Beth Inglish Guitar Garden Painting

Not every morning, but most, I sit down and write three pages, as Julia Cameron recommended in the The Artist’s Way.  I can begin with a dream or even my “To Do” list and by page three a new awareness comes or a relaxation.  It is like a spring cleaning and the freshness afterward.

I’ve been through some big changes lately and I sense more are on the way.  As Stanley Kunitz, said in this poem, Layers, “I am not done with my changes.”   The page is where I sort through the layers of my life and find what’s essential and evolutionary.  I am ready for a revolution rather than a reaction.

Winter found me by a new fire with an old friend, my guitar.    I learned to play guitar as a teenager with a “how to” book over a string of snow days.  All this winter long I have been writing songs and even performed one at Song Writers’ Night in Atlantic Beach.  The songs begin like seeds in the morning pages that sprout with the music.  Its been a long time, but the fourteen-year-old is back with the audacity to play and write songs!

Spring is almost here along with the urge to dig in the soil again.  New spring writing groups are on the calendar, check it out.  Who knows what will blossom when we get together to write with poetic license!

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

“Live in the layers,

not on the litter.”

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.

Stanley Kunitz from The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz