Monday, November 7, 2011

Surprising Grace in The Prayer Imperative



A note on the process of inspiration and Grace, after thinking about the casual form in which the inspiration for “The Prayer Imperative” came— in a letter from a dear friend~ poet, public broadcasting producer and writer Claudia Hampston Daly, written as a computer class assignment with the apologetic first sentence, “I have no topic,” and within a few words, turning into her sharing of concern for someone in need of our prayers,  with the comment that prayer is not optional, but imperative, which struck me into poetry.

That's how Surprising Grace  happens~ you're going along innocently performing your tasks and doing something mundane when suddenly you notice a gem has dropped into the moment. You notice it, and if it doesn’t shatter you, you pick it up, look at it carefully from every angle, feel its texture and look deeply into its colors. You clean and polish it several times, and then rub it dry and let it rest overnight. You wake up to discover that something new and meaningful has entered the world.  Thanks be to God for the Grace to notice! Thanks be to God for the Grace of accidentally helping it to happen, either as conduit or observer! 

The Prayer Imperative                       

In the beginning we think
that prayer is an option,
a contingency plan,
a last resort.

Then life happens to us.
Reality floods us.

Life gathers us into bundles
and teaches us survival skills
as, one by one and sometimes
all together, it pushes us
out of the boat and directly into
the white water current
of our rushed and rushing lives.

As we right our capsized vessels
time after time and climb into them again,
as we right ourselves over and over yet tumble we will,
we learn the humbling essence of things.

We learn the prayer imperative.
We come to comprehend
the theological meanings
of prevenient prayer and abandon
convenient prayer as an arrogant notion.

We need the Grace that comes before us,
the Grace that comes with us,
and the Grace that comes after us
to make the repairs.

This is where prevenient prayer meets prevenient Grace.
The Grace that comes before us reveals an indwelling Grace,
rounding the rough edges in the chaos of all the way through.

In the violent current one cannot swim,
let alone do so gracefully.

One can only pray and practice
strokes of contrast and strokes of oneness,
now surrendering to the Larger Life
of driven water, now fighting for dear life—
with no time for conscious trust, until
the accidental Mercy of movement positions us
where we could never know we needed to be
and we're saved, or accidental Grace suddenly
gives us the insight of how to float between waves.

Then we'll find ourselves no longer seized
by turbulence but, perhaps with
post-traumatic tremble, in a calm state
that could be heaven or could be wisdom.
Therefore, I pray—

Great Loving Mystery, precede me in every thought and act~
Succeed me through every challenging moment~
Recede me from every danger of harm to body or soul.

Come before me to create a pathway.
Come beside me to hold me on course.
Come after me to mend all the messes.

The inevitable messes.

Keep one hand on my shoulder
and one hand over my mouth,

as the wise ones pray.

Prepare and repair my paths and my ways,
and do so for all my loved ones and foes.
And this is my hourly prayer,
day by day and night unto night.
Sometimes it is the prayer
I breathe.

At the end of my life
I shall have become all prayer.

        Alla Renée Bozarth  
Purgatory Papers copyright 2011
                                                                                          




What is Prayer?  

Prayer is intimacy with the Great Mystery.
Be every moment aware of the Presence —
how you are loved!

She takes off Her wings
to heal you, He surrenders
everything for your sake.
At all times in every
hidden, open place
It lives in your deep
soul’s core, It moves
in your moving and acts
through your skin
and the skin or bark or shell
of all living beings—  forms of angels,
and also of water, rocks, and fire.

So be awake to the life that is loving you
and sing your prayer, laugh your prayer,
dance your prayer, run
and weep and sweat your prayer,
sleep your prayer, eat your prayer,
paint, sculpt, hammer and read your prayer,
sweep, dig, rake, drive and hoe your prayer,
garden and farm and build and clean your prayer,
wash, iron, vacuum, sew, embroider and pickle your prayer,
compute, touch, bend and fold, but never delete
or mutilate your prayer.

Learn and play your prayer,
work and rest your prayer,
fast and feast your prayer,
argue, talk, whisper, listen and shout your prayer,
groan and moan and spit and sneeze your prayer,
swim and hunt and cook your prayer,
digest and become your prayer.

