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.