Saturday, February 03, 2018

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.

--Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

Kanchendzonga, Nicholai Roerich 

when the clouds come in
without any rain
lightning threads of gold sing
the seams

and the clouds stop time
and fill up
a dryad's dancing shoes

waltzing them up the mountain
startling copper woman
at her icy encampment
and overturning her coffeepot

but she nods her head
and reminds the shoes
that when the nereid,
still weeping, asked the lord
what he saw in the garden

he replied, beyond the sunbow
is an aquamarine curtain:
meet me there, behind it,
on the other side of sorrow;

and it is there
and no-where
and no-when
that I will show you

Thursday, February 01, 2018

the piñata

This afternoon, I found myself recalling an incident from the childhood of my three eldest girls, who have since flown the nest.

Back then, the four of us were like a floating island unto ourselves. We ventured out into the world together, took the bus to preschool together, volunteered there together, gathered the crumbs of bounty the generous universe, including the school, and neighbors, left out for us, and then returned to a little basement apartment, to assemble the pieces together into what might be usable. Together, we embodied the antithesis of the saying, "money-rich, time-poor." And what a rich time it was, in many ways.

For my eldest daughter's birthday one year, I spent a couple of months fashioning a piñata in the shape of a bird. Nearly all of the parts of this gift were salvaged from somewhere: the balloon for the body, the newspaper for the paper mâché, and the colored construction paper I cut into small, painstaking strips and glued on piece by piece, until the bird had a fascinating, variegated plumage. I do think that I purchased the candy for the interior of the bird, but otherwise, it was a gift characterized mostly by the investment of time.

The girls must have observed me adding rows of colored paper, centimeter by centimeter. I am not sure what it taught them, but at least - that I am persistent in my efforts. If I recall rightly, my eldest had chosen the shape of the piñata.

The day of celebration arrived. My girls gathered with a couple of neighbor children to ceremoniously clobber the body of the bird, which we had suspended from a string in a garage, to set free the candies hiding inside.

A small boy began hitting the bird enthusiastically and indiscriminately with a borrowed bat.

Coinciding with the first successful hit, an ear-splitting shriek began.  Screams were being emitted by the mouth of my third daughter, a toddler at the time. And what she was witnessing, I then realized, was, to her, not a joyful party, but rather, the killing of a creature I had spent months fashioning. First, its wings would fall off, then its body would be punctured, and and then it would be destroyed entirely.

I rushed over to hold her and comfort her, hid her eyes from the carnage, and ran with her from the room. Oh! perhaps these are the eyes that can see most clearly and wisely, in certain ways: the eyes of a child whose heart cannot bear to see harm done, even to a bird fashioned from paper, flour, water, glue, and someone's leftover balloon.

And for such moments, we have tears, another mystery no one has fully unraveled, as far as I know.

the song of a shell sapphire melting inside jade a color unnamed Ofra Haza's version of this song defies categoriz...

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