Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Seventh Day of Christmas

It is a custom in the Daughters of Charity for the whole community around the world to be in retreat today.   So I will be praying for all my blogging and Facebook friends as well as for many others, and other intentions.

I post this Christmas card - probably my very favorite - on this day of silent retreat. It is another creation of Sister Barbara Ann:

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Sixth Day of Christmas

List Making Time

The blogger at one of the sites I visit wrote down her dreams for 2012.  I’m attempting to do the same here.
What are my dreams for 2012?

The altruistic ones:

·         World Peace,

·         Universal Health Care,

·         Equal Distribution of Food and Money,

·         a Cure for Cancer

( not that I’m asking for much…)

 The selfish ones:

·         Full federal and state funding for the Homes for America project in both wings of our house

·         twenty new vocations to the Daughters of Charity,

·         no more trees cut down on Emmitsburg properties ( the former PH or the Mount)

·         two weeks at Cape May

·         getting to go to the MacDowell Colony this summer

·         being cured of the radiation damage sustained from the cancer treatment

·         having central vision restored to my left eye - and seeing a Snowy Owl in the wild!

These are some of my dreams. It’s clear that they are not my expectations. Can they be my hopes?
What are the differences between dreams, expectations, and hopes?
I don’t have many expectations at all, but I do have many hopes.

Here is another favorite Christmas card.  It was created by a friend of mine, Sister Barbara Ann Underhill of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville, Maryland:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Fifth Day of Christmas

Here's another favorite cookie recipe.  It comes from my mother via her lifelong friend Molly Stauffer Johnson  ( both of them departed now).  It's probably 100 years old or older, from the Pennsylvania Dutch country:

Date Walnut Cookies

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup butter

2 eggs

½ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp vinegar

2 cups sifted flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 lb. Pitted dates

1 cup black walnuts chopped

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Mix well.

Add soda and vinegar.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt. Add to the wet mixture.

Add dates and nuts.

Drop on greased cookie sheet.

Bake 325 10-12 min.

Really good.  Welcome at any season, but especially during the winter.

This morning I sent my application to the MacDowell Colony , to see if I can spend two weeks there this summer, writing poetry.   Wish me luck!

Another favorite Christmas card:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Fourth Day of Christmas

Cold and blustery, but sunny - major change from yesterday.  The lead photo on this page was taken LAST January... no snow this year since Halloween.

I had a wonderful leisurely day - anotherenjoyable visit and lunch with a former student, then more cookie baking!  This time, the second half of the Butter Cookie batch.


Ingredients:     1 lb. butter
                        2 cups sugar
                        4 cups flour
                        2 eggs
                        1/2 teaspoon salt
                         1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs, salt, and vanilla.  Add flour gradually. Refrigerate, covered,overnight. ( I form this batter into sticky rolls and roll in waxed paper, and freeze to slice and bake later)
For rolled/cookie cutter cookies, roll thinly on floured surface.

Bake at 400 degrees  on ungreased cookie sheets for 5-9 minutes or until brown around the edges.

Really good!

After the cookies, I mixed and baked  my own version of Chex Mix - more Cheerios than anything else.  All cleaned up now, and ready for some reading.

Here is another favorite Christmas card - with one of my favorite birds.  I have several who are regular visitors to the suction cup feeder on the window of my bedroom:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Third Day of Christmas

And a rainy one it is.

I've been working on syllabi for the three courses I'm teaching in the second semester:
Freshman Seminar, Mod Civ ( poetry and history of 20th century Europe), and The Church in the Modern World/ Women of Faith.   More on those another time.

I went out for lunch with four of my former students - women I taught back in 1975-76, when I was 28 and they were 18.  We reconnected about two years ago via Facebook: what a great invention!  The ten year difference in our ages means nothing now; they are mostly married, with grown children. I love seeing them.  They made my rainy day bright.

Speaking of bright, here is another favorite Christmas card. It's not religious, but I love the artwork and the spirit of goodness: 

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Second Day of Christmas

Here's another favorite card - sent at least twenty years ago by Ralph and Rita Harper - my beloved Hopkins professor and his wife, an artist who was born and raised in Greece.  I love the depiction of Joseph and Mary as middle-eastern people.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The First Day of Christmas

We really should begin celebrating Christmas today - the Feast of the Birth of Christ - and keep on celebrating at least for the twelve days - until Epiphany.  We could continue celebrating until the Feast of the Holy Family, or even until Candlemas Day, February 2nd.   When I see families taking down their Christmas trees on December 26, it makes me sad.  Keep them up!

