Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Back Row Alto Remembers Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck: musician, composer, icon and family man, generous spirit. If there is one thing Dave understood completely and fully lived is that music is the universal language of brother/sisterhood and peace. Two stunning truths about Dave: his accessibility and his drive to make music. And what a legacy he leaves behind!

Crazy as this may sound, I performed on stage with Dave! If you see some copper red hair amongst the heads in the photo above, that's me!

Dave Brubeck came into the life of a singing group, to which I belong, the Pacific Mozart Ensemble. If PME Founding Director Dick Grant hadn’t had the audacity, nay the utter temerity (I am grinning as I write this), to contact Dave in 1996 about the possibility of performing one of his oratorios, Dave would just have been a cool jazz pianist, in my book. Definitely cool.

Well, after playing weeks of phone tag (Dave had a very heavy touring schedule) and experiencing several, by all accounts, lively phone conversations between Dick and Dave, as well as other people Dave works with, not only did we produce and perform Dave’s oratorio “The Gates of Justice” on our season, but we performed it with Dave and the Dave Brubeck Trio! What an exhilarating experience! Little did we know that those sold-out performances were not to be the end of our encounter with this lovely man and his beautiful wife Iola, but the start of a rich musical relationship. We performed “Gates of Justice” with Dave again, as well as “The Earth is Our Mother”, and were later invited by Dave to perform it with him at the University of the Pacific for the 2004 Brubeck Institute.

One of the things that continues to stun we members of this choral group, is just how much Dave enjoyed working with us. Every once in a while, Dick Grant would rush into a rehearsal, uncharacteristically late, saying, “I just got off the phone with Dave!” or “Dave wants us to try this!” (this accompanied by a quick dispersal of hastily photocopied music sheets). Every once in a while, we would all crowd into a recording studio to make tracks of one of his smaller choral pieces to send to his music publishers. Dave liked what we did, and wanted to do more with us. Were we thrilled? You bet!

 In 2006, for our 25th anniversary concert, PME commissioned Dave to write one of the “missing” movements for Mozart’s Mass in C Minor. Next thing we knew, Dave (who, all along, had been wanting us to record his choral music because he liked the way we did it) called, asking us to record his “Canticles”! So, we crowded, once again, into a church space, this time under the batons of both Dick Grant and current Music Director, Dr. Lynne Morrow, and turned on the microphones… How the next bit happened, I am not sure; Dick was on the phone everywhere, Lynne was talking to people here, Dave was talking to people there, and before we knew it, the whole project was picked up and transported to Skywalker Ranch, resulting in “Songs of Praise” on the Sono Luminus label, released in 2009.

Dave carried on his relationship with us by keeping in touch with both Dick (now Artistic Director Emeritus) and Lynne. Sometimes, Lynne would receive a phone call from Dave while we were rehearsing; Dave was just calling just to say hello to us! We would call him occasionally, too. Last year, we called at the start of our regular Monday evening rehearsal to sing “Happy Birthday” to him.

This September, our second recording of Dave’s choral music for Sono Luminus was released, “Brubeck & American Poets.” Though, I should really say, we recorded for Dave. Each piece on this new album is filled with meaning for both Dave and Iola. The pieces are snapshots, if you will, of their life together, of their times—in moments of serious reflection, joy, whimsy… snapshots of their times and ours.

So much more could be said about Dave than what I have written here. There have been books and articles written about Dave, a documentary film, and I am sure there is more to come. What I have to say won’t enrich the field of Brubeckology. What more could I really add to the truth that Dave was a nice and thoroughly unpretentious man, as well as a fabulous musician and composer of depth? When we performed with Dave, it was like a party. “Okay, kids, let’s make some music! It's gonna be great!” I recall him saying before one of our shows. And it was great! The minute he sat down at the piano, he lit up, like a kid opening a birthday gift! There was always music to be made and written! The feeling I always got, from being around Dave, was that music is all about community and bringing people together. And, wow, could he play the piano!

