Sunday, September 30, 2012

We Are Welcomed Here by Nature and Grace

Pristine, October's angel rose, day three, October 2, 2012
Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels 



 Promise, a diamond rose in twilight rain,

the last rose to bloom in the Fall, 
the first in the Spring ~ Mothers' Day 2013 




An Everyday Birthfeast Blessing
for Mind, Body, Soul and Spirit 

May the dawn light of the East 
enlighten your intellect 

May the noon light of the South 
illuminate your passion  

May the soul fire of the West
strengthen your aspirations

May the night light of the North
star bless your inspiration


Alla Renée Bozarth
Love’s Alchemy and The Frequency of Light
Copyright 2013



 Mothers' Day Spring at Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon
1997 ~ photo by Robin Carey   


Body of Water, Body of Land

this is where my soul lights down
and lands, deep into the heart
of the thick clay that is the particular
portion of Earth’s body I wear,
announcing itself like bone on drum—

this is the watery sea of salt and blood
and rivers of life that flow through me,
all I am in the world, the place where mind
lights into and leaps again from brain—
remembering now and then the silence
before the first bang of Creation
when All was One, and moontide and animal
voice were, if imagined, yet unheard

this is the wonder and glory,
the marvel and mystery,
the person in time
and space that I am

this is the now of me,
fresh from the then of when
and the Yes of Forever—

moving and moving
into the always of More

and soul saying Yes,
and Thank You,
and Not Yet
and Now

                 Alla Renée Bozarth

The Frequencies of Sound
Copyright 2013.



Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land,
wanting to fly in the air. 
                                                                            Carl Sandburg

 
pearl divers aim for wet white fire,
gather iridescence into their arms,
ascend—

others born to depth
dive deep and longer,
passionately seeking
source level—

her heart rises to vibrations
of radiant essence below—

bright ambassador traveling down
and down and down, dancing
in spiral balance for aim
careful not to rush
the sacred deepening . . .

until sea waters pull her
into divine luminescence,
realms of unknown beings . . .

creatures who live there are
more alive than mere humanity, and her humanity
is more alive there also—

below dense darkness they meet at explorers’ end—
their bodies landing to light in light,
a secret access flame to resurrection—

star swimmers who have gone past the depth
where light can penetrate,
astronauts of the bathosphere—

they delve through dark matter
and after eons find themselves
in angels’ nests of poetry and sea stars—

woven of moving lightning,
from them arise deep mournful songs 
that haunt our salty air—

then starfish somersault to where such strange creatures
shyly show themselves to visiting explorers,
human sailors in a deep sea galaxy—

when they rise without words,
shining from the journey,
and return to normal ground
where we await them,
they carry new depth within them—

eagerly, unable to wait to tell us,
they come into our arms
bearing purple, viridian and blue flowers
of luminous wisdom, and we open our ears,
our eyes, our minds and our hearts to receive them~

                       from Sea Galaxy, for Dr. Sylvia Earle

Alla Renée Bozarth 
The Frequency of Light 
Copyright 2013
   


. . . Bowing into the surf

my body that is one

lifts into wave upon wave.

My blood is at home.

I hold the ocean in my arms.
           from Mama Sea and Mama Rock                                           
  
                               Alla Renée Bozarth~

This is My Body ~ Praying for Earth, 
Prayers from the Heart
iUniverse 2004
Accidental Wisdom ~ iUniverse 2003 
Stars in Your Bones ~ Bozarth, Barkley and Hawthorne
North Star Press of St. Cloud 1990 
Water Women ~ Wisdom House Press 1990 ~ audio


. . .  And so was proved that sand and sea

are not made of salt and water and glass,

but love, love, love and sweet love again,

that is always life having the first draw on us all,

come hurricane wails or high laughter.

         from Sea Singer  

Alla Renée Bozarth 
The Frequencies of Sound 
Copyright 2013



Nesting Dolls    

this is like a story without a plot
and only one character~
that is, the world

it is a story about movement
and color, the movement is fast
and slow in pursuit of the beloved
this is the first enchantment 

I am watching a fast-forward world 
with slow motion eyes, everything
is desirable but I never am able
to catch up with it

things keep missing my touch,
too fast to notice the gesture
of contact and good will

to tell someone a story it is necessary
to tell many stories that make up
the novel hologram of a life, and there
are spirals of stories and the spirals are
layered six deep, more or less

so here in my slower and slower way
of both watching and moving within
a faster and faster world, I manage
to focus on the sheer transparent
movement of color, shapes bathed in deep
red and bright purple, tones from fuchsia
to coral, magenta and rose, shimmering
because at their speed all the electrons
light up and plug into each other
so there are luminous circuits of almost
love going on in all directions and everywhere

my life is a nesting doll set
and my way of thinking
and talking about it or
anything else is as
a beautiful but smudged
nesting doll that has been
touched while still drying,
and the grooves of the smudge
form beautiful, intriguing patterns—

the many hidden beings reveal themselves
in colors that caress the eyes and massage the mind,
they are painted in viridian green, intense fuchsia, royal purple,
and the dolls are both human and floral

when one opens the largest
of the dolls all the way down
to reveal the smallest, it is
the soul being revealed,
as every layer looks the same
but for some small essential
distinctive detail, and each unique
doll wears a different perfume
which is discernable only until
the next doll shows itself,
and the room lights up
with a new scent— cardamom,
cucumber— Persian musk, melon,
vanilla, brown sugar, amber,  
cinnamon, cocoa, raspberries, mint

or the divine depth of hunger and joy in the body
and mind while an orange is slowly being peeled . . .
and it is the soul . . .

the smallest doll and
the largest, and each doll
between— and the generous
open moment when the larger
is coming apart in order
for the smaller inside it
to be born all over again
in a new light— it is the soul.
                                            
         Alla Renée Bozarth
The Frequencies of Light
Copyright 2013


Nesting Dolls Reprise 

Today in Discover Magazine I read about a theory that says
Black Holes are so loaded with Energy that they make
all the Energy in our Universe combined seem dim.

Therefore, it is plausible to imagine
(as if anyone could) that our whole universe
(which is infinite) is inside a Black Hole
which is inside another Universe
which is inside another Black Hole
which is inside another Universe
which is inside so many others of each
that the only way to deal with any of it
is to say that they all exist in the Infinite Mind of God,
just as every idea, every creature (including you, your worst enemy
and your best friend, the moon, your favorite river and the Milky Way)
all live in the Infinite Mind of God, and because of the Nature
of the Divine Mystery, we might assume that we all live there
with equal need for health, wisdom, good will and love. 

Health
Wisdom
Good Will
Love

Alla Renée Bozarth

Diamonds in a Stony Field

Copyright 2013

                                             
Note: If you visit a page that looks strange, with some lines way too big and bold and others so tiny you can't easily read them, or a line looks too long or there are spaces between the lines that don't indicate stanza breaks, that means that Google software has thrown the formatting into chaos again and I'm between my inspection and correction periods. The Google software settings are slippery. Font and size settings are erratic and often don't take at all. Generally, if a page text appears too small, you can fix that while you read by clicking the zoom function: Control and the plus sign. Keep clicking those two keys at the same time until you're comfortable with the text size. Click Control and the minus sign to reduce the size. Read on for general advice about reading these offerings. They will look best in full screen mode. 

This blog is not meant to be used linearly. As a whole it contains a broad range of reflections to visit again and again, as I make changes to them. It's more thematic than sequential, and even so, the themes interweave. As you read and scroll down past the following story, poems and pictures, you will see more pictures of the Pristine rose, with poems for a beautiful early autumn season of release to the hidden processes of renewal. To find it or go directly to something specific, click your Edit button and then click Find and type in what you seek. You'll be taken to it though you may have to click "Next"(in the box's bottom tools bar) to find the exact place you want. Another highlighted section follows the pictures and story reflections below to offer some guidance on how to use this blog, even if you've already visited. (To go there directly~ In Find, type How to Use.) You can click on any posts from the right hand menus~ Pages above, Posts below the Followers section. Also, to see any of the single theme blogs (such as "Voting Well~ Giving Thanks" or "Blessing Poems for a Newborn and Everyone Else"), scroll to the bottom of the right margin menus and click View Complete Profile. Links to all the other blogs are there. *  First, here's a prequel to this page, a prose and poetry reference to some childhood and later experiences with a note about the healing power of positive memories relived, and some comments from adult associations~ written on the Vernal Equinox in 2013 and added to later in the summer. 
Violin Lessons: How I Learned to Tell Time and Discovered My True Art
 
I wasn't making any music! But I made a decent statue: Girl with Violin. That was about it. (Notice that embedded in the poem below in the picture of me at about five, posing for Mama in my ballet tutu, I am sitting.) My three violin lessons taught me one thing: how to tell time. Even though I look old enough to tell time, apparently I didn't have reason to want to until I began those lessons. There in that empty auditorium of the Wood Village City Hall, I simply had to know what time it was as my hurting fingers struggled to follow instructions. Every five minutes or so I politely asked the teacher, "Is it time to go home now?" Dear God, P L E A S E.

