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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

it's a zen thing

was never really the issue....
where do you find death
in the midst of so much motion?
slowing down to look and see
would be a death all it's own,
for if the motion stops
i'm not really certain of what
will be left-
are you?
it seems i have left
small pieces of me
along the way-
erosion was inevitable,
almost desirable,
like dropping ballast
to rise above the storm....
never really certain of
coming down again
after the thunder stilled.

i wrote this poem years ago, after one of several stints in detox. i knew then i was way, my sanity, my life. my whole existence became centered down on one thing....going fast at any cost. i was trying to stay one step ahead of the darkness, and losing ground every day. betsy said to me "you want to die"..... it was a statement now, no longer a question.

i didn't die. at some point, i chose to live.

now, if there is any desperation in my life, it is simply to find the quiet places. i soak up silence like a sponge. i have dark days, but there is always, always light on the other side....... peace, after the thunder stills.

i have these moments now, split seconds where time stops, freezes in place, before moving on. they catch me unaware. i never expect them.

i get them chopping wood. when i take a second swing of the axe, and it lands precisely in the notch created by the first swing, there is one moment of perfect silence before the whole becomes two, and the log falls from my arms, to the wood. connected.

sometimes they happen when i shoot my bow. i shoot instinctively, without aiming. i simply raise and draw my bow, softening my vision in an attempt to feel the target rather than see it. i miss alot, but more and more there are those shots that hit exactly where my heart saw, with a sharp sound of certainty, and not a quiver of the from my arms, to the arrow. connected.

i sometimes wonder at the miracle of these moments, and how i got here from that day so long ago, so lost.

is suddenly the issue
in that airless endless moment
of thunder rushing down
of prayer god please
let it stop
a million shattered pieces
can still make up the whole.....
i cried save me
long ago.

i wrote this poem a few months after the first...... in rehab, finally, to stay. someone looked at the two poems together, and said "they aren't done. you need to finish them. there is more to this story".

it has taken a long time to find the ending to that story. it is better called a beginning though, because it is about promise, and progress, and pleasure in those single moments of time. i have come full circle.....


Johnny said...

Those are the moments you know your living Kate. Like plucking a guitar string and knowing its in perfect tune. It's just your the string and your in perfect tune with the universe for that moment.

kate said...

perfect tune? well, then it's not my B string :-)

seriously, that's a good analogy, johnny, a guitar string, the way it vibrates just so....

michael... said...


Yeah, i'm amazed, humbled and warmed when i look at my life now, and compare it to that "dark night of the soul"

The blogs' looking great, by the way... nice mukluks, too!


kate said...

thanks mike.

miracles every day, 24 hours at a time.

heh. the mukluk theme is all your fault. you were the first man to love them, i believe.

michael... said...

It's more who's wearing them!

kate said...


Lexi said...


Your comments about chopping wood reminded me of my chopping days and about Robert Frost's story about it. Thought you might enjoy parts of it too.......

Out of the mud two strangers came 
And caught me splitting wood in the yard, 
And one of them put me off my aim 
By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!" 
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind 
And let the other go on a way. 
I knew pretty well what he had in mind: 
He wanted to take my job for pay.
Good blocks of oak it was I split, 
As large around as the chopping block; 
And every piece I squarely hit 
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock. 
The blows that a life of self-control 
Spares to strike for the common good, 
That day, giving a loose my soul, 
I spent on the unimportant wood.
The time when most I loved my task 
The two must make me love it more 
By coming with what they came to ask. 
You'd think I never had felt before 
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft, 
The grip of earth on outspread feet, 
The life of muscles rocking soft 
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.
Out of the wood two hulking tramps 
(From sleeping God knows where last night, 
But not long since in the lumber camps). 
They thought all chopping was theirs of right. 
Men of the woods and lumberjacks, 
The judged me by their appropriate tool. 
Except as a fellow handled an ax 
They had no way of knowing a fool.
Nothing on either side was said. 
They knew they had but to stay their stay 
And all their logic would fill my head: 
As that I had no right to play 
With what was another man's work for gain. 
My right might be love but theirs was need. 
And where the two exist in twain 
Theirs was the better right--agreed.
But yield who will to their separation, 
My object in living is to unite 
My avocation and my vocation 
As my two eyes make one in sight. 
Only where love and need are one, 
And the work is play for mortal stakes, 
Is the deed ever really done 
For Heaven and the future's sakes.


kate said...

thank-you lexi. that was beautiful. i love robert frost.

Urban Scout said...

Too true.