I experienced a lengthy poetic quiet time. It lasted throughout much of the 80s and into the early 90s. In the silence of my pen, I invested a significant course of study in my spiritual understanding, learning principals of metaphysics. Poetry had fulfilled my spiritual need throughout my life until my early 30s, when the words ran dry in the face of constant frustration and roadblocks to living my truest identity as poet. It was a crisis of faith and I searched for understanding. This was equally frustrating since the questions, I have discovered, are often confounding, rarely answered and, if somehow there is an answer, it is generally anything but concrete.
This morning, as is my habit, I checked the obituaries on line. There was a notice with Joanie’s name, stating that she passed into the Light on July 17th. I gasped. Then I offered my gratitude and bid her well in her journey. Thank you, Joan, for opening my eyes to my own capacity at a time when I needed both a mirror and a guide. Tonight I will light a candle in the garden for both Ray and Joan. I will place it between my two rose bushes that struggle on in their bed with not enough sun. I wonder who will inherit your rose beds. Will they understand how much you loved them? How long they have danced their seasons for you?
During my poetic quiet time, I learned much, including a healthy regard for the quiet times; an artist needs them. I also reflected often to the universe, If I may be of service with my words, please allow me to have them back. That was 17 years ago.
In these 17 years, I have created my life based on my true self, the one I knew intimately when I was first comprehending that I loved words. I am a poet. I take this very seriously.
In those 17 years, I have built a pedagogy and a sound practice that may be summed up in a 3-word motto: Empowerment through Language. I thank my friend Amanda Gormley for assigning the task that led to this summary. I have also written and published three books. There are at least four in my brain right now, waiting for my fingers to translate them into written language. One of them carries the title Psychometry. I will dedicate it to Joan.
In my work as a writer educator, no matter the age or circumstance of the students before me, I approach my work with intention and integrity. I have no agenda other than to foster the ability of others to engage truly with themselves, with others, and with their own connection to language, and earn a living sharing the knowledge and perspective I have developed over the 50 years I have identified as poet. I hope that what I have to say has relevance to others. I hope that people will cross more bridges of understanding the poets of the world provide to us all so we may learn of the world beyond the small stamps we each create on this planet.
This is a devoted path. It is my life. And now I trust that the recognition for my work will be expressed in a way that I am able to continue to earn my living and build some sense of security I do not have now.
It is a bit intimidating but we are all faced with fears in this moment in history. It is a crossroads for us all, one way or another. The horizon may appear dark but the sun is always just beyond, sometimes just beyond reach as well. But honor your belief in the sun. It is a constant.