My patient teach finally said, "When the long wand on that big clock on the wall is at the very top, which is 12, and the short wand is down there on the right at 5, it means 5 o'clock, time to go home." I grinned in appreciation and stopped tormenting her.
 

I'm crazy about excellent violin, viola, lute and cello music, especially the violin concerti of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Max Bruch, and so very glad that I discovered early on that my real vocation is to listen and appreciate with full spiritual and sensory response. I'm a good audience member, even if it hurts too much to clap. I bring my hands within an inch of each other to avoid nerve pain and grin all over, whooping in large auditoriums freely, and am often the first to jump to my feet in tears, as when the Bolshoi came to Portland, and almost any opera I've seen, but especially Aida, when Tiki the elephant came on stage and stopped center stage to give her best ballet curtsy, showing us her painted toe nails, her jewels, her silks of bright colors, and her beautiful crown of rubies and gold. Three thousand human beings simultaneously leaned forward in their chairs, sighed audibly, "Ooo!" and fell in love. 
 
As for that rather misleading picture taken by my mother in our living room, as if practice were underway, a friend commented that she had the very same outfit and remembers it well. I guess it was the little girl uniform of an era. I don't remember the dress, the socks, the shoes, the bows. But I remember the house, the room and the day when I watched Mama's Russian refugee cousins bring two violin cases through that front door and we opened them to find our beautiful instruments as a thank you gift for Mama. She took lessons, too, but followed in my path of discovery that we had no talent for the instrument. 

Mama's oil painting of a Chinese Gentleman [in a deep red garment] is partially visible on the wall behind me in the violin picture. She loved painting him and always said he was her spirit's guide and inspiration.
  
I don't remember having this posed picture taken, but I do remember our living room~ beginning with watching our television set for the first time in order to see Queen Elizabeth's coronation. That was the reason Papa purchased the set, but then came the switch from Amos and Andy and Our Miss Brooks and Jack Benny on the radio to Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers and Dale Evens, The Lone Ranger, I Led Three Lives, the Mickey Mouse Club, The Cisco Kid, My Little Margie, I Married Joan, Mr. Lucky, Dragnet, Perry Mason, Edward R. Murrow's "You Are There," Disneyland, Superman and every 90 Minute Playhouse (which launched Grace Kelly and many other future stars)~ not to mention, being a delayed sleep phase insomniac from conception on, every black and white movie among the late night shows. That's when I got to see Jack Parr launch The Tonight Show, and eventually those early years of Johnny Carson with Cliff Arquette as Charlie Weaver. He'd come on the show to read his daily letter from his dear old mom in Mt. Idy~ "Things are fine in Mt. Idy," he began, and then, "She goes on." That was the comforting, predictable, hilarious formula, a distant prequel to News from Lake Wobegon. I also remember Liberace (and  his brother George), Kate Smith, The Steve Allen Show, Ernie Kovaks and his cigars, What's My Line, Groucho Marx and You Bet Your Life, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Loretta Young Presents,The Jackie Gleason Hour (with the fabulous, kaleidoscopic June Taylor Dancers), Ed Sullivan~ and then other variety shows with Perry Como, Dean Martin, Sonny and Cher, Dinah Shore, Red Skelton, Andy Williams and George Gobel. 
 
Somehow I had time to go to school, play outdoors and go everywhere with either parent and sometimes out to the drive-in movies with both of them. Ah, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Arsenic and Old Lace, Pork Chop Hill, The Nun's Story~ and Papa and I would go to the concession building during Intermission and bring back foot long hot dogs and fudge sickles for us and popcorn for Mama. This room is the last place I wrote on walls, in living color, using my crayons to make my first musical notes poems all along the baseboard. And all those parakeets who lived with us flew freely here. 


Note from the present~During the first week of August, 2013, I saw a streak of  bright green flying with red-winged blackbirds and finches from my cherry tree to the four bears fountain bath. 







Over the next few days I saw the  entire  bird, a brilliant green parakeet with a high bright yellow forehead and a gorgeous electric blue tail.  Her brownish nose indicated that she was a very mature lady bird, a grand dame of her kind. 
 
She adored her baths, just as our family member parakeets did. I was so absorbed in watching her that I didn't think to take pictures until she had finished all the pretty fluffing and chirping. Then when I tried to take pictures from behind the kitchen window, either she looked too small, or I couldn't time my camera to her movement.

This new friend outside came to the seed feeder happily, but spent most of her time bathing and preening, using her nimble feet and claws to get rid of all small invaders hiding under her feathers and annoying her. She chirped like a professional musician and fluffed her head and shoulder feathers and turned her head from side to side in rhythm to her songs, conveying an attitude of friendly delight and complete satisfaction. 

She enjoyed the company of other birds and loved living in the green foliage, which atavistically may have reminded her of her native land of Australia or northern South America. I was very impressed with the conviviality among the different species and families. Even the scrub jays were kindly to the little birds. The presence of this parakeet among the wild birds seemed like a blessing from or upon my childhood, when my mother adopted 17 parakeets over a 10 year period. She taught the first one to speak in Russian, French, German, Spanish and English. He could say "I love you" in all of them, as well as ask what we were doing, dance with braided tassles dangling from the furniture, court himself in silverware and mirrors. When my father was very grumpy one morning, the little blue bird hopped on his shoulder as he reached for the door, kissed him on the cheek and said, "Cheer up! You are beautiful! I love you!" Then he repeated it in French and German. Papa left laughing. 

This little green bird brought back all the pleasure we knew in the truly convivial company of our parakeet friends. I thought of the word, Paraclete, meaning companion, advocate, healer, comforter, written in the Gospel According to John as coming from the encouraging words of  Jesus to describe the Holy Spirit. The pure gift of this little green bird's presence gave those qualities. The spirit that our new companion most embodied was joviality. It was impossible to watch her without being greatly affected and uplifted by her spirit. 

My joy was complete when she returned today and was so engrossed with her lunch that I could photograph her easily among the red winged blackbirds, the finches and sparrows and especially the quail, who also brought their children from the nest up to the patio for the first time this summer. It was the parents' first reappearance since they disappeared six weeks ago to begin nesting. Seeing them and her peacefully among them like that, I stood at the window brimming with happiness. 


She looks very much like a younger, sleeker version of George, the old mother bird in the New Year's Eve story below, whose sex we could not determine until after we'd named her and she laid her last group of eggs. Her children are in the photos above, lined up on my arm and enjoying shared affection.  











 
           
In our home of three humans and various numbers of parakeets at any given time, my parents briefly hosted a community theater group, and I got to sit in on readings of Hedda Gabler late into the evening, all of which took place in our living room. 
 
On New Year's Eve we drank champagne in this room, and one year George the old mother parakeet decided to light on the rim of Mama's elegant crystal goblet and dip her beak into the bubbly. She dipped it three more times and flew up in wobbles and spirals, but righted herself and sang her little heart out through the night. 
 
Next day Mama hosted Open House featuring her famous pastries and Christmas Tree Cookies. Ladies poured at the ends of the table from her graceful sterling silver service tea pots, and a variety of delicate English bone China cups and saucers and plates displayed steaming amber tea and the morsels I'd been helping Mama bake and freeze for weeks. These events got a big picture spread in The Gresham Outlook, sometimes with me admiring my mother's culinary art works and helping with the silver tea service.
 
Every summer Mama's second round of Christmas Tree Cookies along with her canned fruit and vegetables and her apple or berry pie and oil and pastel paintings won blue ribbons at the Multnomah County Fair. What a time it was. 
 
I also managed to read a few novels and biographies every month and was quite fond of detective stories, preferring them to fantasies. I read the Narnia books beside my mother's bed for the five days of her month with us during graduate school winter quarter that she slept while she was dying just before my 25th birthday. One or two of them were familiar from childhood, but I had until then no opportunity to read the entire series, which proved a meaningful backdrop to my mother's last days on Earth. Phil and I had been married for a week when she had her first cancer surgery in September, and during the painful months of her illness and death, my new husband was not only a loving and helpful son to her, but he cheered and sustained me as best he could by giving me both Winnie-the{ther}-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner books and arranging for a large incarnation of Pooh Bear himself to come live with us as our guardian angel bear at Christmastime and ever since. My mother met him and immediately entered the spirit of Pooh Bear and loved him as we read his stories out loud to her as well.  We also made tapes reading the stories aloud for my father who was in the hospital with asthma two thousand miles away. And later in the year, I performed "Chapter Six: In Which Pooh Invents a New Game and Eeyore Joins In" for one of my master's degree courses, and Phil deftly painted storyline pictures for it. I let my hair down, wore a long granny dress and climbed up on a stool, the pictures taped to the blackboard behind me. Dr. Lilla Heston, sister of Charlton Heston, was one of the two professors in that small class, and they nearly fell off their chairs with laughter and relief along with the other master's and doctor's degree candidates, for we'd been immersed in particularly heavy literature all quarter. That sequence of reading events finally began my childhood. 

