Category Archives: wisdom

Breaking away

I had a note from an old friend this week, telling me about the path her life has taken over the past few years.  She talked about how difficult it can be to be “big” as a woman – strong, competent, opinionated, right about things (!), refusing to fit the mold shaped for her by her upbringing.  She is a trailblazer…

I am always so impressed at anyone who has the energy and courage to do this one simple thing: to be her- or him-self.  Often at great personal cost, at least until the landscape is rearranged.  For anyone doing the hard and holy work of being all they were made to be, this rondeau is for you.  Keep going!

Breaking away

Don’t break the rules, they told you. It is not
Appropriate for you to take the spot
We’ve given you and use it to engage
In things that undermine our heritage.
Don’t question things, don’t cry, don’t stir the pot

Unless you’re making casserole, or hot
Meals for your man. Think twice before you trot
Out your own ideas. Girls of your age
     Don’t break the rules.

This dying band assumed that they could blot
Out such a force of nature with a shot
Of god and apple pie. But all the rage
They vented only proved you’re at the stage
You’ll not survive if you, bound by their knot,
     Don’t break the rules.




If a lineset gains so much momentum
that the operator cannot stop it,
that heavy load becomes a runaway.

Your instinct will be to grab the rope. Don’t.
If you are lucky, you will only burn
your hands as the rope races between them.

Much more likely, though, you will be carried
upwards by the rope – to be smashed into
the loading bridge, mangled by falling weights.

Should you survive this awful collision,
you will likely lose your grip on the rope
and scream back to the deck. This hurts like hell.

Learn this discipline, however unnatural:
When a line gets out of control, let go!
Don’t be a hero. Warn others. And run.


On the sand
Watching the water
Extend to the blue horizon,
The awesome sense of infinite possibility
That descends when I am barefoot
Tracing a fresh path
As the waves
Wash my

Like Jacob

Like a dream half-remembered of an old
Flame, once bright but now guttering wax tears,
These prayers melt into sand, as dark smoke sears
My senses. With each return to this old
Place, I feel my spirit shift as I hold
A taper and fumble for words. The years
When I could answer any person’s fears
With platitudes are gone – that fool’s gold
Plundered by experience. I think on
Jacob with the angel, spent on the floor
No revelation won, all mystery
Left unrelated when the night has gone.
Like him, I have my blessing, but still more
Walk with a limp – as wisdom’s gift to me.

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