Release and recover your prayer.
Breathe your prayer.
Be your prayer.

Let prayer be your thinking
and thriving, your passionate
living and humble dying
back into Earth and God.
Let prayer be your senses and sex,
your political power, your confusion
and vision for good.

Let teaching tolerance and all childcare be prayer.
Let your mistakes be a prayer, and your unknowing.
Let remorse and forgiveness be prayer.

Make love in every act,
create growth in each intent.
Nature in any form serves
as sanctuary and temple.

Let your bath be an oracle chamber,
every trip anywhere a pilgrimage,
and your dreambed each night
the Holy of Holies.

And so you are praying.
So you do what you be,
and all your being is blessed
and all your life is a prayer.
And all your acts are a blessing.

Alla Renée Bozarth
 
Moving to the Edge of the World
 iUniverse 2000. All rights reserved.



Prayer in Great Need

God, You are Big Enough for what is Too Big for us.
Into Your Loving Care I entrust all of us
who are overwhelmed with need.
Sustain and transform our lives to be channels of Your Love to others.
Free us from worry and anxiety
and fill our minds and our hands with the means to live peacefully.
Empower our intentions to realize Your own desire
for the well-being of Your beloved.
Keep us from desperation and despair
and fill our beings with calm and steady purpose
that is in harmony with Your Own Mind and Purpose.
When we cannot provide for ourselves, provide for us.
Infuse our spirits with Your Spirit of inspired serenity
and active energy for the Greatest Possible Good.
In Christ I pray for us all. Amen

                                        Alla Renée Bozarth                      
                       
 Learning to Dance in Limbo
Purgatory Papers



     Everywhere!  
 Everywhere!

First Word

This is the practice
of Beginner’s Mind.

Every day you wake up
and it is your first day
of existence.

You do not remember
that in your sleep you cried out
your unconscious expletive: Help!

Not yet knowing
where you are, you rise
from sleep, stretch, stand
and move toward the window
or open the door.

You look out and see the world
for the first time, lay your eyes
on your first tree, a budding flower,
an open bloom, and green grass
or brown earth, or perhaps gray pavement
on which kids down the street are playing softball.
Then from somewhere you hear a piano sending forth
the sound of Gershwin, Chopin or Brahms, and it is
the first music you have ever heard.

You breathe in the scent of grass,
of coffee, of cedar, and it is your first
experience of fragrance.

You feel the sunlight touching your face,
the sensation of rain or the kiss of a snowflake,
and it is the first time your skin feels a caress.

And you stand still to breathe,
and it is your first breath
and first moment 
of astonished awareness.
And then you blink
and open your eyes wider
and speak your first word
and first prayer—

Wow!

   Alla Renée Bozarth
     The Frequencies of Sound
     Copyright 2011.


 
Life’s Secrets— Interruptions and Chaos

Today belongs to you, including the Night
and the Twilight at their beginning and end
when the sky says Good Morning and Good Night
in living color or gentle silver light.

Everything that happens will be yours
because you are part of it, as everything
here belongs to everyone and each is in all.

Grace belongs to us all as part of the Gift
of existence, and suffering as part of its Mystery.

Growth with its pains and decline with its pains
belong to us all— animal, plant, mineral, microbe.
Growth with its Blows and Joys of Discovery
and Decline with its Gifts of Remembrance
and Moments of Redemption belong to us all.

Living and Dying, none of it is as expected.
To live fully we must allow ourselves the chaos of things a-borning,
the interruptions that Life Is. Even what looks like dying is Life being born.

Everything necessary comes
in the layers and folds of the process.
Make your life happen between and within them.

Trust, whatever the moment,
that everything missing and needed
will manifest in unexpected ways
in time or beyond time.

Ride the waves of your life
and learn as you live. 

You are necessary for Now.
You will always be Here
but not in the same way as yesterday.
Even in danger, you will always be safe in God,
though you be utterly changed.
                                                                                         
 Alla Renée Bozarth
 
The Frequency of Light



Carry On!

You are more
than the sum
of your ancestors.
From your parents
you inherited
a biological legacy
and you received
the invitation
to be born.

To them you owe
your life
and nothing more.
The rest is You.

