Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

Please join me with your comments and make this a dialogue . . . and visit Susan's Poetry!

Friday, June 29, 2012

On my 61st birthday

I should be vacuuming and completing the little things I do when my parents are coming to visit, but here I am instead capturing these thoughts while they are ripe.  Just an instant ago, I wrote this poem on a theme that has been with me these past few months:  
Hitting the top

I am at the ceiling, I shall want
the days when sky was the limit--
nor is the ceiling made of glass.

I rub my eyes as if clearer vision
will assist me to rise above
like eyeglasses help me to hear.

I have roof tiles in my hands
tar between my teeth,  and grit
in my hair as I bat my head up.

Is the sky still blue?  And clouds?
Are they puffy? sketchy? still?
When did I become color blind?

When bound? What eagle eats
my bloody heart as I relish—
or try to—gifts I once gave?

I resist plucking feathers as past
you zoom and I try again to rise
in the tail of your gravity.

I am exaggerating, of course, but I feel this occasionally in the Halls of the Poets I have been visiting who have not even yet reached the peak of their knowledge or abilities in science, music, mathematics, probability, statistics, philosophy and chance.   I want to crack codes to hear the truths poets share.  Conversely, I want to stand in my own truths and admire the parade as it goes on by, proud that I used to be part of it.  
Amazingly (or not), I find many of them enjoy reading me, too—not as a relic but as a participant in their emerging culture.  It is a daily joy to walk with them as we nudge each other toward our bests. Something true is happening here and the poem above is part of it.   I have tears in my eyes, which I now know is a sign of more to come. 


  1. Susan this is absolutely from a poetic heart.....so happy to meet you.....to go beyond and feel that is fantastic.....I am glad I tried my hand in writing....even if it is nothing I have met many poetic hearts..its sheer happiness....once again happy to meet you...

  2. I love your conceit; it works so well, the tar and roofing tile in hand brought me an instant empathetic pain. This community of poets can be a source of joy and frustration. Each week I learn something invaluable. Have you read Art and Fear? I used to do workshops on that book at the nonprofit community arts center I ran. There are wonderful tools for acknowledging your gifts while watching the 'parade' go by. I admire your poetry and your honesty. Thank you for sharing your gifts with me, it is a blessing!

  3. Thank you for visiting my blag and leaving comments! Wow!

    Sreeja--your poem so inspired me that I will be back for more. "Sheer happiness" is an apt description.

    Anna--I will check out "art and fear." I am so happy that the conceit works for you. I know your poems work for me, that they take me very far and I intend to read them forever. Never stop.

  4. Susan, your comment is a treasure that brings tears of deep gratitude. What a terribly kind thing to say. I wanted to tell you how much I love your two posts on truth. As an introvert I'll be turning those over and over again in my mind for a long time. I often use persona but I have to use it socially too. I find that my poetry, like all the art that I make, is in fact my most deeply truthful expression because it allows for nuanced meaning to be conveyed. I don’t think the ‘persona’ I adopt socially is nearly so soul expanding but it allows other people to feel comfortable around me. However, unlike art that invigorates it usually exhausts. There is however, something to be said about appropriate intimacy and revelation to strangers, etc. that allows persona to be a healthy boundary. Anyway, Art & Fear is by David Bayles and Ted Orland, I gained a lot from it, though some of it may not feel applicable to writing.

  5. Thank you for opening this conversation Anna, and especially reading the two parts of truth and poetry. I do not believe that concern will ever be "finished." It is important to me to keep asking the questions. Persona and truth.

    A note: "Terribly kind" is a double edged phrase. How shy you seem, how protective of others . . . which makes art even more important. That is what "Olly olly oxen free" is about: http://susanspoetry.blogspot.com/2012/06/olly-olly-oxen-free.html

    I am "amazoning" "Art and Fear." I have been through "The Artists Way" a few times about 15-20 years ago, when I also came across the potter MC Richards at a retreat. I haven't looked at it for awhile but remember opening a lot with her "Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person"

  6. About my phrase 'terribly kind' I think it feels right to me as I often cry in response to kindness, after my childhood trauma it always surprises me and catches me vulnerable, off guard. So it arrives terrible in my definition like 'formidable in nature', 'awesome', or 'impactful' and not the negative connotations. I have also enjoyed The Artists Way :).

  7. Hiya susan,
    First of all: happy birthday. It is a special date for me, as it is our son's birthday and I think mothers remember the actual birth-day, including the hour and the moment.
    I hope it was a happy day for you.
    Truth and honesty are what I'm struggling with, at the moment. And politeness and welf promotion. I am finding it difficult to accept some of the prevailing attitudes.I can't cope with the 'awesomes' and 'stunnings' that get bandied about and today it all seems to add up.I reckon honesty can be a curse in today's society. This only partially touches upon what you are saying, but I was so delighted to seem some real feelings being expressed here today.
    Don't feel you have to publish this.

  8. Hello Aprille, Welcome to the conversation! I am delighted to meet you here as well as in my poetry blog. You raise an issue that I want to get to in the main pages, not just in the comments---and that issue is "response." I have learned to say what I like rather than a blanket "great," but I am still unable to belch out my overall thinking if it is negative. Would I want someone to tell me that my poems are derivative and adolescent? Hmm. Well, I know that they are not--but I am not widely read in poetry. I could be going where others have already tread. But you are right that the "awesomes" are little use. As a teacher, I encouraged all--but I don't know if this is the same situation. I know that the dVerse and the Imaginary Garden people take LOTS of time to read everything. This makes me read more, and reading more IS helpful. I'll raise more points about this later.

  9. I SO LOVE this poem........the grit in your hair, the tar in your teeth - oh yes! I love "something true is happening here"....yes - being part of this blogosphere has changed my life, too, and I am continually humbled by the support and encouragement we give each other. You are DEFINITELY a part of this, my friend, not a "relic".....there is room for every sister's voice.........

  10. From the distance of my almost 75 years, I can reassure you that you are entering what could be the best years of your life. Retirement for me has been the most creative, successful (degree at 72) and enjoyable period.

  11. From your lips to God's ears! I have only been retired since March first, but so far what you say is true. Congratulations on your degree! (And I thought getting mine at 40 was amazing, ha!) I am so happy that you decided to visit my poem. The one you wrote on a similar (though more specific) topic was truly fine.


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