Giving and getting

I pulled over while driving home to take this photo of sunflowers yesterday morning. A moment like that gives joy because one pauses for beauty. Just now, as I sit here in my porch-office, a couple of fawns charged ahead of their mother into the back garden’s open glen between maple trees. Now they have meandered into the forsythia thicket, perhaps for a midday rest. Beauty has paused all on its own.

In a garden, where someone

has drawn ripples in sand,

Guan Yin points the way with her toe.

From the poem titled “No” in Saffron Threaded

My new chapbook, Saffron Threaded, published by Dancing Girl Press, wanders around in beauty and follows such indications. The other names for beauty are loneliness, impermanence, attention, and prayer.

Maybe that’s what this book is about. I’m not sure, even though I’m the author, and maybe I should know. But I think I’ve said this before here: I don’t like to know. I like to taste. Here are the flavors of memory and desire. Here are my wishes for you.

I’m so grateful for my teachers’ guidance, from the early ones who taught me to read, to the ones who today continue to support my efforts in poetry and arts. There’s no way to thank them properly; my acknowledgments page feels woefully inadequate.

If you gain something valuable in my work as artist and educator, I hope you will pay it forward through other people in some ways, and make compassion a central theme of your life. Through poetry’s aesthetic charm, we develop appreciation of loneliness and impermanence, we learn attention. And that’s when beauty takes us by the hand and swears to never let go.

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