Wednesday, October 2, 2013

100 Thousand Poets for Change - What Change? Where? How?


The 100 Thousand Poets for Change event at the end of September has attracted poets from many political and spiritual orientations.  I have participated in two such events with my writing group, Westside Women Writers, so I decided to do something different this year and join the diverse community of poets, artists, spiritual teachers and comedians who gathered at the Church of Truth: Center for Awakening Consciousness. The event, organized by poet Marcielle Brandler was recorded for her show "Marcielle Presents..." to be broadcast on public access TV in Pasadena.

Marcielle invited me because she liked my ephemeral and sensual love poetry and wanted me to read that. I wondered what this type of poetry may have to do with protests, demonstrations, anti-war, anti-1% and pro-Occupy events that other 100 Thousand Poets for Change have evolved into.
I was pleasantly surprised that the change she is interested in is the same type of change I'm interested in - the only one we can actually control and "own" - personal, spiritual change. 
Since we met at the closing of my Exhibition "Shadows-Leaves-Roses" at Scenic Drive Gallery of Susan Dobay in Monrovia, I decided to honor our mutual friend with a poem inspired by her painting, Musicscape 12, an image of a large tree surrounded by small trees in a whirlwind of pastel colors.

See how we dance? 

~ inspired by Susan Dobay's "Musicscape  12"

Simon says – “grow”
and our roots reach for water
our branches for the sun

Simon says – “blossom”
and our pink petals open
in a gold mist of newness

 Simon says – “sing”
and we let the breeze whisper
with hummingbirds, jewels, leaves

 Simon says – “fly”
and we turn and turn again
in swirling clouds, voiceless music, dancing


Published in  an anthology "On Awakening" ed. K. Wilson, Poets on Site, 2012.

The poem is a play on a children's game - followers and teacher, learning to grow and spread your wings, by following an example of someone or something who/that is already there. Inspired. 
How appropriate that the poem was published in a book "On Awakening" edited by Kathabela Wilson and consisting of poetry to paintings by Susan Dobay!

The focus on personal enlightenment took me next to my didactic poem, a definition of virtues - four cardinal and three theological virtues, The Cornerstone. I have shared this poem here in the past, but why not read it again?

The Cornerstone

Justice: Do what's right, what's fair.
           Fortitude:  Keep smiling. Grin and bear.
                   Temperance: Don't take more than your share.
                            Prudence: Choose wisely. Think and care.
 Find yourself deep in your heart
                       In a circle of cardinal virtues
                                     The points of your compass
                                                                YOUR CORNERSTONE
Once you've mastered the steps, new ones appear:
      Faith:   You are not alone . . .
Hope:  And all shall be well . . .
Love:   The very air we breathe

                                                                           WHERE WE ARE. . .

This poem uses color font so it can be read by a group, with each member reading lines of different color and the words in caps read by all. At the end there is a definition of love as the "very air we breathe where we are..." I really, really like this definition and am very proud of having come up with it. It is so true, and so amazing.  It is the universal love of everyone and everything, the love that starts at self and spread outwards to touch every single life, every single being we come in touch with.

But then, I came to the understanding of this love - a concept that eluded me for decades - through a very specific, romantic kind of love. This one, too, is timeless, or can be, when treated right. So I read the perennial favorite of my audiences that I read so often I grew tired and stopped entirely.

The Rose Window
I place you in the heart
of my rose, dark red one
with dew drops on its leaves.
Like a tricked-up baby
from Ann Geddes' postcard
you rest, snugly wrapped
in the comfort of my love.

"That too shall pass," they say,
"That too shall pass.
The rose will wither,
love will fade away."

Respectfully, I disagree.
I know the symmetry
of velvet petals
is but an opening
into a different universe,
a cosmic window,

I see it in the shyness
of your smile. Yes.
You are that lucky.

In the morning
when the curtains of mist
open above silver hills
carved from time
like a Japanese woodcut,
you taste freedom.
You found your true self
under the detritus
of disordered life.

Isn't it strange
that you've been saved
by the perfection

of just one rose?

Published in Rose Always: A Court Love Story (Moonrise Press, Rev. ed. 2011)

From the window it was a very short trip inside, to Marcielle's favorite poem of mine, Eros 6. I read it at the "Shadows-Leaves- Roses" exhibition to a great delight of my audience. It is short and defines feminine view of love that is sweet, sensuous and spiritual. 


Eros 2

if you have a stem
that needs a flower
      I am your rose

if you are a blade of grass
that longs for the happy weight
of the butterfly,
      I’ll give you wings

if you are a cherry
overflowing with rich, sweet juice,
      I’ll plant you as my tree

published in Miriam's Iris (Moonrise Press, 2008).

My poetry fit very well with the theme of the reading and the core ideas represented by the Church of Truth, founded in 1913, and still active. Their motto ("Live the Light, Give the Light! Bring heaven to earth every day!") may appear in many religions and this original, gentle, and inspired group professes borrowing from a number of traditions. 

If you are interested in the Church of Truth, visit their website:  This is a definition of their tenets:

"New Thought, as defined by The International New Thought Alliance, is an ever evolving understanding that all of life happens through us, never to us. It uses the term or word consciousness to further explain the process, often quoting Emmet Fox's statement, 'Life is Consciousness,' that leads one to the ever unfolding idea that in order to effect a change in our life, the realm of mind called consciousness must first change."

I  do not know if I will come back for any of their meetings, since I have my calendar filled with artistic events, and my Sunday mornings with serving as an usher in a Catholic church. However, I was delighted to have selected a matching dress, scarf and book covers to go so well with the colors of their poster, depicting the flower of an opening lotus. That was very inspired!

I was also quite happy to meet many interesting poets and inspired writers. For me, a visit to the Church of Truth was a gift and an opening of a window to  a world I knew nothing about.  That's change enough for this year.

1 comment:

  1. hey nice post meh, I love your style of blogging here. this post reminded me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: Overcoming Shyness .
    keep up the good work friend. I will be back to read more of your posts.