either to some powerful other-worldly aliens, or to time-travelling humans who returned to us from the year 3,000+ to teach us about things that are the most important....

Bromeliad in Descanso Gardens.

orange of joy
amber of desire - 
bloom in the light

You may read the essay about it on the Web of Love website: https://www.weboflove.org/transformation. Here, it appears in a form translated from its original version on the Wingmakers website (part 1 and part 2) that was published in 1999 and redone in 2001. The translation is by Fred Burks of PEERS network. The essay was found in one of a series of 23 chambers hidden in rocks in a remote canyon in New Mexico.

The site has been described as an ET time capsule - and contains works of art, poetry, philosophy, music, as well as strange technological artifacts. It was quickly taken over and hidden by the powers that were - according to the two authors of the original interviews, a "whistleblower" who worked on deciphering the strange alphabet and transcribing the writings, and a journalist who published his story and transcriptions organized in a series of chambers, 1 to 23.

Daisies in my garden.

dots  in circles - 
the ancient  Sun symbol 
graces my driveway  

I do not know if future humans were able to time-travel back to 1990s to create these chambers in a remote site in New Mexico, or whether these creators were not humans at all, but ETs that are 10 feet tall, benevolent and called Corteum, from a galaxy 15,000 light years away... Or if it is just a hoax by a very creative person, equally at home with composing music, making huge paintings, or writing poetry.


Adam picks 
flowers for Grandma -
Easter garden

What matters is that the actual simple principles are quite revolutionary if taken into daily life and practiced without a pause to overthink this... Seeing all Life as Divine (=love everyone, respect everything). Nurturing Life (=no war, no weapons, no toxins anywhere), and Being Grateful (=thankful for each day, each experience, each encounter).  Enjoy the story, then...

Since I do not know about the copyright status of this unusual discovery, instead of posting its fascinating artwork, I decided to share my photos from this spring - flowers from Descanso Gardens and from my own garden, so lush and vibrant this year.   I wish everyone to have a lush and vibrant year, this year!


orange blossoms 
fill my garden with fragrance -
a prophecy of taste

One of the most important aspects of spiritual self-cleaning is subduing or removing unwelcome negative emotions and learning to respond to all life events and challenges in a peaceful, even serene manner - because all we experience comes from Love and is yet another lesson in learning how to Love. So we welcome all experiences in gratitude and the spirit of kindness towards all beings of this Earth whether a mosquito or a bird singing in our yard. Some people say, when hearing birdsong in the morning: "If I had a bibigun I'd shoot that goddamn bird first thing in the morning..." But to others, hearing the birds sweet, fluted calls are a delight and a refreshing moment: a reminder of the beauty of sunlight, the blueness of the sky, the emerald and celadon green hues of the leaves and grass, and so forth...

It is because our culture has become so filled with negativity, pride, selfishness, and judgment that such sentiments as outlined above are often rejected as trite, sentimental, that is unworthy of a poet or a writer to express. But if joy and serenity are trite and sentimental, why bother? There's certainly no point in writing, experiencing anything or even living, if the end result will not be joyous or serene...

azalea rainbow
spills over my pathway - 
avalanche of spring

While re-reading the Unveiled Mysteries, a funny and amusing book with elements of treasure hunt, fascination with hidden chambers filled with gold and jewels, and mysterious technologies, as well as the cult of hierarchies and the chosen ones, I noticed its hidden treasures, such as the description of the Meditation on Light, recommended for 30 minutes for each evening and morning. Since the book was published in 1935, perhaps this is the original description of this meditation?

I found it somewhere on the internet, do not even remember where, and wrote it out into a poem, finding at one reading that it was a good thing to do even for five minutes during a poetry event. The long and short versions are in my Into Light book and have been posted on this blog, so I will not repost them here.

