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Lotus flower

Lotus flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a Buddhist, per se. Aspects of Buddhism, however, have inspired me for many years, in particular, mindfulness meditation—a practice I find both enriching and, for my crazy, active brain, challenging. The moments when I feel most whole as those moments when I’m most aware of what’s happening in the present moment.

This is where I am in the now:

Sounds: click HERE 

A mockingbird outside my window, the soft churning of the washing machine, low voices from the ladies tee outside our place, the swish of a driver, the clunk of the ball strike, then the release of the brake and the whirr of a golf cart making its way to the green. The flow of breath, in and out—mine and my Jack Russell, curled in sleep between the legs of my office chair.

Photo: V. Slotto

Sights: the Santa Rosa Mountains, barely dusted with snow and palm trees mirrored in my computer screen, the glare of the sun trying to conquer the layer of haze covering the valley.

Photo: D. Slotto

Scents: the heady smell of the lime tree blossoms outside the window, the one the mockingbird inhabits.

Taste: cold pure water sipped through a straw flushing away the lingering mint of mouthwash.

Touch: the warmth of my laptop beneath my hands, the hard plastic of the keyboard, the cushioned support of my office chair and the subtle irritation of the label in the back of my blouse.

All of these perceptions came about because I made a deliberate attempt to notice them in the now.

As I read the poems created for Saturday’s dVerse Poetics prompt, inspired by the photography/poetry of James Rainsford, this poem by Louise Hastings jumped out at me as a perfect example of being in the moment. Louise brings to life the details of the photo, and in the process creates a distinct mood without overtly saying, “I really want to get beyond the depression that comes from winter and I’m counting on the change of seasons to help me. Check it out:

One Summer (in England)

A sudden rainbow across heavy skies
brings rare sunshine and fleeting light on water.
I throw off the winter cold and bare pale skin
to the sun, paint myself anew with colours
fresh and bright. The days go by
like a smile on an empty face
and I ripen in the sunshine
beneath an oozing, soft green light,
tangling serotonin in my hair,
lemon-blossom from the meadow at my feet.
But a shadow drags behind me
whenever the weather breaks.
Steady rain lashes at the window,
splashes city parks and dead end streets,
trickling down my neck and collecting at my wrists.
As the darkness spreads there’s not much of me left.
I run towards the fragile, summer sun.

©2012 Louise Hastings, Used with Permission

Louise’s fine observations become the metaphors and similes that speak to mood. As readers, we are able to enter that moment with her.

When we create, when we write poetry, even if we draw upon the memories of the past or leap forward into the future, the words we commit to paper or hard drive are born in the present moment. In order to create, we need to carve out a place and time of silence. We need to slow down and notice details, to block out distraction, and open up to inspiration. Silence, awareness, focus—these are the womb in which poetry takes shape.

For today’s prompt, Let’s take the challenge to be totally alive in the present and write to our perceptions. Perhaps we’ll want to venture out into nature, or close the door to our rooms. If there’s time, maybe we’ll go to a coffee house, museum, thrift shop, shopping mall, care facility… There are so many poems out there waiting to be noticed. Let’s allow our muses to steal the show by being open, completely present in the now.

To participate:

  • Go someplace where you can take in the present moment. You may even want to grab a camera so you can share your experience visually.
  • Write your poem and post it on your blog or website.
  • Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and add your name and the direct URL of your poem.
  • Now, come on into the pub and visit other poems. Take a moment to comment on their work, especially if they’ve done the same for you.

This is Victoria C. Slotto, happy, as always, to be tending bar. I will be spending a few days with my mother, but when I return, I look forward to reading your poems.