My grandma and I adored Shakespeare and Keats, Shelley and Byron and Emily Dickinson and yes, Allen Ginsberg, along with Pogo and Peanuts, and we spent hours together reading our favorite things to each other, but the ordinary reading pleasures of childhood waited for me to finish reading my fill of Freud and Jung and the classic philosophers and the Spanish mystics and start writing poetry before childhood finally took hold in my twenties when I married my life's best playmate, Phil.  Singing and playing guitar while I listened and danced, and every night reading aloud together, the entire canon of Sherlock Holmes and Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Whimsey mysteries as well as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (this was in 1971), The Wind in the Willows and Pooh stories and Paddington Bear's as well, he gave me my childhood, and I am still playing with him and Pooh Bear, dancing with them easily across the borders between Heaven and Earth. With such help as theirs, I have been getting younger ever since.
  • It all sounds quite blissful because I wrote about some of my favorite memories. The reason why I could watch so much good television (tell-a-vision) and read so many books is that with lifelong fibromyalgia I was physically ill much of the time, hit hard with all the childhood illnesses which lasted much longer than normal, as well as allergies compromising my respiratory system with frequent bronchitis and asthma as well as the usual annoying and exhausting sinus involvement. And there were the numerous eye surgeries over the years that followed the stroke I had just after birth. The gift hidden in all this is that during that period when I was getting better enough to feel bored just lying there waiting to feel well enough to resume activities, I could enjoy books and the gifts of writers transformed by actors and film makers which were there at the turn of a nob for my enrichment. Those aspects of my experience are what I remember, because the misery is simply not helpful or useful to remember, but quite the contrary, it unnecessarily diminishes and defeats my present energy for life. Why perpetuate painful times when there are only so many minutes for memories in a lifetime, and we could be enjoying and benefiting from positive ones? 

    To remember is to relive, and the body responds accordingly, for ill or for good. 

    Swiss analyst Verena Kast wrote a wonderful book called, Joy, Inspiration and Hope, in which she advocates healing and maintaining the mind and soul by encouraging clients to write their autobiographies of joy by remembering and thus reliving their happy experiences instead of habitually dredging up the traumatic ones. Beginning the re-membrance back to as early as possible, one starts out more or less sequentially, but then in the practice and growing habit of thinking in this very healthful way, one invites moments to emerge on their own, revised as they rise through the layers of experience, allowing them to come spontaneously in any order. I began doing this as spiritual practice for myself, as well as teaching it to clients in addition to my dream work with them. 
     
    One summer afternoon after my tea brunch first meal of the day, I sat at the round glass top patio table that doubles as a summertime altar under the cherry tree and wrote in my journal. I have always said that my first memory was of falling down a flight of stairs when I was 18 months old, but sitting there at the table and eating ripe bing cherries, I breathed in pure pleasures and realized that I had done this before. And given the weather and what I was doing, it would have been this same time of year. I was in my baby tender in the back yard. Mama had left me there to enjoy the bliss of solitude in the care of the big old cherry tree and with the sweet, uncomplicated companionship of birds and flowers. I delighted in looking up and watching the play of light on the leaves, the dance of shadows and sun on their green bodies as the summer breeze moved them around. My eyes danced with the play of changing self-revelation of the elements in the scene. I felt the air moving the warmth of sunlight and coolness of shadow over my skin and became part of the dance. Ripe cherries were blowing loose from their stems and falling all around me. A baby tender is like a card table with a chair recessed in the middle of it, and from my place there I could lean over and grab the sweet juicy gifts dropping into my range of reach. A robin stood near the edge and joined me in the cherry fruit feast. I giggled and squealed with pleasure. This was all the bliss in the world. 
     
    When I finished writing it all down, I realized from the weather and ripe cherry indicators that I had to have been 16 months old. THIS was my true first memory, and not the traumatic fall down the stairs! I laughed out loud, leaned back in my chair, and looked all around to see the details of where I was~ sitting at my table under the cherry tree, eating sweet, dark cherries I'd purchased from a farmer in town, and beside me were the birds eating and singing at their feeder. It was the same scene, 44 years later! I was literally experiencing the same event and circumstance as in my first memory of Being Here. 
     
    What an important revelation, that first happiness can create a template for the rest of our lives, and this one was the template of Paying Attention to Beauty and embracing the gifts of creation with awareness, joy and spontaneous, absolute gratitude. All it takes to move from focus on a negative life pattern of pain, frustration and suffering is to find a deeper event, one that held us together before trauma, one that sealed the connecting wires in our brains that would give us access to Heaven on Earth which we could activate by intention and focus, a kind of mental search engine for an emotion of innocent pleasure and harmony, and then, begin doing so in different ways. 
     
    In fact, when we can't locate those connections, we can borrow them from stories, books, movies and music outside ourselves, receiving them as if they were our own sweet memories, which they are, for we're not stealing other people's thoughts and memories but allowing ourselves to be so empathically present to them that we receive the telling and giving of their words as if we were with them in the experience they share.  Thus, we have within us the means and power to see ourselves through hard times with a simple activation of memory, imagination and full presence to the sensory details of the scene and our own positive emotional responses within it. This is a way to survive anything spiritually, mentally and emotionally, and to retain our sense of being able to hold onto our best selves. It's how prisoners of circumstance such as illness, war, or any kind of upheaval or loss endure and even enjoy solitude and intuitively overcome isolation by being Elsewhere in their minds and souls. Happiness is a repeatable sacrament. The gifts I received under the cherry tree were my first and ongoing Holy Communion.  
     
    Violin Lessons

    Mama tried hard to help me
    discover my talents, if any.
    As it turned out, there were not many.

    First, there were the treks on smelly city 
    buses and her holding my hand as I shyly 
    met the Russian head of the ballet school 
    when I was three.


    The Nicholas Vasiliev School of Dance
    (in the Hollywood district of Portland 
    near Emanuel Hospital where I was born)
    constituted several storeys of a round tower
    at the corner section of an art deco era 
    building, with a huge 7Up sign in neon lights
    on  the top of the dance tower,  
    painted the same shade of mint green 
    over stucco until a half-century later.

    I was nine when we gave up. Or maybe 
    we saw that I had gone as far as I was 
    able and my time with ballet was fulfilled. 

    When I was first learning to move in response 
    to music, trying my hardest, I could never 
    figure out where my body was supposed to be 
    relative to all the other little bodies, 
    though secretly in private for the rest of my life, 
    I would often break into a take off from 
    the imprinted positions and movements 
    and launch myself into musical ecstasy.

    More wonderfully, the learning experience 
    of dance gave me the basis for freely 
    extrapolating when Spirit would decide 
    to take hold of me in a spontaneous act 
    of worship and joy would twirl me into 
    something once described by a bishop 
    as charismatic liturgical dance or gospel
    boogie, which I frequently still practice 
    around my kitchen floor.
     The Church of the Advocate, Philadelphia~
     25th anniversary of the Philadelphia Ordinations
     Post-Communion Dervish
    Alone with a friend and her camera afterward,
    cooling off from hot flashes and the sweltering 
    July heat of Philadelphia, 1999.

    I was five when Mama accepted the gift of two violins
    from her Russian cousins brought over from Germany,
    and she decided we should take mother-daughter 
    violin lessons. Ballet was confusing, 
    but the violin was an ordeal.

    It was there in the city hall of Wood Village 
    that the local choir director, Norma Sherman,
    inadvertently taught me how to tell time 
    rather than how to play the violin. 

    My eyes were riveted on the big round clock 
    on the wall and I would ask, I’m sure every 
    five minutes, “Is it time to stop?” or
    “Can we go home yet?”

    Weary of the interruptions, she explained to me 
    about the numbers and the long hand and 
    short hand moving around them. I think Mama 
    must have felt as I did, for this experiment 
    did not last very long.

    Next it was swimming lessons.
    For six summers in a row
    it was swimming lessons.
    I still can’t swim but I’m an expert
    at the dead man’s float and can do
    a decent dog paddle from one side
    to the other of the shallow end of the pool.

    When I was nine and ten and maybe eleven,
    Mama herself tried to test her own arts on me,
    not so patiently teaching me to sort of cook,
    but really, to pass her things as she went about
    her extraordinary art of baking and making
    exquisite dinners. I was very good at washing up,
    and fascinated by her skill, but had no interest
    beyond that except in enjoying her end products,
    for which she was famously known and awarded.

    The same with sewing. I did make a whole outfit
    for myself, and was dutifully proud, but relieved
    when the subject never came up again.
    I can do well with buttons and hems, and
    a rough back stitch for mending seams,
    and a small bit of darning. 
    It’s enough for my needs.

    Then Mama set up her easel and gave me her palette
    of oils and pinned up a picture of a tree by a winding stream 
    and told me to paint. I was photographed in the local 
    newspaper beside my effort, but God knows why. 

