Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Emily Dickinson

From where I sit today | Politics

We have yet again reduced our integrity as a nation by resorting to a white-male-only race for the Grand Prize, President of the USA.

Cloaked in our national Trance, we appear unwilling to acknowledge our collective history, or make changes from the top down. Instead, we find ourselves yet again fighting from the bottom up.

I know whom I don’t want as President of the United States after the next election. I also know I won’t have as President of the United States a woman of any color at all.

Our nation remains deeply invested in Trance mode. After centuries of practice, too many of us are highly skilled in stepping around and over our inglorious past, making nice, and believing we’re the greatest.

In addition, we’ve been bought and/or sold to the highest bidder so many times we don’t always recognize when it’s happening.

This doesn’t mean past elections were simply another version of what we’re seeing today.

Forget about Russian or other foreign intrusions into our elections. We have uncounted, unaccountable home-grown intruders flying under the radar as well as in plain sight. They’re enabled by our current President plus too many national and local leaders willing to tolerate injustice in order to maintain their own political agendas, life styles, or access to the Good Life.

For each woman who announced her candidacy to become President in this environment, I say Kudos! The crushing weight of USA-style white male dominance began early in our history. What you have done was daring, courageous, and visionary.

I’m not saying women are perfect. Nor are we, on our own, the solution to our descent into warring madness.

I am, however, saying we, as a nation, cut off our own hands, feet, and huge portions of our brains and hearts when we ignore, belittle or misappropriate the gifts of women in leadership.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 March 2020
Image found at learn.kqed.org

Why Mary Oliver’s words matter

A few years ago a friend introduced me to Mary Oliver via one of her books of poetry, Thirst. Spare on words and extravagantly beautiful, her forty-three poems grabbed my heart and my imagination. The collection focuses on her grief after the death of her longtime partner, and her struggle to find words that capture the reality of her faith.

Mary Oliver challenges me in ways similar to Emily Dickinson, with one exception. Oliver’s poetry, also heavy with meaning, is remarkably and painfully direct. In each poem she invites me to enlarge the way I see, experience and respond to what seems everyday and ordinary.

Since her death on January 17, scores of visitors have visited this site looking for posts about Mary Oliver. At the top of the list: It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, a poem about prayer.

In the last week I’ve read and listened to multiple tributes to Mary Oliver. Her poetry is stunning; her challenge to us as human beings is direct and piercing: Wake up, Observe, Report. Not simply about nature, but about this world and its creatures as part of God’s great poem. A reality we ignore to our great loss.

Here’s one of Mary Oliver’s shorter poems. I love the way it makes simple what isn’t always easy.

Musical Notation: 2

Everything is His.
The door, the door jamb.
The wood stacked near the door.
The leaves blown upon the path
that leads to the door.
The trees that are dropping their leaves
the wind that is tripping them this way and that way,
the clouds that are high above them,
the stars that are sleeping now beyond the clouds

and, simply said, all the rest.

When I open the door I am so sure so sure
all this will be there, and it is.
I look around.
I fill my arms with the firewood.
I turn and enter His house, and close His door.

Mary Oliver, from poems in Thirst, p. 38; published by Beacon Press (2006)

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 January 2019

late afternoon sun + Emily

late afternoon sun
catches courting butterflies
dancing in mid-air

I was out for a walk and there they were. Not the two above, but doing the same dance. Circling each other as they drifted through the air.

Almost as wonderful as seeing them was finding this butterfly poem from Emily Dickinson!

Two Butterflies went out at Noon—
And waltzed above a Farm—
Then stepped straight through the Firmament
And rested on a Beam—

And then—together bore away
Upon a shining Sea—
Though never yet, in any Port—
Their coming mentioned—be—

If spoken by the distant Bird—
If met in Ether Sea
By Frigate, or by Merchantman—
No notice—was—to me—

Emily Dickinson, Poem #533
Poem found at poets.org, now in the public domain

I’d like to be a butterfly, wouldn’t you?

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 August 2018
Photo found at http://www.nhm.ac.uk

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