Thursday, February 23, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Sarton

Photography Credit: "Man-Made Mist" by Terry Beebe

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before--"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted so by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

~May Sarton~

Portrait of May Sarton, 1936, Polly Thayer Starr, Oil on Canvas,
Courtesy of Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University

May Sarton, 1912-1995, was a prolific writer of poetry, novels, memoirs, and journals, publishing over 50 books during her lifetime. Journal of a Solitude was her most popular journal, but I received the most pleasure and personal comfort from reading The House By the Sea. Sarton lived the last 20 years of her life in York, Maine, in a house overlooking the sea. She and I corresponded from the summer of 1986 until shortly before her death
on July 16, 1995.

Her books and her personal notes to me remain immensely fulfilling,
especially during times of struggle and challenge.
May is buried in Nelson, New Hampshire.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Short Straw - It's the Ferry!

In these early morning, frosty moonlit hours, I sit sleepy-eyed inside my warm house looking out onto the frozen landscape now decorated with white tents. These tents are a feeble effort to blanket tender vegetation with warmth against the recent blast of winter weather surrounding Puget Sound. My husband, gardener of gentle spirit, designed them by hanging sheets on bamboo frames, working quickly in the freezing evening air. When he rejoined me after his garden soiree, his ears felt more like icicles than the globes of soft, warm flesh I love to kiss. He warmed them in the nape of my neck while we laughed and I screamed in mock horror!

Now our landscape sits frozen, eerie with its white pointed statues scattered about the front gardens, testimony to the trauma looming in the icy air. It looks more like a cemetery than the birthplace of a soon-to-be mecca of massive color.

Fickle are the sunlit days which lived here only a week ago when I had my lunch lakeside, watching ducks dive for their fishy noon-time meal. They, like I, had tasty snacks in the warm afternoon sunshine. Sailboats moved quietly in the distance while pups joined their human friends in a lazy afternoon stroll. Feet and paws moving in rhythm along the water's edge reminded me of how this place bustles with energy when sunlight shines its healing beams.

Yesterday my husband shared his pocket hand-warmers with his friends, the stellar's jays and squirrels and songbirds, who dine on seeds and nuts outside our windows. He added these packets of temporary warmth to fresh water bowls, hoping to keep the shallow water flowing so everyone could have a drink. Birdbaths nearby are now solid sheets of ice. We remembered that the tiny chickadees and other songbirds must have many extra seeds to survive the coldest nights so we added suet cakes for more energy-making feasting and gave the squirrels and jays their daily dose of peanuts. With tails arched high in the breezy air, the squirrels devoured most of their nuts as soon as we emptied the bag. Soon we saw a couple race across the rocky garden wall to hide some nuts for a future hungry day, then play chase in the afternoon's last light.

We will get lost in the Sunday Times and warm our bellies with hot chocolate before we amble into the morning's chill to hang orange slices from the evergreen limbs which protect our feathered friends. Then we'll draw straws to see if today is filled with a myriad of household chores or a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island!

Photography Credit:
Wolfgang Wander gave his kind permission for the use of his photograph of the Chickadee.
Please visit his website:
and see his work and profile at

Photograph of the Ferry: Courtesy of our private collection.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I sit by the fire tonight anticipating the new life which stirs outside. Just beneath the surface bulbs give birth to green fans and foliage, some tip-toeing through the soil reaching toward the sun's warmth. I took a walk through the remnants of winter’s unkempt gardens this week to examine the earth; to touch, to see, and smell. The sun warmed me as its rays touched my arms and face; a sun absent far too long from our lives. The earth was dry again. A few white candytuft blossoms greeted me among the buds on the bank. This bank will be magical when it is fully covered in white and sprinkled with blue lithodora. It will be the first to bloom. I observed it all carefully, searching for the flush of new growth, the promise of tomorrow’s bounty. I noticed one Lenton rose now open, and the primroses blooming in pastels. Little green stubble peeped at me from crowns indented in the soil. Short wisps of thin green stems moved gently as I passed. All was perfect in this NW garden’s life.

Irises are pointing their green fans toward the treetops, and new foliage is inching up to join. Soon the daffodils, now taller than my hand, will cover the landscape like lemons ready to be picked, and the perfume of hyacinths will float in the air. Tall stalks of tulips will dance lightly in April’s breeze, swirling pinks and purples around the cherry tree whose weeping arms will swath her in white. May will open the irises like a color box of crayons, some petals pointing up and others curling down to give the bearded flower its formal shape. Their Dutch cousins will mix creamy yellows with lilac and splash India-ink blue across the palette. It will be a stunning bouquet. Rhododendrons breaking the silence of their green winter nest will open in waves of lavenders and purples, whites and magentas. Pink azaleas will join in this celebration of rebirth, and in every direction I look I will see nature's glory. It will cause me to pause. Every time my eyes meet this landscape I will marvel that it is ours.

It is no wonder we love to garden. We paint a canvas with flowers instead of oils and then rest in perfumed air, drinking fresh lemonade as we admire our work. Spring cannot come too soon to this house.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Rest of the List - The End!

I am tired of feeling weighted down by the pending tag, so I am finishing this NOW and moving on!

4 Jobs I have had:

See previous posts for installments.
I could have added 10th grade English Teacher.

4 Movies I would see over and over:

Gone With the Wind
Midnight Cowboy
On Golden Pond
When Harry Met Sally

I have seen them all multiple times and will see them all again!

4 Foods that I Love:

Banana Popsicles
Bindi Masala (Okra Curry) & Kabuli Nan (Indian bread filled with cherries and nuts)
Sweet Potato Soufflé
Salmon Paté

4 Vacation Spots I have enjoyed:

Coastal New Brunswick, Canada
San Francisco Bay area, CA
New England - especially Maine and NH
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

4 Places I have lived:

Southern born, bred, and educated in various southern locations.
Atlanta, GA
Puget Sound area of the Pacific NW

4 Places I would rather be right now:

On the Mediterranean, somewhere off the coast of Greece
Sleigh riding, snuggled up with my hubby, in Lake Tahoe, NV
Looking out on the Pacific Ocean from our bed in Pacifica, CA
With my sister, giggling and planning our trip to the OR coast

4 Television Shows I Watch:

American Idol
CNN NEWS; news junkie here!
The Apprentice (don't like Donald, just his show!)

Big secret? Shhhhhh...Don't tell, but General Hospital (taped since 1981)!
Ask me about Luke and Laura!