Here is one of my favorite Christmas cards:

Another favorite Christmas cookie recipe:

English Shortbread

4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp double acting baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Make about 2 hours before serving or up to 1 week ahead.

Into large bowl, measure all ingredients with hands.
Knead all ingredients until well blended. Dough will be soft. Pat dough evenly into 2    9inch round cake pans - with fork, prick dough in many places.

Bake shortbreads about 45 minutes at 325, or until golden brown.

While still warm, cut into wedges. Cool inpan before removing - store tightly in covered container.

Because of butter content, if not eaten within week, freeze.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ten Favorite Christmas Carols

“Harry, I think it’s Christmas Eve”

One of my favorite scenes from the seventh Harry Potter book, and one of the most poignant:

Harry and Hermione have gone to visit Godrick’s Hollow, the village where Harry was born and where his parents died. It’s midnight, and it’s snowing, and the music of carols drifts from the little church.

The two young wizards don’t have any background or education in Christianity, though the Wizard School celebrates the holiday with Christmas trees  and feasting and vacation ( much like the non-wizarding world of real time). Still, they know the sacredness of the time. Hermione reads the inscription from the Potters’ gravestones:   the last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death. She conjures up a wreath of Christmas roses and places them on the tomb, as Harry weeps.  It’s such an English Christmas scene.  This makes the very next scene so much more alien and horrific, when evil shows its terrible face.

Anyway… I started to write about my ten favorite Christmas carols:

1.       In the bleak midwinter

2.       Ding dong merrily on high

3.       Once in Royal David’s City

4.       Bright Day Star

5.       Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning

6.       I heard the Bells on Christmas Day

7.       People, Look East

8.       In Dulci Jubilo

9.       The Holly and the Ivy

10.   Deck the Halls

 I love the way these carols are sung. I love the harmonies. I love the lyrics.  Maybe these favorites derive from my many years of listening to the festival of nine lessons and carols from King’s College, Cambridge; they certainly categorize me as an Anglophile!

Wanted to add some recipes here, too:

Date Cookies    ( 100 year old recipe from my mother's friend Molly Stauffer)

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup butter

2 eggs

½ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp vinegar

2 cups sifted flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 lb. Pitted dates ( I cut them up with scissors)

1 cup black walnuts chopped ( regular walnuts work just as well)
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Mix well.

Add soda and vinegar.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt. Add to the wet mixture.

Add dates and nuts.

Drop on greased cookie sheet.

Bake 325 10-12 min. 

Fifty years of journals

Today I have had a shameful amount of free time – well, time I should have spent working on the syllabi for next semester, but didn’t -  and decided to look through my previous journals to see what I wrote about Christmas.
It struck me when I went to Journal #1, which began March 20, 1961, when I was in the seventh grade.

I have been writing a journal for fifty years!  The one I’m in now is number 56; the journals are not regular in their entries. I had one or two books for the four years I was in college, but five books for the two years I was a postulant/novice. Again, I had two books for the six years that I was the Sister-Servant ( local superior) of our house at Alto Road… and then three books for the two years I was studying at the Washington Theological Union.  Also, the books differ in size, though most of them are black marble copybooks.  What accounts for the amount of writing?  Time, primarily.  Also, stress.  I wrote the least when I probably should have written most --- when life was tough.  And even now, I don’t like to go back and read those particular volumes ; the writing brings it all back way too vividly.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas poems

I recently finished a "10/10"  -- ten poems in ten days, on the Writers Anonymous site on Press 1.  Three other poets were writing along with me.   Since it was Winter Solstice, and so close to Christmas, many of the poems reflect that theme.  I began to take some favorite lines from Christmas carols and spin some poems off them.
Here are several:

   Approaching the Dark

Approaching the dark,
I consider the ladybug
traversing my copybook,
ardent-hearted red,
looking for a place to spend the winter
who must view the edge of the desk
as the Grand Canyon,
but who can fly
to the radiator
to the icy marble windowsill
where the sky turns dianthus pink
looking for a place to spend the winter


Always we are following a light

Always we are following a light.
It draws the eye, the light in the window
of the house in the distance
aacross the dark meadow
at the end of a dark lane.
Snowflakes catch the headlights
on a road where the shoulder shrugs and
disappears into the blizzard’s buzzard boast.
The small flame on the candle in the clear glass vigil
flickering at the feet of our Lady of Chartres,
only light I see
from the other side of the room.