Instead, here is an excerpt from the Unveiled Mysteries with a discussion of learning to tame the emotions and using the focus of the mind and heart to clean ourselves of the discordant thoughts and emotions and bring all sorts of beautiful things into this world.


follow the flames
of blooming bromeliads
into spring of silence

Excerpt of Chapter 1, from Unveiled Mysteries 
by Godfre Ray King (1934), pages 6 to 12

"Love and praise—of That Great Self Within—and the attention maintained focused upon Truth—health—freedom—peace—supply—or any other thing that you may desire for a right use—persistently held in your conscious thought and feeling—will bring them into your use and world—as surely as there is a Great Law of Magnetic Attraction in the Universe.

The Eternal Law of Life is that—'Whatever you think and feel you bring into form; where your thought is there you are—for you are your consciousness; and whatever you meditate upon—you become.'
"When one allows his mind to dwell upon thoughts  of hate—condemnation—lust—envy—jealousy—criticism—fear—doubt—or suspicion—and allows these feelings of irritation to generate within him—he will certainly have discord, failure and disaster in his mind, body and world. As long as he persists in allowing his attention to be held by such thoughts—whether they be about nations—persons—places—conditions—or things—he is absorbing those activities into the substance of his mind, his body, and his affairs—in fact he is compelling—forcing—them into his experience.

"All these discordant activities reach the individual and his world—through his thought and feeling. Feeling often flashes before one is aware of the thought—in the outer consciousness—which he might use to control it, and this kind of experience should teach him—how great is the energy within his many creations—which has accumulated through habit. 

"The feeling activity of Life is the most unguarded point—of human consciousness. It is the accumulative energy by which thoughts are propelled into the atomic substance, and thus—do thoughts become things. I tell you—the need of guarding the feeling cannot be emphasized too strongly for control of the emotions plays the most important part of anything in Life, in maintaining—balance in the mind—health in the body-success and accomplishment in the affairs and world of the personal self of every individual. Thoughts can never become things—until they are clothed with feeling.

"The Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit is the feeling side of Life—God—the Activity of Divine Love—or the Mother Expression of Deity. This is why the sin against the Holy Ghost is referred to—as that which brings such great distress—because any discord in the feeling breaks the Law of Love—which is the Law of Balance—Harmony—and Perfection.

"The greatest crime in the Universe against the Law of Love is humanity's almost ceaseless sending forth—of every kind of irritable and destructive feeling.

"One day the race will come to realize and recognize—that the sinister destructive forces manifesting on this earth and in its atmosphere—generated mark you by human thought and feeling—have only entered the affairs of individuals or nations—through the lack of control in the emotions—of everyone's—daily personal experience. Even destructive thoughts—cannot express themselves as action, events, or become physical things—except by passing through the world of feeling; for it is in this phase of manifestation—that the activity of coalescing the physical atom upon thought forms takes place.

"As the noise from a sudden explosion shocks the nervous system of one who hears it—setting up a trembling sensation in the cellular structure of the body—in exactly the same way—do the flares of irritated feeling shock—disturb—and disarrange the finer substance in the atomic structure of the mind, body, and world of the person who sends them out—consciously or unconsciously—intentionally or unintentionally.

"Discordant feeling is the producer of conditions we call disintegration—old age—lack of memory—and every other failure—in the world of human experience. The effect upon the body structure is the same as that produced upon a building—if the mortar holding the bricks together were to receive repeated shocks, and each day those were to be increased. This continued shock would shake apart the particles composing the mortar—the building would collapse into a chaotic mass—and the form be no more. That is what mankind is—constantly—doing to the atomic structure of the human body.

"To give expression to the discordant thoughts and feelings in one's self is the course of least resistance, and the habitual activity of the undeveloped—undisciplined—and willful individual—who refuses to understand the 'Law of his own Being' and bring the personal self—which is but his instrument of expression—into obedience to 'That Law.'

"He—who cannot or will not control his thoughts and feelings—is in a bad way—for every door of his consciousness is wide open to the disintegrating activities—thrown off by other minds and the emotions of other personalities. It takes neither strength, wisdom nor training to give way to unkind, destructive impulses, and the full-grown human beings who do this are but children—in their development of self-control.

