mary_j_59: (mug)
I thought this one up on a walk my sister and I took round the pond. A cool, breezy day, and the colors were beautiful, but there were still some small red dragonflies zipping around, as well as bumblebees after the asters and other fall flowers. One dragonfly seemed to be going along with my sister for a little while; he actually landed on her thumb!

Dragonflies follow you
as though you were at once
shelter and larder;
as though you held
in your cupped hands
the waters of their birth.
mary_j_59: (flute)
This came to me while thinking of the tragic arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. I cannot say anything at all about Charleston except that I am praying for the victims and their families.


For years, the elder brother
Gulped envy; swallowed bitterness,
Till, at last, he spat them out
In anger,
(As his brother, eating greed and shame
in his pigsty, also forgot),
That there is love enough
To feed everyone.
mary_j_59: (portrait)
So - we had the book of Job today in Church. That inspired this. I was seriously thinking of trying to send it somewhere, but, because of how it came, I decided to share it instead. It seemed like a gift. Cross-posted to my author blog, and comments are welcome here or there. Enjoy!

And God spoke out of the whirlwind.
God's voice was the silence
In the heart of the whirlwind.
God's silence said this:

I am eternal
I am the fire
In the sun's core.
That flame
Creates all matter.
Its name is love.

Will you burn with me?

(Mary Johnson, February 8, 2015)
mary_j_59: (flute)
I read on twitter that Galway Kinnell was dead. Years ago, I read a poem of his, "Saint Francis and the Sow", in The Rattle Bag — an anthology Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney put together. It's one of the loveliest poems I've ever read - so full of love, and compassion, and truth. You can find the poem at the poetry foundation online, among other places. Here is a link to the full text. I wept when I first read it, and it makes me cry every time. I hope I may someday  write something as profound as this.

Saint Francis and the Sow by Galway Kinnell : The Poetry Foundation
mary_j_59: (Niki)
A small one, but I'm still thrilled - and nervous. As some of you know, I had a poem published in the "Westchester Review" this autumn. Along with five other authors, I've been invited to give a reading at the Village bookstore in Pleasantville, NY. It's at 7:00 this Saturday, April 13, and, if anyone's in the area, I'd be very pleased it you came!

Oh, and I have extended the book giveaway for another week. So please enter! Remember, all you have to do is write a short entry (350 words or less) including the words "grandmother", "Darth Vader", and "pyramid".
mary_j_59: (mary)
Here's a poem I drafted in the journaling workshop I held today at the library.

Blue eyes,
And a blue dress.

The little girl stares at the tigers
through the cage bars.
They are pacing towards her.
They are cream, striped with chocolate,
their eyes as blue as hers.

She shivers in the breeze
coming from the water.
"Don't be afraid," the woman says.
"They can't hurt you."

She is not afraid. She is sorry,
so sorry, for the great cats
with eyes like hers.

She shuts her eyes and turns away,
facing the sun.
Kaleidoscope colors flash under her eyelids.

There is no blue.

Mary Johnson, 2011
mary_j_59: (Default)
Which, I think, is pretty cool. If you don't know who the Thunderer is, Dion wrote a song about him. The words were by Phyllis McGinley, and very clever they are, too. (And St. Jerome and the Lion was one of my absolute favorite books when I was a little kid.) So, everyone, do some thundering today, and stay dry while you're at it! McGinley's poem is below; the last two lines seem especially appropriate for us Snape fans. ;)Read more... )
mary_j_59: (Default)
I doubt I can limit it to one. Here are three poems that I love:

Read more... )
mary_j_59: (Default)
I will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult. The whole
world is secretly on fire.

That is an excerpt from "In Silence", a short poem by Thomas Merton. I found it on Ivan Granger's blog, and he kindly gave me permission to link to it here. It's one of my absolute favorite poems, and I hope some of you will love it as I do.

Here's the link:
mary_j_59: (Default)
Well - my original short story having been far too long, here is the drabble/prose poem I submitted just now to the Waterstones short story competition. I'm very pleased with it, actually; it's the first "Christopher" story I ever thought of, and I'd never considered doing it in this style or from this pov. Here goes - not under a cut because it's g-rated and very short:


You're NEARLY 10, you say.
Old enough. You want a skateboard.
At first, I scream inside my head, "NO!"
I'm a nurse.
I've seen what happens.
Greenstick fractures, concussions, even worse.
I fear for you. I fear
hard stone and pavement, tons of moving metal.
I fear gravity.
I lock my thoughts behind my lips.
We agree: you'll get your board.
On Christmas Day, you rush outside,
a gawky fledgling, knees bent, wings outstretched.
Then, oh then (my reward) I see you take to the air, fearless,
and fly.

For peace-

Mar. 16th, 2008 11:40 pm
mary_j_59: (bluey)
In memory of Rachel Corrie, and also Abir Aramin (Palestinian, age 10) and Smadar Elhanan (Jewish, age 14). May there be peace, and may we help to bring it, so that no other young girls will die.

The Words Under the Words , by Naomi Shihab Nye
Author's dedication: For Sitti Khadra (her grandmother), north of Jerusalem

My grandmother's hands recognize grapes,
the damp shine of a goat's new skin.
When I was sick, they followed me,
I woke from the long fever to find them
covering my head like cool prayers.

My grandmother's days are made of bread,
a round pat-pat and the slow baking.
She waits by the oven watching a strange car
circle the streets. Maybe it holds her son,
lost to America. More often, tourists,
who kneel and weep at mysterious shrines.
She knows how often mail arrives,
how rarely there is a letter.
When one comes, she announces it, a miracle,
listening to it read again and again
in the dim evening light.

My grandmother's voice says
nothing can surprise her.
Take her the shotgun wound and the crippled baby.
She knows the spaces we travel through,
the messages we cannot send - our voices are short
and would get lost on the journey.
Farewell to the husband's coat,
the ones she has loved and nourished,
who fly from her like seeds into a deep sky.
They will plant themselves. We will all die.

My grandmother's eyes say Allah is everywhere,
even in death.
When she speaks of the orchard
and the new olive press,
when she tells the stories of Joha
and his foolish wisdoms,
He is her first thought, what she really thinks is
His name.

"Answer, if you hear the words under the words -
otherwise it is just a world
with a lot of rough edges,
difficult to get through, and our pockets
full of stones."

(From 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye.
mary_j_59: (Default)
Here are four poems that I came up with in creative writing club today. It was a poetry writing workshop, and the kids also did very good work, which I may post on our library blog with their permission. I am a bit wary about posting the fourth poem here, as I think it might be suitable for my book, so I may take it down - in any case, all these are the intellectual property of me, Mary Johnson, and are dated today. The poems follow the cut:
Read more... )
mary_j_59: (Default)
I am rather upset about the state of the world - the world news, of course, is beyond horrible. I don't even want to comment on it. But I've also been reading about the plagiarism debacle in the Harry Potter fandom, and this has persuaded me that, in general, it is a very poor idea to put one's original works online. One of the boys in writing club wanted me to post the revisions of a couple of fairy tales I've been working on. But I do hope to publish them someday, so, even though very few people read this journal, I don't want to take the risk.

However, there is one original work which I think deserves an audience, and which is not likely to be published elsewhere - it does not fit in with the book of poems I'm working on, and I can't imagine anyone stealing a poem, in any case. There's no profit in it. So - because of the state of the world - I am going to post this one poem. It was written in 2004, after the Abu Ghraib scandal, and is copyrighted to me - Mary Johnson.
Read more... )


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