Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh Holy One

In the early morning of December 24, 1995, I had a dream that seemed, at the time, significant. I was able to remember it in great detail when I woke up and I typed it immediately (on a typewriter, I didn't have a computer then), made xerox copies, and shared them with a few special friends. Luckily for me one of my friends, Barbara Brazill, saved a print-out of my dream and recently sent it back to me, after a discussion about names. I thought I would share it here and now …. with special thanks to my archivist buddy, BB.

I am standing in a candy store having a conversation with the man behind the counter when a young boy runs in through the back door and asks me "Are you Zahava?" I say I am and he says "The Dalai Lama is coming and he wants to see you." I follow the boy out of the store, wondering why the Dalai Lama wants to see me. I think it may be that I've written something the he liked, or else I am about to write something that he wants me to write, but I don't know the exact reason. I come to an opening, either an outdoor clearing or a wide indoor space, with a long high wall to my right. The boy is no longer there. I see a small group of people in the far distance and I know the Dalai Lama is one of them, even though I can not see him.

A short young monk leaves the group and runs toward me. He is smiling broadly, I can see a mouth full of strong white teeth. As he runs he calls out to me, not using my name, but some word that I recognize means long-lost-and-well-beloved friend. I have no memory of having met this monk before but I know that I know him. I run forward to meet him, calling "Oh Holy One, Oh Holy One" over and over again. Both of us have our arms stretched out in front and we are running and smiling and calling out loving words. When we reach each other we embrace with deep affection. We are laughing hard and tears of joy wet our cheeks. We stand and look into one another's face for a long moment.

By this time the rest of the group has also arrived and I know that the Dalai Lama is among them. To show respect, I turn toward the wall and kneel down, bringing my palms together with my fingertips up to my lips. The monk does the same, at my left side. I don't see the Dalai Lama pass behind us but I know he has finished his business with this group of people.

When I stand up I realize I am no longer next to the wall. I'm in a large, comfortably-furnished room with colorful rugs on the floor and textured wallpaper on the walls. Chairs and couches are arranged in small clusters throughout the room. I sit down on one of the couches and when I turn to face the monk (who I thought was still at my side) I see that it is not the monk, but an old woman, dressed in the same kind of robe the monk had been wearing. She is wizened, her thin grey hair pulled tightly back against her scalp in a small bun. 

I recognize her. She is my grandmother, Sarah, my father's mother, who has been dead for a number of years. For the briefest moment I am not positive it is her, but then I have no doubt. Even though she's in monk's robes she is wearing stockings rolled down to her knees and has on white, open-toed sandals. A small beige pocketbook is hooked over her elbow. I smile at her. She smiles back. She only has one tooth in her mouth and it is clearly visible. 

I turn to a person standing next to the couch and I say "This is my grandmother." Pride is evident in my voice. The other person is not sure whether or not to believe me. "Oh really? What is her name?" they ask. At that instant I cannot remember her name. I say "I don't call her by her name. I call her Oh Holy One."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

small poems: written since May 10, 2014

sunning itself —
an independent snail
on my neighbor's fence

walking into the sunrise —
today smells different —
do I?

across the creek
a woman croaks like a frog —
does not return my wave

slowly over the ridges —
my aging hand

I am not a mother
& it's too early to call mine . . .

church bells
as though for the first time
every Sunday morning

open windows
the world is
too loud for me

painted across the bridge
"Be Here Now"
I am

only the scent remains . . . 
magnolia tree

a pair of cardinals in red
everyone else
is wearing black

black horse gallops toward me
— nearsightedness —
hello jogging girl

this week
I became
my mother

if I still had it
I'd wear it — red blouse for you 
my cardinal friend

decades pass —
moving my bed across the room —
new dreams

summer plans:
be patient
grow a braid

ant — caught in the folds
of an origami star —
you free yourself

hibiscus tea

wooden buttons
on my least favorite shirt —
a waste

butterfly — wait! — take me with you

early morning walk
I sing to the robins
they sing to me

my mother's lipstick —
I seek
the exact same shade

what is the sound of purple?
dear sister, it is your
deepest laughter

mandala moon
let us dance together
circles within circles

at the front door
a strand of blue paper butterflies —
hello // good-bye

this morning
a different path with
unfamiliar smells —
garden exotica . . .
thank you new neighbor

young man
cradling a Buddha statue —
such gentle smiles

even in shadow
my dangly earrings
jingle jangle

following a small butterfly
up the hill and down again —
until we lose sight of one another

repaired sidewalk
I remember my fall
years ago

lost in my thoughts
peonies pull me back to

mourning doves
coo my name —
zeeee zeeeee zeeeeeee

my purple Crocs
easy to pretend 
I'm wearing irises on my feet

yellow police tape
between us —
a scattering of dandelions

I  R  I  S
good morning 
darling purpleness 

discovery —
my inner marigold
still blooms

across the canal
Maggie's spirit
in the garden

walking behind 
the black cat