To say that this minor journey with Dave and his music has been an utterly fantastic experience doesn’t quite hit the mark, although it is true. To say that I feel lucky to have had him and his music flow through my life and witness is also not enough.

Dave and Iola, with their humility and graciousness, made us feel like family. We, who had the opportunity to get to know them through the music, love them for that family feeling, and we will always remember.

Elisabeth Eliassen

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In the Garden of Delights: V. Perfect Storm

By faulty thinking and vision,
having achieved imbalance irrevocable,
there seemed nothing for it
but to throw a party.

Invitations addressed and sent,
an invisible feast was prepared,
a metaphorical table set.

Nothing left
but to await
the coming
of the guests.

First a gathering of winds,
from east and west,
from north and south;
well met were they in song
over a scarred and ravaged land.

The great whirling howl
stood time and travel still;
even the oceans stood in their tracks.

A quiver of lightning arrows
signaled volleys of hail and fireballs;
such foundations as remained
were shaken to the core
and submitted to a tired earth in defeat.

The seas and rivers walked upright,
dancing to the music of the wind,
joining a rhythmic patter of rain,
purifying all places low and plain,
in a symphony of lyrical wetness.

Into the deafening roar, I cried out:
“Save me, O Divine One, save me!
The water is wide upon the earth;
there is no place to stand,
and I drown in my own tears!”

“Save me from the drink!
Don’t let me sink!
Awaken me to think
beyond this gaping pit
of watery depths!”

My Dear,
this rising brew
comes to renew,
to save and sew.

These rivers of water,
walls and sheets of water,
with the leaky clouds and springs,
come by invitation to celebrate!
They come to wash, to heal, renew.

Allow your heart to be opened by your tears,
open your eyes and ears;
a way shall arise
beyond the rubble of former years,
a way of peace and wellness.

These watery guardians shall eventually recede,
their dancing shall give way to pure land;
in the places where monsters tormented,
sweet grasses and herbs shall rise.

Through the merry waving thickets,
a highway shall verily appear,
bidding you welcome
to a new journey.

O Daughter of Zion,
cast off the lameness
that paralyzes you!
Open your voice
to the dawn of day
with the new song
that all life is a celebration!

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

We are too rational to realize that weather is a wild party. All the natural forces are our neighbors who we might wish would party in a quieter and less destructive fashion. The destruction wrought at such times is an invitation to build anew, with better plans, better materials and better intentions.

Luke 14:16-23; Psalm 107: 29; Psalm 18:13-15; Psalm 69:14-15; Isaiah 41:18; Isaiah 35; Zephaniah 3:14

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Add Light and Stir

Hear ye, hear ye! Mercantile and personal greed meet in the newest American reality-show, “Black Thanksgiving; the pre-pre-pre-Holiday Sale Event of the Year!”

This can only be further proof of the madness of crowds, but it also confirms something I have thought for many years: I live in a sick and dying culture.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned people camping outside department stores on a holiday, in order to fight their way in to fight over bargain-priced mass-produced (in China) consumer junk. But, this is the twenty-first century, and here we are, with tent cities emerging in shopping malls, days before the National Thanksgiving Holiday.

Skewed priorities? Understatement. There is no more pitiful commentary on the American public than that it has been bred and trained to shop and spend. The appropriate Pavlovian response to “bargain pricing” is buy more.

The camping shoppers are a horrible contrast to the tragedy of homelessness. The shopping centers will be providing port-a-potties and security for encamped shoppers. Homeless will be rousted from their encampments and charged with loitering, unless they can find a shelter that has room for them.

Thanksgiving is an American Holiday; oddly enough, it is about giving thanks. (One would think that self-evident.) One can set aside the history of the occasion, but not the intention. This holiday is not about overeating, watching football games, and sitting around, but if it is not about those things, then it is certainly not about shopping.