You came here
a soul fresh hot
from the Heart of God,
rounded out by your own
eternal mysteries.

You came here
with your own
innocence
and wisdom,
your own capacity
for compassion,
your own genius
for being alive.

Over the course
of your lifetime
you will be given
countless opportunities
to discover and develop
the sum of these gifts
to the best of your ability.

You must stay alert
and be aware of these moments
of Grace when they come,
sit down with them or
run or fly with them
to fulfill your potential
for Life and Completion.

Every day, you can be
God’s dream coming true.
                                              
Your being
becomes you,
Dear One.
Carry on!

 Alla Renée Bozarth
Postcards from Paradise 

                       



 
                                                                                      Sea Call
  
    Light casts diamond
    flash on fishes’ backs,
    seagulls fly below me.
    Spindrift, silverwhite, foaming
    round ancient rocks, and more
    ancient song of waves returning
    beckon me also

    To give my body
    back to the Sea
    and set my Spirit free.

                                                                                    Alla Renée Bozarth

         The Book of Bliss and
        This Mortal Marriage: Poems of Love, Lament and Praise
        
       
La Mer, Ma Mère

The Mother
ocean
spread out
over Earth
like a great
ever-young
Grandmother’s
lap, sunlight on water
her apron

The global sea,
the beautiful womb
of beginnings,
maturing for eons,
then

Kissed by lightning~
And bringing forth
from that union
of water and fire

Life!

The forming original eggs, then fertile,
filling with unknown and never-before
truly new things, sea froth their amniotic
bed in Earth’s changed ground of creation

And from there, for delight of it,
ceaselessly bearing dreamed beings
into real being, deep sea vegetation
stirring up future mountains
to shelter them, the Alps, the Himalaya,
the Cascades and Urals

Starfish to come, the turtle,
cormorant, collie and whale,
human astronauts (both boy and girl)~~ 
And every forest on the planet
was first conceived from these
swimmers and divers

The love between them,
the strange attractors,
the opposites
in their orgasmic moment,
lightning-quick
from the sea rumble of clouds,
followed by the slower, loud
love song of thunder

Whereby, from the elemental marriage
of sea and sky,
first Music was born~

Then, by and by,
their offspring allowed
to evolve for a few
billion years

And here we are,
joining the great sibling
symphony of the Living
and singing our hearts out
for the wonder of it all

Alla Renée Bozarth 

The Frequency of Light





A Prayer for Luminosity

I pray that you will be tuned
to recognize all of God’s sweet
surprises for you throughout your life,
and when Luminous Presence appears,
you will feel the great joy of gratitude.
I pray that your life will give you
more joy than sorrow,
that pain will be small and fleeting,
and that you will learn ways
to turn pain into blessing.
I pray that in hard times you will be able
to recall the beauty that shines
among prickles and thorns.
I pray that you will find the beauty within you
to respond to the beauty outside you.
I pray that you will know every day
how fully love embraces you.
I pray that you will live and move and be in Grace,
and that this Grace will give you the power to give,
and the freedom to receive.
I pray that you will grow in wisdom.
I pray that you will create your own ways
to celebrate the Mysteries, and to be happy.

Alla Renée Bozarth
The Frequency of Light



 

The reflection below was written in the darkening season of the northern hemisphere and suggests that Joy is a kind of pilot light in the soul, ever-ready to ignite, always waiting without impatience, even if there are long distances of time and circumstance when the top burners remain dark and cold. Even there, looking closely, one can see the faint blue light of dormant readiness. Joy patiently waits for a person’s hunger for it to well up to consciousness and activate an old memory in the directing mind, which finally reaches to make a single clear turn beyond its small self. Joy is faithful, the pilot light that is sourced by Grace and never entirely extinguished in the God-loved soul. Its blue fire burns hottest in sustaining such readiness, because it rests so near to its invisible Source.

The Sovereignty of Joy

Joy is not elation or intensity, but a steady pilot light in the soul,
ever-ready to ignite, waiting without impatience through seasons
of darkness and cold, a dormant violet-blue flame that burns hottest,
resting so near to the Source, patient for our awakening wonder reaching
to engage it. Then live~ past the point of tears, into the regions of Joy.

