Spa Day for the Weary Writer’s Soul

stately noble
fussily editing
wearing tweed

flowing dreaming
on a tear
wearing silk

When writers write and share their words, the words circle above them like fairies who fly to awaken the Ancient Greek gods and goddesses. Then the deities, grand and small, gather, as if around a beach campfire, to send the red crackling words into the air.

It is the author or writer’s task to grab the words before they dim. Words like fireflies who once roamed the land, begin to fade, come Autumn.

another poem – a haiku

central park green lawn
sunbathers, frisbees, babies
grass, a blanket from below

below the earth, worms
tunnel, aerate, make new homes
with roots, turning soil

central park green play
sunny day leads to starry
Shakespeare night, above

These words emerged from last weekend’s writing retreat with J. Ann Craig — so good. We wrote prayers, songs, and erotic poetry.

I sort of organized the day. (I wanted to say ‘helped organize,’ but honestly, I did most everything: found the place, procured the leadership, encouraged attendance, ordered and set out the food.) But it was Rutgers Presbyterian Church who hosted the day at the House of the Redeemer. More than a dozen of us, beautiful women, writers and artists of life, gathered to set the world right.

Do not doubt for a minute that writing has the potential to heal the world. In this fractured time in our country, there is something necessary about writing down our truths — in our revealing, there is revelation. The authentic self emerges and writers’ words are free to bind the brokenness in our hearts and in the hearts of our communities.

Here is the room where we wrote. I did not snap any pictures on the day of the retreat, because I wanted to immerse myself in the here and now. I chose not to get tugged away from the day — as my instagram feed, at times, pulls me away from feeling fully present.



In the creative writing workshop I taught yesterday, we wrote haiku. This traditional Japanese poetry looks surprisingly simple — seven syllables, then five, then seven. But we found it challenging, a habit of writing we are unused to.

I told the class to think of the poem’s structure like the cage around a songbird. You have to confine your poem, your bird, your meaning, within the frame. Within the constraint, the songbird can sing freely. And then the poem can flow like a song, traveling far from its cage.

I gave us about 10 minutes to write our haiku.  Here are a few of mine.

I have been teary
Hoping to be understood
Fearful of shadows

Somehow I miss you
Your crazy way of kissing
I live on longing

Need to swim far out
Farther than you can catch me
Splashing, laughing, far