Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

The effort of the imagination is to turn the boundary into a horizon because there is no end point for you. The boundary says, Here and no further. The horizon says, Welcome.
            —Barry Lopez, Horizons (short film by Jeremy Seifert)

There are so many boundaries in me,
so many limitations, prisons,
places where a line has been drawn—
perhaps by another, perhaps by me.
The lines say, Stop.
The lines say, Don’t be curious.
They say, Make yourself small. Now smaller.
But imagination is the big pink eraser
that rubs out the lines,
smears and disappears them.
Sometimes, it’s more like a tear—
a small rip in the known
that bids me look through the lines
as if peeking through a curtain.
And sometimes the imagination
takes a line and bends it, twists it
like a clown with a balloon,
until what I thought was a boundary
becomes bird, becomes crown, becomes
flower. Or it turns the line perpendicular
so what I thought was a deadline
becomes path. I want to listen
for the voices beyond the boundaries,
want to open to what I can’t yet see.
I want to hear the welcome of the horizon
and, like a bell calling me home, let it lead me.    

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George of the Jungle

My father sings
and I am again
a girl being bounced
on his lap, wondering
if there really is
a jungle somewhere
where a monkey eats nails,
and why would a monkey do that,
and doesn’t it hurt?

My father is laughing,
his eyes glitter with tropical shine,
and I understand
he is traveling in a world
of imagination
and gave me
an invitation to go with him—

fifty years later,
we are still swinging
through that curious jungle,
singing, wondering
about that crazy monkey,
his strange choices,
blessing these surprising worlds
that bring us

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Last summer’s grass still stands in the field,

dry and fringe-like. It shushes against my thighs

as I walk. How is it still upright? After the weight

of last year’s snow? How has it not fallen, decayed?


Though I can break the brittle stems in my fingers,

it bends in the wind, more resilient than I could imagine.


What inside me is dead, yet still standing?

What old thoughts, their seeds long gone,

are filling the fields of imagination?


The new grass already is emerging into spring.

Soft. Deep green. Unable to be bent or broken,

its scent sweet and sharp in the nose.


Let me find in me this freshness, this new growth,

this willingness to push up through what’s dead.

Let me roll in it like a dog, till I come up stained green—

green thoughts. Green words. Green wonder.

Green learning what it is to be green.

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You have to be able to imagine lives that aren’t yours.

            —Wendell Berry



And so today I’m the cottonwood

in the yard, the one we planted twenty years ago,

the one my son used to climb,

the one that we hang bird feeders from, and pinatas,

the one that even now is losing its leaves,

and I imagine standing there year after year,

fall after fall, now after endless now.

What is now for a tree? How different

is now from infinity? I imagine being

my own soaring cathedral, my roots

always thirsting, my wood growing

to seal my wounds, my branches

always chasing the light.


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My daughter walks up the drive to meet me.

Mom, she says, I have a pet.

She is dragging an old pump

attached to a long black electrical cord.

Meet Pumpy, she says.

Hello Pumpy, I say. She pulls

the red and black cylinder into her arms.

I am trying to prove to you

that I am ready to be a dog owner, Mom.

I am going to take Pumpy for walks

every night and every morning

and give him a bath in the river. Come.

She puts the pump back on the ground

and yanks it up the drive, calling,

Come boy. Good Pumpy.

When we get to the top of the drive,

she picks up Pumpy to cross the street.

You know, she says, the street

is a dangerous place.

And then we walk up the dirt hillside.

There, she finds an old deer bone

and helps Pumpy to bury it.

Mom, she says, what do you think?

I think my heart is breaking

with the purity of her desire.

I think the evening light

makes everything more beautiful.

I think it is hard to say no

to something our loves really want.

No, I say. We can’t get a dog.

But you will be a great dog owner someday.

She knew this would be the answer,

and says, Come, Pumpy,

there’s more to explore.

And though it’s getting dark,

we walk deeper into the woods.



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for Tomàs


The candle is not there to illuminate itself. 

            —Jan-Fishan Khan



It will only take five minutes, he said,

and so, though I’d not spoken with him before

and though I was about to teach a class,

I followed him outside the library door

to the dirt lot where his truck was parked

and from the open pick up bed

he pulled with flourish a rolled-up rug

and spread it between the rabbit brush

and milk thistle, then hoisted

two flat wooden seats he’d fashioned

out of pine, arranged them on the rug,

and swung a bench-like table from the bed

and placed it in the center.

And I expected, what, well, not

what happened next. It’s your canoe,

he said, and from his truck he plucked

a long and knobby stick. And here’s your oar,

he offered, with a slight bow of his head.

I took it up and kicked my shoes off, stepped

onto the rug, then leapt up to table top

and began to paddle the air.

Where are we going then, I said,

my eyes on the horizon.

