The Alchemy of Silence and Sound

Originally posted on All Nine:

Rebekah Choat reflects upon “How to be a Poet”

How To Be A Poet

by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)

i

Make a place to sit down.

Sit down. Be quiet.

You must depend upon

affection, reading, knowledge,

skill – more of each

than you have – inspiration,

work, growing older, patience,

for patience joins time

to eternity. Any readers

who like your poems,

doubt their judgment.

ii

Breathe with unconditional breath

the unconditioned air.

Shun electric wire.

Communicate slowly. Live

a three-dimensioned life;

stay away from screens.

Stay away from anything

that obscures the place it is in.

There are no unsacred places;

there are only sacred places

and desecrated places.

iii

Accept what comes from silence.

Make the best you can of it.

Of the little words that come

out of the silence, like prayers

prayed back to the one who prays,

make a poem that…

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The Swing of Poetry: Musings on Stevenson

Becka Choat:

Three years ago today, my first contribution to All Nine Muses was published. I still can’t thank Chief Muse Kelly Belmonte enough for her vote of confidence in giving me this opportunity, and all my fellow Muses for their support and encouragement.

Originally posted on All Nine:

All Nine welcomes Rebeka Choat to share her musings on Robert Louis Stevenson. Becka is a reader, a writer, a lover of the printed word, dedicated to bringing people books to nourish mind, soul, and spirit.  Her website is www.booksbybecka.com.

Image by Rebeka Choat

The Swing of Poetry: Musings on Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Swing” 

by Rebeka Choat 

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside —

Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown —
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Early some mornings before…

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Icons, Part Three

image by Rebekah Choat

image by Rebekah Choat

This statuette is the closest thing I have to a traditional icon. When she first came to pray in my garden some ten years ago, she was an angel, regal yet demure. She lost a wing during Hurricane Ike, which only made me love her more – though broken, she retained her beauty and poise.

The other wing was shattered when she was knocked down by a strong wind perhaps eighteen months ago, since when I have felt an even deeper connection to her. She is completely approachable now, and might be a friend, a kindred spirit. In some mystical way, I feel peace when I sit outside near her in the early mornings, and even when I look at her picture.

image by Rebekah Choat

image by Rebekah Choat

The Praying Lady speaks to me of Someone else, One who deliberately laid his divinity aside for a time and came to be like one of us, to be with us in all our joy and sorrow; One who sits now at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for us.

Tuesday’s Word: pensieve

pensieve

A pensieve is a magical item in the Harry Potter books
which is used by characters to gather and process their
memories, or to remove the burden of excess memories.
Albus Dumbledore says that he uses it to store thoughts
that are weighing on his mind, or to organize memories
which seem to be connected. The ability to enter a vivid
memory also helps to shed light on new information.
(wisegeek.com)

I remarked once a few years ago that I thought it would be very convenient to own a pensieve. A few moments later, it struck me that I do.

I have kept a diary or journal sporadically for some forty years. I started with one of the little pink ones with a tiny padlock, with the pages all neatly sectioned out – four or five lines to a day, a full week on a two-page spread, filled for the first few weeks with such entries as “Grandma came to visit” and “Roxanna was mean to me at school again today.” By my teen years I had moved on to simple spiral notebooks or even just loose leaf paper stuck in a folder, and I still write in inexpensive college-ruled notebooks today.

None of the early pink diaries have survived, to my knowledge, although it’s not outside the realm of possibility that my mother still has them in a box somewhere. I do, however, have perhaps a couple hundred pages dating from January 20, 1981 (the topic of which was President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration and the release of hostages in Iran) to today. I leaf back through them from time to time, and of course, they do perform the above-described functions of a pensieve, though in a somewhat less mystical way.

They are collections of memories, some of which I have only begun to process. Many of the entries fit in the category of excess memories or issue weighing on my mind, and both writing them out and revisiting them years later helps to relieve some of their heaviness. I often see recurring themes and connections now that I had no idea of at the time of writing. From the distance of twenty or thirty years, I can sift out – sometimes – what was true and what may have been just projection, and occasionally why I felt as I did. And yes, the ability to re-enter some of my most vivid memories does help to shed light on new information, or to shed new light on old information that I’m still working through.

How Calming

Originally posted on All Nine:

Image by Becka Choat Image by Becka Choat

How Calming

By Becka Choat

How calming, the woods:
sun-spangled shade, tangled roots,
unexhausted earth.

[A found poem from Chaim Potok’s Old Men at Midnight.]

*****

Becka Choat is a lifelong lover of words who spends many hours each week in a room of her own, writing or reading and drinking coffee. Her book reviews can be found at www.beckasbookreview.wordpress.com, and her poetry and other musings at www.beckachoat.wordpress.com. You may also follow @beckachoat and/or @booksbybecka on Twitter

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Tuesday’s Word: blessing

God’s favor and protection

the acts or words of one who blesses

something promoting or contributing to happiness,
well-being, or prosperity; a boon

approbation, approval, encouragement

sanction or support

special favor, mercy, or benefit

The definitions of a blessing cover a broad range, but it seems to me that whichever way you look at it, a blessing is a gift outright. It comes from somewhere outside ourselves, beyond our reach to grasp. We can’t buy it with money or earn it with merit. We can only receive it open-heartedly, accepting it as pure grace.

Yet in the remarkable economy of God, we are somehow empowered to bestow blessings on others. Though we don’t possess the means to manufacture or ensure a boon for ourselves, we are mysteriously enabled to channel favor, mercy, and encouragement to those around us and to contribute to their happiness and well-being.