Truly, we should be giving thanks each and every day for the many blessings that we are lucky to enjoy. So many people live the delusion of self-sufficiency and the caricature of “self-made” that it is hard to consider that we actually have no hand in most of the blessings we receive. Yes, yes, yes, we work and we earn, but we are constantly rewarded—even when we do not deserve to be—with beauty we have not created, plenty we have not earned and kindnesses we take for granted.

The Holiday of Thanksgiving should be about thanks, yes, of course. But more it is about giving. The thanks resides appropriately in giving, or in giving back. Said another way, to paraphrase Patrick Dennis’ larger-than-life “Auntie Mame”, life is a (pot luck) banquet, where everyone brings something to the party, each according to their ability or talent. It’s not about me, it’s not about you; it is about all of us, together, giving a little here, doing a little there, to keep the whole train on the tracks and running smoothly down the line.

The blackness of Black Friday (now turned into Black Thanksgiving and even Black Wednesday, in many places) is all about balancing the end-of-year financial books of capitalism. This blackness is indeed blacker than black; it belies the truth that life is not money. Life and living require the giving (with thanks) and receiving (with thanks) of integral use and the attendant reciprocity of generous renewal. The greater American public is really good about using, not so accomplished when it comes to generosity or renewing, much less with properly cleaning up after itself.

We need to do something about this blackness. We need to add light, generously and to taste; we need to add light and stir.

How do you bring light? You bring light by giving, generously, audaciously, unexpectedly, continuously. Smiles, hugs, food, gifts, right-of-way, all of these gifts and more  are waiting to be given and graciously received by someone. Our better natures need a good diet, light and exercise!

Are you the light of the world? Prove it. We need your light now, more than ever. Light the lamp of your soul and pour it out generously. Show us all how to dispel the blackness of our soulless society.

Hear the words of the old Rolling Stones song:

May the good lord shine a light on you,
Make every song you sing your favorite tune;
May the good lord shine a light on you,
Warm like the evening sun.

May your Thanksgiving holiday be filled with thanks and with giving and with the beautiful light you bring to share at the banquet of life.

May the good lord shine a light on you, so you can shine your light on the world!

As a descendant of those families that brought you the Thanksgiving holiday, in advance, I give you thanks for all that light you are about to recklessly strew about.


Shine A Light lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, ABKCO Music Inc.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Around the Corners of Reason

you are;
you are what I cannot write,
the thought I cannot have or hold,
although I breathe your very breath,
driven, as it is, from the outermost edges of imagining
and all that precedes thought, knowledge and movement.

if I can see you, touch and taste you,
I do not know it—
so near, and also so far, are you,
apprehension is fleeting,
clouded by delusions
passing around the corners of reason.

perhaps my only truth:
compared to you,
I am an insubstantial mystery of life,
spindrift on your elegant shores of expression;
you, who are without craving or curiosity,
you are indeed the fullness of time.

surely, my feeble cries of longing
add only nominally to the perpetual white noise
that spins about your profound silence,
but I pray that my effort is somehow felt
within that great science of mind
that lies beyond knowing
and sense.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Some Cures For Post-Election Indigestion

We take a break from poetical reverie and social commentary to mark an important day. It is ELECTION DAY in the United States. Democratic process is being... er... processed. That is to say, those who are eligible and registered to vote can, for the most part, cast their ballots--that is, make their choices and wishes known unto all the electorate.

I say "for the most part" because this country is not completely unlike others, in that there are nefarious efforts underway to ensure that many people who are eligible and registered do not have the opportunity to make their choices known. It should be illegal for any State government to issue laws within the last four weeks leading up to an election, much less at the last minute, adding ridiculous rules about how voters must prove they are eligible and registered.

All I can say is this: VOTE EARLY! If you live in a swing state, I feel your pain. If you are a voter who is among the marginalized or threatened, I pray for you on this day. I pray for all of us. 


