Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zen in a Zig Zag Life

Day 26 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is Z

Z is for Zen in a Zig Zag Life

zig zag stop start then
deep breath – no help – start again
pour wine – chop carrots

© Perle Champion

My path of late feels like an undisciplined zig zag run through an obstacle course that is obviously of mycook choped vegsown making.  The only place where I really get into the moment, the zazen, is when involved in a kitchen chore, and occasionally in the midst of writing or painting.

The thing about the kitchen chore is there is immediate satisfaction.  I slice and dice and transform the carrot, onion and other veg in to shapes of my design.  I mix and put dough in the oven and soon have a steaming loaf of bread.

The thing with my writing and painting is there is no immediacy.  I paint or write for hours and it never quite feels done.  I drop one piece to begin another and in the end, I have 10 paintings half done; 2 novels unedited; and numerous essays that don’t quite hit the mark.

Does anyone else feel that scattered?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yapness for Shiny Yellow Yag

Day 25 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is Y

Y is for Yapness for Shiny Yellow Yag

the myth - shiny yag
siren call to soul’s yapness
that yellow brick road

© Copyright Perle Champion

The idea of the yellow brick road leading us to the answer is a myth. 20130215-224226.jpg
The scarecrow is to Dorothy what the Cheshire cat is to Alice.  

The message is that which fork in the road to take is her decision.  

There’s no right or wrong.  The trick is to know where you’re going.

  • Yag – synthetic diamond
  • Yapness – hunger

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for Xylan, Xylose, Xerarch, Xerosere

Day 24 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is X

X is for Xylan, Xylose, Xerarch, Xerosere

as meridies beatsthe landscape's xerarch creepstoward xerosere as

sweet xylan begets
sweet nourishing xylose so
replacing dew’s kiss

Nature fascinates in its determined survival. Plants grow in the most unlikely places. 

They didn’t sprout full blown in the deserts, mountains, seas, and places yet discovered; they evolved as yellow flowers on walk 3determined by the availability of light, water and surface.

The very rocks and pavements of humans eventually gives way to nature’s determination to bloom where she chooses.

Note: Xerosere is a plant succession which is limited by water availability. It includes the different stages in a xerarch succession. Xerarch succession of ecological communities originated in extremely dry situation such as sand deserts, sand dunes, salt deserts, rock deserts etc. A xerosere may include lithoseres (on rock) and psammoseres (on sand).
  • xylan - water-soluble, polysaccharide found in plant cell walls and yielding xylose upon hydrolysis
  • xylose - a sugar of the pentose class that occurs widely in plants, especially as a component of hemicelluloses.
  • xerarch – originating in a dry habitat as ecological succession
  • xerosere – dry habitat as a desert

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Words Well Written

Day 23 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is W

W is for Words Well Written

the meekest takes pen
in hand – swords beware their steel
the well written word

© Perle Champion

As a citizen of the U.S., I appreciate my right to say and write what I choose.  In this and many countries of the West, we needn’t fear being jailed for something as simple as a poem. 

Many countries in the world still jail and or execute dissident writers. red 1 journal

Follow the link below to a list of writers imprisoned for writing their truths.
  • Kazakhstan - The Poet  journalist and activist Aron Atabek has been in prison since 2007 and has spent much of his incarceration in solitary confinement.
  • China – Liu Xia is a poet, artist, and founding member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre. She has been held in her Beijing apartment without access to phones, internet, doctors of her choice, or visitors

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Veiled Vacuous Vistas

Day 22 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is V 

V is for Veiled Vacuous Vistas

forcibly veiled ones
facing vacuous vistas
ancient sisters weep 

for the shroud you wear
fitting only to bury
ones who never lived

Men still use the ruse of ‘religiosity’ to force women to go veiled lest they, the men, be tempted to do them harm – what a sham.  Blame the murdered for inviting murder; the slave for inviting the noose…
Women have been and still are blamed for the crimes of men against them.  More rampant in the past in this country, but still with here and around the world is the blaming of women for enticing men to do them harm

I am always saddened when I see a veiled and shrouded woman walk by as the men young and old in her family walk free.

perle dark eyes cropped
© Perle Champion

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Universe Urban Urchin

Day 21 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is U

U is for Universe Urban Urchin

urban universe
inner urchin champing at
society’s bit 

Living in the city these days is forever changed.  My siblings and I ran free as children, by bike, skate and foot until mother whistled us in at dark.

