First Lesson

Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you.  Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls.  A dead-
man’s float is face down.  You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea.  Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.
~~ Philip Booth ~~

Singing Back The World

I don’t remember how it began.
The singing.  Judy at the wheel
in the middle of Sentimental Journey.
The side of her face glowing.
Her full lips moving.  Beyond her shoulder
the little houses sliding by.
And Geri.  Her frizzy hair tumbling
in the wind wing’s breeze, fumbling
with the words.  All of us singing
as loud as we can. Off key.
Not even a semblance of harmony.
Driving home in a blue Comet singing
I’ll Be Seeing You and Love Is a Rose.
The love songs of war.  The war songs
of love.  Mixing up verses, eras, words.
Songs from stupid musicals.
Coming in strong on the easy refrains.
Straining our middle aged voices
trying to reach impossible notes,
reconstruct forgotten phrases.
Cole Porter’s Anything Goes.
Shamelessly la la la-ing
whole sections.  Forgetting
the rent, the kids, the men,
the other woman.  The sad goodbye.
The whole of childhood.  Forgetting
the lost dog.  Polio.  The grey planes
pregnant with bombs.  Fields
of white headstones.  All of it gone
as we struggle to remember
the words.  One of us picking up
where the others leave off.  Intent
on the song.  Forgetting our bodies,
their pitiful limbs, their heaviness.
Nothing but three throats
beating back the world – Laurie’s
radiation treatments.  The scars
on Christina’s arms.  Kim’s brother.
Molly’s grandfather.  Jane’s sister.
Singing to the telephone poles
skimming by.  Stoplights
blooming green.  The road,
a glassy black river edged
with brilliant gilded weeds.  The car
an immense boat cutting the air
into blue angelic plumes.  Singing
Blue Moon and Paper Moon
and Mack the Knife, and Nobody Knows
the Trouble I’ve Seen.

~~ Dorianne Laux ~~

“Magic is a sudden opening of the mind to the wonder of existence. It is a sense that there is much more to life than we usually recognize; that we do not have to be confined by the limited views that our family, our society, or our own habitual thoughts impose on us; that life contains many dimensions, depths, textures, and meanings extending far beyond our familiar beliefs and concepts.” ~ John Welwood

“Magic is a sud…