Monday, November 21, 2011

Sky Reflects Autumn

By Christine Kysely 
Sky reflects Autumn
leaves dancing amongst bright clouds
Golden autumn sun 
mirrors glorious color
Gray skies on near horizon

2011. © Christine A Kysely All Rights Reserved
Wausau, Wisconsin USA
Photo Credit: Borrowed from

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strong Women

By Christine Kysely
My family is a family
Of strong women
Of that there is no doubt
These women
Have withstood
The challenges of their times.

All of life’s trials
The worst of the worst
History has not been kind
Deaths, rapes and murders
They have had to live with daily
Live with on their minds.

Unexpected circumstance
Have tested my ancestral women
And they somehow survived
And somehow they managed to live on
Sometimes all alone
And to go on and to thrive.

And now in the Halls of History
They can stand up and be counted
Among those women
Among the best of the best
Those who are still considered to be
Strong Women.

Copyright Christine A Kysely 2010 November 26,2010

(c) Copyright 2010 by Christine A Kysely, All Rights Reserved.

Image borrowed from

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Edited poetry book by Caroline Kennedy.

Caroline Kennedy recently published a book of selected poems. The book includes poems about the following stages of women's lives: Falling in Love; Making Love; Breaking Up; Marriage; Love Itself; Work; Beauty, Clothes, and Things of This World; Motherhood; Silence and Solitude; Growing Up and Growing Old; Death and Grief; Friendship; How to Live.
Kennedy, C. (2011). She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems. New York, NY: Hyperion.

In addition to several other books, Ms. Kennedy also published The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

 Photo Credit: Borrowed from

Monday, May 9, 2011


By Priscilla Ahn

I was a little girl
alone in my little world
who dreamed of a little home for me
I played pretend between the trees
And fed my houseguests bark and leaves
And laughed in my pretty bed of green
I had a dream
That I could fly from the highest swing
I had a dream
Long walks in the dark
Through woods grown
Behind the park
I asked God who I’m s’posed to be
The stars smiled down on me,
God answered in silent reverie
I said a prayer and fell asleep
I had a dream
That I could fly from the highest tree,
I had a dream
Now I’m old and feeling grey
I don’t know what’s left to say
About this life I’m willing to leave
I lived it full and I lived it well,
There’s many tales I lived to tell
I’m ready now, I’m ready now
I’m ready now…
To fly from the highest wing
I had a dream

Song lyrics and music by Priscilla Ahn
Photo Credit: Borrowed from

Monday, April 11, 2011


By Kay Ryan

Much of life
is Dutch
in which
legions of
big robust
people crouch
badly cracked
dike systems
by the thumbs
their wide
balloon-pantsed rumps
up-ended to the
northern sun
while, back
in town, little
tulip magnates
stride around.

Ryan, K. (2000). Say Uncle. New York, NY: Grove Press.
Photo Credit: Peter DaSilva

Bad Day

By Kay Ryan

Not every day
is a good day
for the elfin tailor.
Some days
the stolen cloth
reveals what it
was made for:
a handsome weskit
or the jerkin
of an elfin sailor.
Other days
the tailor
sees a jacket
in his mind
and sets about
to find the fabric.
But some days
neither the idea
nor the material
presents itself;
and these are
the hard days
for the tailor elf.

Ryan, K. (2000). Say Uncle. New York, NY: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Photo Credit: Alan Dep

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


By Don Paterson

In the same way that the mindless diamond keeps
one spark of the planet's early fires
trapped forever in its net of ice,
it's not love's later heat that poetry holds,
but the atom of the love that drew it forth
from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love
begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice
suddenly forced, like a bar-room singer's -- boastful
with his own huge feeling, or drowned by violins;
but if it yields a steadier light, he knows
the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound
like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.
Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.

Paterson, D. (2001). The White Lie; New and Selected Poetry. St. Paul, MN: Graywolf Press.

Ain't I a Woman?

By Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Photo Credit: Borrowed from


By Elizabeth Austen

            "a brief and strange species"
                        —W.S. Merwin

The day begins in disarray
you ought you should you must you
must you must you must

the bees will not be stilled
what stitches mind
to body who
cues the unraveling
if it's true
we're infused
with something not found
in doorknob bird or bee
why am I confused
about all the important things
crows trampoline the power lines
from house to house they don't care
who runs the world
I gape at the sky
color of sunflower color of blood
the world is not
as I have believed it to be
I find no vantage point no long
view across even the surface
peristalsis propels the worm
into darkness electricity
animates the lamp
the leaf drinks
at the top of the tree
I understand none
of the beautiful things
the sparrow bathes in dirt
I don't know why
the birds do not ask themselves
or each other how are we
to live they do not
ask us to love them.

