maggie emmett

January 16, 2015 Comments Off on maggie emmett

Winter in Venezia

I catch the rapido train from Milano and edge slowly westward through the stops and starts of frozen points and village stations. The heating fails and an offer of warmer seats in another compartment. I decide to stay here. I put on my coat, scarf, hat and gloves and sit alone. In my grieving time, I feel closer to the cold world outside as it moves past me, intermittently. Falling snow in window-framed landscapes.

sky gun metal grey
shot through
with sunset ribbons

Dusk eases into black-cornered night. After Maghera, the train seems to race to the sea. It rumbles onto the Ponte della Ferrovia, stretching out across the Laguna Veneta. Suddenly, a jonquil circle moon pulls the winter clouds back and shines a lemony silver torch across the inky waters. Crazed and cracked sheets of ice lie across the depthless lagoon. The train slows again and slides into Santa Lucia. I walk into the night.

bleak midwinter
sea-iced night wind
bites bitter

No. 2 Diretto winding down the Canal Grande. The foggy night muffles the guttural throb of the engine and turns mundane sounds into mysteries. Through the window of the vaporetto stop, the lights of Piazza San Marco are an empty auditorium of an opera house. Walking to Corte Barozzi, I hear the doleful tolling of midnight bells; the slapping of water and the chink-chink of the gondolas’ mooring chains. Faraway a busker sings Orfeo lamenting his lost Eurydice, left in Hades. I wake to La Serenissima, bejewelled.

weak winter sunshine
Istrian stone walls
flushed rosy

Rooftops glowing. Sun streaming golden between the neck and wings of the masted Lion. Mist has lifted, the sky cloudless; I look across the sparkling Guidecca canal and beyond to the shimmering horizon.

molten mud
bittersweetness demi-tasse
florian’s hot chocolate

I walk the maze of streets, squares and bridges; passing marble well-heads and fountains, places of assignation. I walk on stones sculpted by hands, feet and the breath of the sea. Secrets and melancholy are cast in these stones.

At Fondamente Nuove, I take Vaporetto no.41 to Cimitero. We chug across the laguna, arriving at the western wall of San Michele. I thread through the dead, along pathways and between gravestones. At the furthest end of the Cemetery island, Vera and Igor Stravinsky lie in parallel graves like two single beds in an hotel room. Names at the head, a simple cross at the foot of the white stone slab. Nearby, his flamboyant mentor Serge Diaghalev. His grave, a gothic birdbath for ravens, has a Russian inscription; straggly pink carnations, a red votive candle and a pair of ragged ballet shoes with flounces of black and aquamarine tulle tied to their the ribbons. So many dead in mausoleums; demure plots; curious walled filing cabinets, marble drawer ossuaries.

bare, whispering Poplars
swaying swirling shadows
graves rest beneath

I walk to the other end of the island and frame Venezia in the central arch of the Byzantine gateway. I see that sketchy horizontal strip of rusty brick, with strong
verticals of campaniles and domes. It is here, before 4 o’clock closing time, I throw
your ashes to the sea and run to catch the last boat.

beacon light orange
glittering ripples
on the dove grey lagoon

© M.L.Emmett First published in New Poets 14: Snatching Time, 2007, Wakefield Press, Kent Town SA.


ellen pratt

January 9, 2015 Comments Off on ellen pratt

My Marsh

Every August, ducks appear in a small bog next to the thruway. I see them on my commute back from work. I enjoy looking at what they are doing, if a great blue heron has joined them for the afternoon. Often I will see a row of ducks on a dead
tree preening, while others gather sustenance from the dark waters, their paths marked by the disturbance of the algae. By October, they are gone and the marsh seems so empty.

leaves blanket the ground
loons singing their departure
autumn is here
in all its glory to announce
winter is coming

In the marsh, a heron stands on a fallen branch. It’s cloaked in blue-gray feathers on spindly legs. The heron rests, turned away and guarded in the shadows of the trees. Nothing moving in the bog, everything is still in the heat of the early summer day.

I blame others for my
my teacher points out that I’m

I armor myself
so not to be penetrated
by the world
a chink ~ I turn towards you
and speak the truth clearly

I’m overjoyed to see the first duck of the season on the marsh. One day as I pass, I see it perched on a log; another day it’s paddling through the algae exploring its home. Every day I pass, I look hopefully to see if other ducks have joined it. The duck preens and dabbles for food, seemingly unaware of being alone. I share with a birder
my distress at this duck being alone; he explains to me that its mate is probably on a nest hidden in the grass.

I laugh
I’m my own victim
making up reality
instead of discovering
the truth

previously published in Writing to Awaken

writing to awaken in paperback!

December 22, 2014 Comments Off on writing to awaken in paperback!

The paper version of Writing to Awaken:creative writing as spiritual self-inquiry is now available on Amazon. You will find it here:

writing to awaken

December 21, 2014 Comments Off on writing to awaken

I am pleased to announce that our new book, Writing to Awaken: Tanka Prose as Spiritual Self-Inquiry is finished.  The ebook form is already available.  The paper version will be available in a few days.   I wrote Writing to Awaken to share and demonstrate our use of tanka prose as a mindfulness practice.  Inspired by Basho’s Journey to the Deep North, in Writing to Awaken we explore our inner landscape.  You will find some wonderful pieces by our own Esra Sarioglu and Nelima Gaokar as well as work by Valerie Rosenfeld, Allison Miller, Monika Furch, Jennifer Werner, Ellen Pratt and myself.  Please enjoy.  If you purchase a copy, we will be grateful if you take the time to write a review for us.


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