Posted Monday, January 12th, 2015 @ 11:55 am by Kathryn
Categories: Aenigmas (My Poems), Arts, Journal, Poetry

For Swap-bot, I joined a project that required writing a sestina.

According to the Academy of American Poets:

“The sestina follows a strict pattern of the repetition of the initial six end-words of the first stanza through the remaining five six-line stanzas, culminating in a three-line envoi. The lines may be of any length, though in its initial incarnation, the sestina followed a syllabic restriction. The form is as follows, where each numeral indicates the stanza position and the letters represent end-words:

(envoi)(tercet) BE. DC. FA.
The envoi, a tercet, must contain two of the repeated words per line.”

So, here is what created itself within me. After I wrote it, I noticed it is technically incorrect. The tercet is wrong. But I’m leaving it as it is, for now, until I feel moved to edit.

The Dance

There I stood, waiting for the express
While pondering ways to renew
my flagging spirit, which struggled to climb
life’s mounting challenges, when I saw you, serene,
your hands moving in the air, a kind of dance —
the glorious joy on your face making you rich.

Gazing around, I noticed the world’s colors were rich.
In each person I sensed the soul’s desire to express,
to enter into the dance.
I felt that I could summon the energy to renew
and make myself serene
like an arbor trellis with those roses that climb.

To reach far, to stretch toward goals that require I climb —
this makes life worthwhile, and I feel rich.
In these moments, my heart beats serene.
I vibrate with life and tremble to express,
to evolve, to embrace impermanence and thus renew
life’s eternal dance.

So, which steps will we choose to dance?
Will it be the hustle, the two-step, the fandango climb?
Or maybe a slow waltz, to allow our breathing to renew
while rhythmically moving to the beat, slow and rich.
Perhaps we will lean in to share a kiss, to express
what tantalizes us as we attempt to appear serene.

We might do this under the silver light of the moon, serene
in the movement of the dance
and the people watching — their murmurs will express
how desire steeps, distills, intensifies, like the climb
of mercury trapped in a glass tube, the red rich
like blood, like the lungs give oxygen to renew.

And after we untwine ourselves, we turn within to renew
the relationship with the One who never leaves, the serene
companion who understands money does not make one rich;
nor does having it guarantee an invitation to the dance
and that life is often one painful, slogging climb
to an illusory summit that cannot contain all we express.

It is a koan to puzzle: that form and emptiness express
all that is, removing the need to delve or climb.
Just accept, wisdom says, so you can surrender to the dance.
As I move, I offer my life to you, to heal and renew
in the hope of erasing the wrinkled brow, leaving it serene
and a soul well-fed, feeling sated and rich.

–Kathryn Harper


Be Kind

Posted Monday, January 12th, 2015 @ 8:42 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Social Science, Spirit

It bears repeating.

Here’s the link if the video doesn’t work.

How to Fall in Love

Posted Saturday, January 10th, 2015 @ 9:21 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Quotes, Social Science, Spirit

I know the eyes are the windows to the soul or whatever, but the real crux of the moment was not just that I was really seeing someone, but that I was seeing someone really seeing me. Once I embraced the terror of this realization and gave it time to subside, I arrived somewhere unexpected.

I felt brave, and in a state of wonder. Part of that wonder was at my own vulnerability and part was the weird kind of wonder you get from saying a word over and over until it loses its meaning and becomes what it actually is: an assemblage of sounds.

So it was with the eye, which is not a window to anything but a rather clump of very useful cells. The sentiment associated with the eye fell away and I was struck by its astounding biological reality: the spherical nature of the eyeball, the visible musculature of the iris and the smooth wet glass of the cornea. It was strange and exquisite.