After dinner, we’d run up to a friend’s and lay out on the front lawn staring at the night sky on summer nights hoping for a shooting star or ufo; imagining walking on the m
oon. We'd reluctantly go in when called in at 8 or 9 or sometimes 10, only to go out the next day and do it all again.

Today, my friends with small children keep their children in secure back yards, and sit in chairs to watch them in the front yard or drive them to ‘play dates. Sad.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Tantalus Tortured in Tartarus

Day 20 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is T

T is for Tantalus Tortured in Tartarus

tantalus tortured
tipple and taste beyond reach
hubris’ consequence

As capricious as the ancient gods were, they meted out some well deserved punishments. Unlike today, when we have a shooter of children on film and still
call him the alleged shooter.

Ah Zeus, where are you when we need you.

© Perle Champion

The punishment of Tantalus in Tartarus is to stand knee deep in water but be unable to slake his thirst because whenever he bends down, the water vanishes. Over his head hangs fruit, but whenever he reaches for it, it goes just beyond his reach. From this punishment Tantalus is familiar to us in the word tantalize.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Seek, Seas, beyond the Strand…

Day 19 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is S

S is for Seek, Seas, Strand…

to seek out new seas
one must abandon the strand
lose sight of the shore

Many people opt to stay securely on that narrow strand. Perhaps they’ll
wonder what lies beyond across the sea.  Perhaps they’ll wonder what lies inland as well.  

Alas, fear holds them fast.  They might take a hesitant step seaward, but the ventured foot sinks deep as the eager current’s pull makes footing unsure.  They might step inland, but here too the shifting sands make footing once more unsure.

And so they remain on their small path wondering but never knowing what lies beyond.

© Perle Champion

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Rock of Ritual & Rote

Day 18 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is R

R is for the Rock of Ritual & Rote

with rote of ritual
rock bottom can become our
solid foundation

© Perle Champion

Ritual has many forms. Some as simple as making your morning coffee or tea; performing morning ablutions; etc.

I would add to those a few of my favorites – I’m sure you have more:
  • Taking my early morning walk, rain, shine or snow, sans the distraction of headgear, so I can listen to my own thoughts and the sounds of nature around me.
  • Writing stream-of-consciousness by hand in my journal on my return, before the noise of the day intrudes and crowds out my own internal voice.
  • Preparing food for the day whether breakfast, lunch or dinner.  The cracking of an egg, butter on toast; the simple act of dicing carrots, celery, pickles for a tuna salad; julienning vegetables for a stir fry.  All these rote preparations have a Zen affect when we pay attention.
  • Lighting candles on my small home altar.
  • Stroking my cat’s soft fur and relishing her soft purr as we settle on the couch with a good book and a glass of Pinot Noir.
  • Writing in my gratitude journal a list of at least 5 things I am grateful for before turning out the lights at night.

If we stop and pay attention to the small rote rituals of our day they can be that rock that anchors us after an otherwise stormy day.

What are some of yours?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q Is for Quodlibet, Quibbles & Quarrels

Day 17 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is Q

Q Is for Quodlibet, Quibbles & Quarrels

quodlibet quibbles
grow to quarrels when questioned
mules wearing blinders??
there is only one

© Perle Champion

Quodlibet is a disputation on a philosophical or theological point.  These days few
people or nations, for that matter, know how to have civilized discourse or debate on their preconceived ideals or the issues of the day. 

Each person or nation stands firm, determined to convince the other at the outset that their belief is the only truth one and all others are wrong.  There is rarely an open mind on either side.  (Kierkegaard says it best; see quote below). 

I no longer discuss, and rarely voice my beliefs to certain people, because it just isn’t worth my time.  I most certainly don’t have the patience with someone that believes if they shout loud enough and drown out other viewpoints, then they win.  I’m not sure what they think they win except to shut out any possibility of learning something new.

“The most terrible fight is not when there is one opinion against another, the most terrible is when two men say the same thing – and fight about the interpretation, and this interpretation involves a difference of quality.”

 – Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish Philosopher. The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard: A selection, no 1057 (ed. And tr. By Alexander, 1938), 1850 entry.

Friday, April 18, 2014

is for Praise of Penned Paeans

Day 16 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is P

P is for Praise of Penned Paeans

praise for the paeans penned
by women through time gifting
us our history

© Perle Champion

Perusing the southern history room of Birmingham’s Linn Henley Library
downtown is an experience that I savor. 

The collection contains diaries, letters, photographs, financial records, news clippings, slave records and other materials documenting several generations of unembellished real life of the families that make these United States what they are today.

Much of the correspondence and journals were generated by the women of the family. It is here that we can fill in the blanks omitted as unimportant by the writers of our history books.

One quote that shines in my memory was from a young wife’s diary.  Long before MLK was born, she wrote, “Free at last, free at last – thank god I’m free at last.”  She wrote this on the day the first trolleys hit the streets of Birmingham.  Now she could go about her errands without waiting for her husband to drive her.  I kick myself daily for being in such a hurry that day that I did not write down her name or get a copy of the entry.  Turns out the diaries were on lone by a family and had been returned. Hindsight.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Oddly Opalescent Opaleye

Day 15 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is O

Oddly Opalescent Opaleye

opalescent eyes
reflect fresh blood stains upon
nature’s own buffet

© Perle Champion

So many of today’s myths were once legend, and I wonder if they have a basis in some ancient past.  I wonder if real dragons once roamed the earth.  Did the story of dragons begin with the sighting of dinosaurs? Did the story get passed down through oral history through the generations?  We’ll never know for sure, but I choose to believe that in some way they once shared our earth.

The Opaleye is a medium-sized dragon, often weighing 2-3 tonnes. It was iridescent, pearly scales and pupil-less eyes that match, making it widely known as the most beautiful dragon around. It is not incredibly aggressive and produces a scarlet flame. Opaleyes prefer to eat sheep.*

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Nature’s Nascent Nacre

Day 14 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is N
N is for Nature’s Nascent Nacre

nascent nacre balm
a creature’s comfort failing is
man’s unlikely gem

© Perle Champion

Nature’s Nascent Nacre, is a balm that provides some short-lived ease to the oyster while it lives.  Unfortunately, as with many of nature’s wonders, man put a price on the unlikely gems, and killed to find their prize.

Now that pearls are farmed, it’s perhaps a bit more humane, than murdering thousands to find very few natural pearls, but not much. (see PETA excerpt below)

© Perle Champion

This from Peta:
Culturing involves surgically opening each oyster shell and inserting an irritant in the oyster. Freshwater pearls are cultured by inserting another oyster’s mantle tissue. Saltwater pearls have beads and another oyster’s mollusk tissue inserted. Fewer than half of the oysters may survive this process.
Cultivators further stress the oysters by suspending them in water in a cage, washing their shells, moving them around in different waters, and raising and lowering their cages to subject them to changing water temperatures. 
After the pearls are extracted from the oysters, one-third of oysters are “recycled” and put through the culturing process again. The others are killed and discarded.
For those concerned about the environment, there is another reason to avoid pearls. Aquaculture has contributed to destruction of natural pearl oyster beds from pollution and over harvesting.
Of course, with so many modern pearl imitations, as well as other kinds of jewelry, it’s easy to do. 

without pearls.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Meridies & Mass Malaise

Day 13 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is M

M is for Meridies & Mass Malaise

meridies hidden
‘neath a cloak of mass malaise
shrouded souls cower

© Perle Champion

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Luminous Ley Lines

Day 13 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is L L is for Luminous Ley Lines

ley lines luminous
strands that lie across the land
nature’s subtle weave

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday and Spring is Sprung at Last

Spring is a season that evokes expectations and its delay has been keenly felt.  Life appears to have been on hold as Winter would not release its grip even this far south. But the dark lord has at last relented and once again: 

Persephone preens
impatient to climb the stair
to sunshine and air 

I'm ready, too. The lengthening days tease me with the promise of green growing things held tight in the bud.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Kabballist, Kachina, and Ken

Day 12 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is K
K is for Kabballist, Kachina, and Ken.