Then go have a drink. Or two. (Responsibly and not alone. Cabs are standing by).

Tomorrow, no doubt, we will be UNITED as a NATION of people who have POST-ELECTION INDIGESTION, of one sort or another.

To ease BELCHING and FLATULENCE, brew an infusion of chamomile, peppermint and balm, in equal parts. Drink a cup before eating (if you are up to it), three times a day.

To ease CONSTIPATION, decoct 2 tsp to a cup of water yellow dock, dandelion and aniseed. Drink three times a day.

If you drank too much on Tuesday night (and for the many months preceding, or even years), you might have been contributing to CIRRHOSIS of your precious LIVER! So, get out your tinctures of milk thistle, 2 parts to 1 part each vervain and dandelion root. If these are alcohol based, for HEAVEN'S SAKE put them in hot water so the alcohol will evaporate away from the herbal component! (Don't add insult and further injury!) One Half TSP of this mixture, 3 times a day.

If you are JUST PLAIN PISSED OFF, you might need to slow down with some good old fashioned barley water.


4 to 5 oz. whole barley
4 pints boiling water plus 1 cup
rinds and reserved juice of 2 lemons and 4 to 6 oranges
natural sweetener, to taste (honey, agave nectar, natural sugar, maple syrup)
tiny splash of rum (unless you are working preserving your liver)

1. Gather your lemons and oranges. Cut them in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Fish out any seeds, of course. Set aside the juice. Cut up the rinds in to strips or hunks and set aside; no precision necessary.
2. Throw the barley in with 1 cup of water into a quite large pan. Bring this to a boil for about 10 mins. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid off, rinsing the barley. (This is merely to cleanse the barley.)
3. Return the barley to the pan with 4 pints of water. Add the rinds of both lemons and at least four oranges (this mostly depends on the size of your pan).
4. Turn up the heat until the liquid is simmering. Continue simmering your emotions and your barley for either one hour or at least until the barley is completely soft. Pull the pan off the burner and let heat diminish to lukewarm.
5. Strain your barley liquid into a pitcher you can cover, discarding the rinds and barley.* Add the sweetener of your choice, to taste, and the reserved juice, along with the splash of rum (not for you LIVER people...)

Drink a cup at meals.

Barley water is supposed to help lower blood pressure and regulate digestion.

Queen Elizabeth II drinks barley water at every meal. 

Of course, she doesn't have to deal with the stress of general elections, does she?


* You may want to squeeze the liquid out of the barley. I keep an empty flour sack in my kitchen, that I use for drying washed greens and beans; that would be an admirable tool. After straining the liquid into your pitcher, place all the remaining material in the bottom of your flour sack, twist and squeeze! Then dump the remaining pulpy mess into your green waste disposal container, or (better yet!) compost pile.

N.B.: You know I am not a doctor, and so these are soothing recipes for the nerves. Further, I am tongue-in-cheek-facetious; I do not advocate drunkenness.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mulling -- 1. Tea Way

It’s that time again,
and because all this takes time,
best to first brew a cup of tea.

Tea is first a vegetable,
then a medicine,
a meditation,
a poem.

To brew,
first clean the house,
cut the wood,
catch the stream,
lay the fire and light it,
then boil the water.

Set a flower
in a vase,
bowing to its smile.

Sweep the path,
from the gate to the house,
then call a silent invitation:
come, o my soul, come.

Enter in the gate,
follow the path,
your steps leaving no trace,
and enter at the little door.

Join yourself, seated.

Scoop tea into a warmed pot,
then add boiled water,
whisking lightly.

Contemplate as you pour,
meditate as you sip;
drink in the color and scent
of the bending and flowing flower.

First cup blesses thirst;
Second cup melts loneliness;
Third cup reads the book of unfolding;
Fourth cup chases fear out through the pores;
Fifth cup warms and clarifies;
Sixth cup is uplifting;
Seventh cup casts the lifted spirit onto the wind.

