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!  Every poem on this page is held by copyright. Only poems with citation lines that include the publisher's name and a date have been published so far. I'm still working on the others. If you want to print one of them please contact me for permission. See the Profile page link at the bottom of the right margin menu, or click the picture or my name there to go to my email address. Loving Blessings to You and Your Loved Ones!

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 
       © 2015 
                                                                                          




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 all 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 © 2015
 and Purgatory Papers © 2015




     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
© 2015
    

 
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
© 2015


Bear Icon by Lucille Brent, UK.


                                                                 Bear Wisdom

The Great Bearheart

secret for accomplishing

the impossible

on a regular basis

and as often as needed—



   Growling

      Grit

         Grace and

            Gratitude



and a compassion so huge

it includes yourself.

      

                                                                     Alla Renée Bozarth


                                                                    Love’s Alchemy
                                                                    © 2014.


Create Joy


     The pain passes, but the beauty remains. Renoir to Matisse



Suppose you have a chronic affliction.

{Who doesn’t?} Suppose it distracts you

from your life and you don’t want it

in your life. You want to say, I am more
than this misery, I am more than this body
and this body is more than its pain.

Go ahead, then. Live through the pain but
create around it, create so much that is beautiful
and wonderful and marvelous, so much that is
meaningful and helpful to others and also to you,
create so that the pain will not have a chance
to tempt you.

It will not be able to get a word or a groan in
long enough or deep enough to deceive you
into giving it your identity. Instead, you will be
what you create. And you will always be
what you create. And what you create will be
for those you love, and for the strangers who will meet you
long after your pain has died forever with your recycled body,
and they will find your clear, radiantly healthy spirit,
and they will say, Thanks. This is lovely.
This is just what I needed.

Even if you are unable to create with your hands,
create awareness with your mind, create insight,
create peace with your spirit by letting it be drawn out
and beyond the window pane into the fields
and sky, the marketplace, the festivals, across the oceans,
to other planets and between the stars.

Remember the world that needs more love and love it,
love individual beings where you find them,
move your mind out into it and travel through it
with tender eyes and an appetite for everything marvelous.

Let the pain melt away with your mind’s love
in the form of self-transcending compassion,
even when you cannot smile or speak or think.

In your deep meditation that happens by intention below the pain,
will your burdens to become blessings, like compost in the earth,
like sooted snow in late winter, yielding to the sun.

One inner word is all it takes, as simple as, “Here,” or
“Help,” between breaths. It will be done.
You will have made your pain into something more,
a connection that keeps alive your bond with all living beings.
And from below, their own soul roots will quiver
with a feeling of having been strengthened and blessed.

You will have been part of everything, still contributing,
reverberating that one intention throughout time and space
beyond your own body, mind and mortal life. 

And that will be your forever joy.
Even after there will be no more human beings to experience
your spirit, it will be part of the Song of the Universe to infinity,
part of the Holy One forever.

                       Alla Renée Bozarth

Learning to Dance in Limbo © 2016
Purgatory Papers © 2016




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
Paradise © 2015

                       



 
                                                      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 
  iUniverse 2000 and
        This Mortal Marriage: 
Poems of Love, Lament and Praise 
iUniverse 2003
        
       
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 © 2015







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
© 2015



 


This reflection written in the darkening season of the northern hemisphere 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


“Live to the point of tears" –Albert Camus

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 whole-hearted 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 ©2008, The Frequency of Light 2016 and Learning to Dance in Limbo ©2016



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.

Photo by Alla Bozarth

   
                      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 © 2015



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. 
                                 The 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 mind the mess so much, 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
© 2015


 

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.


.  
                           Wondrous Beauty on the Wing


 

 God the Mother of All that Is

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 rootsas 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
© 2015


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 © 2015    

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 © 2015

 
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
 
Swinging Over the Edge of the World
in Quartet © 2015


  Brigadoon Camellia in Sun Showers  


 The Rose, "Fascination," Radiant 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 
are by Lora Matz 


All pictures except spiral galaxy images and those of Alla are by Alla. Most of the books cited on this page are as yet unpublished. They are still becoming composed!