    Mama was regularly written up for her consistently 
    won blue ribbons at the county fair for her beautiful
    paintings in oil, her textiles, and especially her pastel 
    flowers, as well as her jams and pies and canned fruits 
    and pickles and vegetables. 

    I loved the trips downtown to the art store 
    when she bought her supplies, the delicious smells 
    of the colors, the feel of the chalk powder
    rubbed between my fingers, each color 
    a different texture and scent.

    The last thing my mother taught me actually worked,
    and given the natural friction between our personalities
    and her unhappy and irritable temperament and inclinations 
    toward angry eruptions, it was amazing how well we did 
    when she taught me to drive. 
     
    I remember sitting in the back seat of the used 1948 
    ugly green Chrysler with fluid drive during her  
    driving lessons a few years earlier, how she tried 
    to back out of a parking lot by shifting into second gear 
    and lead-footing the accelerator, and the next thing we knew 
    we’d broken through the brick wall facing us and found ourselves 
    surrounded by surprised butchers in the middle of a meat locker.


  • Perhaps Mama had vowed that if I showed
    the slightest talent and promise for driving,
    she would see me through so I could
    drive her around afterwards.

    And I did enjoy driving, but when Papa gave me the keys
    to my own white Plymouth Valiant for my sixteenth birthday,  
    I had no further interest in driving Mama’s fancy second hand 
    1956 red and cream Oldsmobile.

    Papa also stumbled onto the other thing 
    which I enjoyed when he, for a change, 
    drove me to my piano lessons for two years,
    until I was left on my own with a wonderful 
    old grand piano that appeared in our living room 
    picture window when I was thirteen.

    After that, the torture of lessons over, I soared, 
    and ever since the piano has healed and saved me 
    and seen me through much insanity
    and the sorrows of the world, as well as the joys.


      
    Here's the baby tender, tucked up to the piano which right away I knew 
    was my instrument. I guess everybody forgot that, but when I was nine, 
    someone must have found the picture and I was launched on my true path, 
    for my and God's ears only, but it makes my soul happy.

  • Besides Mama giving me the skill and Papa the means
    to freedom on wheels, I also did in fact accidentally discover 
    a talent, or at least a liking or two. 

    The old Remington Monarch typewriter
    with the black and red ribbon that I inherited 
    from Mama, the aspiring novelist, when I was 
    four or five served me well in preparation for 
    the piano and for writing letters of appreciation
    to all the people who, like my mother and 
    father, are wonderfully loving and generous, 
    able to sooth and comfort a person in pain,
    endlessly patient in compassionate care, 
    capable in useful arts as well as 
    the breathtakingly beautiful.
     
    Because of my parents being who they were,
    I have the ability to recognize richness 
    in the human spirit, to take genuine interest 
    in the stories of others, and because of them, 
    to forgive easily, while protecting myself
    as much as I can from the harm they do not want 
    to do but cannot help but do. And this I understand.

    Therefore, I daily thank my parents in heaven
    for helping me discover the gifts of the healing power
    and transforming joy of creative and performing arts,
    of friendship, passion and compassion, which allowed 
    me to find in myself a natural talent for appreciation 
    when I regard these treasures in others.

    As with those hours struggling with the violin,
    pained by its nerve-piercing sounds artlessly 
    made by my fingers, but learning how to endure, 
    how to wait, and how to measure the passage of time, 
    easily and speedily abandoning what does not 
    suit me without the least sense of shame or defeat,
    but eager to keep the search going, I have learned 
    to look forward to the next experiment or 
    surprising adventure, to be open 
    to unexpected success and the value 
    of apparent failure, and to remain alert 
    and receptive to every miraculous effort
    toward Grace which might still bring 
    the best possible thing by the best 
    possible means at the best possible time,
    and be nothing at all like what anyone expected.

                     Alla Renée Bozarth

    My Blessed Misfortunes
    Copyright 2012



    And what happens in the kitchen sometimes~
     
    Nothing but Some Angel, Better Let Her In 

    There I was minding my own business trying
    to eat a salmon salad sandwich when it happened.
    The music came on. That’s what did it.

    Some celestial creature without a body
    wanted to dance, dropped right down 
    into my feet, rose up from there and 
    took over my torso and arms, and we 
    were up and dancing around the kitchen,
    making fancy tread marks 
    in the indoor/outdoor carpeting.   

    She sort of muttered or whispered,
    “excuse me,” when she first slid in, 
    like a skinny person sliding her way 
    to the front of a crowd at a rally or 
    music fest.

    After that no need to guess—
    I was a more than willing partner.

    This angel could move, could make moves
    I couldn’t make, took up with Tchaikovsky’s 
    Scherzo and Waltz for Violin, did steps that thrilled
    my usually bumptious feet~ little quivering side kicks~
    and twirled without getting dizzy, then went into
    slow tango leg twists and kicks front and back
    from the knee, shifted easily when the hips and
    shoulders got into slow rhythm action
    to Paganini’s Sonata Concertata for Guitar and Violin.
    She became positively Puckish with small, quizzical,
    jerky gestures to Mangore’s El Sueno~
    Dream of the Little Doll, then sat down for a minute
    to sip a little water during Carl Maria Von Weber’s 
    Jubilee Overture. 

    She rose again and went all arabesque
    to Vivaldi’s Sinfonia in G, when the arms
    scooped heaven right into them and curled it
    around the room, giving the lower body
    less intricate work.

    She was saving up for my decision just then
    (I thought it was mine) to turn on a cassette
    of A Prairie Home Companion in time to hear
    Arlo Guthrie get down with The St. James Infirmary. 

    This angel was born for the blues. 
    Blue smoke rose right up out of the tape player
    as she closed her eyes and let our dreamy body
    sway where it wanted, hips moving slowly
    and leading the way.

    God, that angel was happy.
    No jumping around, no fancy footwork,
    just those confident, earthy hips and soul-blue smoke
    coming out of the player to the end of the story.

    That angel danced down to the end
    of the gambler’s blues.

    The show closed with                                   
    So Long, it’s Been Good to Know Ya, 
    and by the time we switched back
    to radio and the Gregorian Choir
    came on to sing Palestrina’s 
    Voices of Ascension, she was gone.
    And God, I was happy. 

          Alla Renée Bozarth The Frequencies of  Sound 


    Stretching after dancing with the angel, Matisse's painting, "Harmony in Red," in a poster above me. In the lower right corner of the poster is a photograph of me with the original at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia in March of 1992, just three months after the dissolution of the Soviet Union on the day after Christmas, 1991. I was in Russia with my artist friend Julia Barkley (whose paintings are featured in Stars in Your Bones).  We were making a poet's and artist's pilgrimage of significant places. I had brought a small photograph of my mother as a young girl in Russia and intended to bury it at the tombstone of Tchaikovsky in the old Laura cemetery around Holy Trinity Monastery at the end of the Alexander Nevsky Prospekt.  A few years earlier, I had seen a moving documentary about the great mother of modern Russian poetry, Anna Akhmatova, which included her funeral, illegally filmed by Andrei Voznesensky in March, 1966, in the Naval Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas.  The first thing I asked our guide when she met us at the airport was whether it would be possible for us to visit that church. She looked at me strangely and responded,  "How did you know? It's the first place I'm taking you!"

    We arrived at noon during a Divine Liturgy for the Dead. I walked straight to the large icon of the Virgin of Kazan and lit a candle for my Russian ancestors and another one for my mother. Having lost track of time in our traveling, I asked Julia, "What day is this?" She told me that it was March 27~ which meant that it was the twentieth anniversary of my mother's funeral in the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in Portland, Oregon, where I was baptized as an infant before my father became an Episcopalian and entered the priesthood. While I was hastily packing a few nights before, I suddenly got the idea of taking Mama's photo from Russia and burying it in the earth, returning her to her Holy Motherland. As I tucked it into my luggage I thought, "What is today's date?" I checked the calendar to see that it was March 23, the 20th anniversary of her death. When Julia and I visited the monastery with our guide she pointed out the graves of Pushkin's family members, of the writer Dostoevsky, and composers Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky.  

    There was a beautiful but sad angel seated above his grave, watching over him, and the guide said, "Tchaikovsky was a very unhappy man, a homophoblic homosexual, an unrecovered alcoholic and manic-depressive  who made everyone around him miserable . . ." I asked if Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was psychologically healthy.  She said, "Oh, he was a cheerful and very decent person." When everyone had gone on, Julia loaned me her Swiss Army knife and I dug a small hole through the ice and snow into the thawing earth and entrusted my mother's mortal image there, as I hoped her spirit would delight in the perpetual joy of listening to the Easter Liturgy bells and music of this composer whom we both loved, as well as that of his neighbor who, perhaps, was still in heavenly recovery for all that had distressed him in his mortal life.

