'The Muse needs quiet in order to be heard.'
(Joy Beaudette Cripps)
Lost and found in space
Letting go of thoughts
Of self of time and space
No I, nor me, nor you exist
Just this expanding sense of space
This space so empty
But gently, sweetly holding me.
Now falling deeper
With empty mind
Space opens up and swallows me
Each part of me
My flesh, my soul, my story
Consumed by space
All matter melts
In endless realms of glory.
Peace rolls in as I dissolve
The mystery of life is solved
The lost is found in empty space
And lost again in endless grace.
No separation now
No sense of small aloneness
Consumed by space I grow
Lost in heaven's foundness.
– Angie Churchill
I think this is a beautiful description of the meditative state.
Angie is one of my offline writer friends. When a Village of Women (VOW) group was formed at a local Neighbourhood Centre, both of us joined, in mentoring roles. The group was formed to bring together and empower women who'd been through major trauma, and were also experiencing isolation in a community where most of them were new arrivals. (If you're thinking pathetic and needy, think again. They were brilliant, creative, proactive women who went on to perform miracles of success in their lives, together and individually.) Quite soon, a number of the women expressed a need for a writers' group. Having facilitated many writers' groups, I offered my services. Angie was among those who joined.
The major task for me has been persuading the VOWWriters, most of whom had been scribbling poems, stories and reflections all their lives, that they were indeed writers. Angie was one who insisted she wasn't – despite revealing that she regularly rewrote Bible stories to present to modern Sunday School children in a way they could understand and relate to.
We were invited, as a group, to present a written piece on the benefits of the group for an Australia-wide newsletter to community organisations. It consisted of selected writings from our members, including a very affirming short poem by 'non-writer' Angie, composed on the spot. Space was limited for our contribution; I had to make arbitrary decisions as to which writings could be included. There was never any doubt hers would make the cut.
But that was all. She continued to be a great contributor to our discussions, and swore she got lots out of being a member, but no more writing happened. (She even retired from the Sunday School volunteering.) Until....
Our isolation for the pandemic began shortly before our school holidays, when the writers' group normally takes a break, as some members are mothers of young children. After the holidays, with Australia still in lockdown, we eventually had a video meeting. To my amazement, Angie turned up with this poem and a few shorter ones. The result of doing some reading on mysticism and meditation, she said. I was blown away by the beauty of them all, and immediately asked her permission to share.
Others in the group – some who'd mainly only been writing in our fortnightly sessions and not between times – had also become surprisingly more engaged with their writing since we'd last met in person: revising previous writing, reading books for writers (from our group library) and writing new things, such as this.
Angie told me in a message, after I exclaimed about all this:
You have awakened us to the beauty of poetry, and shown us how to reach into our souls to discover pearls within. Thank you for your patience and wisdom. We've been slow to respond, it's true. But we are getting in the flow now.
Her lovely words of thanks were very sweet to receive. Yet, while I don't discount my influence, I think that these new developments must also result from the period of isolation. And so I'm reminded of the wise advice a fellow poet once gave me, when I was complaining of a lack of inspiration. (It was long before the days of the internet, let alone regular prompts.) Knowing I was very busy, she said – and it bears repeating, even for those of us who do now use prompts – 'The Muse needs quiet in order to be heard.'
Our Own Success Stories
(This will be an occasional addendum to Wild Fridays.)
Ayala Zarfjian, of the blog A Sun-Kissed Life, recently won an award for her book Second Chances published by Golden Dragonfly Press – namely, the Next Generation Indie Award in the Poetry category. (I found out on Instagram.)
For more about the book, including the opportunity to buy it, click here.
Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors.
Thank you, Rosemary for sharing the poem, the information about VOW, and the news about Ayala’s book – all things I wouldn’t know about if it wasn’t for your weekly post.ReplyDelete
I like the ambiguity in the title of Angie’s poem, which spoke to me on several levels: ‘Lost in Space’ was a favourite television programme in the sixties; there is also a hint of an astronaut being lost out there in space; and losing and finding oneself in meditation is something I have experienced. I like the use of different line lengths, which gives a sense of breathing, and the use of lists of three: ‘I, you, me’; ‘boundless, free, invisible’; and ‘my flesh, my soul, my story’ – three is a magic number – which also convey the shallow breath of meditation. I love the line ‘Lost in heaven's foundness’.
Congratulations, Ayala, on winning an award for your book!