Late in time, behold him come

Late in time, behold him come.
Not the Christmas child
but my homesick student
early balding boy, shy , tall,
missing from class since Halloween,
arrives on exam day to see if it’s too late
to drop the class
and the other classes, too.
What has he been doing in these busy weeks
as rainy fall turned into
clotted winter,
so far away from family,
on the side of this brown mountain?
What will he tell that furious father
or the grandfather
whose name is on the School of Business?

Nuns Decorating Their Christmas Tree

Richer by far is the heart’s adoration…

It’s a fake tree, safer for the giant convent
Where so many old sisters lie helpless in bed.
We’re in another wing, still working,
Still mobile, lucid, continent,
Though our young women live far south
In houses in poor neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, we decorate the fake tree
Already festooned with lights by the
Maintenance men.
We bring out those shiny brites
from the fifties,
wondering which of our sisters,
now dead, purchased them
in some long ago Woolworths.

We bring out our family heirlooms,
ornaments from our trees at home
hung by us as little girls
long before we joined this
We bring out bells and angels
from our siblings,
Redbirds and partridges.
Everyone comes with her Christmas
from home
which we join with our convent Christmases.

Together, together,
with stories of our Christmases as young nuns,
cutting down the tree, anchoring it in place,
when the aromatic presence
caused our hearts  lilting love.

And still, through cloven skies they come

In the full moon’s glare, the sky’s lit up with clouds
fluffy and definite as clover,
they scud and trip, pretending  to be close
when no one’s angels pass between their cracks
where mice can pass through cracks as fine as fingernails
the cloven hooves of horses, cows and goats
the clouds resemble
where the angels enter the world
like young nuns coming from their cloister
into the sunlight.

Look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing

When I first learned to play the piano,
in the piano rooms at school,
not having a piano at home,
first learned to read music,
I bought a book of Christmas carols,
seeking out the ones I never heard
but liked the lyrics. Liked the titles:

The Holly and the Ivy
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
The Coventry Carol
The Cherry Tree Carol
Once in Royal David's City...

I’d read the music , try to sing the melody,
but having no piano
and no memory of the tune,
no idea of the timing,
I’d give up and go back to

Silent Night.

Vainly we offer each ample oblation
All over America,
  in thousands of KMarts,
anonymous donors are paying off
the balance of layaway accounts.
Fifty dollars here,
Two hundred there,
so people with no credit but love
 can release
 their children’s Christmas toys
from captivity.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I woke up happy

Gaudete Sunday, in the Catholic tradition.  At Mass, the priest asked the question "When were you last happy?"

I woke up at 5:45, grumbling because I could sleep late and didn't.  But I went back to sleep and dreamed I was at my Alma Mater, Saint Joseph College, in the present time.  I was a professor there, and was living with the students on Third Marillac.  It was move-in day in September.  The campus was teeming with students and parents. It was a sunny, lovely day, and everyone seemed to be busy and happy.  I climbed up the stairs from the ground floor to the first floor, and someone's Dad said to me, "Why don't you use the elevator?"  He indicated an elevator just around the corner, in a new wing.  I then noticed that the whole dorm had been renovated.  It had always had the high ceilings and large windows, but now it was even brighter. There was carpeting in the halls, which seemed to be wider than I remembered.  The students ( it was still all girls) were busy moving into their room.  I boarded the elevator and climbed to the top floor, the third floor.  The scene there was the same, even better, because there was a cafe-like coffee place in the middle of the third floor, where students and parents were enjoying coffee and talking.  I looked out the window at the campus, and could see all the way over to Brute - the dining hall building.  Everywhere students and parents were walking.

I woke up happy.  Even after I remembered that my Alma Mater had closed in 1973, and that in 1979 the campus was purchased by the Federal government and now housed FEMA,  I still felt happy.