    On the day we visited the Hermitage, designed by Catherine the Great to be her private retreat section of the Winter Palace which had now become the home of the largest collection of Western Art treasures in the world, we had very little time and aimed straight for the 19th and 20th century painters. When I came into a small  gallery past the Impressionists and was instantly surrounded by the dancing colors of the Fauve artist, Henri Matisse, in my excitement to see a familiar beauty from a wall of my own home, I bumped the edge of this painting, "Harmony in Red." The old woman who guarded the room scowled and shook her finger at me. I went up to her the very epitome of contrition, and humbly said, "Izviniti," excuse me, and then with my hand over my heart, "Prostiti"~ I'm so sorry.  Then I searched the distant aural memories of childhood and found the right words: "Krasavitsa" ~beautiful, sweeping my hand around the room's paintings, and then to her, eye to eye, "Spaciba"~ thank you, and "Blago slavi tibi Bozhe," God bless you! She melted into a beautiful smile and embraced me. 

    When Easter came later that spring, the Russians heard all their bells begin to ring at dawn, starting with the Mother Bell in Cathedral Square at the Kremlin in Moscow, followed by all 1500 bells of the city, each in its own sequence, as all the bells of the cities and villages from Kiev near where my mother was born on the Black Sea to Vladavostok where Siberia juts into the Pacific Ocean began to ring, and the people listened, overcome with emotion to hear the sound that had been silenced for the previous 75 years.  


    What is the Difference Between
                Poetry and Prose? 

    Galway Kinnell says
    “Prose is walking,
    poetry is flying.”
    Flying or swimming.
    Dreams allow these
    ground-free elements,
    and buoyancy above, 
    below. 

    As dreaming to waking, 
    so poetry to prose.

    As wisdom to knowledge,
    so poetry to prose. 

    Prose is a green pasture,
    poetry a wildflower field.
    Anna Akhmatova, an exile
    in her own country, sits 
    at a kitchen table in her 
    friend’s apartment — She writes
    a line on a sheet of cigarette
    paper, hands it to her friend.
     
    They both memorize the line,
    then roll a cigarette and smoke.
    This is the hard way to get published —
    blowing smoke rings out the window
    printing poems in the air that people breathe.

    Prose is Akhmatova standing in line
    to visit her son at a Soviet prison.
    Poetry is her saying “I can,” to another
    mother who asks, “Can you write this?” 

    Prose is sending poets to prison. 
    Poetry is the poet in prison secretly
    composing poems by heart,
    going right  on with the truth. 

    Prose is noon, poetry dawn.
    As singing to talking,
    so poetry to prose. 

    Prose is walking, poetry is dance.
    You can do it in the sky, 
    or in a cave under water.
    You can do it lying down.
    You can do it in loving arms
    or any kind of prison cell,
    in union or in solitude. 

    Poetry lets you walk through
    all the walls.

    Poetry moves.
    It takes you
    where prose cannot go
    or dare not go.


                Alla Renée Bozarth

    Accidental Wisdom, iUniverse 2003
     
     
    At home again, in harmony~
     Here I am, truly about to make music~
    Rachmaninoff, anyone?
     
                                                            My True Instrument  
                                                            The Shamantool

    To play the happy medium
    to Chopin, Grieg, Beethoven —
    my fingers dance possessed
    across a black and white pattern,
    creating color between the counted lines.

    So it comes,
    the sought release,
    the finding
    of one’s soul,
    coming home
    to center
    after
    a cold winter’s
    wandering.

    To move out of spin
    slowly, widening the angles
    of one’s space, returning
    to one’s own rhythm,
    at rest in stillness —

    and then take off
    with grace
    in the remembered
    storm!

    The power and sound
    of the hands’ dance!

    I could not play so well
    by working at it —
    I could not play so well
    for ego or for others’ ears.

    I play to lose myself.
    I play to die to pain.
    I play to the enfolding
    silence, self-forgetting.
    I play myself alive again.

                Alla Renée Bozarth
    The Book of Bliss, iUniverse 2000

While April or Autumn blizzards rage eastern states, my garden pushes through death as usual and springs back to itself again, giving you a promise of what's ahead while enduring your falls and winters. 
Below, images of April and Autumn . . .



Brigadoon Camellias above.

Magnolias from seed pod to bloom below.


 








The wounded healer silk mimosa tree 
with early spring daffodils.


Quail with camellias and water falling over rock,
lava and petrified wood.
Cherry blossoms of April.

Below, a rare gift of autumn bloom,
double file virburnum tomentosum mariesii 






Rain on rose leaves . . . All Saints Day 2013

 
A quail king on the autumn Japanese maple
bows toward the earth. 



All Saints

In service to all the living,
seen and unseen, including
those whom we myopically
call the dead—

I go outside to tend them
in their miseries and mysteries.
Pulling diseased leaves from the roses,
I see the walnut tree already stripped of last leaf,
then near it on the concrete walk way of my human dwelling,
I see the vacated body of a large bird.

Is it the hawk that’s been laying siege
to the quail, giving them terrible chase
from afternoon peace at their seeds?

No. It’s one of them. I come closer to see
the funny but elegant black and white mask
and curlicue hat worn like a crown by male quail.

Such a large animal of his breed,
larger looking for lying on his side
as if pressing into the pavement.

My hands full of dying
leaves, I finish my duties to still living plants,
admire and bless the bloom of Promise
in its deep pinkness, marvel at a small single bud
giving wing to blushing white Pristine.

All this must be done
before we go into our caves
and begin the long sleep.
Those who have joy of a garden
also have responsibilities.

Now, the trowel to dig a warm burrow into earth
for planting the muscles and feathers of this holy bird,
his curling feet now up in the air, eyes closed to indicate absence.

He was king of his kind in his day,
which was yesterday and last evening.

Did he go out with a thud, throwing
himself against the garage, or was he
simply strolling with the family to see
what possibilities of breakfast presented
themselves in the backyard, and while
looking keenly ahead, be taken down
by heart failure?

Now his old clothes come into my tender care.
I carry them to the front yard to tuck his memory
into the rose bed between Pristine and Fascination.
Sacred but not serious, will his molecules recompose
and come up blushing Pristine in spring, or in Fascination’s
rich-colored corals changing to gold-centered magenta, spreading
its silky petals fully open from bud into wings?

The liquidambar tree still holds onto its bronze and gold.
Magnolia has lost its dried seed pods and is busy with shedding
nearby. Silk Mimosa perfume has gone back into ancient bark.

Earth to Earth, I return this blessed being
head first into ground. Swim down, fly around
in the mysterious as all your atoms loosen
free of themselves and find new dance partners.

I wish your spirit happiness as the seasons
change and ready this body in which you walked and
sometimes flew for dear life, so that next spring you may,
through roots and green stalks, begin new ascent  
toward the sun, to know joy again as a rose.

Alla Renée Bozarth
My Blessed Misfortunes
Copyright 2013.  



All Saints and Souls Feast Days 

One has to rev up for a major feast.
All Saints Day means winter flannels
on the queen-sized bed.

Means outdoor chores and tucking in
things in the garden.

All Saints Day means return of the sun 
after blessing fall rains, and birds’ descent
from the shelter of trees to the joys of sunbathing
on still-glistening grass of new green. Small mammals
cavort in the bright patchwork leaves.



The work of winterizing takes its toll and needs weeks
of preparation, informing the initializing mind
of what needs to be done so the body will be primed.
 Then comes the day, blessed with fresh sunlight,
and the mind-body wakes and says, Now.


And now we begin.
This is the day of beginnings.
This is the day to welcome a season
of cuddling and cooking, after summer’s
long lazy graze on garden salads and bread.



This is the day to remember illustrious ones
whose names are inscribed in gold
in the Book of the Dead.

When All Souls Day follows tomorrow,
it will be time to invite our own most intimate,
transfigured beloved to our candlelight tables
to celebrate their lives with us—
now translated to those radiant landscapes of Paradise
we cannot imagine, where they are tenderly planting gardens
of honey and stars on the sites of our own future homes.

And the light they bring with their love
and their promise of joy is well and alive.
 

Alla Renée Bozarth
My Blessed Misfortunes
Copyright 2013.  
















I always like to jump to the last page of a long book, so now you've seen the camellias, magnolias, and the ancient wounded healer silk mimosa tree at 41 nursing a new crop of daffodils, while under the cherry blossom branches the quail feast on life with everyone else and the red wings strike dignified poses in the weeping sequoia tree. Now we can go back to the beginning where the late September, early October rose, Pristine, is replaying its life at top speed before it goes to sleep. With its kin, it is still sleeping, but all the bushes are loaded with healthy new red and green leaves shining in the spring rains, and a few buds are thinking about appearing . . .

