Thanks Giving

Thanksgiving

Sleep and stillness cling to my eyes

morning light trickles through pine branches

into the kitchen where yeast has raised 

soft pillows of dough overnight

I slide the fragrance of warm yeast 

into the waiting oven

I kept the fire going last night

to coddle the dough

to be kind to myself

now I sit at the window as early fog lifts

in wisps and sip tea

The world here is quiet, aside from

the faucet dripping and the ping of

the oven as it heats

Strong tea mingles with the aroma of

rising dough

Do we not all rise with some redemption,

new each morning?

In other homes people are moving toward family gatherings 

or waking to a jumble of legs and arms in unfamiliar beds

while I sit with my ancestors baking this bread

I receive the old ones and the fragrance and the taste

I listen to the small kitchen sound against the quiet outside —

the complete stillness of each branch and leaf

the warm cup in my hand.

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NOVEMBER

November

Tail end of autumn

in-between time

bare maple branches

scattered dry leaves

A young bear pushes his nose

into heaped up litter

poking through for acorns

coyotes howl in late afternoon

Scattered red berries

dried purple grapes

winter hasn’t emerged yet

although she’s expected

Garden plots are cleared

in anticipation of her arrival

like the tide line between sand and sea

November separates seasons

Of life pushing out of seed and egg

before returning to ground

November waits for those last geese to fly

holds her cards close to her chest

Listen to water ripple against the shore

and honor Manannán Mac Lir

I have not beaten gold into form

but I place an offering in the water

This small beaten gold boat now resides in the National Museum in Dublin Ireland.

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The Healer

This week I’m continuing the more ‘otherworldly’ theme, as winter tries to take hold here, and as warmth and light comes to readers in the southern hemisphere. The Healer comes from two different sources. The first source is being a young child in bed with high fevers. I would be in a dream state where I could imagine a lot of very small men arguing and playing a game, right next to my bed. The game was to see who could jump over my resting body the highest. Then when they’d all clear the hurdle (me) they repeated this, over and over, until I woke all the way and shouted at them to go away. NOw, my bedroom was really a closed in porch, with no room on either side of the bed for one person to stand, never mind a group. But this dream was repeated any time I was ill, with fever. My grandmother would come in and wash me down with cook facecloths, and she would give me pale lemon mint tisane to drink.

The idea for sewing with long hairs comes from another tradition. My sister in law Juanita worked in the New York garment district years ago as a designer. There was a group of women that worked in the room with her, sewing what she designed. When she announced her engagement, they decided to make her wedding dress. She designed it and they made it, with a lot of hand sewing. As traditional in their culture, they sewed the hem with their hair.

This time of year holds so many holidays, and will being up memories for many of us, even as we continue to live with more solitude. I’d love to hear what memories come up for you during this shift of light and darkness, or, darkenss into light

The Healer

She murmurs softly

wipes your arms and face with

a cool damp washcloth

She will glaze your parched lips

with oil, hold warm lemon

tea for you to sip

She’ll comb out knots

as you rest on the pillow

thread her needle with your hair,

carefully mending holes 

in your delicate fabric

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Banshee

In the nineties, I was at schoool at UMASS, in Amherst MA, when I became ill. The specialist that I saw put me on a strong prescription medicine that impacted my liver badly. When I returned to my regular doctor he immediately took me off the medication, and it was touch and go for me. That night my Godmother, who was from County Kerry Ireland called me. She lived 80 miles away, so we didn’t see each other very often. Sally came right to the point. She asked “Elaine, What’s going on out there? Last night I heard the banshee crying, and she was crying for you”. More than the doctor’s words, the banshee’s cry helped me to understand how close I’d been to crossing over. From that experience, I wrote this poem.

The Banshee

Wait for the banshee 

to commence her wailing

notice the Washer Women

at the river’s edge 

The Washer Women prepare

the body      wash him clean

in the waters     loosening 

knotted mortal ties 

Tears tumble down faces 

words are murmured 

tea and spirits poured

None speak of the banshee 

She raises her arms

calls the departed one 

to her side       carries

him into her embrace. 

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Reviews

Look Behind You and The Heart is a Nursery for Hope are available for holiday purchase online at Amazon.com.

image dhttps://www.amazon.com/Look-Behind-Elaine-Harootunian-Reardon/dp/1671193067/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Elaine+Reardon&qid=1605561824&s=books&sr=1escription
https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Nursery-Hope-Elaine-Reardon/dp/1537561111/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=The+Heart+is+a+Nursery+for+Hope&qid=1606494945&s=books&sr=1-2
Thanks to Laura Berry for her review at https://berryherwithpoems.com/?s=Elaine+Reardon.
Also, below are two reviews from Kayla’s Poetric Butterfly website, through Broad Universe.