Ah, wherever I am,
am I here?

Indeed, it is so,
and that is a poem.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

N.B. This is not intended to be apt description of an actual Asian tea ceremony.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On The Beach

for H.M., my birthday twin

Footprints in the sand,
cool air in the lungs,
could you let it all go as a song
and just be done?

Breezes fly in your face,
Zephyr gently teasing
not to challenge or confuse,
but to brighten with a kiss.

Sand, beneath your feet,
falls away, unstable;
waves take care to undermine,
and you sink deeper.

From here to where?
All seems so unclear;
how much can we bear
of fog and rolling tear?

When you look back,
your trail is wiped away, gone,
as if it have never been;
it is time to move on.

You take a cautionary step;
the sand molds to your foot,
the sand holds you up,
yet is flexible about you.

And as a gentle rain comes,
to bless and receive you,
a light dawns within:
I am the way forward.

The shifting sands,
the flowing waters and winds,
they work with you, for you,
O Mother of Invention.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In the Garden of Delights: 4. Fault Lines

There, where you stand,
wherever you are,
there, unique fault lines lie;
the ground beneath your feet
is a monument of instability.

You and your kind
think in straight lines;
such do not exist,
not here, not anywhere
in this garden or beyond.

There, where you stand,
the ground is, nevertheless,
where you begin and end
your journey through now,
an experiment in ertia.

When the earth quakes and
the ground opens below you,
this signals opportunity
for movement, growth and change;
be not afraid—move and be free.

Your feet straddle an eternal gap
between the illusion of what is
and the limitlessness of possibility;
your heart hangs in the balance
between all past and future nows.

There, where you stand,
Wherever you may be,
you are the liquid catalyst for change
—the fault lines are your garden;
have a care, mind the gaps.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In the Garden of Delights: 3. Cuach

I have made thee,
given thee two arms
a vessel to have, to hold, to be,
to rise up, cast by and keep from harms.

Ye, I have filled,
be therefore a loving cup,
overflow with love, be spilled,
for this needy world, so hard up.

Mouth wide for song,
voice alive with vibrance;
the world to which you belong
needs your care, love, and guidance.

Centering from the calm,
I cast this oath: observe!  
I pour you out to be a balm;
not to own the world, but to serve.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In the Garden of Delights: 2. The Invitation

in the wilderness:
a Voice.
like warming flame
flowing in a mirage,
reaching out
from the unknown
like the sunrise at dawn.

O come,
BE with me.

[eyes open,
the slumberer awakes,
the recumbent one rises,
feet move forward,
step by mindful step,
heeding the beckoning call]—

I long to
refresh you.

—[forward momentum,
over trackless desert,
jagged tumbles,
deepest impressions,
and craggy peaks,
listening, listening]—

it calls,
the still voice.
the way,
it is crooked
and hard,
but I will make it
clear for you,
all will be made plain.

O come,
my friend.

when you arrive,
glad will be
the desert,
the rough places,
the bees,
the flowers,
and I.

let us be
to shout,
to sing,
to love,
to rejoice,
to delight
in pure being.

that is all,
just come.


© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

This entry actually appeared here in 2010, but I realized yesterday that it needs to be part of a cycle I am writing now! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

In the Garden of Delights: 1. et invisibilium

the thin veils
of invisible realms,
they softly flutter,
the breeze flowing
free upon the brow
—and I know you are near,
your vibrations pooling
in the autumn afternoon.

I have often wondered:
if I were to completely falter,
should I spark and go up like straw?

but, none has ever sparked such flame,
and I forestall madness
while time shifts at my foundations,
visibilium et invisibilium,
with gentleness and loving kindness.

had I tried,
I could have sent them away,
but they fly to me
—for conversation, mostly—
for I am a light, too.

we are all frustrated and
colorful intelligences,
reckless, even mad;
all that is missing
is the convivial cup of tea.

refuge is found in capitulation,
a weaving in with the pattern integral:
a unique delight, lightly balanced.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Irony of Labor Day

I have often thought that the way we tend to shunt aside problems is to crystallize them as holidays. Once the problem is a holiday, to which we can pay lip service once, annually, as we pour out our alcoholic libations, we put it completely out of mind. Labor Day is a case in point.