"It is a blight upon the Life of mankind that so little control of the emotions is taught humanity from the cradle to the grave. Attention to this particular point is the greatest need—in the Western world today. It is easy to give way to discordant thoughts, feelings, and activities to be sure—because the mass of mankind are submerged as it were—by environment and association entirely created by themselves.

"The individual—through his control of the outer consciousness—must make the effort to rise out of this condition by his own free will—in order to transcend these limitations—permanently—and no one can hope to rid his life and world of misery, discord, and destruction—until he leashes his own thought and feeling. In this way—he refuses to let the Life—flowing through his mind and body—become qualified by the discord—resulting from every little disturbing occurrence in the world about him.

"At first—such discipline does require determined, continuous effort—for the thoughts and feelings—of ninety-five per cent of humanity—run as uncontrolled and free—as a little tramp dog. However—no matter how much effort it takes to bring these two activities under control—it is worth any amount of time and energy expended—and no Real—Permanent—Dominion—of one's Life and world can take place without it. It will be my pleasure and privilege to teach you the use of these Higher Laws, and their application will enable you to release True Wisdom and bring about All Perfection.

"The first step to the control of yourself—is the stilling of all outer activity—of both mind and body. Fifteen to thirty minutes—at night before retiring and in the morning before beginning the day's work—using the following exercise—will do wonders for anyone—who will make the necessary effort.


[Instructions for Meditation on Light]

"For the second step:—make certain of being undisturbed, and after becoming very still—picture and feel your body enveloped in a Dazzling White Light. The first five minutes—while holding this picture—recognize—and feel intensely—the connection between the outer self and Your Mighty God Within—focusing your attention upon the heart center—and visualizing it—as a Golden Sun.

"The next step is the acknowledgment:—'I now joyously accept—the Fulness of the Mighty God Presence—the Pure Christ.' Feel—the Great Brilliancy of the 'Light' and intensify It—in every cell of your body for at least ten minutes longer.

"Then close the meditation by the command:—I am a Child of the 'Light'—I Love the 'Light'—I Serve the 'Light'—I Live in the 'Light'—I am Protected, Illumined, Supplied, Sustained by the 'Light,' and I Bless the 'Light'.


[End of Instructions for Meditation on Light]


 Sun touches
heart of scarlet camellia -
flowering peace


"Remember always—'One becomes—that—upon which he meditates'—and since all things have come forth from the 'Light'—'Light'—is the Supreme Perfection—and Control—of all things.

"Contemplation and adoration of the 'Light' compels Illumination to take place in the mind—health, strength, and order to come into the body—and peace, harmony, and success to manifest in the affairs of every individual—who will really do it, and seeks to maintain it.

"All the way down the centuries—in every age, under every condition—we are told by all who have expressed the greater accomplishments of Life that—the 'Light' is Supreme—the 'Light' is everywhere—and in the 'Light'—exist all things.

"That Truth is just as true today as it was a million years ago. As far back as there is any record of humanity, the Wise and Great Ones of all ages are portrayed with a radiation of 'Light' about them—emanating from the head and body itself. This 'Light' is Real—just as Real as the electric lights in your homes. [...]


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

California Poetry in the California Quarterly 44/1 and Joys of Spring

Kathabela Wilson, Maja Trochimczyk, and Marlene Hitt with the California Quarterly 44/1, March 25, 2018

There is so much poetry going on, it is hard to keep track of things. I have been busy editing collections of poetry by others, with some poems of mine as well.


Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

This volume features almost 60 poets, including Village Poets Pam Shea and Marlene Hitt, and poets who featured at Bolton Hall Museum in the past: Kathabela Wilson, Susan Rogers, Margaret Saine, Deborah P. Kolodji and William Scott Galasso.  Copies of the CQ may be obtained by ordering online at CaliforniaStatePoetrySociety.org , or by mailing a request for a specific​ issue together with a check for $10.00 per copy. Do not forget to name the specific issue you are requesting (this one is 44/1) and submit your order to:  CSPS VP/Membership 2560 Calabria Ct, Dublin, CA 94568.