Austen, E. (2009). Skin Prayers. Seattle, WA: Crab Creek Review. 

Photo Credit: M.C. Escher, Dewdrop in a leaf, 1948.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The New Yorker: Timothy Donnelly's corporate poetry by Dan Chiasson

In the December 20 & 2, 2010, issue of The New Yorker (pp. 88-89) (Timothy Donnelly’s corporate poetry.), Dan Chiasson described poets as either “lingerers or barreller” because poems pass the time via “their recurring patterns of figure and sound:” “should a poet try to stop the clock or, like a swimmer caught in a rip current, ride the tide?” But when barrellers pause or lingerers hurry, “some of the most affecting moments in poetry happen.” Examples: Frank O’Hara’s eulogizing Billie Holiday: “The Day Lady Day Died;” John Keats “Bright Star.” Contemporary poets tend to be “inner barrellers, poets of ultrafast interiority. . . .gives particular urgency to the task of finding meaning inside the data stream, along with forms of beauty both intellectually credible and ethically palatable. Reasons, that is, to linger.” Chiasson described the style of Timothy Donnelly, Columbia University (The Cloud Corporation), as “a gameshow shopping spree: everything is thrown into the cart. . . .an acrobatic formalist, albeit one on fast-forward. . .an ingenious way of corralling catch-as-catch-can language within formal intervals. . . .poems full of old vocabularies now repurposed for commercial use.” In his second book of poerty, Donnelly offered images about the world of power and money as “especially dangerous, because it has already imagined us, our futures and fates.” In contrast to O’Hara’s (and others) “great urban poems about going out,” “Donnelly’s is a rare kind of city poetry, a poetry of staying in. . .offering no way out of this self-consuming contemporary moment” but offering advice about spiritual approaches to contemporary life.

Photo Credit:

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Room Full of Sisters

 By Mona Lake Jones

A room full of sisters, like jewels in a crown: vanilla, cinnamon, and dark chocolate brown. Now picture yourself in the midst of this glory, as I describe the sisters who are part of this story...

They were wearing purple, royal blue,and all shades of red; some had elegant hats on their heads.With sparkling eyes and shiny lips,they moved through the room swaying their hips...

Speaking with smiles on their African faces; their joy and laughter filled all the spaces. They were fashionable and stylish in what they were wearing; beautiful sisters all, who were loving and caring...

You see, it’s not about how these sisters appeared; their beauty was in the values they revered. They were smart, articulate and well read,with all kinds of African history stored in their heads...

Jugglers of professions, managers of lives -mothers of children, lovers and wives. They were good-hearted and kind, reaching out to others; giving back to the community and supporting our brothers...

All these sisters had struggled in the path; suffered from prejudices and endured the wrath. But they brushed off their dresses and pushed on the door; and they came back stronger than ever before...

Now imagine if you will, the essence and thrill, as you stand feeling proud in the heart of this crowd...

The Sojourner Truths of today, still out in front, blazing the way...A room full of sisters, like jewels in a crown: vanilla, cinnamon, and dark chocolate brown.

Jones, L. M. Unleashing the power of a sister. (Publishing information unknown).
Photo borrowed from History Makers website.


By Mona Lake Jones, Ed.D.

I'm getting ready to unleash!

I've decided to let my spirit go free
I'm ready to become the woman I was meant to be

I've either been somebody's daughter, mother or wife
And now it's time for me to take charge of my life.

I've been pondering all this time trying to decide just who I am
At first I thought it depended on whether I had a man.

Then I had the notion that simply just because
Others had more seniority, they could decide who I was.

I played all the roles that were expected and I seldom asked why
I've had my wings closed up, but now I'm ready to fly.

I've been awakened and I finally see the light
I'm about to make some changes and set a few things right.

With my attitude and the knowledge I possess
I may create a whole new world order and clean up all this mess!

Stand back and watch me.
I'm getting ready to unleash!

Jones, L. M. Unleashing the power of a sister. (Publishing information unknown).
Photo Credit: Borrowed from Edmonds Community College website.

Night Dive

By Samuel Green
Down here, no light but what we carry with us.   
Everywhere we point our hands we scrawl   
color: bulging eyes, spines, teeth or clinging tentacles.   
At negative buoyancy, when heavy hands   
seem to grasp & pull us down, we let them,   

we don’t inflate our vests, but let the scrubbed cheeks   
of rocks slide past in amniotic calm.   
At sixty feet we douse our lights, cemented   
by the weight of the dark, of water, the grip   
of the sea’s absolute silence.  Our groping   

hands brush the open mouths of anemones,   
which shower us in particles of phosphor   
radiant as halos.  As in meditation,   
or in deepest prayer,   
there is no knowing what we will see.