How to Use the Rest of this Blog

This year-long all-in-one meditation on the seasons of the northern hemisphere, the liturgical calendar of my tradition and the seasons of the soul with tributes to many inspiring people can take you to Any Time. The Pages on the right are from November 2011 with Wisdom House, Book Covers and this page for Home added, but scroll down past the Members' images to find December 2011 for First Word/Wisdom & Wonderment, Advent's Star Sermon and I Can't Wait for Christmas, and for Epiphany and Russian Christmas at Bear Haven see January 1, 2012. Read about the God-as-Mother-Bear metaphor there and on May 1, Seasons of Resurrection, and find love poems of all sorts on February 1, for St. Valentine's Feast. You can visit Christmas in summertime~ or Independence Day in March if you click "View my complete Profile" at the end of the right menu to choose "Voting Well~Giving Thanks" or visit any other single-topic blog site listed there~ and from this main blog of Welcoming Light, you'll find Easter all year through. You'll see living color images everywhere~ some of them from the Hubble space camera and some from my front yard and back pasture.  

To contact me click "View my complete profile" after my photo at the bottom of the right menu~ See Contact and E-mail below photo.  I wish you Well-being, Wisdom and Light! Every day, as my license plate has said for 40 years, Bear Up.  See yourself through. You are in excellent company, here with other brave members of Earth's beautiful creation. 

Blessings to you and your loved ones, and to all the sad and weary, hopeless and hopeful, complex Wide World. Now feast your eyes on the rapid autumn progression of the lifespan of this beautiful rose, shown above on its third day of bloom. On its first day .  . .
September 30, Feast of St. Michael and All Angels~ and following

The Door to Heaven        

The front door of the house,
the door to heaven,
opened to the sky—
and I passed through
into the beauty of evening—

I wanted to find the colors
of sky as it blushes deeply
when the sun kisses it Good Night—
but then it saw me, and gave more
than I came for—

Beside me standing there,
a single rose among the bedfellows,
still a green bud but yesterday—

In my fond absence it opened
and stretched northwesterly toward light,
then caught the rose-hued colors of twilight
on the tips of one wing—

And as the rose stood tall under
the vault of heaven to receive its colors,
it began to become a flower— to become itself—

            Alla Renée Bozarth  
   Postcards from Paradise 
           Copyright 2012


 . . . Sept. 30               
  














                                          . . . October 1  
                                          
                                                                                   October 2 . . .
Pristine
In the Garden of Rosa Mystica, Wisdom House
on the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, October 2, 2012



Through a glass lightly    

                           . . . I bathed in the Poem 

Of the Sea, star-infused and churned into milk . . .
                                           Rimbaud          

where the sun floated across the arc of heaven
by day, in the between hour of twilight, after
the pink feather fan flowers of the silk mimosa tree
have taken away their oriental perfume, one peers
between the curled fronds of deep-darkening green
at their sea of sky, filling with colors

that soon will become thick, black velvet night,
revealing the Milky Way, replete with
its ocean of stars
 
through the watery lens
of the eye, the world comes in
upside down

so that our shoes would be hats
and our hats would be shoes.
       
how can the brain
upright this mad hatter world
so quickly
that we do not know it?
we stand on a shore
and drown our ideas
of what’s real, staring
at the tree patterns
on the opposite shore
perfectly shimmering
on the still plate of water,
their tops coming toward us
instead of toward heaven

for which we are grateful.
then the image is broken
when an amputated arm
floats up to the surface
between the tree branches,
free-falling upward in the middle
of a river forest, and horror
slowly creeps into our spines.

an accident, a swimmer caught
in a propeller, we think, the whole
story already conclusive in the woods
of the mind’s construing, the story
we create to substitute for the reality
we never can know.

so the days fly down toward darkness
weeks before the fall equinox— time begins
to swallow light from both ends of the day,
and panic sets in.

how can we, who know so little, who know
next to nothing, live with even less light, even after
too much has nearly blinded us?

the accumulation of deaths accelerates, and
the disappearance of those we love into the darkness
beyond our meager vision seems to the soul like
the slow amputation of yet another part
of the body of our days—

taking our loved ones with them, hours one by one disappear forever
into fragments of the past— hurling itself like a black wave
over every experience faster than we can experience it.

thank God we have the future or eternity
to unlock and open ourselves and decipher the hidden meanings

what happens next may cast
no light on what just happened,
but the stories that come to us,
if they don’t frighten us,
may comfort us in the dark
where we live our increasingly
isolated, stark and abstemious lives.

soon the spirit will so outgrow the body
that the body will yield it to heaven.

soon the body will no longer need
its spirit, and the soul will pour out of it
like warm honey from the hive.

can this every day life we live be proper practice for paradise?
this emptying, this recurring fall of day into night?
any day, night may spill its secret gifts before us,
with paradise full born, abloom and radiant in our souls.

             Alla Renée Bozarth
           Purgatory Papers 
             Copyright 2012 







Moment of Grace

No matter the relationship
between beings—

Whether friend to friend
or stranger to stranger—

Whether teacher and student,
apprentice and master,
or both as equals and
beyond definition—

Whether one is hurt and
healed well enough to help
and the other is hurt and
yet to be healed,
each becomes both
teacher and healer—

Whether one is open
and the other wary—

Whether both are
of the same species or
of different species—

No matter how many languages
there are between them—
after the last sigh has been sighed
and the last note of the song
they are trying to find words
and melody for has been sung,
what follows that effort
is music ~
 
When they meet
soul to soul
and open their hearts,
without even knowing
or deciding to do so—

After the words—
after the sound,
after the movement—
there is a moment
of silence, and within
that moment all
that matters is the light
between beings ~

Where no more is needed
than to remember and cherish it
forever

                   Alla Renée Bozarth
          The Frequencies of Sound
                    Copyright 2012


Between Beings

A thin scar reminds
the body and mind
of how they can mend
for the work they must do—

To live with integrity as much as possible,
to speak the truth prudently but clearly,
to tell the story they have lived,
to help others free themselves as well,
to discern right action and do it,
even if it leads to death—
to safeguard the helpless and
protect and help those in need.

One knows one’s purpose, to live
until one has helped as many whose lives
can be pulled from the fire as one can.

Wisdom regards this person with another
and smiles, revealing that between two beings
there is only the light.

        Alla Renée Bozarth
Diamonds in a Stony Field
         Copyright 2012


In the Beginning Was the Word and

comes the soaring
comes the shower of fire
the comet, the meteor, the wonder
to think~ that from a single ion of hydrogen
come the stars, come the waters, come us.

Alla Renée Bozarth
The Frequencies of  Sound
Copyright 2012




The Compass Rose

  All creatures suffer. Even the roses suffer.
  All you have to do is observe them to see it.

If you want to learn com-passion
so that you feel with other beings and
your own soul without judging, exploiting,
dramatizing or attempting to control, but simply
to learn how to pour the light of heaven
into the wounds of time and space—
study the rose.

Learn the breath-giving beauty of a soul~
as the warm fleshy rose that lives and pulses
in the heart of time and a human being~
or in the essential body of another animal
or tree, or in a single cloud floating past your field of vision~
or perhaps in the heart of the storm, should dark clouds gather
and blow down thunderous breath over Earth~ or the heart
of a river or the great mother ocean, whose water-blue rose
welcomes the swimmer.

Learn its rhythms and moods, both calm and aroused—
the rose in a storm or basking in sunlight from rain.
Learn to discern between agony and ecstasy,
those extreme expressionists, those mirror twins.

Learn the rhythms and colors of implosive despair
and explosive anger and how they differ
from sorrow and joy.

Study the swirling shapes and the bundling coils,
the opening wings or self-containment of the rose—  
and know your own heart also. Observe the thorns,
how with age, they increase and thicken.

To learn the compass points of compassion,
carefully follow the changes in each petal, leaf, branch and thorn
of several different kinds of roses throughout their separate seasonal life spans.

Learn each one’s vulnerability,
each one’s rhythms of movement toward Grace
from green bud to full bloom to browning petals, drying twigs,
pocked and curling leaves, through every assault of disease
and devouring invasion, all the way through to the bare branch,
old root falling-away, final losses of itself.

After traveling the east, south, west and true north completion
of the cycle of the rose, only the central core gift is left—
the life-laden rose hips with their potent nutrients, delicately
wrapped in rose-colored fibers that heal the body as tea, 
and feed the songs of the birds to perfection.
October 5, sixth day

October 7, with Japanese maple

and silk mimosa's last gifts before sleep


First flowers of July . . . 
and last flowers of now, 
with seed pods for next summer~


and the dahlia's flashy beauty and beauty in shadows
This will be your lesson in compassion.
It will become your compass through life.
It will be the garment worn by your mind.
It will be the breath of your love song
to all suffering Creation.

             Alla Renée Bozarth
The Wild Gardens of God in Quartet
Copyright 2012














O Earth, Wrap Me

O Earth, wrap me
in your leaves –
heal me.

Let me fall
on your Earthbreast —
feed me.

Sing to me
under the round nests
in your cedar trees.

Embrace me
when I sleep
in your shade.

Let your eye keep me
protected and cool –
hide me.

Warm me
with naked summer
kisses and

Cloister me
around
with wildflowers.

Refresh me
with springs
and living waters.

Draw me down
into your well
of rebirth and

Let my wounds
open
and empty

Into your wonderful
compost
heap.