Is joy merely intense happiness? Not always, Friend.
Happiness means to be in harmony with what happens.
One cannot always be happy, for horrid things happen
daily in the world, worthy of distress and compassion.

The body succumbs to the scars laid on it by time,
and its workings are not always happy.

The mind and heart, too, can break away from happiness
under overwhelming stress.

Mind and heart seem to break clean through.
Joy does not depend on aye or nay circumstance
in regions of the pursuit and practice of happiness.
Joy exists in the soul as a sovereign and radiant place,
a free and independent state.

Even in sorrow, its presence breaks through anew,
crossing bridges of loss as sunlight crosses a river,
with the promise of wholehearted faithfulness—

Joy reveals itself, the fact of itself, in new possibilities,
at once inviting us into them and assuring us that they are alive
deep inside us, a gathering light deeper than grief, where all is well.
Pray, then, to be a way for that light, among similar lights
in waking sisters and brothers, to enter the world.

Alla Renée Bozarth
Paradise~ Copyright 2008.

Here is the sudden light in the Heart of the Rose which I noticed one stressful year only because I looked up from my Advent twilight table with my head at the just the right angle~ to see how the candle flame lined up with the Core of the Pristine rose by means of a reflection on the glass over its photograph, which was sitting in its silk frame on the cherry wood table in front of me to my left. I saw it as a reminder of the pilot light in my heart, waiting to be noticed, waiting for me to turn my head at an angle of vision that would allow me to see into the darkness and find the light.






The Human Butterfly Effect

    Everything depends on sensitivity to initial conditions.
                 A first principle of Chaos Theory.

Monday morning and
the melancholy masses
begin their trudge,
worming down
the highways and train tracks
or hitting the tasks
immediate to home,
family or farm.

Meanwhile, a butterfly
moves its wings
in Hong Kong
and a rainstorm begins
in the Amazon.

At the same time,
a genuinely glad
human being
opens a door
and out from its
opening happiness pours—

Imagine what will happen
to the world

from that single
catastrophically
wonderful
event!

       Alla Renée Bozarth
The Frequency of Light



Comes the Dawn

Comes the dawn
is the most delicious
expression
of the English tongue—

Meaning, light breaks
through the cracks
of unconsciousness
and illuminates everything—

Meaning, Aha!
I see it now!

Meaning that the poet
Robert Frost finally
found his way out
of the Dismal Swamp
(true story!)
in Norfolk, Virginia,
and decided life on the farm
with the wife of his dreams
was a reasonable alternative
to suicide—

Meaning the garbage truck
pulls into the driveway
with its back-up bells on high
just in case you’re not awake
from the sound of the grinding motor—

Meaning the recycle truck
tears up the hill close behind
to finish the job, windows rolled down
and the Morning News and Bee Bop
show turned up on the radio—

Meaning the few hours nap I had
with or without dreams ends
in a scramble of random firings,
my brain dumping everything it’s got
on top of me, lying there helpless in bed—
the whole dictionary of words out of order,
all the names in the World Atlas, and
segments of every song, play, movie, poem
or story taken in suddenly mixed together
without sense, and me sweating beneath them,
miserable and longing
for one solid night’s sleep in my life—

Meaning might as well get up
or go to bed if I haven’t yet,
take a hello or goodbye look
out the door to check on the moon,
stars and sun, and ask the birds
to please keep it down
until noon.

Comes the dawn and
I may or may not understand
the meaning of life, love,
suffering and death, but
I will understand
that it’s worthwhile
to be part of it all, and a lucky break
when I get to celebrate any of it
by writing it down and sending it up
as if it were, every morning, a birthday present
from the God of Sunrise and New Day.

Meaning, Aha!
I see it all now . . .

    Alla Renée Bozarth
The Frequency of Light
     Copyright 2012.

 
                                                        The Silk Mimosa Miracle Tree




 



 The Chatterbox Tree                      

The silk mimosa over rhododendron and roses in the front yard
was not expected to live beyond the usual fifteen years when I came here
so many years ago, and the tree was already ten years old. When it was nearly
twenty, it was growing so rapidly and generously that it broke its heart
with flowers one day in a downpour. Half the tree covered all of the grass,
separated and gone to green for good. A huge gash of a wound healed
to a tarry scar, and an immense curl of strong scar tissue protectively encircled
the old exposed injury. 
                                                               Wounded Healer Tree

In years following, more limbs broke away from the miraculous body, 
but it only gave twice as much of itself in response.