Mandy Len Catron

Easier Said Than Done

Posted Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 @ 10:32 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Quotes, Spirit

“We say to the confused, Know thyself, as if knowing yourself was not the fifth and most difficult of human arithmetical operations, we say to the apathetic, Where there’s a will, there’s a way, as if the brute realities of the world did not amuse themselves each day by turning that phrase on its head, we say to the indecisive, Begin at the beginning, as if the beginning were the clearly visible point of a loosely wound thread and all we had to do was to keep pulling until we reached the other end, and as if, between the former and the latter, we had held in our hands a smooth, continuous thread with no knots to untie, no snarls to untangle, a complete impossibility in the life of a skein, or indeed, if we may be permitted one more stock phrase, in the skein of life.”

– José Saramago


Posted Monday, January 5th, 2015 @ 11:53 am by Kathryn
Categories: Arts, Buddhism, Journal, Spirit

This song by Hozier is gorgeous, poetic, and haunting to me. Take a listen (click here if the embed doesn’t work).

SoulCollage® December

Posted Monday, December 15th, 2014 @ 11:50 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Arts, Journal, Spirit

SoulCollage® Committee Suit: Feline Familiars

I am one who is soft and curvy, and I am one who is fierce. I am one who enjoys pleasure and will communicate. I am one who is a mystery. I am one who is subtle. And I am one who is primal.

What is your gift or message for me?
Remember to indulge in things that give you joy, comfort, and pleasure.

What do you want me to do?
Watch things. Take your head and eyes out of your computer and watch kitty television, which is watching the world. Be curious about everything around you.

Why did you show up today?
It’s been almost a year since Stella died. She was a good friend for 17 years and she is still with you.

If you have a shadow, what would it be? Or, what light do you offer?
The shadow is a tendency to laziness and to sneakiness. The light is the magnificent pleasure of being.

Feline Familiars_Committee

SoulCollage® November

Posted Sunday, November 30th, 2014 @ 11:44 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Arts, Journal, Spirit

SoulCollage® Committee Suit: Our Lady of the Coffee

I am one who requires coffee. I am one who appreciates the daily ritual. I am one whose mind cannot function without a dose. I am one who is a mother and whose work is without end.

What is your gift or message for me?
That I am bottomless and endless and full of energy.

What do you want me to do?
Enjoy imbibing without guilt or concern. Go out more to coffee shops. I am not meant to be drunk alone all the time. Life is messy and it’s ok to spill, and sometimes art arises from what feels like a mistake.

Why did you show up today?
Because I’m ordinary and deeply integral to your life. And because you are feeling like hibernating and more tired because of the season.

If you have a shadow, what would it be? Or, what light do you offer?
The shadow is that drinking more coffee will not resolve your exhaustion if it is coming from other sources. The light is the pleasure of the ritual.

Our Lady of Coffee_Committee

Gift From the Sea

Posted Saturday, November 29th, 2014 @ 10:19 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Aenigmas (My Poems), Arts, Journal, Nature

This ATC was created for a swap focusing on something in nature. At least one item in the card had to be from nature.

something natural atc

And a couple of haiku!

A sand dollar moon
peers heavenward, smiling to
her silver sister.
Ocean origin
star within echoes secrets
hidden in apples.

Some Knowledge

Posted Monday, November 24th, 2014 @ 10:18 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Motherhood, Quotes, Spirit

“And so seated next to my father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, “Father, what is sexsin?”

He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor.

Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.

I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.

It’s too heavy,” I said.

Yes,” he said, “and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

–Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

ATC – Red

Posted Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 @ 1:15 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Arts, Journal

I haven’t participated since 2006, but I decided to get re-acquainted with the site Swap-bot. One of the swaps I joined is to make nine Artist Trading Cards, each focused on one color. Here it is before I pop it into the mail. It felt so good to make. If I just carve out a little time to create, I’m a much more content person.


The ‘pure’ red of which certain abstractionists speak does not exist. Any red is rooted in blood, glass, wine, hunters’ caps and a thousand other concrete phenomena. Otherwise we would have no feeling toward red and its relations…

–Robert Motherwell

Red protects itself. No colour is as territorial. It stakes a claim, is on the alert against the spectrum.

–Derek Jarman

A thimbleful of red is redder than a bucketful.

–Henri Matisse