{thursday thought: lux aterna}


Stars over snow
        And in the West a planet
Swinging below a star —
        Look for a lovely thing and you will find it,
It is not far —
        It never will be far.

~ Sara Teasdale

And we close this month on the threshold of this beautiful truth. Indeed, it is equally true that if you look for unlovely things, you also find them, but aren’t we lucky not to be THOSE people, scrying the world for the ugly?

Polish the lamp, trim the wicks, spark the flint. Arise and shine.

{thursday thought}

“Judaism is a religion that’s pretty big on blessings. We don’t just say a benediction before and after eating, but also when going to the ocean, meeting an old friend, seeing a rainbow, hearing either good or bad news, meeting a non-Jewish king and smelling a fragrant tree. One that tends to make folks giggle the first time they hear of it is a blessing that you’re supposed to say after using the bathroom. Yes! There’s a potty blessing! We do have a blessing for everything! We, as a people, are nothing if not thorough.

The post-bathroom liturgy is traditionally formulated as,

Blessed are You, God our deity, sovereign of the universe, who formed humans with wisdom and created within them many openings and many hollows. It is obvious in the presence of your glorious throne that if one of them were ruptured, or if one of them were blocked, it would be impossible to exist and stand in Your presence. Blessed are you, God, who heals all flesh and performs wonders.

Even if the God language in this text doesn’t resonate with you, there’s something really important here. This blessing encourages us to experience awe in the face of the human body’s complexity, and an awareness of the myriad of things that have to go right in order for us to continue drawing our next breath — and the breath after that. The fact that we’re able to eliminate waste as we’re meant to is a wonder in its own right, a miracle worthy of our respect and gratitude. The simple fact of being embodied is worthy of our spiritual engagement.” ~ Rav Danya Ruttenberg, author of, ‘Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting’ and other books

Yes, I just wished you good eliminating on this, our national holiday of overeating.

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This Thursday’s thought? For what we have received, may we truly be grateful. Maybe pay it forward.

{thanks, again}

This year, I did not do my Daily Gratitude post-a-day challenge in November.

Have you ever heard of scleromyositis? Systemic scleroderma? Polymyositis? Neither had I… but October and November were largely given over to familiarizing myself with Latin and Greek words that characterized these random autoimmune disorders. I suggest you don’t get on the internet and look up either one, or their adjacent symptoms; it’s just not helpful. It’s honestly never helpful to go straight to WebMD after talking to your doctor, but it’s least helpful when you have an autoimmune disorder, and everything you hear or see is a variation on this disorder is related to both fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s and arthritis, and Your Mileage May Vary. At baseline, you can characterize it as the chronic inflammation of the nerves, muscles and joints, but it’s much less straightforward. There is just so little unambiguous information on our bodies attacking ourselves. It’s hard to figure out what you’re feeling, how you should react, what you should fear, and what you should do next.


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I didn’t lack gratitude this autumn — I don’t lack gratitude — but I was lost in my head, trying to remain normal, participate in normal industry activities within the Kidlitosphere, finish this novel, keep normal on the front burner while my head was filled with gray mist and buzzing. After a September move, and finally settling into a little jewel box of a house, I should have been grateful. After the horror of the fires, I should have been grateful that we have had a lovely autumn, with one last splash of unseasonably warm days in October followed by glorious rain, and more rain, with a few clear blue days interspersed in between. Autumn has had a drinkable quality this year, as our lungs praised the air quality and took in deep draughts of petrichor, crisp, leaf-mould, wet ground, faint woodsmoke, and glowing moonrise. I got a new bike! I randomly lost another seven pounds! There has been much that is lovely and fine, including the gift of teenagers trick-or-treating who ensured that we did not have a year’s worth of old candy in a jar to keep eating. Even amidst the grinding exhaustion and pain, even with the weird lesions that showed up on my fae, there has been so much grace, so much relief, so much change – but I missed a lot of it, locked in to the paralysis of What? How? Why?

