Poems By Request – Fertile


This is the start of a series of poems inspired by Natalie Goldberg. In her wonderful (I am literally full of wonder as I read it) book ‘Writing Down the Bones’ (which I will be writing more about) is a chapter called ‘Spontaneous Writing Booths.’ She talks about wanting to contribute to her Zen Center’s summer festival so she set up a table and offered poems on request – you pick the topic, I write. Her rules: fill a single side of standard sized paper, no specific poetic format, no editing, no reading, just hand it over and move on to the next one.  As she says:

With the writing booth there is the opportunity to be a great warrior: you must let go of everything as you write and then in handing it over to the customer.  Whey you work that fast, there is a real loss of control.

Wow, I thought, this is a perfect way to get me out of the rut of writing about the same old familiar, safe things (my life) in the same old ways (self limiting and censored.) ‘Cuz losing control can be a good, even great, thing.

I imagine being given a word/phrase/concept by someone and off I go. It’s great fun, very free-ing. Part of the motivation is to get comfortable and loose enough with this that I can have a Spontaneous Writing Booth some day at a local community festival/event/gathering!  Then my warrior will become stronger as I let the words, a little part of myself, go forever.

Thank-you, Natalie.

Most of the time I’ll not look back, but once in awhile, when I feel it, I’ll share. Here’s one:

The earth is fertile ground. In it are the rocks, sand, clay, bones, trash, fossils, organisms, other bugs, creatures, like hedgehogs, that live in there.
There are caves and caverns, there are ridges and holes where water runs, flows, or has dried up.
It is where we plant seeds and grow the fruits and vegetables that nourish us. Where flowers root and bloom.
Where little acorns and tree seeds get deposited by birds and plant themselves.
And in that fertile soil they take root and send up shoots. And over the years they grow big and tall.
We are fertile.
Our bodies, as women, are a place where the seed of humanity is planted, takes root, is nurtured for nine months, and then new life is born.
Our minds are fertile ground. The Big Wide Amazing Incredible Scary Hard Fantastic Beautiful Abundant Lacking Sad Juicy Ripe Awful Terror-ful Tremendous Vivid Bleak Tangible Untouchable Forgiving Tender World is planted in our mind, impressed on our Fertile Consciousness.
We experience it all and the soil of our mind is where some of it gets planted. It is up to us, consciously or unconsciously, to choose what gets planted and what just blows off in the wind.
Let’s pick the good stuff.
We can experience it all and let the stuff that doesn’t really help or matter go.
Just let it go.
That leaves plenty of room in the field, the fertile field of our consciousness, for us to plant healthy seeds that grow into strong, and flexible, trees and flowers. We can smell the flowers and admire their colors.
We can climb those trees, planted in our fertile soil, and see for miles and miles, the infinite horizon of life.

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