It began to compensate for a bare north flank by stretching west as far
as the road, gracefully leaning over my mailbox to welcome the neighbors
home and see more of the world. It blesses all who pass through the back door,
extending itself all the way east toward the mountain, to see dawn rising
from the forest, pasture and wildflower meadow. One would have to stand
a quarter mile away to capture the whole creature’s image, with panoramic lens.


Now, at thirty-four years of age, it is going strong at more than twice its predicted
life span, and no one is allowed to tell it so, but only, Live On!
watered with love and gratitude and praise down to its deeply receptive roots.

But what really keeps it alive, I think, is its own divine
fragrance, that every summer draws hundreds of hummingbirds
to take up residence among the delicate, honey-scented flowers.
And they do not sing when they are at home, these small wonder birds.
They talk! On and on they chatter, with amazing voices that are not music
but plain and unmistakable conversation. They play together by twos in loops 
and lusty leaps, dive bombing the roses, then going back to sip on those pink silk, 
feathery fan flowers,  where they get high until, by noon, they are so drunk with love 
for this tree that they encircle it into a great, green and gold
and bright pink hummingbird hug. They rest all afternoon, passed out
on its branches, leaning their heads on its leaves, still chattering
to each other in their dreams, with voices relentless as wings.

The tree sways gently beneath these fairylike birds and sprouts
another hundred buds, shedding its feathers and leaves all over the grass
to make room. Noisy? you ask. Messy! you say. And I say, when you love someone
you don’t so much mind the mess, and that is not noise but speech, and soon
I will have listened long enough to be able myself to converse among them,
and help the silk tree to live for a hundred years.

Alla Renée Bozarth  ~ The Frequencies of Sound.




The Wounded Healer nurses new life.

In addition to the storm wound above this image frame, the tree is damaged by disease from the inside on its weakened north flank, visible here from the ground up. Meanwhile, its healthy roots and wooded turned to earth by the tree itself help feed the spring flowers around its base, beginning with daffodils. Lavender tulips await their bloom a few weeks later.

The birds in my silk mimosa tree are too tiny to show up in the photos, but here are a few more of their exotic cousins to enjoy. 

My hummingbird guests (rather, my hosts) are mostly modest ruby throats and not as spectacular as most of those below from other places, but plain or elaborate, the hummingbird's nature inspires wonderment, as do the flowers and trees.  Hummingbirds are from the Internet Gallery~
.  
                                                      











Grandma and Grandpa God, Tears of Joy God

Today someone sent me a portrait of God the Grumpy Geezer.
I did not think much of it, except, “Poor Guy.”

Looks like God’s kids don’t call
and the pension check doesn’t
cover much of anything.

He’d probably have road rage behind the wheel.
I used to just dismiss the fellow,
no matter how much good press he gets from
God-knows-who, given the way he’s said to treat
his friends, and foes need not apply.

He’s been shown too long and too much as a big bad version
of humanity’s worst traits: immature, petty, spiteful, judgmental,
sulking, mean-spirited and downright violent, not to mention
prone to child abuse. God is Love is Right, but this is no portrait
of the Real God I know and love.

That wonderful Jewish Rabbi Yeshua who showed so much
divine transparency has been treated badly, too, made out
to be the Palestine Pansy when he’s really so direct it’s daunting.
“Judge not or you’ll be judged,” he said, but most people
ignore that and judge away.

I’m taking a turn of conscience today. I feel so bad for the persona 
in this postcard picture of him on my kitchen counter that I’ve decided 
to spend some time cheering him up. First, I’d bake him some cookies,
which is really something because I’m no baker.  

Better make him a cherry crisp. I can do that! 
I’ll whip up my special whipped cream with vanilla and orange 
extracts to go with it and watch him purr when he smells it  fresh 
from the oven and gets a look at the beautiful pie cherry color,   
then takes his first bite of it with a big dollop 
of vanilla orange whipped cream.

