Closer to the Spirit

An Invitation to the Heron’s Path

Why do I avoid writing? I believe it has to do with more than just being busy. What keeps me from writing are the very things inside myself that avoid meditating, praying, taking a walk . . . avoiding the connections with the deeper parts of me: feelings, going into what is true, what is hard, those scary places where heart and spirit can lead you. The places beyond the surface of doing. The home of Being, the connection to spirit (I call it Holy, but you call it what you want).

Clive Matson, writing mentor, who leads the Let the Crazy Child Write workshops around the San Francisco Bay Area, and once in a blue moon in Lake County, where I live, has an exercise he starts each class with: Writing the Present. Seven minutes of writing whatever is present for you: the smudge on the wall in front of you, your sister’s death from cancer ten years past, the trip to Hawaii you always planned to take, but haven’t yet. I’ve often asked myself: Alethea, why don’t you do this on your own?  Because when I have been in his classes, I’ve always been surprised.  This poem  came from an evening spent with  Clive and other writers.  My present was a picture on the wall:

Persistent Lover

I reach down and listen

to the wild place

I’ve been afraid to enter,

buried like Pluto’s treasure

under raw and ragged truth.

This is a time for evolution.

The gods’ tongues

are slipping, fracturing

cell and bone.

My skin is only

a covering.  These hands hold

nothing. Oh, darkness, sing

my song to me.  I am

too tired not to dance

into sunlight ribbed

by the filament of your wings.

Your wisdom rises

in inchoate speech, whispering

until I’ve been whittled

and burned. Let me

fly to the life that your shadows

have cast for me.

Persistent lover, greedy

Hades, I eat these

pomegranate seeds

willingly.  Hunger is

sweetness on my tongue.

What I would like to invite you to do, if you’re so inspired, is  for you to add your seven minutes in the comments section . . . or just comment. I’m a comment slut and would love to hear what you have to say. I just ask no trashing of anyone’s work. Be polite. This isn’t a place for debate or criticism, but for letting each person’s spirit speak it’s truth.


Comments on: "An Invitation to the Heron’s Path" (16)

  1. Jim Moorman said:

    The time is 7:53 EST. I’ll write until 8. It’s an interesting exercise.

    Being present is something I’ve preached to others. We can’t hold on to the past. It simply doesn’t exist. What exists of the past are the stories each of us create from our point of view. It’s our unique gift from God as human beings. We each get our own unique view of the world and, like a snowflake, no two are alike. My present is this…

    I just put my daughter to bed. She’s four and, without a doubt, my favorite human being on the planet. I put her to bed this evening like I do quite often. Tonight, however, whether by sheer coincidence, or the larger voice of the universe, I found myself wondering what the world looked like through her eyes? What kind of person was I to her? What kind of father would she one day describe me to be? I know some might say that the idea is somewhat self absorbed, but the thought didn’t come from a selfish place. I strive daily to do right by her, but I’m human and flawed as are we all. I ask myself what drives her? What is she afraid of? Does she miss me every day when she’s at school the way I miss her while I’m at work? Does she know that I’d gladly lay down my life for her in a split second were it required of me? I know the answer to many of the adult questions I ask are “no.” She’s four. She has a limited view of the world and a still developing brain, but that doesn’t mean I should stop wondering for even a second because I know that once I do, it creates the possibility that I might one day take her for granted.I can never let that happen. She’s just too special.

    I’ll work now to finish my daily tasks and chores and will call this exercise complete. Thanks for reading and sharing your present.

  2. I too am a writer,now mostly poems, though for 14 years I wrote for newspapers. Following this award winning period of my life, I became news bureau representative handling media relations for Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s then corporate Communuications Department. Writing as a journalist at time could be very exciting and intense. A good newspaper reporter gets up close and personal while working a story. At times the power of the press is a force to be reckoned with.

    Such a time for me involved a frantic mother with a pre-teenage son who suffered from hemophilia. In fact, he was Classic A Hemopholiac. His disease was so intense that he had to wear a protective helmet and other protection from bruises or cuts which would immediately begin bleeding profusely. His body required two blood transfusions a week to sustain life. She was crying, crying in fear for her boy’s life as she approached me, saying the American Red Cross Chapter in her area had decided the child no longer qualified for the transfusions She made a plea for help. I made Investigate phone calls and her story was confirmed.

    Luckily, I had just completed a story on inmates at the Terminal Island Federal Prison in Los Angeles Harbor. The inmates had a blood bank, which was a part of a larger prison blood bank at other federal lockups on the West Coast.

    Back to the prison I went, first stopping at the warden’s offfice to explain my return.
    He inroduced me to inmates heading up the prison blood bank committee. They asked to see
    mother and her sock son. A date to visit the prison was set. At the prison the third time, I was accompanied by the mother and her son. She appeared before the priso blood bank and, bolstered with evidence in the form of letters from the Red Cross and told her story.

    After much deliberation and communications back and forth between other West Coast prisons an d the Red Cross, it was agreed one prison could donate blolod to the sick boy for the frest of his natural life. That prison was Terminal Island.

    Now, retired, I write poetry, short stories and am working on an autobiography. I have had several poems punished, as well as one of my short stories.

  3. My Present: Inspiration gleaned from dreams.

    My Seven Minutes:

    As day does turn to night,
    And sun submits to moon,
    My dreams begin their flight,
    In tune with nature’s croon.

    The hidden hope, desire,
    Awakes to stake its claim,
    As pleasant dreams inspire,
    Igniting every flame.

