One Centration

13.7 billion years
to evolve this four-chambered organ
beating this moment for you

How do we face the dark? As we meet these darker days, it’s a powerful time to explore our relationship with darkness. This is the final track on DARK PRAISE, a spoken-word album on endarkenment–exploring the ways the dark nourishes us. The track, and the whole album, are available on Spotify, Apple Music, or anywhere you listen to music. You can also purchase the album to support its makers on Bandcamp.

Poetry by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Music by Steve Law
Art by Marisa S. White, “Grace & Gravity”
Video by Tony Jeannette

To Face the Dark

To face the dark,
one does not need a light.
Nor does one need a watch,
a feather, a melody, a sword, a pen.
One doesn’t even need a friend.
To face the dark,
one needs only to face the dark.
There is something easier then
about the facing, when we know
we need no preparation.
Nothing is asked of us except
the willingness to face the dark,
the willingness to pause
in that moment when we
cannot see, cannot know,
cannot float on the sea of habit,
cannot fly on the feathers of routine.
But already, I’ve taken this too far.
It’s so simple, the invitation,
that it’s easy to miss what is asked.
Not a journey. Not even a step.
Just the chance to face the dark,
to meet yourself in that facing—
and to notice what being erased
and what’s doing the erasing. 

Inner Song

Perhaps you, too, have heard it,
despite the cacophony,
a song that rises in you—
a tune you’ve never learned
that somehow owns you
the way white owns winter,
the way breath owns
our lives. Perhaps you, too,
have marveled as the tune
spills forward, guiding you,
keeping you company
so that even when alone,
you know for certain
you are not alone.


On clear moonless nights
in the darkest places,
light from the milky way
casts shadows here on earth.
I think of how light itself
is the obstacle for seeing
other breathtaking kinds of light,
much as I, too,
am my own obstacle,
my longing to shine
sometimes interfering
with that humble, soul-stirring light
I need to close my eyes to see.

Here, Too

Everywhere a starting place.
Every room. Every street.
Every line in the sand.
Every hand extended.
Every door that’s locked.
Every loosening dream. Every knot.
Every choice. Every crash.
Every triumph. Every touch.
Every word. Every window.
Every loss. We are always,
always starting, re-starting.
With this breath. This unease.
This flow. This wild pouring
of self into the moment.
This resistance. This lack.
This uncertainty. This flaming.
This stuck in the rain.
This complaining.
This clap on the back.
This shake of the head.
This French kiss. This fuck this.
This stumble. This leap.
the true starting place
for peace.


Sometimes, waiting for the poem to come,
I lean in, eyes closed, lips parted,
edging wonder, unsure what comes next—
my heart a fluttering and tremblesome thing.
It’s like being seventeen again, wondering
if the boy beside me and I will kiss.
I love this flirty interlude when the poem
barely touches my lips with a brush
so light I wonder if I’m making it up—
and the pleasure center of the brain lights up
and soon I am breathless, dancing atop the labyrinth,
ready to give myself wholly to the kiss,
no longer able to follow the scripts I have known.
And the poem hovers above my lips
whispering, What truths are hiding inside you,
then plunders me until my eyes are open.


Well, friends, I can’t promise that when you sit down to write poems it will be like the poem above–but it just might be. Here are a host of fun online events coming up when you, too, might write and wonder what truths are hiding inside you? 

“Turning Toward Life with a Pen in Your Hand”: Exploring Poetry of Presence II
TUESDAYS Nov. 28-Dec. 19

“What does it mean to be alive?” Consider this an invitation to join your voice to the big conversation about that question! In this four-week writing series, we’ll converse with poems from Poetry of Presence II: More Mindfulness Poems, an anthology of poems that “crack open the tough stuff and spill out the light.” Every class will consist of reading and unpacking poems, two sessions of original writing, optional sharing, and lots of talk about process. This is a chance to “practice mindfulness smack dab in the middle of our busy lives” through writing—partaking in wonder, embracing paradox, trusting life, and meeting our own lives as living poems. To register or for more information visit here

Happy Birthday Rilke
Dec. 4 

Join me for a birthday salon for Rainer Maria Rilke including of music, story and poetry. I’ll be with renowned Rilke translator Mark Burrows and cultural historian Kayleen Asbo as we trace how the music of Bach re-awakened his imagination after the trauma of World War I, resulting in the astonishing outpouring of poetry that became the Sonnets to Orpheus and Duino Elegies. A joyful exploration of the poems and poet that saved my life and the music that saved him. To register or for more information, visit here.

Sitting in the Midst of It All: A writing & self-care retreat
Dec. 7 & 8

Join Courage & Renewal facilitator Marcia Eames-Sheavly and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for a mini-writing retreat—a day and a half of self-care, wonder, quietude, gentleness, acceptance and connection. The wonderful Marcia will be guiding us in Parker Palmer’s Circle of Trust. For more information, visit here.

Stubborn Praise with James Crews
Dec. 18

Join Rosemerry & poetry friend and partner James Crews for an evening of conversing about poetry, change and transformation. This program was originally scheduled for October but had to be rescheduled. If you were previously signed up, you’re in! You should have received your registration info already. Even if you were not previously signed up, you can sign up now! For more information and to register, visit here

One Vacation

joy in the city—
we return home
to sleep like mountains

Waiting for the Planes

Hello urge to be productive.
Aren’t you so sincere?
I see how you think
because there is nothing to do
but wait for the next two hours,
wait for the next five hours,
wait for the next seven hours,
you think I should do something
useful and industrious,
something practical and time efficient.
Something generative.
As if to sit and do nothing
is not a gift.
As if waiting is nothing
but an invitation to work.
As if the goal in life is to
check things off an eternal list.
The longer I sit,
the harder it is to hear you,
well-intentioned as you are.
See how I sprawl on the floor now?
And now, how I rock on my heels
and hum and swing my hips?
How I close my eyes
knowing I won’t fall asleep.
Oh the kingdom of boredom.
How it takes everything I have
to meet it and let it rule me,
to treat it like the treasure it is—
the chance to not be clever,
to not shine, to wander between ambition
and disappointment, between mettle
and quietude, to find a chair
I might sit in for a while
and meet the urge to be productive.
And not open my book.
Not pick up my knitting.
Not study French.
Not converse with a stranger. Not make the call.
Not even smile as I type not a word.

            for Brad & James
There in the lobby of the Musée des Beaux Arts,
I walked out of an exhibit to find my daughter
sitting on a long bright red couch
beside the sweet husband of my beloved friend.
And though I enjoyed each curated installation we saw,
nothing compared to this art of surprise, of love.
It was like stepping into the museum of my own life,
reseeing how every minute might be something of great value,
unexpected and wonderful, a moment I’d like to frame
just so I can remember how beautiful it can be,
how much larger than life it can be, this life.

The Joy of Repetition

at the Palais Montcalm
Just because I’ve been grateful before
doesn’t make today’s gratefulness any less true—
I think of Beethoven who fell in love
with a melody by Mozart,
then wrote seven variations for cello and piano—
one minor, one song-like,
three written in different times,
but each variation at heart the same.
I think of the joy on the young cellist’s face tonight
as he drew on the bow and plucked on the strings
as if this one performance were everything.
And so it is with gratefulness—
each time we express it, it matters the most.
Whether it’s a new expression
or a variation on a gratefulness theme
that we will again and again name.
Like gratefulness for family.
Gratefulness for friends.
Gratefulness for morning, evening.
For each scrap of peace.
For each chance to be grateful again.

If you are interested in listening:

* Seven Variations in E flat major for cello and piano is based on the aria Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen (“In men, who feel love”) from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute.


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