I’ve started on an immunosuppressant drug this week which means a lot of hand-washing – and a lot of hand-wringing about having twelve people for Thanksgiving and five choral performances and loads of rehearsals between now and December 16 – but the plans were made before the treatment was decided, and there’s no turning back now. I’m being as careful as I can, whilst balancing and juggling all else that is on my plate — being a good partner and friend and daughter and writer. We’ll see how it all goes.

As for my blogging, it’s time for a recenter/restart. It’s never to late to try for some gratitude, after all. Hope you’ll join with me for December Light. It’s a dark old world out there, so I’m going to light a candle a day – a poem, a thought, something. The new trailer for A Wrinkle In Time reminded me of my favorite part of the book, when IT was vanquished:

“Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure.

It’s not a direct quote from the book, but the movie synthesizes it beautifully: The only way to defeat the darkness is to BECOME THE LIGHT.

Join me?

{thursday thought}


 MY candle burns at both ends;
    It will not last the night;
 But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
    It gives a lovely light!


SAFE upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
   Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

~ A Few Figs From Thistles, Edna St. Vincent Millay

{p7 does pf: triolets}

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Ay! November already. Here, have some colors of the season. This is from the gorgeous altar display at the Oakland Museum of California. Their combination of migration – the Monarchs – and the passing of life as commemorated and celebrated during the Dias de los Muertos – was among the more memorable and beautiful that I’ve seen. Well worth a trip.

At some point, this form will become easier. At some distant date, all we’ll need is to hear a form and, with a graceful flourish, we’ll pull out a pen and produce said form with grace.

That day is obviously not yet come, at least not for me.

Last attempted in 2015, the triolet remains the more problematic of the repeating forms for me. I think it’s the awkward rhyme scheme, which never gives me a feeling that the poetic statement is complete. Like a song which closes with an unresolved chord, I find myself… stopped, but not…finished. I’m never quite sure if I’ve yet said what I’ve meant to say – or if it was coherent. Nevertheless, I applied myself to this month’s task set by the lovely Liz, which was to use two autumnal words from a list comprised of orange, fall, chill, light, and change.

Autumn Colour

The poet warned us gravely ‘nothing gold can ever stay,’
Persimmon’s orange a honeyed warmth ephemeral as mist.
You’ll sooner find a treasure in a vacant alleyway,
The poet warned us, gravely. Nothing gold can ever stay
Bright. Tarnishing, the light fades into winter’s shadowplay.
Drink down the days at autumn’s end on memory’s mailing list.
The poet warned us gravely ‘nothing gold can ever stay,’
Persimmon’s orange a honeyed warmth ephemeral as mist.

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Technically, red is the more ephemeral color, but I just had to play with that… because orange is a hard word to include in a poem, since nothing rhymes with orange. I also like to play with using fourteen syllables occasionally.


White-hot, our spirits rising through the heat,
The flame renewed with passion’s fiery light,
Destroyed, we fall. We signal cold’s defeat,
White-hot. Our spirits rising. Through the heat
We radiate – our frantic dance complete –
Collapse as ash, with sated appetite.
White-hot, our spirits rising. Through the heat
The flame renews our passion. Firelight.

Now here, I was only writing about fire. I’m told Other Interpretations May Apply. *cough* I take no responsibility.

There’s more poetry on the horizon from Liz, Laura, early bird Kelly, and Tricia. Sara and Andi are still on busy lady walkabout, but may rejoin us presently. *waves*

Also, happy Books and Blogging Weekend to all those gathered in Hershey, PA for the 2017 Kidlitosphere Conference. Poetry Friday today is hosted at Teacher Dance. Sometimes, when you’re feeling blah, the Friday poetry round-up is just the thing. Read on for a little lift of your spirits.

{thursday thought}

“Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he feels it. But from the view point of daily life – without going deeper – we exist for each other; in the first place, for those on whose smiles and welfare all our happiness depends, and next, for all those unknown to us personally, with whose destinies we are bound up by the tie of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of others, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” – Albert Einstein, The World as I See It