    My heart at last is free,
    And lends my mind its stage,
    With visions free to see,
    Beyond its dreadful cage.

    My passions are revealed,
    And buried pains unmasked,
    As nothing stays concealed,
    When sleep does take its task.

    From dreams a world does rise,
    Of truth and life and hope,
    That’s formed beneath closed eyes,
    To give one’s fancy scope.

    This trance does make me new,
    And save me from regret;
    I take its point of view,
    Forever in its debt.

    Mandy Cunningham

  4. Martha Peredo said:

    Tonight, after talking my daughter down from a movie-induced nightmare, I find myself staring into the jagged toothed mist of my own fears. My feet are uneasy on the path ahead, what with the sheer wall on the right and drop on the left. But, I can’t turn back now. She is waiting behind me.

  5. Why do I write……..Poetry, when inspired, flows and many times is re-written. The same is true with my short stories. One short, true, story took me 20 years to complete and get published. Why? It involved a dying 12-year-old girl, a department store Santa Claus and my emotional involvement. I was a newspaper reporter and covered her last Christmas. This story was written and re-written more times than I care to remember. It was finally published over a year ago. My first published poem, “Death On the Square,” was about Tianamen Square. It consisted of nine passages. I later re-wrote this several times, ending up with the following version:

    Death On The Square

    Side by side they stood on the side of good
    ‘Twas freedom they sought, with words they fought
    Should to shoulder, bolder and bolder

    The cry for new order rang out in the square
    Loudly they sung, banners proudly hung
    They did not dwell on the advancing hell

    One stood alone on the harsh stone
    Facing cannon and tanks, he didn’t break ranks
    Their great cause drew world applause

    The cry for new order went beyond a mere border
    A day to be heard, to shout the word
    To be free as a bird. Freedom’s cry was heard

    Answering shots made a peaceful scene hell
    But the world did see the struggle to be free
    The world was there on Tianamen Square.


  6. A really interesting theory. Do you have a lot more quarrels? Work with, it’s going to be an excellent website later on

  7. It appeared quite tasking writing under The Heron’s Path maybe just because I’m expecting to give it my best. My poems never really go longer than this and takes more than seven minutes aligning it to a meaningful fit.

    So here is my supposed seven minutes:

    I wander in thought
    Lost with the torrent
    Like the Heron pet
    With the winds of earth
    Hoping to find not
    Just an empty spot
    But one with a worth
    That lasts and springs forth
    With abundant growth
    And turbulent burst
    To nurture my wit
    To nurture my thirst
    And to fill my breast
    For the long miles yet
    To fall to my path


  8. Lyle La Faver said:

    ahMed, I like your poem. It has rythm, rhymes and I too wander in thought now and then.


    • Lyle, thanks for the compilments. It great seeing you connect with the poem, that you wander now and then.

      • Lyle La Faver said:

        Ahmed, speaking of wandering now and then, I suggest this phenomen helps the creative mind. I’ll start either a poem or short story along a single idea and part way through realize there is a better way to write it. That, or I realize I’ve started down a dead end thought pattern. And, I do spend a lot of time up in the mind clouds. I’m 75 and my mind gets to wondering what is in the future, as well as recalling the past. The best thing is to just keep the creative juices flowing. Jot down ideas or thoughts for later expansion.

      • Yes it does help the creative mind. The whole process is wonderful but draining sometimes and I’m not surprised it is. Thanks Lyle.

  9. This is a beautiful poem by my friend Gail Marshall:

    Bay Bower

    I feel the wind kiss the back of my neck
    gently mussing the stray strands of hair
    The puff begins in my mind, sensing a power miles away
    The rise of its sound surrounds this place
    I feel the pulse of wind’s life in the bower above me
    Fallen bay leaves skip lightly across the dry creekbed
    pausing to rest when the breeze rests also
    The scent of fresh bay fills the air, fills my mind, surrounds me
    Small brown mama wren flits back and forth across the fallen log
    eyeing me suspiciously as she seeks the rare puddle of spring’s rainfall
    I recognize the song of the jay, the woodpecker
    though their surprising shyness keeps them hidden from me
    But mostly it is the light
    Dappled sun delights the eye
    scattered autumn leaves strewn about on the mossy floor
    The colors are subtly different, drawing my attention to the individual leaf
    Oh! A spider hunting for his lunch

  10. Lyle La Faver said:

    Here’s a take on nature:


    I know of a dragon
    He lives in a tree
    I can see him
    He can see me

    He’s not very big
    All wavey and green
    He up in in a tree
    For all to see

    He’ll probably leave
    Come winter, after fall
    His scales are leaves
    Not scales at all

    Imagination’s dragon
    Not even a dream
    A shape in the leaves
    There, in the green

  11. Gail Marshall said:

    Alethea, thank you for your inspiration

    Seven Minutes of writing 12:49 – 12:56

    It’s hot today. I drug Grandma Ebright’s noisy round fan out of the back room and positioned it so it blows directly on me while I write. The fan reminds me of her, just like so many inanimate objects scattered around my house. “You know, all these things can’t bring her back to you,” my brother Jim admonished me after my Mom died. (I had ‘snuck’ into her house on more than one occasion and nicked the most cherished, but soon-to-be tossed out treasures. An old trivet, worthless yet loved; silly little framed prints of cupids and angels; a mis-matched set of salt and pepper shakers. ) I know its true, but somehow the things surrounding me that belonged to her are comforting to my spirit. I cried for her today, missed her so much my breath caught and it was hard to breath.

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