Kabbalist Ken to the Kachina

such unlikely ken
Kabbalist and Kachina
no bonds on seekers

no bounds to knowledge
different paths yet the same
universe sees all

There are many paths upon this planet in this our universe. It’s a shame that too many seekers deny another’s right to their own path.  Through time out of mind, wars are declared in this or that god’s name. 
Cultures fall and disappear, stamped out by fearful of another belief.  ‘My way or no way,’ they declare as they torture, murder and maim others into submission. 

How many atrocities have been committed in the name of 'god'?  Pascal was right:

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."

© Perle Champion

Kabbalist – A traditional Kabbalist carries the personally handed down teachings of the Kabalah, which he/she will in turn personally pass on.  The Kaballah is a compilation of the basic truths of the Universe.

Kachinas – Spirit in human form, become masked dancers during Native American religious ceremony who hold knowledge which is imparted to the people through oral tradition.

Ken – knowledge, understanding or cognizance, mental perception, vision, consciousness; also to teach, direct or guide someone.

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Jogum, Joss, and Jolt

Day 11 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is J
J is for Jogum, Joss, Jolt

Shed the Jogum, with Joss or Jolt.

jogum hindered soul
blindly plodding rutted paths
needing joss or jolt

escapes’ only hope
events unknown luck unseen
nature's buds abide

Jogum in Latin means yoke. There are many kinds of yokes not readily
discernable: jobs, marriages, and friendships, to name a few. 

Sometimes the Jogum can be dislodged by a jolt such as betrayal by a trusted friend, the infidelity of a spouse.

A hated job sometimes needs more than a jolt; it takes a little Joss.

© Perle Champion

Jugum - mid 19th century from Latin, literally meaning ‘yoke.’; also a connecting ridge or projection
Jolt - To move or dislodge with a sudden, hard blow; strike heavily or jarringly

Joss – Chinese idol also meaning luck.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Id, the Isle of I.

Day 9 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is II is for Id, the Isle of I. 

Id, unaware struts
thinking it stands all alone
a singular isle

such wrong conceit self
centered thought denies that earth
revolves round the sun

We are islands.  But just as the sea laps the shore, and the isle continues into the
sea, we are all an integral part of each other.  The very air between us is as alive as we are as we move through it – from earth to the farthest reach of space.

Touch a leaf and the stars vibrate.*

© Perle Champion

* “Touch a leaf on the tree and you have made all the stars vibrate with it. You may not be able to see it right now, but things are so deeply related that it impossible .not to touch the stars by touching a leaf. – Lieh Tzu – The Pathless Path

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Hale and Hearty Health.

Day 8 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is H
H is for Hale and Hearty Health.

hale walks hand in hand
hearty steps up the walk’s pace
spring hopes winter waits

There is nothing so limiting to personal freedom as ill health, and in this land of the free, the personal freedom of a truly healthy body is eroding at every turn. 

Some may consider the phrase Hale and Hearty somewhat redundant.  I do not.  Although they both allude to the health of a person, their meanings are subtly different.  

I think the sum says more than the parts about a person’s Health.

·         Hale – free from disease and
·         Hearty – strong, exuberant, vigorous.
·         Health – the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor.

I’ve known more than a few people free from disease, who were not hearty.  Without the Hearty (strength, vigor…) there cannot be total health.

© Perle Champion

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Grace from Genuine Gratitude

Day 7 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is G
G is for Grace from Genuine Gratitude

abundance graces
the genuine gratitude
of all living things

amid energy’s
sea of beings blooming things
still mountains whisper

Of all the prayers and incantations ever uttered, the most powerful is a heartfelt
thank-you.  Genuine gratitude for the abundance in your life, to whatever higher power you acknowledge, assures that more abundance will grace your life.

This is common belief that runs through many cultures and religions. 
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Paul in Philippians 4:6

Even the self-help gurus, past and present, figured it out, i.e.
  • Joseph Murphy’s The Power of Your Subconscious Mind – read the ‘thank-you’ technique.  “The thankful heart is always is always close t the creative forces of the universe, causing countless blessings to flow toward it by the law of reciprocal relationship, based on a cosmic law of action and reaction.”
  • Rhonda Byrne’s ‘The Secret’ – read the chapter on the Gratitude Rock.  "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."--Melody Beattie

© Perle Champion

Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Facile Feigned Façade

Day 6 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is F  
F is for Facile Feigned Façade

facile tears feign need
façade to suit a motive
once seen we pity

Facile tears and feigned need come easily to some - the façade of neediness the only way they garner friends.