So delighted the post hit the spot for you, Kim! I'm sure Angie will greatly appreciate the feedback.Delete
Angie has had a look at your comment. She can't answer it herself, but asks me to say:Delete
Many thanks Kim for your feedback. I've been analysed like a "real" poet. Wow! And you understood. Double Wow! Now I feel brave to believe that my thoughts and feelings will resonate with others. Amazing. Thank You.
Thank you for this inspiring post ~ and Angie’s poem. Meditative is exactly how I felt reading it and realized that quarantine has afforded me ‘alone’ time for reflection. I also want to write more poetry without using prompts as a jumping off point. Wish me luck ~~~~~ cheers.ReplyDelete
Surely I wish you luck, but I'm also sure you won't need it. Isn't it great that we have our 'open' Writers' Pantry every Sunday – so we can get to read your unprompted pieces too!Delete
I loved Angie's poem and your recount of the formation and growth of the VOW group. You're to be commended for your part in helping to open the group members to their muse within! It is true the muse needs quiet in order to be heard. My career involved rather long auto trips. I termed the quiet time as "think tank time", during which my muse was very active!ReplyDelete
One of the other VOWWriters is most inspired by nature, and a lot of those writings have come to her during long car journeys she used to take. (That only ever worked for me when I was a passenger.)Delete
I too loved Angie's poem. Being in the Space business as an Aerospace Engineer at NASA Houston helped me appreciate the literal truth of it also. I was sooo glad to hear of the women's writing growth. If I get to be reincarnated I have my order in to be a woman. A well-to-do woman, maybe married. But I wouldn't want that to hold me back, I wouldn't tolerate being dominated or forced to be submissive, for sure too nothing bad physically.ReplyDelete
Then I would write and write with a poetry emphasis but also finish writing three books that I won't finish in this life. Kids? I really do envy the new lives of those ladies.
Nice topic, Rosemary.
BTW, I volunteered to go into space but that of course was just a formality for the record.
My best friend, a science fiction junkie, volunteered to go into space when she was a young woman, and did her best to make a serious case as to why a fiction writer / poet would be an excellent choice, but they wouldn't accept her.Delete
I'm so glad you enjoyed Angie's poem. How great that it works when taken literally too. In this case I don't have the expertise to know ... but I expect the best metaphors do.
"The muse needs quiet in order to be heard," sigh .. that is definitely the case!💝 I love the poem by Angie Churchill, and resonate with; "Each part of me/My flesh, my soul, my story/Consumed by space/All matter melts/In endless realms of glory." To me, the act meditation is when the mind is silenced and void of external forces (i.e. stress, anxiety, restlessness etc) that seek to interfere and disrupt the process. The mind and heart need to be in sync.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for sharing information about VOW, delighting us with Angie's work, and sharing the news about Ayala's book, Rosemary!💝 I shall go and congratulate her on Facebook 🥰 xo
Thanks, Sanaa, for your thoughtful words!Delete
I really love the title of the poem. The piece doesn't describe the meditative state for me. But having read/heard the way others describe the experience, I say the statement is accurate.ReplyDelete
Congrats to Ayala!
Perhaps it was a foolish thing for me to say, as 'the meditative state' can mean different things for different people, and be arrived at in a variety of ways. But, as you note, many people do describe their own experience of it in terms akin to this. I don't know that Angie herself gave her poem that label; it was how it struck me.Delete
It wasn't foolish, it was personal. And personal is good in my book.Delete
Thank you for sharing Angie's poem. i used to sit, lotus position, in the dark of the night, free my mind of all thoughts, and do breathing exercises. i won't call it meditation, but perhaps it's quite close. Angie's poem brings back memories of these exercises.ReplyDelete
and congrats to Ayala for her award on her poetry. :)
See my reply to Magaly, above. I think your practice could be labelled as meditation, and that it's what many people refer to when they use the term. In any case, I'm glad the poem was evocative for you.Delete
That is super cool that you got together with some of the ladies from your local VOW to create word artistry. Sometimes all we need for our creativity to come through is to have supportive people around us, as ready to dance with their muse as we are.ReplyDelete
Woot! Way to go Ayala!
Also we have become good friends. (Smile.)Delete
How blessed you are to have a VOW group. Support is so necessary these days. Love the poem...thank you so much for sharing it and introducing us to Angie.ReplyDelete
It certainly has been a great thing. And writers' groups specifically are a wonderful way to connect.Delete
Loved the poem and it is a perfect reflection of meditation. I am sure your nudge and support and this isolation has helped birth this beautiful piece.ReplyDelete