It was interesting to hear Kayla’s review; She really understood how the second book is different from the first. Look Behind You is the story of my family’s immigration to this country, a bit about growing up in the immigrant culture, and the assimilation process. Each poem is a snippet, a small tale. My hope is that the story speaks for many people.

I wish safely and comfort to you all. What are you doing more of, and less of, I’ve deepened my cooking, purchaed some new Indian spices and a new Indian cookbook. The food smells so good as the spices heat, and I’ve missed being able to go out to my favorite Indian resaturant. Soon I’ll make the wonderful flatbread stuffed with potato, one of my favorite things. My freezer has tomatoes that I’ve roasted, fresh from the garden. Tomato soup will be wonderful with those Indian spices! Soup brings me memories of my mom making soup for me. My granddaughter, Lina, wrote that tomato soup is her favorite, and she is learning to make it from her mom now. Have you found yourself surprised at what gives you comfort? I’d love to hear from you, wherever you are on this planet.

Warm wishes to you,

Elaine

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The Veil Between the Worlds is Thin

You can take advantage to ‘talk’ to those in your bloodlines, to converse a bit,

in whatever way suits you,prayer, picnic, trying to heal old wounds. You can ask them

for support, and support other them.

Hallowed Night

On Halloween the veil thins

and I make ready for visitors.

Wash the linen tablecloth, 

place lit candles inside

carved pumpkins,

set a basket of green apples 

from the gnarled tree that stands

in front of the house.

Thick creamy milk from Chase Hill 

cows poured into mugs,

wedges of homemade bread 

slathered with butter,

Hot tea, both minty and black, 

a measure of whiskey for dad.

This night, a gathering comes. 

I wait with anticipation 

under orange streaked sky,

feel a shift, just before 

the air begins to stir.

Welcome nature spirits, sidhe, 

and ancesters, we who gather 

this Samhain night, 

for the turning of the year. 

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A treat to share

Beautiful readings tonight at the Pensive Journal launch tonight. Here’s a link to the online journal (free). The layout, design, and artwork is wonderfully done. Take time to enjoy the wonderful writing. I hope the reading will be available soon on utube.

https://en.calameo.com/read/006465146024b7f94cd85

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Reminder for Today’s Reading

Some folks asked me so send out a reminder, so here it is:

I’m honored to be a participant at Pensive Journal’s inaugual reading of their first launch event, from 6-7 pm October 21. I’ll be sharing and reading a couple poems along with many other authors, some that I’ve read long before I thought of writing myself. I’m highly honored to be included in this journal along with Joseph Bruchac, Marge Piercy, Martin Espada, some of my favorite writers, along with many more, and I can’t wait to see this journal. I’m extending an invitation for you to join us on zoom, October 21, this Wednesday, at 6-7 pm Eastern Standard Time, and the link is below. Pensive Journal is put out by Northeastern University.Pensive Journal, A Global Journal of Spirituality and the Arts . https://pensivejournal.com

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pensive-journal-launch-at-northeastern-univ

Posted in Poems

Pensive Journal, A Global Journal of Spirituality and the Arts

I’m honored to be a participant at Pensive Journal’s inaugual reading of their first launch event, from 6-7 pm October 21. I’ll be sharing and reading a couple poems along with many other authors, some that I’ve read long before I thought of writing myself. I’m highly honored to be included in this journal along with Joseph Bruchac, Marge Piercy, two of my favorite writers, along with many more, and I can’t wait to see this journal. I’m extending an invitation for you to join us on zoom, October 21, this Wednesday, at 6-7 pm Eastern Standard Time, and the link is below. Pensive Journal is put out by Northeastern University.

https://northeastern.zoom.us/j/94141858642

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Breath By Breath

Breath By Breath

Orange and yellow leaves fall, while the blueberries still hold onto their red leaves. Purple asters bloom near the roadside. Moss Brook finally splashes, filled by recent rains. And we enter another season, living with COVID as best we can. How do you slow down, find peace during this difficult time?

Breath by Breath

Is it wrong to avoid thinking,

listening to Moss Brook slosh over stones?

To notice the black crickets dart between 

blades of dry grass and goldenrod, 

time tellers of the changing season?

I wanted only to remember her

as she sat on the largest rock midstream,

legs tucked, reading a book,

as the brook rushed by.

And now I learn to meditate, to take

one breath at a time, to notice 

my ribs rise and fall, to notice the air 

fill me, leave, time and time again.

Some say the only moment is now,

all is illusory, breathe through pain.

There is some comfort in this

moment by moment, breath by breath.

IMG_0603.jpg

Best,

Elaine

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