In the beginning, the audience is large as they follow along from drama to drama.  They watch and participate vicariously as each living play unfolds.  But the theme and plot begin to repeat again and again.

The steady stream of repetition eventually wears thin; the motives of the face behind the façade become more and more clear.

Slowly the followers’ caring turns to pity; the parade of followers thins then falls away.

© perle champion 4/7/14

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Errant Environmental Ecocide

Day 5 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is E 
E is for Errant Environmental Ecocide

if not this day then
when will we accept that we
court a silent spring.

I won’t belabor the point. The haiku says it all.  We know the bees are dying; we know that they are essential to our food production. Even those folks who profess to care, spray their lawns, trees, and even themselves with poisons and wonder that they and their gardens do not thrive as they once did.

errant -  adjective \ˈer-ənt, ˈe-rənt\
behaving wrongly, going outside the proper area

eco·cide  noun \ˈē-kə-ˌsīd, ˈe-, -(ˌ)kō-\

the destruction of large areas of the natural environment especially as a result of deliberate human action

Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for the Dash twixt Dawn and Dusk

Day 4 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is D
D is for the Dash between Dawn and Dusk

The Dash

we dash twixt dawn and

dusk blind to miracles strewn
like gems before us

a life reduced to
birth and death dates and one small
dash engraved in stone.

The poem is new – written this afternoon as I revisited my 4/4/12 Blog on the letter D.  I find I need reminding from time to time, to get out of my rut and live my Dash. So although the text below is mostly a reprint, the double haiku above is new – written this morning

Too often, we dash between dawn and dusk barely noticing the miracles, large and small, strewn like gems throughout our days. 

I read an article in which the writer said ‘live your dash’.  What I wondered did that mean.  She went on to explain that as she wandered through a cemetery one day, she noticed that beneath each name there were two dates with a small dash between them.

I never thought about that – a lifetime reduced to a birth date and a death date separated by a small dash. 

I know people who plod through their days for whom that dash is far too large.  I know people who dash through their days and never notice the day’s bounty.  

And I know people for whom that dash is far too small to encompass the life they live.

I’m determined to live my dash from dawn to dusk and then some. 

Are you living your dash?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Cawing Crows and Crumbs

Day 3 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is C100_4280
C is for Cawing Crows and Crumbs

Cawing crows announce
Hard crumbs strewn across the yard
Birdbath’s now bread soup

Mother’s back yard is a sanctuary where all the leavings of the table are tossed out to the enjoyment of every bird, squirrel, and heaven knows what other creatures venture on the periphery of the perpetual feast she provides.

The crows fascinate and annoy.  There is always a lookout, and when the bounty appears, the call goes out.  The flock arrives swiftly and and perches on the high wires and in the trees then descend together.

They don’t like old 100_1860bread much less that that is gone hard as croutons.  We watch in fascination as one by one they take the large pieces of old bread and dunk them in the birdbath until it a veritable bread soup.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is Balm, of Banal, Banter

Day 2 of Blogging from A to Z.  Today’s letter is BB is for Balm, Banal, Banter

The balm of banal banter has it place in our lives. Such conversations serve a purpose because they are safe in settings where opinions on more weighty matters such as politics and religion could verge on anger or violence.

In social settings, such conversations serve to break the ice between strangers at cocktail Mom/Ba at MMDDparties and events; build relationships with the service person at a store you frequent; the bartender at your local bar; the waitress at your favorite restaurant; the maintenance man; landlord, or the yardman.

It cost little to make small talk and smile, and the dividends are huge.

In personal settings, such conversations can ease misunderstanding in tough personal interactions and begin to heal some wounds after a disagreement or falling out with a family member or friend. 

It’s a bridge called civility that allows both people involved, when they meet in public, to be civil and converse without the ‘you’re wrong/no, you’re wrong’ finger pointing.

The Balm of Banal Banter has its place in our lives, costs nothing, and can build bridges and mend fences that no other type of conversation can.