Joy: Poems from Interweave’s December 7th Writing Circle

JOY was the theme for Interweave’s Writing Circle in December — something for which we may be on the lookout  in the new year.  
The morning began with meditation followed by a  reading of Carl Sandburg’s “High Moments.”  
HIGH MOMENTS by Carl Sandburg
Keep this flower to remember me by.
So she told him.
Keep this, remember me, remember.
Fold this flower where you never forget.
Put me by where time no longer counts.
Then come back to a sure remembering.
Night itself, night is one long dark flower.
She said night knows deep rememberings,
All flowers being some kind of remembering
and night itself folding up like
many smooth dark flowers.
Find me like the night finds.
She measured herself so.
Keep me like the night keeps
For I have night deeps in me.
Flesh is a doom and a prison.
Flesh jails those only flesh.
Air speaks nevertheless,
spray,   fire,    air,
thin voices beyond capture
save only in remembering
the luster of lost stars,
the search for a wafer of moon.
Let us talk it over long
and wear cream gold buttons
and be proud we have anger and pride together,
remembering high loveliness hovers in time
and is made of passing moments.
I have kept high moments.
They go round and round in me.
(from the Honey and Salt collection)
We raised questions about what Joy means in the face of confusion, sadness and heartache and through pondering, sharing and writing we came to see a little more deeply what Joy means to each of us . . . flow, earth mother, grandmother, comforter, the journey and the homecoming, that which always is, the high loveliness beyond words . . .
We saw how Joy is not a flimsy thing, whose presence is dependent on circumstances being just right.  Joy is a tough cookie – and a tender one.  It is quite able to sit side-by-side with us, through whatever we are facing and wherever we may be.  And when we’re the slightest bit ready, it’s got a wonderful capacity to pull us out of ourselves and help us join the party . . . this feast. That morning was (is) a gift.
Thank you for holding this space of learning and creativity with us.  A special thanks to Susan Maitner and Danny Moore, for allowing their poems to be shared, and to Mr. Sandburg with whose poem we began.   The poems appear here in the order in which we read them to each other.
Our next writing circle will be Saturday, February 1st.  In the meanwhile, here’s to all of us getting to know Joy a little better in this blessed New Year.
In memory of Rose McCormick Abbott
Give me a goblet of high loveliness
soft in color as an infant’s cheek
strong as sparks of splintered sunlight
dancing on the walls
O, Grandmother
you taught me well
see it all
imbibe, delight
remember when the nights grow long
Distill each moment from the cup
take it in and swallow
sweet moments from the past
a rich and steady potion
Susan Maitner
December 7, 2013
JOY and the Little Gargoyle 
Joy without denial of the sadness that abounds
holds us tenderly
and welcomes all to a seat at this table.
Joy without self-protection 
explodes in circles of gratitudes
Through the archway a spacious room unfolds
a party!
In the darkened corner of the hearth-shadow
cast by the firelight
a small figure sits curled in on itself.
It looks out and wants to join
but is too shy to move.
Fearful of being rejected
laughed at
it burrows in the shadows arms
becoming smaller and
smaller still.
Joy works her magic
transforming into a creature of similar size.
She meets the shadow dweller
Takes his hand and brings him 
to join the feast.
Oh Joy, you are not so special
You just know how to mingle
Better than I do.
Lorri Lizza  
December 7, 2013
TO JOY: Let’s All Toast Together

The wind pushes down a cold avenue
Blowing crystals from liquid left in his beard.
The sun warms the doorway’s threshold.
Ancient stone and wood now covered with cardboard and clothes.
Home he thinks.
Stumbling at last to slink in,
cover up and thaw out.A long loving note vibrates on the beautifully stained oak door that is his headrest.“Joyful, Joyful, is the magic….”

He can’t quite remember the words.

Christmas music;
He knows that.
Then remembers….

A child given to bring joy.
Freedom from sin.

Freedom from everything he thinks.

Slowly he falls to sleep with thoughts of beautiful Christmases past.
“La ilaha ill Allah”:
There is no reality other than God.
All beauty is contained in Him.

Danny Moore 
December 7, 2013
This is an earlier poem from Susan who was reminded of it, she said, “as we shared our thematic images of walls, archways and circles.”
I am so happy
I say in a dream
Swiftly I ride
surrounded by a ring of deer
Whirling, tilting
I see them as I spin
antlers against
the colors of wintertime
I’m so happy
I say
to my companion
Over time
the creatures have multiplied
come see!
they form now a garland
No longer an archway
a mighty covenant
Susan Maitner  
October 1992