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Visions of Sugar Plums

Visions of Sugar Plums


 Winter Solstice  by Jody Aliesan

Grief Sweat (Broken Moon Press, 1990)


Thinking only makes the heart sore. – I Ching



when you startle awake in the dark morning

heart pounding breathing fast

sitting bolt upright staring into

dark whirlpool black hole

feeling its suction


get out of bed

knock at the door of your nearest friend

ask to lie down beside ask to be held


listen while whispered words

turn the hole into deep night sky

stars close together

winter moon rising over white fields

nearby a wren rustling dry leaves

distant owl echoing

two people walking up the road laughing


let your soul laugh

let your heart sigh out

that long held breath so hollow in your stomach

so swollen in your throat


already light is returning pairs of wings

lift softly off your eyelids one by one

each feathered edge clearer between you

and the pearl veil of day


you have nothing to do but live

“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky….
arrives the snow….”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  

An American Anthology, 1787–1900

 The Snow-Storm
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

ANNOUNCED by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.         5
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
  Come see the north wind’s masonry.         10
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work         15
So fanciful, so savage, naught cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall,         20
Maugre the farmer’s sighs; and at the gate
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art         25
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind’s night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.
"....among violent fires...."

"....among violent fires...."


  And it was at that age…Poetry arrived in search of me.  I don’t know, I don’t know whereit came from, from winter or a river.

I don’t know how or when,

no, they were not voices, they were not

words, nor silence,

but from a street I was summoned,

from the branches of night,

abruptly from the others,

among violent fires

or returning alone,

there I was without a face

and it touched me.


I did not know what to say, my mouth

had no way

with names,

my eyes were blind,

and something started in my soul,

fever or forgotten wings,

and I made my own way,


that fire,

and I wrote the first faint line,

faint, without substance, pure


pure wisdom

of someone who knows nothing,

and suddenly I saw

the heavens


and open,


palpitating plantations,

shadow perforated,


with arrows, fire and flowers,

the winding night, the universe.


And I, infinitesimal being,

drunk with the great starry


likeness, image of


felt myself a pure part

of the abyss,

I wheeled with the stars,

my heart broke loose on the wind.


– Pablo Neruda (translated by Alastair Reid) 



From the Lunch Poems series of U.C. Berkeley:

Today is the birthday of Emily Dickinson, December 10, 1830

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

"Inspiration Tree" (Hot Springs National Park, February 2008)

"Inspiration Tree" (Hot Springs National Park)






is quicksand that takes you down to rock solid
truth. She cannot be called up from within –
she comes from some place outside of us.

She is the smoke that curls upward

from an all-night fire that will die in the daylight.

The evanescing mist rising from a river.

A winter tree whose black shadow creeps,

long like fingers, over the deep crusted snow.

She is wispy cirrus clouds that appear,

then disappear. The longed for rains

over the Serengeti. She is full of grace –

the blur of a deer as she escapes the hunter.

She is born of silence on the wings of an owl.

She is ephemeral – like the brief bloom

of a desert flower. She causes the sunflower

to bow before the sun; the vine to spiral.

She is a pebble tossed into a great lake ) ) ) )

where ripples ) ) ) ) ) form ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

then ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) radiate ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) far

beyond ) ) ) ) the shore ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )





"The Jumping Off Place"

"The Jumping Off Place"

RSS Quote of the Day

  • Jean Paul
    "The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it."
December 2008
« Nov   Jan »

was chosen as
the name for
this blog
because when
I remember
to keep my
heart light as
a feather,
life is much



Jimmy Margulies
The Record
Jan 7, 2011
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