Thursday, November 17, 2011

NOV. 15, 2011

Prompt 1: How To Be a Poet (to remind myself) by Wendell Berry


You must depend upon affection, reading, knowledge, skill--more of each than you have-- inspiration, work, growing older, patience, for patience joins time to eternity. -Wendell Berry

A poet, according to Wendell, is defined by the rhythm of her days, as well as the rhythm of her words. The content of her words is determined by the content of her attention.

I am relieved that Wendell Berry's choice for the first ingredient of the poetic process is affection, which legitimizes my presence at this table. I am grateful to hear that even for Wendell Berry more reading, knowledge and skill, than even he possesses, are necessary. Over the years my allegiance has shifted from priests to poets; they reach more deeply, hear more clearly.
Prompt 2: A Poet's Heart


Tonight we talked about confidentiality. Then some one said something about a poet's heart. We free associated around the words "poet's heart." Then we wrote:

To Have a Poet's heart

To have a poet's heart is to console but not to fix.
To polish the imperfect doorway then to walk though the
imperfect door way. To put our feet into the endless river.
to ask questions and to ask them again.
To distill life down to a few crystal sentences and know
they are not enough but that they are just right.
To reconcile harmonies and make them new
to  make parts of a whole
to bring the end back to the beginning and to
sit on a park bench and know when enough if enough.
                                                                    - Karen Baker

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nov 1, 2011

Karen Baker
If we lived forever we could go on and on sitting around this table  making meaning out of words and each other.  It is the memories like smoke that we try to capture.  We roll the words around in our hands like precious stones.  This is why we write: this is how we glean the value of our lives.

I remember hotter than hot Minnesota summer days, rolling my eyes and standing on the sides of my feet thinking of ways to get away from the old ones. The ones who said “Sit up straight, put your feet on the floor, don’t talk back. I was not around when these rules were made but now I sit up straight, put my feet on the floor and I try not to talk back.

I keep the precious stones in my pocket and try to remember, to piece back together the people and the stories and the meanings. If we lived forever how then could we value our lives and each other.