To Java, he said, and I paddled harder,

eager to reach its shores. I’ve always

wanted to go to Java, I said, pulling

through currents of air. And look, he said,

there’s a farmer there on the banks

saying his morning prayers.

And he pulled from the truck a large

straw hat that he set upon his head

and a simple white scarf he let

slip through his fingers in a ritual

of silk. And when my boat came near,

he stepped beside it, met me

with a bowl-shaped bell, and circled

the small canoe, baptizing the air

with its one-note song. I closed my eyes,

and felt the tone open inside me,

and when I let my lids fly up,

he was standing right in front of me

with a vial of dark oil that smelled of vanilla

and evergreen. And he anointed me,

touching the oil to my head with his finger.

I knew I had arrived. I jumped down and hugged

the farmer, then searched the ground

for a smooth white stone to give him in return.

And as I journeyed back to the library,

somehow now only steps away, I took with me

the scent of pine, the smile of the native man,

the joy that comes when all the lines

we thought we knew have been erased,

and our inner map wildly rearranged.



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For Reals

I want to be your imaginary friend,
and no one else will see me when
I come and kiss the back of your neck,
will not notice at all as I whisper
in your ear the things I’m about
to do with you. They might notice
you’re blushing, but they will not
see the way I am smiling at you
now from the doorway and curling
my fingers to say, This meeting is boring,
come play, darling, out in the field
where the autumn sun is warm
and low and the golden grasses
will hide us well so no other eyes
can find our shade. And I will insist
that I am real and ask you to touch
to be sure it is true. And I shall
wear only bliss and sunlight
and you shall wear only me,
and the afternoon will be infinite
as only imaginary things can be.

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a c-poem for Lian Canty’s Alphabet Menagerie

Imagine with trillions of stars above
all the constellations yet to find—
maybe a canary in a cage that sings
to a miner across the sky.

And perhaps over there is a cyclone—
see that swirl of stars in a cluster?
To the west there’s a giant carrot
and a lucky four-leaf clover.

With our eyes, we can draw all the lines we want—
we can connect the stars into cactus,
or calla lilies (not lilies at all),
or cupcakes! Or Japanese catfish …

oh, I think that catfish was a bad idea—
he’s causing an earthquake in the sky—
quick, redraw him as a cat
sitting on the lap of the miner’s wife.

Even on nights filled with clouds
we can look up and make believe
that the stars somewhere are wishing on us
to give them stories before we dream.

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For an hour today, she practices escaping
from the stairs. There is no jail here,

only our pretense of bars. She,
the bank robber. I the police.

I lock her up again with my invisible
jail cell key. Then I swallow the key,

I throw it away, but she always produces another,
an invisible skeleton key she’s been hiding

somewhere around her and she lets
herself out again, then hovers nearby

to be caught. I feign dismay. She’s
escaped, again! And search for her,

looking right through her. Until,
aha! I say, and grab her. She never

struggles much, almost hurls her body
at me to be caught. So similar to

how I want to be held, forever,
I say, and then the next moment

I long for escape. Oh sweet
imagination, how real it all can seem,

like this girl slipping away from the stairs,
saying for the fourteenth time, catch me again.

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The Miracle Already Happening: Everyday life with Rumi

Poems by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
50 pages
Liquid Light Press, 2011

What would happen if a Sufi mystic showed up in your kitchen? Or at your son’s elementary school choir concert? Or in your garden? In this playful chapbook, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer has poetic conversations with Rumi through his translations by Daniel Ladinsky and Coleman Barks and through her imagination. Whimsical and humble, these are poems of discovery, praise, and unlearning, invitations to find holiness in every moment, every place. Even Walmart.

What people are saying about “The Miracle Already Happening”:

A delightful collection of poems to savor and treasure … a deep oasis for all who seek to experience the sacred in every moment.
—Elizabeth H. Small, editor, Poems of Awakening

A rare treat: a rigorous conversation with the past made fresh by vulnerability, playfulness, humor and knockout surprise. There is so much integrity here, and discipline, and grace. And restraint, and cutting loose all at once. All this in poems that can be surrounded by a great quietness. The sensation can be like listening for birdsong, and having the bird silently and suddenly land on your shoulder. If you don’t fall over, you will shout or laugh.
—Peter Heller, author, Kook, and The Whale Warriors

One of the wonders of recent poetry has been the renewed popularity of the Sufi mystic, Rumi. Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer confirms that great poet’s new life in remarkable poems of her own, conversations with a distant master that make us aware just how near he really is, how helpful in his teaching.
David Mason, Colorado Poet Laureate, 2010-2014

How to Order:

To order a signed copy: email Rosemerry at wordwoman@mesa.net and include your mailing address and to whom you want your books signed. She will send you an invoice for the book plus shipping.

To order onine: http://liquidlightpress.com/rwt.htm

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