Green, S. (1998). The Grace of Necessity, Cistercian Studies Quarterly, 33(1). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Photo Credit: Dan Delong, Seattle P-I. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

If You Had To

By Samuel Green

If you had to make the quill
pen in the old way, stripping
the feathers, cutting the well,
splitting & shearing the tip
off clean; if you had to grind
the ink, holding the cake
straight against the stone,
circling until your wrist ached
to get the proper tone of black;
would you wonder, as you sat before the paper
what sort of poem was worthy of your labor?

Green, S. (2008). The Grace of Necessity. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Photo Credit: Borrowed from Washington Community College Humanities Association website. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Elephant Rocks

By Kay Ryan,
Current poet laureate of the United States.

Here and there,
at the edges and marges,
a bit of an elephant surfaces-
a dome and a dip, a haunch
or an aspect of head-
some worn-away soft and yet
angular hump of the
shambling elephant armature,
up through the earth - a bump
or a knob with the elephant signature.
The ancient, implacable creature
comes ambling back; a bulge
reemerges, that sober, that
giveaway gray. The dirt
rubs away from a treasure
too patient and deep to be lost,
however we've hurt, whatever
we've done to the beasts,
whatever we say.

Ryan, K. (1996). Elephant Rocks. New York, NY: Grove Press.
Photo Credit: google images


By Kay Ryan

As some people age
they kinden.
The apertures
of their eyes widen.
I do not think they weaken;
I think something weak strengthens
until they are more and more aware of it,
like letting in heaven.
But other people are
mussels or clams, frightened.
Steam or knife blades mean open.
They hear heaven, they think boiled or broken.

Ryan, K. (1996). Elephant Rocks. New York, NY: Grove Press.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress Blog


By Kay Ryan

Whatever must be learned
is always on the bottom,
as with the law of drawers
and the necessary item.
It isn't pleasant,
whatever they tell children,
to turn out on the floor
the folded things in them.

Ryan, K. (1996). Elephant Rocks. New York, NY: Grove Press.
Photo credit: Christina Koci Hernandez  

If The Moon Happened Once

By Kay Ryan

If the moon happened once,
it wouldn't matter much,
would it?

Once evening's ticket
punched with a
round or a crescent.

You could like it
or not like it,
as you chose.

It couldn't alter
every time it rose;

it couldn't do those
things with scarves
it does.

Ryan, K. (1996). Elephant Rocks. New York, NY: Grove Press.
Photo Credit: Google Images. 

How A Thought Thinks

By Kay Ryan

An thought is dumb,
without eyes, ears,
opposable thumb,
or a tongue.
A thought lives
underground, not
wholly moleish
but with some
of the same
The amazing thing
is that it isn't helpless.
Of all creatures
it is the most
random eater.
Caring only for travel
it eats whatever
roots, ants, or gravel
it meets.It occupies
no more space
than moles. We know it
only by some holes
and the way
apparently healthy notions
topple in the garden.

Ryan, K. (1996). Elephant Rocks. New York, NY: Grove Press.

All Shall Be Restored

By Kay Ryan

The grains shall be collected
from the thousand shores
to which they found their way,
and the boulder restored,
and the boulder itself replaced
in the cliff, and likewise
the cliff shall rise
or subside until the plate of the earth
is without fissure. Restoration
knows no half-measure. It will
not stop when the treasured and lost
bronze horse remounts the steps.
Even this horse will founder backward
to coin, cannon, and domestic pots,
which themselves shall bubble and
drain back to green veins in stone.

Ryan, K. (1996). Elephant Rocks. New York, NY: Grove Press.


By Kay Ryan

Connections lie in wait-
something that in
the ordinary line of offenses
makes offense more great.
They entrap, they solicit
under false pretenses,
they premeditate.
They tie one of
your shoelaces
to one of a stranger,
they tie strings to purses
and snatch as
you lean down, eager
for a little something gratis.

