Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

30 March 2012

Who Knows Where The Time Goes

I've posted Judy once as a diva,
and I'll do it again,
as she sings the sentiment
I feel so often these days:

28 March 2012

Do I Look Suspicious -- God Bless You Trayvon

I have been silent lately,
but my heart is full.

I would like to say something about the shooting
of Trayvon Martin,
but I think the students at Howard University have said it better:

What follows is a modest attempt at commentary:

I recall when I moved back from Turkey to the USA,
in 2003,
my first position was a one year stint at a historically black university
in Mississippi. 

As someone who lived the bulk of my current life
in the North East, I found that year to be just as culturally illuminating
as four years in Turkey, if not more so.
Indeed, my culture shock recovery was deferred by a year,
as I moved into another culture, and was shocked even more profoundly,
NOT because of the experience of teaching primarily black students --
they were students, and they had dreams and goals,
and I was happy to help them, in whatever way I could --
but rather, I was stunned when I saw,  very vividly,
in grocery stores, empty swimming pools, churches,
and on the street,
that racism continues to be the biggest challenge facing the United States.

Every now and then, something happens like the murder 
of Trayvon Martin,
and that hidden illness surfaces.

It is our biggest challenge to face that illness
and find constructive, peaceful ways
to heal it.

Rest In Peace, 
dear Trayvon,
and best of luck to the students who made this video,
and all of the students in the USA,
who seek only peace
and respect,
as they work to create
a better future.

words have left me for awhile (what follows is a short poem from Rumi)

Birdsong brings relief
to my longing.

I am just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!

Please, universal soul, practice
some song, or something, through me!
(by: Rumi)

21 March 2012


. . . the earth has woken
to herald spring
with premature,
accord ~ ~

Could it be that time
is speeding up?
Is this the last gasp
before a deeper chill?

Or is it just a passing phase, ~~

a year that history will look back upon and say
"it was extraordinary."

It is



and so hard not to stop and look
and be amazed

. . . wishing you all a peaceful spring.

17 March 2012

St. Patrick's Day Thoughts

Oh, it's been too long since I've written here.

No excuses --
I'm back home for now,
and planning another journey, and my mind is still.
It's still hibernating, I think.

Right now, I'm sitting somewhere in Ohio,
marveling over a mid 70's F temperature (about 23 Celsius)
and blossoming daffodils
on St. Patrick's Day,
a day that is typically
snowy, blustery and awful in these parts.

And all I keep thinking is:
it's beautiful, but
there's something wrong.
I tend to think it's the earth telling us
to stop being such fools and stop abusing her so.
A few months ago in Southern Ohio,
fracking caused earthquakes --

Yesterday, my sister told me how the school where she teaches is is being closed,
and there is a rumor that her school board had sold the mineral rights for the land
the building stands on, so they could frack where the building stands.
Of course, the building stands near some low income projects, too.
I guess any land that houses the poor or needy is expendable.

Oh, well, so I sit here on St. Patrick's Day enjoying the weather,
but wondering if this is herald to something the earth has in store for us
for hurting her so.   

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you,
enjoy the day.
Enjoy the world we've been given ~ ~
better yet, do one thing today to take care of that world ~ ~

04 March 2012

Living in the Fold

Living in the Fold:
Traveling From Far East to Far West

At this time, I commence,
And within an hour
Or two it is the time
At which I commenced.
I mark a line
On the map in between
These two zones
And fold time in
On itself.
                             And then proceed rapidly

Into a day that I will live twice, yet only once,
Passing myself meeting myself
At the same moment
                         Again and again.

( greenchairpress )

I mark and fold
My origami world,
I sleep when tired
There in the fold
And dream of tonight
Twenty-four hours
            (or so)
                     from now
when I will meet you
and we can fold
into each others’ arms

( gildaorigami )

02 March 2012

the perfection of repetition and symmetry

In all my years,
I've traveled many places,
but the one place I had yet to see
has been India.

My silence, dear friends,
is because as I write this,
I am sitting in Dehli.

My purported purpose for being here
has been a conference.
(Did I write about that already?)
But my other raison d'etre
was to see,
if only for a moment,
some of India's finest landmarks.

Magic can be found
in the hinterlands of this land;
for instance, the Amber Fort, near Jaipur:

(all photos by me)

or this fabulous floating palace, Jal Mahal, in the same area:

I suddenly understand that the worlds of the Arabian Nights,
which happens to be
one of my favorite books in all of the world,
may indeed have a foundation
in something very real.

But more than anything else,
I am struck by the sheer beauty of symmetry and repetition.
It creates an experience
so much like a song,
as I travel from town to town,
past poverty and controlled chaos,
the trip has been held together
by the most terrific harmony.

Let me please share with you
some of the sites I have been lucky enough
to see: moments
of perfection on a landscape in a symphony that helps us see
that perfection is rare,
but possible
in our troubled world:

 ( Amber Fort, near Jaipur, India)

(Chand Baori, Abhaneri, India (between Jaipur and Agra)

(Chand Baori)

(interior design, Fatehpur Sikri -- photo again by me)

(Taj facade)

. . . and my favorite (well, other than the Taj) Akbar's tomb:

( Akbar's Tomb, entrance gate -- Sikandra )

 (Akbar's tomb)

(Akbar's tomb)

(Akbar's tomb)

Truth to tell
these sites render me speechless,
and all I can do
is share their beauty.