Happiness is a mystery, isn't it?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Almost a month

has passed since I wrote here.  Can't believe the swift passage of time.  I've been occupied with end of the semester grading.  Before that, I was occupied with a "30/30"  - writing thirty poems in thirty days on the listserv Inside the Writer's Studio.  Between the two activities, I almost forgot about this blog.

Need to finish the grading and get back to writing. 

I'm watching the winter birds from my bedroom window.  A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers are regular visitors to the birdseed bell hanging there.

I had some good photos of them, but the photos were lost when I got this new laptop.  I don't own a computer; the laptops are from school - they are replaced every five years.  The folks in "I.T." there were not able to retrieve any of the photo gallery pictures that I hadn't stored in folders.  Sigh.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

new publications

I have two poems in this issue:

Blue-Winged Teal

Small dabbling duck,
wallow in freshwater,
mince your steps on the sticky fronds
of April,
rest your blue bill on your speckled chest
like a dignified dowager
looking down her nose.

Fashionable in your touches of sapphire
on breast and wings,
your color is more blue than
what the paint store calls teal,
something more moody than
more matte than satin.


The Cat and the Fireworks

At the first volley of fireworks,
unseen except for flashes
of lightening like light,
the calico cat sprang to alert.
leapt to the windowsill,
retreated under the bed,
then emerged and sprang to the
top of the bureau.
A low growl rumbled from
her belly-
a sound I never heard her make before.
Deep, rolling growl
sound radiating through fur
as she watched from
her patrol post
for the duration of the fireworks.
She became the cat in someone’s bedroom
in London,
on the first night of the Blitz.
She became the cat distracted from catching rats in the church
in Dresden,
as the planes rained down fire and boulders.

She became the cat cowering in the doorway
in Baghdad,
When the Americans bombed Saddam
back to his bunker.

All the cats
in all the arrowstruck, cannonstruck
cities down the centuries,
interrupted, startled,
terrified, growling deep,
feral, innocent,
instincts bristling.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Our House

Picture a building four stories high and miles long – seven wings. Four wings in a square with a central courtyard. Branching off the four wings, three more. A Wing through F Wing.
The Facebook Page for "Provincial House Transformation" posts this description:

“St. Joseph’s Provincial House, a 360,000 square foot building, was completed in 1965. The house was originally designed as the chapel and headquarters of the Daughters of Charity. Since then, the chapel has become a minor basilica dedicated to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and to where she has been laid to rest, St. Catherine’s Nursing Center leases an area of the house to provide nursing care and rehabilitation to lay people, and the Daughters of Charity elderly and infirmed sisters have moved in from Baltimore to live in the house (St. Vincent’s Care Center for nursing care, and Villa St. Michael for assisted living). In the meantime, the provincial house has remained the headquarters of the Daughters during the entire time.”
Here's a photo from the early '60s, when it was under construction:

At that time, one wing was for the seventy plus novices ( we call novices “seminary sisters”. Another  wing was for the seventy-plus postulants.In another wing were 60 plus retreat rooms for the sisters who came back for retreats in the summer.  In other wings lived the 40 plus semi-retired "Provincial House Sisters" and in another, the 5 sisters who ran the Province. 
To get more of an idea of how the uses of this enormous building have changed, I've drawn a few sketches. If you click on each, you will see the whole sketch, and can read the information.
Here it is in 1965:

Here's how it was in 1978, when I entered:

here it is today:

Here's how it will be in another two years:

I live in one small room on the second floor of "E Wing"  The noise of drills and hammers and asbestos removal and reconstruction is loud in most of the halls and wings.
This is a needed change, but it's still hard to live through.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New poem published today!

Here's the poem -  it appears in the Autumn 2011 edition of the Seminary Ridge Review:

Vineyard Stories

One son was invited and he said yes
and he did not come.
the other one said no
and regretted it
and came.
Was that the same son
who was killed by all those
tenant farmers?
Were those farmers
the ones
who worked all day
and got the same pay
as the ones who came
at the last horn’s blow?
Did all this happen
in the same vineyard
that glistens in the evening sun
where the lovely macramé of
green strings
reaches out
for the anchoring pole?
Grapes are heavy in the
September air.
Here is a place for
the liar and the rash.
Here is time to say no
and change your mind.
Here, also,
the jealous
and the killer.
Here, harvest.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snow for Halloween

Yesterday, a "nor'easter" hit the east coast of the USA -  and well inland, too. We're four hours from the ocean, but it snowed all day here.  I was worried about snow weighing down the trees still filled with golden leaves, but here it was just warm enough for the snow to keep melting.  Our neighbors in Pennsylvania and further north fared much worse.