Every poet is invited to join the CSP Society, online or by mail. First fill out the form on the website, then print it and send with payments by mail to: 
CSPS Vice President - Membership, 
2560 Calabria Court, Dublin, California  94568

When editing this volume first I thought I should have a theme of spring, new life, renewal, then i realized that poets submitted mostly about the fall (what was currently written), so I had to revise my theme into the "cycle of life" - in its physical natural beauty and spiritual depth.  I'm thrilled to have encountered so many new wonderful poets, and to be able to publish the work of talented friends. I used some haiku, including two of mine, as comments on shorter poems, and wrote a new poem to close the issue. 


Here's the table of contents of the California Quarterly, Volume 44, Number 1
  • Fragments - Jerry Sexton, 7
  • The Night Sky - Thomas Mitchell, 8
  • October Yellow Jackets  - Mary Lou Wickham, 9
  • Yellow School Bus (Haiku) - William Scott Galasso, 9
  • Autumn Song - Thomas Mitchell, 10
  • Meditation - Pamela Shea, 10
  • Coming Home - Momoyo Capanna, 11
  • The Holy - Claire Millikin, 12
  • Pause at the Long Valley Caldera - Selma Calnan, 13
  • Autumn of My Life (Tanka) - Kath Abela Wilson, 13
  • Devore Fire - Dana Stamps, II, 14
  • Light Shimmers (Haiku)  - Maja Trochimczyk 14
  • Evacuation - Shirley Geok-lin Lim ,15
  • Unknown Happens  - David E. Howerton, 15
  • Waiting for Santa Claus - Shirley Geok-lin Lim, 16
  • Japanese Maple (Haiku) - Susan Rogers, 17
  • Parti juste comme ça - Michael D. Amitin, 18
  • Gone Like That - Lionel Roudet (Translation of Amitin's poem), 19
  • Elohim -  d.p. houston, 20
  • Waiting - Marlene Hitt, 20
  • National Botanical Gardens - Alun Rees, 21
  • Late October - Thomas Mitchell, 22
  • Signs of Winter (Tanka) - Kath Abela Wilson, 22
  • Good Evening - AE Hines, 23
  • Visión del Vals de La Nieve - Rodolfo Hasler, 24
  • First Snow - Kath Abela Wilson,  24
  • A Vision of the Snow Waltz - Margaret Saine (Translation of Hausler's poem) 25
  • Winter Triangle (Haiku) - Deborah P Kolodji,  25
  • Christmas Cards - Ken Autrey,  26
  • Quatre Saisons  - Jane Stuart, 27
  • In the Village of Trélex - Lois P. Jones. 28
  • Song of the Pear - Lia Brooks, 29
  • Water from Air - Jane North, 30
  • Only My (Haiku)  - Deborah P Kolodji, 30
  • Meeting Max on His Zero Birthday - Patricia Hukill,  31
  • Shining Shoes - Ken Autrey,  32
  • Wren Song (Haiku) - Deborah P Kolodji ,32
  • Twone - Alessio Zanelli,  33
  • Remembering When … New-  David E. Howerton , 33
  • The Wish of Hedera - Kath Abela Wilson,  34
  • Race to Spring - Alice Pero,  35
  • When That Radiance Breaks - Stephen Colley,  36
  • Lucid - d.p. houston,  37
  • Cerulean Blue -  AE Hines,  38
  • The Veil - Mimi Whittaker,  39
  • Cutouts - Ken Autrey,  40
  • Catching Wood -  John Schneider,  41
  • Playing with Shadows -  Margaret Saine,  42
  • Puny Human - Joshua Savage,  43
  • Response to Mother Earth -  Joshua Savage,  44
  • To Ear by Wing - Kath Abela Wilson,  45
  • Grass - Susan Rogers,  46
  • Off the Dock - John Schneider,  47
  • Can’t Sit Still (Haiku) - William Scott Galasso,  47
  • Waves Crashing -  David E. Howerton , 48
  • The Sea - Alessio Zanelli,  48
  • Sandpipers - Jean Esteve,  49
  • Salt Wind (Haiku) - Deborah P Kolodji,  49
  • Twin Jellyfish (Haiku) - Maja Trochimczyk,  49
  • Awakening - Marlene Hitt,  50
  • An Orchestra of Dreams - Jane Stuart,  50
  • Trampoline Cleaning - Pamela Shea,  51
  • Peaceful Journey - Marlene Hitt,  51
  • Where I Live - Dana Stamps, II,  52
  • Erin’s Song - Susan Rogers,  53
  • Visión de Orion -  Rodolfo Hasler, 54
  • Suza - Susan Rogers,   54
  • Vision of Orion - Margaret Saine (Tr.),  55
  • I Will Be Burned (Tanka) - William Scott Galasso,  55
  • To Come - Madeleine S. Butcher,  56
  • Creation - Jane Stuart, 56
  • Revel …  - Alice Pero, 57
  • White on Blue -  Stephen Colley, 58
  • Arbor Cosmica -  Maja Trochimczyk, 59
  • Cover Art: Yucca Abby Diamond