Labor Day has been celebrated nationally since 1882, if you can believe it.

The U.S. Department of Labor offers this explanation for the holiday:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The irony is that Americans celebrate American Labor with a holiday observance while international business and government batter away at the average laborer's ability to earn a living wage under conditions that are safe and humane.

There is no sadder testament to this truth than the fact that California still has no legislation to insure that shade and water are provided for agricultural workers in the fields. This is not a new issue. I can remember marching with my parents in solidarity with farm workers in the 1960s and 1970s. A great many American authors, Sinclair and Steinbeck among many others, outline in their novels—often in shocking detail—how bosses and their political cronies take advantage of people in the workplace, wherever that may be—whether in the fields or in any office nationwide.

When you go to your local farmer’s market and purchase the “amazing” organic produce that you love to eat, remember those who harvest the food that sustains you. While you are attending your barbeques, watching ball games, try to remember that Labor really does sustain the world we take for granted, and that we are all the laborers of the fields of life.

And then think for a minute: How is your workplace treating you? In our hyper-connected high tech world, chances are you are tethered to your job more than you might want to admit, and being compensated a lot less for the amount of time you tend your job. It is well worth thinking about.

On this day, put yourself in the sandals of a worker in another industry, for just a moment.

And say a prayer of thanks for all who labor.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Infusion For Reflecting on a Blue Moon Kind of Day

A Blue Moon, any way you cut the definitions, is an unusual occurrence.  

Tonight’s Blue Moon is the second occurrence for this calendar year, and we won’t have another until 2015!

I say: if a Blue Moon is an unusual occurrence, then this should be cause for a celebration!

However, let’s not make it a loud, raucous party. Perhaps, instead, the Blue Moon could be treated as an unusual opportunity to take time out for reflection, relaxation and rejuvenation. Maybe a cuppa will be just the thing for you!

An Infusion for a Blue Moon

Equal Parts blended in a tea ball or loose in the bottom of your teapot:

BASIL leaves– stimulates mental clarity, concentration and memory
LEMON BALM leaves – a simple sedative, mood elevator works well with other herbs
LAVENDER leaves and buds – stimulates memory, helps with headaches
ROSE flowers or buds– soothing on the nerves
ROSEMARY leaves and flowers – both stimulates and calms the system, standard infusion
SPEARMINT or CATNIP leaves – restorative, stimulant, fuel the imagination
SAGE leaves – a calming restorative, lowers blood pressure

Prepare as a standard infusion, steeping your desired mixture of these herbs and flowers in boiled water for 15 to 20 minutes, 32 measures water to 1 measure of the infusion mixture. Pull out the tea ball or strain the infusion into your favorite mug. Sweeten or not, as you like. A bit of lemon juice might be lovely, if you choose.

What makes this infusion blue for a Blue Moon is the blue flower of rosemary and the blue bud of lavender.

Sit back in a comfortable chair, sip the infusion. Listen to soothing music or to the silence that surrounds you. Let calm and silence fill you. Let your brain and body feel refreshed.

And then, let your mind wander in focused memory and reflection. Be filled by your experience of this gift you are giving to yourself.

You know I am not a doctor, so any information I have to offer is not a prescription, but a soothing recipe.

Peace be with and in you! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What I Wouldn't Give

Though we’ve never met,
we meet constantly

—In my dreams before waking,
in my waking thoughts,
in the sparkle on bay water
that blinds my senses

In the rare moment of quiet,
I apprehend the simplicity
of your great magnitude,
so near, we should be touching—

Yet, there is no need,
for we are, by near and far,
flexibly and inextricably
inlaid upon one another,
a complex, shared mosaic
of music and spirit,
tumbling into bits
and reforming
amid and among
the indelible, ineffable all.