This is the earliest snow in my memory - apparently a record-breaker all around. 

On another topic, I am seven days into another "30 poems in 30 days" at ITWS ( Inside the Writers' Studio).I'm very happy to be joined in this round by several poets from previous rounds: John Vicks, Valerie Fox ( who alerted me and invited me to jump in), Annie Bien, Brenda Nixon, and a new voice, Sarah Munroe.  This website/listserv really helps me to keep writing daily.  I have also become close to these other poets - one can't help feeling close when one has read about 200 poems, and has had  200 poems of one's own read by them.  And commenting back and forth. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New poem published today!

My poem "Diptych" went up today at the online poetry magazine Damselfly. There's even an MP3 file of me reading it.  Very exciting!

Listen to the Poem
Her face came together between August and October
like two photos that fit better together than they did apart.
That first trimester of her life
the bones, mirror images, two ivory cups,
curled toward each other and joined
in the center of the forehead, nose, cleft of the chin
seamlessly and whole.
Like a diptych skull
Like cupped hands hinging toward each other.
- A native of West Chester, PA, Anne Higgins teaches English at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, Maryland. She is a member of the Daughters of Charity. She has ninety poems published in magazines, as well as five books of poetry published.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another boot entirely

Two weeks ago, I fell down some steps on my way to my 11AM  Intro to Poetry class.  They were concrete interior stairs.  My backpack saved me; I had slipped and both feet went out from under me, but when I landed, the backpack hit the steps instead of my back or head! However, my left foot twisted under me... leaving me with an AVULSION FRACTURE. Never heard of it -  the doctor showed me on the xray.  Seems that this occurs when tendons or ligaments tear away from the bones, pulling pieces of the bone with them.  Yes, it hurt like the devil!  
However, it's not a broken bone ... so I have been outfitted with a walking boot from the Darth Vader Collection ( see photo). It's removable so I can shower and climb into bed. What a relief after the first three days
when it was splinted and I couldn't put any weight on it. 

Foot is still quite swollen and bruised , but not as painful.  I return to the orthopedic doc tomorrow for more xrays and another verdict...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's Pouring

We're getting the remnants of Hurricane Lee; right now in buckets. Before the last hurricane, I bought myself a pair of glossy black rubber rain boots; travelling from my office to the classroom building to Patriot Hall ( the dining hall, named by a benefactor for those who died 9/11/01) is wading through many puddles.

  Today I brought my camera to record some of the bright and cheerful rainboots worn by many of the young women around campus. I'm so glad these have become stylish!  In my day, we wouldn't have been caught dead wearing them, and as a result we went around with ruined shoes and constant colds.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

She's coming soon.

It's raining here in Emmitsburg... more to come, and harder, and wind.

Not so bad a forecast, though, as Cape May...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bear Gulch Road, Woodside California

Today in this humid, rainy August weather in the valley here in rural Maryland, I came across an entry from my journal from August 31, 2001. Just before that, I had been staying at our Provincial House in Los Altos Hills, California. I went out for a ride to see the Djerassie ( sp?) Artists' place not far from there, on Bear Gulch Road, in Woodside.

I never reached my destination; I became too afraid to drive any further on Bear Gulch Road. These photos, from Google images, don't begin to give a true image of it:

Bear Gulch Road - the size - narrow as a twin bed,
bolstered on the right by the mountain's shoulder,
on the left by a chasm broken by huge old redwoods.
I hugged my car to the right side...
what if some reckless and impatient California driver
came up behind me?
I saw myself rolling down into eternity,
into the embracing , unbending arms of redwood.