Ryan, K. (1996). Elephant Rocks. New York, NY: Grove Press.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


By Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

Our Deepest Fear

By Marianne Williamson
(Quoted in Nelson Mandela's Inauguration Speech)

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Williamson, M. (1992). A return to love: Reflections on the principles of A Course in Miracles. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Brief Poetry Bibliography

Ginsberg, A. (1986). White shroud: Poems 1980-1985. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
Oates, J. C. (1996). Essential Dickinson. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Peircy, M. (2009). The crooked inheritance. New York, NY: Knopf.
Ryan, K. 1996). Elephant rocks. New York, NY: Grove Press.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Refuge Prayer

By Thich Nhat Hanh

I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning
and to help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon.
I vow to live simply and sanely,
content with just a few possessions.
I vow to let go of all worry and anxieties in order to be light and free.

From The Chanting Book. Plum Village, France.

Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille

de Mille precedes the Graham quotation with: "The greatest thing she ever said to me was in 1943 after the opening of Oklahoma! when I suddenly had unexpected, flamboyant success for a work I thought was only fairly good, after years of neglect for work I thought was fine. I was bewildered and worried that my entire scale of values was untrustworthy. I talked to Martha. I remember the conversation well. It was in a Schrafft's restaurant over a soda. I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be.

According to Agnes de Mille: text "I was bewildered and worried that my entire scale of values was untrustworthy. ... I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be." Martha said to me, very quietly,

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.
Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive.

de Mille, A. (1991). Martha: The life and work of Martha Graham. New York, NY: Random House.

"Go Outside; Enjoy the Sun and all Nature"

By Anne Frank

Go outside, to the country, enjoy the sun and all nature has to offer. Go outside and try to recapture the happiness within yourself; think of all the beauty in yourself and in everything around you. Beauty remains,even in misfortune. If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance.

Centering Technique

In a recent KPLU Fresh Air interview (March 10, 2008) with Lorin Maazel, 78-year-old conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Maazel described his suggestions for preparing for the physical and emotional rigors of conducting:

Take a deep breath
Take 60 seconds to relax every muscle of your body
Take a deep breath

Have the following conversation with yourself: What I do here is of no consequence; I am a servant. I will do this job with enthusiasm, exhilaration and focus.

When asked if he used the above technique prior to his recent concert in Pyongyang, North Korea, he stated that the above technique is used by students and young professionals-and that because the above technique is second-nature to him, he no longer needs this external exercise.

Born: March 6, 1930 - Neuilly (Paris), France

The conductor Lorin Maazel was born in France of American parents. He was brought up and educated in the USA. His possession of absolute (perfect) pitch and photographic memory were discovered when he was four years of age. His musical studies began the next year with violin and piano. He also studied conducting in Pittsburgh with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff. At the age of seven, he was invited by Arturo Toscanini to conduct the N.B.C. Symphony, and subsequently led the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in summer concerts at Lewisohn Stadium. In 1939, at the age of nine, he conducted the Interlochen Orchestra at the New York World's Fair, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the Hollywood Bowl, sharing a program with Leopold Stokowski. He made his Cleveland Orchestra debut on March 4, 1943, at a pension fund concert in Public Music Hall.

At the age of sixteen, Lorin Maazel entered the University of Pittsburgh to study languages, mathematics, and philosophy. While a student, he was a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, served as apprentice conductor during the 1949-1950 season, and organized the Fine Arts Quartet of Pittsburgh. In 1951 he studied baroque music in Italy on a Fulbright Fellowship, and began conducting leading European orchestras. In the summer of 1952, he conducted the Cleveland Summer Orchestra (Cleveland Pops) in two concerts at Public Hall.

Lorin Maazel was the first American and youngest conductor to conduct at Byreuth. He has conducted throughout Europe, Australia, North and South America, Japan, the former Soviet Union, at most international festivals and opera houses including Salzburg, Edinburgh and Lucerne, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Paris Opera, and Covent Garden. He has appeared with all the major symphony orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra.

Lorin Maazel began his tenure as the fifth Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra at the beginning of the 1972-1973 season, a position he held for ten years. During his tenure in Cleveland, he appeared with the orchestra in some 700 performances, made seven international tours with the orchestra: The opening week of the Sydney Opera House in Australia (1973), Japan (1974), Latin America (1975), Europe (1976 and 1979), Mexico City (1977), and the Orient (Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, 1978). He brought opera back to Severance Hall in 1974 with the performance of Richard Strauss, Elektra.

From September 1982 to 1984, Lorin Maazel was General Manager and Artistic Director of the Vienna State Opera. He was the first American to hold that position. He is currently the Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Among his many decorations, awards, and recording prizes are the Comander's Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Legion of Honor of France, and the Commander of the Lion of Finland. He has also been awarded the title of Ambassador of Good Will by the United Nations. He was named an honorary life member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985 when he conducted its 40th Anniversary concert. He has received ten Grand Prix du Disque awards.

The Serenity Prayer

By Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.