This weekend was like the joyride down the mountain you spent a grueling morning pedaling up. For the first time in three months I had three halcyon days with no hint of that ambient grief that arrived uninvited, filled my front room with baggage and has blocked my view ever since.

Maybe it was the arrival of summer that triggered some sort of exit instinct in an otherwise stubborn presence. Or maybe it was spillover euphoria from a sacred hilltop summer solstice ceremony that friend and self-styled shaman Cindy organized for five of us in the last rays of daylight on Friday. Then again, it just may be my new unwillingness to set a place at my table for this unwelcome companion to loss. Loss is one thing. Grief is something else.

So this weekend was a string of pleasures that just kept unfolding, cascading one after another. Groups of friends kept coming together, sharing their stories of wisdom and insight. Anne, just back from an 11 day spiritual search in the Peruvian jungle, told about surviving on nothing but a daily bowl of rice and a boiled plantain. Others talked about sun gazing, the karmic treatment for writer’s block, the healing power of sex (that would be me.)

On Saturday afternoon we biked to a party in Belmont. Within minutes, I hit chance meeting jackpot. I sat down next to a woman and in no time our conversation went galactic. Kathleen Spivack is a well known poet, writer and teacher, but her gifts also spill over into a variety of other creative arenas. Her life is as fascinating as her work is brilliant. Here’s to a new friendship and another add to my “favorite poets” list.

This poem by Spivack was all the evidence I needed to sense how connected we are at the most primal valence. I am spellbound by this one.

Flowers

Regarding the insides of flowers:
this is something about which I have meant
to write you for a long time.

How awkwardly, but to a bee
fascinating it must seem, going in
to their sticky centers, half-

repellent, touching
their furry genitalia; horrible
to love and seek so, being dependent:

flowers’ perfectly formed
hemispheres, the pretend insistence
on privacy

like the hidden ladyslipper, modest,
shocking, sudden labia
blushing,

bifurcated, veined and
obvious: it is so soft,
slipping in,

is it not, and out?
I too am always
obsessed with the insides of flowers,
Yearning to plunge
a finger into them
or a metaphor:

the “hermaphroditic artist”
invading the subject;
shivering at anemones,

at their dark secret
centers, or the double wheel
within a poppy, spoked

mouth slit and laughing.
The “Language of Flowers,”
spoken, translates “Sex.”

If a daylily bends in the vase
it means: she is waiting.
If straight: trouble ahead.

If the flowers persist
in their drooping
throw them out

but refurbish
for it is good to have fresh
flowers beside one, breathing

their bodily secrets
by night, cleverly accessible
and bedded, moist.


Kathleen Spivack (photo by Ann Phillips)