Then fill me
with your fruit
and bread, start over— 

Let my wounds
become fertile
gardens and


Let me be.
Let me live
again.

           Alla Renée Bozarth

The Book of Bliss, iUniverse 2000,
and This is My Body~ Prayers for Earth,
Prayers from the Heart, iUniverse, 2004.








 





           


Liquid Amber (Sweet Gum Tree) Leaves


Biodance 

    Everything bears the property of Love~
 
                                                            Sitting on a rock in the Salmon River 
                                                                      watching first leaves fall.


From sunhigh mountain treetops
upstream the rapids carry
old branches to the sea,
their leaves landlocked already. 

Why so soon?
Not soon at all —
your time is complete.
And so is mine.

You rest in sunlight
before transforming
into earth and air.

You dissolve your leafy form 
and recompose into a thousand bodies.
Nothing ever ends.
Everything is always beginning.

Shall I find myself tomorrow
shining in a water drop
on a piece of moss
on the bark of a tree
that once was you?

Green into burntred,
old leaf, our biodance began
millennia ago, but today 
I am glad to see you clearly  
for the first time  
with just these eyes, 
my changing
partner! 

Your bronze body turns
to powder
with a crack
beneath my foot.

Part of you has already become me.
You are on your new way.

You will be back. 
And so will I. 
So will I.   

                                                                              Alla Renée Bozarth 

From Stars in Your Bones: Emerging Signposts on Our Spiritual Journeys, Alla Bozarth, Julia Barkley and Terri Hawthorne, North Star Press of St. Cloud 19990; and This Mortal Marriage: Poems of Love, Lament and Praise, Alla Renée Bozarth, iUniverse 2003.
                                              The Sandy River, photo by John Jarman
From Here

From here
the river
is a ribbon
of light —

One rose,
the color
of bright
coral seashell,
blooms
in the autumn
yard

and the pasture
grass dazzles green
with new rain
and low sun

and October trees
find their true
color again
before death — 




From here
the waterfall
roars below me
and the brave sun
smells cool.
             Sheppard's Dell Waterfall, Columbia Gorge

From here the river
is a ribbon of light   
and the full moon
rests a moment
abreast the red summit
of White Mountain.

From here I almost know
the secret of the stars,
how small the Earth is,
my own way home.

                                           Alla Renée Bozarth

                        Moving to the Edge of the World 
                             iUniverse 2000
  

The Wilderness of Night 

                       With thanks to Artemis 
            and the poet Pesha Gertler.

When I go walking out
into the wilderness of night
without a compass but only a light,
sometimes further blessed
under the lampposts of stars,
it pleases me to see the long shadows 
of old trees on the road
forming familiar bridges 
or long trails I can follow—  
                                                     
In winter I watch for the crisp
constellations spread out 
against a black velvet sky,
and when the ground 
and barn roofs are covered 
with deep winter coats,
I love to dance with 
shimmering branches 
swaying before me, mirrored 
in blue moonlight on snow. 

                              Alla Renée Bozarth


The Night Sky that Loves Me 
 in Quartet ~copyright 2013.


                     After Crossing the Bridge


Backlighting

When I walk in the dark,
I think the two tiny headlights,
tear-glistening on either side
of my nose, do not illuminate
what is coming and hide too much
the light within.  But then it passes,
and darkness returns all around—
until I follow the curve of the road,
and as I walk, I see,
I swear it, a light bigger than
my brain, a light filling
the dark sky behind me and
illuminating the road far
in front of me, and I look
over my shoulder
expecting the full moon,
pouring down its radiance.
But there is no moon.
There is only God. 

                                   Alla Renée Bozarth 
The Night Sky that Loves Me 
 in Quartet ~copyright 2013.




Columbia River and Gorge with Crown Point and fog . . .        Sandy River Gorge with dragon's breath fog filling the canyon and Mt. Hood at sunset . . .

 

At the End of this Road   

The dream says wait
by not-waiting.
Enter fog fully,
give yourself
to the cloud
completely.


Go to the white summit 
and then turn around,
not to go back but 
to see the other side
of your self and the whole
path by which you brought
yourself here. Then hold
to the Mountain. Stay
until morning.



Drink what warmth
the dazzling gives.
Eat light like a leaf
and be transfigured.                                                 
Learn all the secrets
the snowy desert
can teach you in one
incarnation. 

Do not think you are
waiting for another part
of your life to begin. 

                                                            Be intrigued. Be overwhelmed

                                                            where you are, taking time
                                                            to note how everything comes 
                                                            to you unbidden to meet your desire. 

Cultivate not waiting.
Learn the new speech
that thin air makes.

Where you are is
nearly over and
is always. Wait
without waiting.

Moving to the Edge of the World, iUniverse 2000




The Rose Window Mirror
 
       Inspired by Lyndall Johnson

By day, the rose window from the outside
is nothing more than gray, flat geometric 
stones, too high to mirror the world or a soul.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Amiens Cathedral 
To see its true colors one must go inside. 
In the interior, wonders show themselves freely 
to those who go there with open heart, 
mind and senses.

The rose window reveals its true colors
to the outside world only at night, and
then only when the interior is alive with
the presence of human beings at prayer,
candles lit and power on, drawing forth
{up, down, out or in} Divine Illumination.

When the world is wrapped in darkness 
Artist: Stephen Wilson
and especially on starless nights~
the honest-to-God soul's receptive presence
invoking Divine Attention within becomes a beacon
by which to orient ourselves. Let all who see be attentive.

Choir window, St. John the Baptist Church, Whiting, IN

By this goodwilling presence within, the House of Prayer becomes a holding place
for yearning, a holy place for responsive thanksgiving, and a real Cathedral
for the primary and mixed colors of All Creation. . . and it also becomes
a lighthouse of assurance for those outside who are at sea in their lives.

As we lift up our eyes, the jeweled beauty of the window wakens our souls
to unnoticed beauty all around and within us, where Spirit also dwells.

The circle window works two ways with its inside and outside perspectives,
but only if there is a light source from the other side. Right vision through
a window, even of the most obvious beauty, depends on right backlighting
on the other side—from Outside for out-seeing, from Inside for in-sight. 

From a lit room looking out on a dark exterior, the glass becomes a mirror.
From a lit exterior into a darkened room, a mirror again. Illuminated actors
on a stage must sense the unseen audience and be mirrors for humanity.

Overexposure obscures. Too much light on the other side washes out color 
and blinds the eye, but good backlighting either way is revelatory.

The one in darkness will always see the one in light,
and the one in light will not see what the darkness is hiding.
Light is merciful toward darkness. Darkness sees but may not recognize.
This is why innocence must be protected.

The innocent assume innocence in others, the evil assume evil in all.
Darkness and light in themselves are merely themselves.
The use we make of each is what generates goodness or evil.

There is essential goodness in darkness, which renews and restores
through the divine gift of sleep. Clear images are developed in protective
dark rooms. There is essential goodness in light which reveals, teaches 
and bequeaths beauty. Both darkness and light are innocent creatures
capable of being corrupted by unwise and unloving use,
capable of being transfused with true goodness.

Thus the window becomes the Tao, in which inside and outside are 
mysteriously inseparable, empowering one another as do darkness and light.
The seed of each sleeps deeply and wakens in its time inside the other,
as the world sleeps in the soul and the soul wakes up in the world.

It reminds us that even here and now in space
and time, we live in Eternity always, and
Eternity reveals itself within us.

Therefore, as we become more transparent,
suffused with the light of Heaven, we become
beacons of hope for each other on Earth.

May the darkness that gives light at the turn
of the night and the light which gives darkness
at the turn of the day reveal together
the true colors of being.

And so the mystery of the Universe
can reveal itself to us
a little at a time.        
 

      Alla Renée Bozarth 
Postcards from Paradise 
       Copyright 2012
                                                                 Artist Elizabeth Devereaux   
                                                    for St. Clare of Assisi Church, O'Fallon, IL                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                  
The Tao of Decision  

To everything, balance.
Believe that life is  
powerful and
mysterious.  
Also believe 
that human beings
seem more so 
only because
you are one of them.
                                      

In each case it is
unique just how—
to every action
there is an equal
and opposite reaction,
and all things hold
their opposite within
their own core.
 And the saying
as above, so below
may mean
that stars grow
in the garden and 
flowers bloom
in the night sky. 
Does this also
explain why
I so often say
a loud No
just before
I say
a big Yes? 

Alla Renée Bozarth 

The Frequencies of Sound
 Copyright 2012




The circle rose window conveys balance, wholeness, integrity and joy. 
It is described by one artist of sacred geometry in color and glass as "anti-gravitational."


First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, NC


Lucky Poets                

Bad luck for the young poet would be a rich father, an early marriage,
an early success or the ability to do anything well.      Charles Bukowski

What great luck I’ve had, right away, when the first stroke in the form 
of a cerebral hemorrhage came upon me at the age of one minute and 
some seconds— followed by a childhood of corrective eye surgeries 
and all the usual illnesses that hit twice as hard and lasted longer than 
with other children.