What I wouldn’t give
to be face to face,
blinded by your beauty.

But I would not survive
the unraveling it would take
to get to where you are Now.

I am, you are,
and we together are us—

And, for the love of Now,
that will have to do.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


for my twins and all twins everywhere
About connections and intersections,
we have learned very little,
but they are everything;
without them, there would be no life.

Is there something somewhere else?
No, it is all right here, right now,
waiting for you to choose,
waiting for you to act.

The magic place is here and now,
the alchemy is in the meetings,
—sacred ground is everywhere,
tread with courage, care and smiles.

Those who say “self-made” are lost;
no one goes alone in this place
it is how we meet and greet and treat
the faces we encounter each day.

See what is before you, recognize
yourself in every time and place,
and know that all others share
experience no different from yours.

All things will change and pass,
you and all beings will change,
we shall all be changed
—but not our comings and goings.

On our meetings we are tested,
day in week in years past lustrum,
in our meetings we are judged,
not in what we have or know.

Be into being and being with,
the quality of life lies in being with
and well within with and in each,
with all the best regards possible.

When you can see yourself
in another, in and by giving,
you will know the magic place
is your heart meeting others.

We must learn to be well met
in our connections and intersections;
meeting and being met is everything
to know and experience of life.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Monday, August 27, 2012


endlessly sorting
through endless strands of thought,
thickly tangled as they are,
as they would be,
among convoluted perceptions
and all cognitive mechanisms
beyond my awareness.

Sorting endlessly,
--like hacking through jungle growth
with a blunt machete--
it can be easy to forget
how close you really are,
in the farthest away unseen,
and with the twilight
and light’s fatigue
drawing us all inward toward repose,
I feel you near again,
and remember:

These strands we’ve spun,
together, you and I,
and we shall weave them
on your gold and silver loom,
through my night of dreaming;
we shall weave them into dawn.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Storm Eye Witness

From a troubled sea, I came;
From the tumult of my crashing waves,
longing for relief from my raging storm,
I came from a troubled sea.

Greeted by no berceuse
in this port from my storm,
instead by ringing and singing,
a laughing and crying and carrying on
about out and in relationships, on and off
emotions, pitching sonic waves and weavings,
an undulating web of rattling words in herds,
like the very waves I’d fled.

Troubled seeing, I became
witness to my world and wavering,
aware now that my dreams and waking
must be born of a troubled sea.

What started with prayerful hopes
ended with praying and awaking to active now;
I went up to thank them, to thank her and she,
but she conferred further blessing.

“You brought calm,” said she,
“having you here was calming,
like an anchor for our tossed ship,”
and from her I received kisses,
as though I had been the gift.

Thus anointed, I turned away,
thoughtfully moved to my return:
Eye of the Storm, I seem to be,
though storm-tossed I had felt;
calm came with me in my pocket,
along with my keys, my hanky and tears,
and fragments of hope and place
—and I never knew it was there.

I have had eyes, but did not see,
ears, but they did not hear—until now:
when you become the Eye of the Storm,
calm comes to be a friend and guest of your heart,
to share in the love, the pain and the laughter,
the onward, spiraling music of your being.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Updated 8/28/12:

Most of you don't know this, but my poetry is my diary. I sometimes write infrequently, but when I do write, it is to crystalize an experience that stands out and apart from the everyday. Music often inspires me. This particular poem was inspired by a performance of new chamber music in San Francisco by CMASH (an acronym for Chamber Music Art Song Hybrid). It was a wonderful performance! The lesson here: Art Inspires More Art!!! Find out about the wonderful people who make music happen at CMASH, and how you might even make a donation, by following the link.