After that he’ll feel relaxed, and I’ll start telling him jokes~ the penguin joke
is good, but maybe he’s heard it too often. Lena and Ole are always winners.
Then I’ll give him a blanket and show him the chaise in the spring garden
so he can take a nap under the cherry tree and inhale lilacs and roses,
and drift off to the lullaby of water falling over rocks and birdsongs.
I’ll tell the birds to keep their serenade melodious and gentle,
not as raucous as it sometimes gets around here. . . .
I’ll bet he hasn’t had a time like this in millennia.

After awhile I’ll wake him up with a big loud kiss on his furrowed forehead.
I’ll ask him to tell me his dreams. . . . I’ll listen with all my heart.
Then I’ll ask how the Beautiful Lady I know as God is. . . .

I do just that, and God’s husband says, She cries tears of joy every day,
which doesn’t look or sound happy, but she says they’re way past 
happiness into feelings she can only express in a river of love.

She says there is all the anguish of the world in them, getting bathed
and balmed, all the things she can’t prevent because of the way
the Universe is made with every creature freely becoming itself,
everything mixed in and tumbling, but we love it all the more.

She tells me I need to step back and let people hear her
firm but gentler voice. They seem to relate better to her.
She is breathtakingly beautiful, that’s a fact.

She reminds me that fire is our firstborn child, the stuff we used for the stars,
that water came next, and air, then the dark matter of space, and finally things 
cooled and settled here and there, in space pockets of places, to make the most
interesting forms, some of them teeming with life, like yours.

Of course, I know all this. We did it together and are still doing it,
and anyway, we don’t really look like this, but you humans seem to relate
best to those you understand, so you make us over into your own image
in your minds, and that’s how we come out in art.

Even this business of “We” is strictly human.
You, We and I are the same here in God Town.
This whole conversation is just for your benefit, Child,
but I’m enjoying it, too. You had a good point.

We went along with your ancestors and overdid that God the Father image, 
and look what happened. Men behaving badly, thinking they’re being
“godly,” lording it over everything and referring to me as “Lord,” too.
Do they think I’m an Englishman and a member of the Peerage?
Now there’s a rowdy bunch. 
What goes on in the House of Lords would never pass for Paradise.

Well, Honey, Thanks for the great afternoon.
I’d better go see what your Mama God wants me to do for her.
Maybe we’ll show up together in a beautiful flower in your garden tomorrow,
and see if We/I/You can do something to help that sick silk tree of yours.
It’s already bloomed for you for 30 years past its life expectancy.

But you and the tree love and appreciate each other so it sticks around,
even diseased and wounded, forgetting its suffering for love
and letting your grateful tears of joy water its roots
as deep as deep can be.

Thanks for shedding them.
Mama God loves you for it.
So do I.

I’m not really such a bad guy.
I really am full of love.
That’s all I am, really,
but love is big as Infinity
and has so many forms,
also to Infinity.

I hope humans in general really, really get that and start painting me
as other things besides themselves on a bad day or in a sappy mood.
Here in the garden with you, sharing my dreams with a good listener,
I’m feeling some tears of joy of my own coming on.
Maybe it’ll rain soon.

Grandma God, now she’s the real gardener.
She says, “Gramps, you’re an old fraud pretending
not to understand about feelings sometimes.
When you let them come,
your tears make beautiful rainbows.”

       Alla Renée Bozarth
 The Frequencies of Sound

A Better Prayer  

Forgive me, Self and Soul and God, for asking for the wrong thing,
my constant demand lately for a vacation from poetry.

How silly of me to keep missing the obvious.
How normal, endearing as an ignorant child.

My true shabbat will come another way,
not from cessation of creativity.

Grant me, Mother and Source of All,
relaxed receptivity to the gifts You continue to give me.

Remind me what a blessing they are, each one coming
no matter how busy I am trying to keep up with chores
and respond to the needs of others, practice good stewardship
of body and mind and home, good love toward family, neighbors and friends.
Everything important! Everything essential! Everything precious.

Grant me the Grace to understand how to juggle lightly,
without breaking what I may drop here and there,
without becoming needlessly frustrated.

Increase my thanks and joy, Mother God.
That is my better prayer.