It's strange to me that I have not been afraid when I have flown in a helicopter; have really enjoyed the view...
But put me out in the open , anywhere near a precipice, and I fling myself to the ground and hug the ground,
so afraid I am that somehow I will fall.  Even in a car, that feeling persists.  Way back in 1973, my friend Mary Lou "Scotch" Kincaid and I took a camping trip across the United States. We began in West Chester and went northwest, all the way to Seattle, Vancouver Island, the Canadian Rockies, and back across Canada and into the US at Niagara Falls.  When we traversed Glacier National Park on Going to the Sun Highway, I had a terrific experience of fear of heights.  Here are some photos from Google images that give some indication - no guardrails on most of this road, which snakes along the edge of high mountains:

This road was much more frightening than Bear Gulch Road, when I see these photos and remember. In any case, I've also driven on California Route 1, from the Golden Gate Bridge all the way north to Mendocino, and remember that as another nightmare ride. As much as I love California, I don't think I could live there with those roads.  Within my adventurous inclinations there lurks a true fraidy-cat.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Recent Publications

My poem “The Least Terns” is up on the Miriam’s Well blog.

And I just received word from Lalitamba that two of my poems, which they accepted in 2008, appear in their latest print publication.  Better late than never!

Here they are:

The Angel and the Gargoyle
I'm into God; I perch on stone pillars.
Spread golden light; spew rain water.
I wear a halo; I wear pigeon dung.
Deliver messages; spring and crouch.
Golden light like honey; dirt encrusts my cow face.
I accompany travelers; I guard the gates.
Kneel over graves; hunch over parapets.
Deliver death; terrify children.
Wings like hope; browns like shelving.
I'm always eighteen; no one asks.
My eyes lift to heaven; elbows on knees,
palms raised in praise ; chin gripped in talons.
Both of us brace, grace,
corners of garden,
walls of cathedral.
Angry Enough to Die
God found Jonah and asked him, "Have you reason to be angry?"
      "I have reason to be angry," Jonah answered God,
       "Angry enough to die."
My shady gourd plant is gone,
my cucumber, my castor,
under which I sheltered,
within which I heed.
Now I grope for the sky, that false mirror,
hot burning my skin,
skin cancer blossoming like a dandelion.
I have reason to be angry.
I have still not tasted
the flavor of my tears.
Still I mirror
Magritte's painting,
where the sand yellow leaf blossoms a watchful hawk,
though the leaf borer makes lace of his breast
so the grey sea gapes though it.
Angry enough to die.
I'll eat and drink till my heart chars.
Till that sunset burns clear through.
He is not speaking.
I lower my concrete mask
and listen.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Magician Stories

I am presently reading ( or, rather, listening to it on my iPod) Lev Grossman's novel  The Magicians. It's not the most interesting novel of its kind; the ideas are, but the prose is somewhat affected - that prissy irony which sometimes I sense in the attitude of the author. However, the plot has held me. I want to see what happens to Quentin and his peers. ( Later: after finishing the book, I just plain did not like it)

What is it about me, or about these books?  I read them voraciously.  I am drawn to them.

I am NOT drawn to the Twilight series, or to many other “magic” related books.  Just these.

It seems that one common thread is the theme of slipping into another world.  Passing through onto Platform 9 3/4… or passing from a weedy garden in Brooklyn into Breakbills… or through the back of a wardrobe into Narnia… or through the gates of an old graveyard …or using a special knife to create a small tear in the air… or the appearance of a very old book with a woodcut of a dragon…  something about these actions or images pulls me in.

Part of it is the quality of the writing. Part of it is my poet’s imagination. Part of it is being a dominant Intuitive.  But there’s a part I don’t understand at all. 

Here ‘s a poem I wrote when trying to express this attraction:


Oh Harry Potter,
how have you bewitched me
with your orphan story,
your unobtrusive self?

Your movie melody echoes in my dreams,
plays lightly right below my consciousness,                    
a lilting down up down
with xylophone
evoking magic.

Why do I love the halls of Hogwarts?
Shadowy and drafty,
watched over by the moving portraits,
deceived by the moving staircases?

Why do I love the moon on the lake,
the roots filling the floor
of the forbidden forest,
your incantations bringing light?

Give me some time with your loving owl!
Place her gently on my knee,
where I can stroke her wide white feathers
and gaze into her golden eyes.

Give  me time to dip my face
into the mercury syrup
of the Penseive,
to see my mother six years old,
whole, playing, undisturbed.