The result finally was that I need all my senses to do everything
and still remain unable to do most things very well, and also
that I was able to read good books and watch good movies
to my mind's enrichment.

I have had the good luck of an array of broken-hearted love stories. 
Ho hum. Marriage came when I was young, but it was difficult 
because it was important to us both to love each other well, 
so after 15 years of hard work, we achieved it.
Then my Beloved died.

By these experiences, some poets would say I was abundantly blessed
in the tear-soggy field of poetry. Plenty of sensible people would say otherwise.

Still, I’m not as lucky as Renato Grbic who, while fishing with his brother
near a sixty-foot bridge over the Danube one day 15 years ago heard a splash,
and the two of them were able to save a man flailing in the river.
He said, "Look, it's a glorious day, and you want to kill yourself?"

He was so shaken that he decided to save as many others as he could,
for the bridge was favored by those wanting to end their lives, the only
high bridge in Belgrade over the one river of two that was cold enough
and deep enough with a strong undercurrent to carry people to their deaths.

Renato (whose name means reborn) kept vigil.
He would sit there under the bridge in his small motorboat,
fishing for the restaurant he owned, daydreaming and thinking
about the desperation of the people he'd brought back, wondering
if they got the help to live which they so obviously needed.

No one among the dozens he'd saved said thank you.
They said nothing, in fact, but later he sometimes found out
that some had cancer, some were too poor or too lonely to go on,
some did it for so-called love.

When a young woman of 22 told him she did it for her boyfriend,
Renato asked, "Would he do it for you?"

All of them, he said, wanted attention and love.
Of this he was sure, because they jumped in broad daylight to be seen.

Those who were merely attempting to euthanize themselves,
homeless and dying too slowly and wanting to spare themselves 
more agony, were made to suffer more and deeper despair from his effort,
and may  have jumped again when Renato was sleeping, then in privacy,
succeeded in the mercy they needed.

Though as many died as Renato had saved through the years,
he became a complete expert at Danube diving and responding quickly
to human need, with blankets and tea and a call to the hospital after
following the water's alert system splash— to pull all those people
one by one back from their extreme baptism-by-immersion in the river—
which then to their astonishment insisted on rejecting them and
gave them rebirth instead— protesting, dripping and sputtering.

Some may have become ambivalent and were secretly grateful.
Imagine changing your mind while aiming head first and falling fast
toward rapidly moving dark water . . .

I would say that Renato and those he successfully saved by virtue 
of their lives significantly improving after such crisis have had 
the best luck of all. They are already fine poets, body poets 
of the soul's deep feeling, simply by being able to go on,
designing their lives in ways mutually inspired 
by one surprise after another.

                    Alla Renée Bozarth ~ Diamonds in a Stony Field ~ Copyright 2012


      
 


Rosa Mystica

           for Lyndall and Lora, after Paris and Chartres

For one, revelation came in the form 
of a dead dove
being eaten by a cat—
communion on the lip
of the labyrinth cathedral
that houses the birthing gown
of the Mother of Christ, and the Holy Well.

For the other, a street person
dancing on a bridge near Notre Dame—
to music that comes
from a miniature house on wheels
which she draws along like a shadow
before or after her, with its colorful flowers,
like a dog on a leash—
dancing on the bridge between
heaven and hell
in beatific madness.

In perfect union
the mind returns
to its senses,
   finds its voice
   in the stillness of the Rose.

The Word is reborn in her words,
and the world breathes
with more ease, accepting what is.

                Alla Renée Bozarth  
The Night Sky that Loves Me in Quartet
                  Copyright 2012




Cathedral de Notre Dame, Reims


Rosa Mystica Garden, Wisdom House, Sandy, Oregon

 Rumi graphic by Lora DeVore-Matz
Heirloom in three stages of life.

The Sandy River in the Mt. Hood National Forest 
                                                         The River of Life flows on . . . 

. . . toward sleep
             
. . . and as if from dreams, the promise of dawn.

Wy'East, also known as Mt. Hood, tucking in for the night.


Raphael the Archangel is regarded as the defender against nightmares; the patron saint of the blind and those suffering from eye diseases and difficulties; of all who suffer from physical or mental illness; of nurses, pharmacists, physicians; and is also regarded as the helper of sheep and those who raise sheep; the protector and aid of travelers and youth; the helper of lovers and guardian of happy meetings. Raphael is the angel who stands at the portals between the seasons, especially those cardinal times of the light's balance before leaving and before returning again. Though Raphael is honored among the archangels, I always invoke the Seraphim with this masterful and blessed guardian, resplendent wisdom of night~




Invocation to Raphael the Archangel

You who watch with us when Uriel your brother angel sets shivers
to our teeth with his thunder~ you who bless lovers and pilgrims,
who guide the blind and those who are mad from their losses~
you who bless the healers and those who have knowledge of herbs~

You who are kind to confusion and protect us, waking or sleeping,
from nightmares~ you who watch with the shepherd 
and know each sheep by name~

Befriender of youth, guardian of those who suffer 
from any affliction of the eye~
See us through, O Raphael, see us through 
these precincts of discovery, these vast
lab-oratories, where experience would crush us 
except for protective wings, your wings that nudge us 
with divine direction.

Remind us of that country of Joy from where we come and shall return again,
you who govern the pathways of the poor and the rich, the ill and the well,
the ignorant and knowing~ you who understand us through everything.

Bless us with the remembrance of those precious voices
we long have loved, now far, ever near, and teach us slowly
and faithfully in dreams to sing with them
as you ready the deep night for dawn~

O Raphael, Resplendent Angel of the dove and the raven, you who instruct 
the eagle and ride on flaming wings of the Seraphim, you who raise the cry 
of the hawk to warn small and weak animals below, including brave and foolish us,
quaking and bold as howling babies among them~ 
Respect our resistance, even as you give us the blessings 
of patience and trust~ gently and powerfully free us 
from fear and open us to self-transcending insight.

And through all that time and tide might bring,
protect the Light of Our Souls any way and always,
though everything. Amen                                                                                         

       Alla Renée Bozarth  
The Frequency of Light
Copyright 2012

    Nocturnal deer with night-blooming cosmos of Fall

Invocation to Night

Night, the daughter of Chaos
and beautiful mother of Sleep
and Death and the Day, of Doom
and Dreams and the Soul’s
Awakening—

Night, bring Hope, bring Splendor,
bring Stars~ Night, bring Comfort
and Safety from harm and protect
us from your dear dangers.

Night, let your wings hover over us,
their shadows holding the luminous,
tender portions of our lives,
the unprotected, the strong,
the breakable.

Night, bless us and keep us alive
to meet the New Day, and fashion it
now from the Best Visions of Angels
and not from our small, puny
and unlovely obsessions
nor our consuming nightmares.

Let us not waken trembling
and wet with cold, but
with even breath and rested,
ready for anything.

Bring Grace to our bedsides
to rouse us to our feet and set them
in good directions—
Bring Light to our words and deeds.

Then when Day hides again under your wings,
welcome us with kindness and soft songs.
Sweet Night, Good Night.
Good Night.

 Alla Renée Bozarth
The Night Sky that Loves Me in Quartet
                                                                                            Copyright 2012

Listen to 5 minutes of pure bliss, music by Morten Lauridsen, words by James Agee~  

Sure On This Shining Night - Morten Lauridsen

 


╬    ╬    ╬


The dahlias are from the garden of Julie Stephens and Butch Hattenberg, dear friends who live down the road. The rose bower, horse, goat and cows live in my neighbors' pastures and yards across Coalman Road, shown with mama and papa trees flanking the paved hard way. The apple tree is on my southern neighbors Melody and Don Delay's side of the long fence. The foxglove, Turk's cap lilies, silk mimosa tree, black walnut tree, braided sunset trees, Pristine, Heirloom (the lavender/mauve rose) and Fascination (the coral/magenta rose) live with me. The pear tree is loaded with pears too high for me to reach, but they are beginning to fall on the ground to be picked up. They are juicy and delicious, fresh or in compote simmered with orange juice, cinnamon, cranberries and raisins or currants. The purple Italian plums and Gravenstein apples are from my dwarf fruit tree orchard also. The dwarf trees have not been pruned in ten years and are turning into gnarly old giants.

Sunrise over trees is what I see before I go to bed sometimes, from my kitchen window and veranda looking east toward the Cascade Mountains. Sunset over Mt. Hood used to be the view from the top of the hill just off the highway. I was lucky to be able to spend many beautiful twilight evenings there before developers ruined the immediate landscape.

The dolphins do not live in my backyard, but were found on the Internet image gallery.

These meditation posts in poetry, stories and pictures began on All Saints and All Souls Days last year, 2011, and have come full circle to the Feast of All Angels, The Holy Guardian Angels, and today, St. Francis of Assisi. The Cycle of the Year is nearly complete . . .