Photo of maples in Warsaw by Maja Trochimczyk

ARBOR COSMICA 

                      ~ for my children


No fear, no hate, not even a mild dislike*—
we leave our heavy burdens, shards of memories
broken, all too broken, at the bottom of crystal stairs
beneath clouds of white camellias, petals swirling
through air like the snow of forgetfulness

Perfect symmetry of blossoms
points the way — up, up, always up
rainbow crystal stairs, revealed
one by one as we ascend — inwards,
outwards — dancing spirals of our DNA

We get to know this place — these depths,
these heights — for once, for all lifetimes

With each step, pure notes resonate
and expand into clear, spacious chords —
the music of the spheres rings out, wave by wave
expanding from our open hearts

Each chord — harmonious, different —
each melody in this vast symphony
sweetly twines around another, and another
until all are One Song, One Wisdom —
of stem and flower, of leaf and root
in this Cosmic Tree of humanity

Arbor Cosmica —

We have been here
all along without knowing


(c) 2018 by Maja Trochimczyk


Photo of a maple in Warsaw by Maja Trochimczyk

There is a correction to be made, though. The famous word "It" - made infamous by Monthy Python, actually - went missing from the penultimate line of the poem by Alun Rees, sent in from Wales. "It" was not found before the journal went to print, so here is his whole poem, with the missing word inserted in the line that "it" so recklessly abandoned. Apologies to the poet! 

NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS

Chained are these captives on display:
eagle, buzzard, goshawk, kestrel, kite
in a garden setting excellent with plants.
Plants stay in place, but raptors call for shackles
to deny them flight.

They learn to fly to order, just as Spartacus played
the Roman game, in which he had to fight
his comrade gladiators to please the mob.
He waited, then fought a bloody war with his captors
and he did right.

Look these birds in the eye. You will see
half-hidden flames of a fierce internal light.
They do their tricks but you’ll never make them like it.
Even unto death they’re unconquerable killers —
despite chain-blight.

They’ve known a freedom we can’t understand.
They hunt and kill out of hunger, not of spite.
That’s a way of life we’ve long forgotten, and now
confronted with freedom we chain it and go meekly
into no good night.


Alun Rees
Cardiff, Wales

Photos of autumn in Warsaw by Maja Trochimczyk

Photo by Arturas Morozovas

But this is spring, not autumn, oranges are ripe and blossom at the same time... And Easter just passed.. . I had the pleasure of talking about my immigrant experience, my family war-time traumas, and life in general to two journalists from Europe: Polish-Lithuanian journalist Witold Janczys wrote a story based on my interview for a Lithuanian publication, and Polish music journalist and broadcaster Ewa Szczecinska from the Polish Radio recorded an interview to be broadcast in installments - the series has just began - in Polish  Here are the links, and a photo from the Lithuanian publication - translated from Polish into Russian!


Let me, then, end this post with another image, also in the golden hues by Susan Dobay, with oceans and oceans and oceans of blessings...