aimless love

But my heart is always propped up in a field on its tripod, ready for the next arrow. billy collins

Monday, January 15, 2007

two poems

The first is a poem I wrote on the last day of our trip after a visit to Avila -

The storks of Avila

In real life
they are regal
austere overseers
tall and elegant
the white of their bodies
in stark contrast
to the black tips
of their wings
and the deep coral
of their beaks

not at all
like the fairy-tale deliverers
we're used to

so much is not how we imagine

Along the walled city
we stand, ten women
modern and yearning
watching old men
in berets and blue jackets
walking arm in arm
with the sun on their faces
through the gates
to the plaza
for a mid-morning coffee

And our coffee
brings talk of mystics and martyrs
of a woman who also yearned
of conquest, expulsion, submission, domination
of complicity and resistance

Later, at the train station
we watch
as one, then two, take flight
stunned by the effort
it appears to take
and by the incongruity
of our lives with this place

What birth within us
have they heralded?
What purge?
With whom shall we walk
arm in arm?

The second poem is for my son, written after his baptism yesterday:


It wasn't until after
we had sat back down
literally, became one of the crowd
that he wiped the last drop off his chin

I love
that he was
to let it stay
that long
on his face

Several days before
I had been told that a good Muslim
washes his mouth, his nose, inside his ears,
even wets the top of his head
before entering the mosque
to pray

The first thought we all have
is that we need to cleanse ourselves
that these acts provide us a purifying ritual
and surely they do

But the young man
with the bright, warm eyes
and the gentle, soft voice
and the open, welcoming hands
told us the ritual was to
wake up our senses
to alert all of our body
to prepare to hear
the voice of God

wake up
my son
you are becoming a man
you belong
you are loved
in you we are well pleased

Monday, January 8, 2007

sitting in an internet cafe in Seville, Spain

Well, no surprise... it is my free day in Seville, and I feel an intense need to be on the internet. So here I have been, at the internet cafe, for an hour and 20 minutes. The past few months of basically hanging out on the net while on my sabbatical have totally trained (poisoned?) me to need and want this. I read and send emails to my family - who I miss tremendously. I even get a pleasure out of the familiarity of checking work email. And now here I am at my blog... there aren´t really any stories I can tell without needing time to write and rewrite.

There are orange trees everywhere... the streets are filled with them. Ripe oranges hanging from them, reminding me that juicy, fruity, living is just within my grasp.

I have not yet processed what it means to be here... privilege?

Our trip has mostly been about the many, multiple layers of quest, conquest, and reconquest - that and religious war! There are no women in this history (Only Isabelle... and I haven´t heard much about her yet?) ... only men and the cities which have a feminine feeling - the gemstones, the prizes, the vessels of churches, mosques and synagogues which are raped over and over again!

it´s kind of hard to come to peace with... but there is always food... and we´ve been eating 5 meals a day.
8 am - breakfast - a croissant with jam, coffee with milk
11 am - elevenses - a small snack - a slice of potatoe omelette, another coffee
2 pm - the large meal of the day - olives begin!!! fish, garlic, potatoes
7pm - tapas - beer, more olives, more garlic, more potatoe omelette
9:30 pm - a light dinner - beer, more olives, more garlic, artichoke hearts, spinach and chick peas

I´m eating lots of olives. they make me very happy.

I miss home.