     Alla Renée Bozarth
 The Frequency of Light




White Water 

                          
The shade that covers the window
quivers with warmth and luminosity now~
demanding that you open your eyes and your mind.
Wake up to the empty easel
of the new day~

A hand gives it a tug and up it flies.
The easel becomes a small window in a mural
that extends endlessly in every direction,
completely encircling you.


Blink and colors appear,
shapes of mountains and rivers,
textures of forests, open spaces of green
dotted with wildflowers~


They may be buildings and faces,
people wearing colorful skirts and shirts
and pants and dresses, they may be gardens
and forests and farms where hard work is done.


Stretch and all around and between them,
even right through them, the white water current of life
holds it together and constantly changes the picture, pulls you in.


Through the day and into the night, always the colors, always the water.
You will never be able to keep up, having to attend so carefully
to one small part at a time, while always the water is sweeping you along~



Relentlessly, an intense current from depths of power
and a wave of desire from the future ~~
sweep you forward, compel you on.

Pace yourself well, then. Leave room for the unknown.
Participate without being scattered. Learn the flow.
Enjoy the ride. Surrender. You do not have to be in charge.

         Alla Renée Bozarth Diamonds in a Stony Field
          Copyright 2012.
 
Rain
 
Rain is good sleeping weather.
It brings down good dreams
and washes the soul clean.


Rain fluffs the mind
and eases the brain.
Sleep through the rain
and come alive again.


During the day watch
the sky and read the clouds.
As you go about your work,
listen with one ear.


You may hear the conversation
start up again, the visiting that goes on
between rain and everything drawing
and depending on it for life.


In hope-fulfilling rain,
the hills rustle with pleasure
and the pavement sings.


When rain comes, give thanks.
Rain gives us the plush of green
and brings bloom to everything.


When my heart is out of rhythm
and my life is out of synch,
I go for a rain walk just to listen,
and right away I feel invited
and enter the conversation.


Half a mile down the road
I begin to feel Grace in my stride.
Everyone around— I with my complaints, the cows, the horse,
the goats, the large dogs and small cats, the trees and their birds
talking to the rain, the people smiling and waving
as they drive by— everyone relaxes and is friendlier.


The listening teaches me to breathe again.
Whether gentle or boisterous, rain songs enliven
and calm every cell. The voices of rain steady my heart,
right my thinking, restore my reason, dissolve my griefs
in their overflow and make me well.


And when I return to the door of my task-laden life,
I feel welcomed back into right rhythm
and right relationship with everything—


Oh, let the rain’s gifts not be wasted on me,
but absorbed through and through
and for another day, set things right
in what I say and what I do.


I shake off excess of water from coat and shoes,
leave out the umbrella to dry and cross the threshold
with lightened step, a sense of purpose, a better plan
for resuming the projects of the day or the pleasures of night.
 

Rain leaves me gifted with its own freshness, dearness,
holiness to pass on to my loved ones and strangers once more.
God bless the rain. Let it sprinkle, let it pour.
                             Alla Renée Bozarth

Quartet~ Swinging Over the Edge of the World
Copyright 2012.


  Brigadoon Camellia in Sun Showers  


 The Rose "Fascination," After the Rains

 
I've chosen the following beloved poems to be included in my 
Celebration of Life Booklet:

The Layers  

     by Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,                     
some of them my own,                                      
and I am not who I was,                                    
though some principle of being                           
abides, from which I struggle                             
not to stray.                                                         
When I look behind,                                          
as I am compelled to look                                    
before I can gather strength                                     
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:

“Live in the layers,
not in the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

"The Layers" by Stanley Kunitz from The Collected Poems. © W.W. Norton, 2000. 



Flannery's Angel
  
   by Charles Wright


Lead us to those we are waiting for,
Those who are waiting for us.
May your wings protect us,
                      may we not be strangers in the lush province of joy.

Remember us who are weak,
You who are strong in your country which lies beyond the thunder,
Raphael, angel of happy meeting,
                                                 resplendent, hawk of the light.

"Flannery's Angel" by Charles Wright, from Sestets: Poems. © Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2009.



Rumi's Roses graphics 
by Lora Matz 


 All pictures except spiral galaxy images and those of Alla are by Alla.