Maya Angelou Crosses the Threshold

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Ask Me Who Maya Angelou Is

 

and I’ll tell you.

She is the rich purple plum

in my throat that oozes voice

when silence seeks to silence me.

 

She is the gangly parts of my soul

that don’t quite fit into a room,

and shouldn’t, reminding me

that I am much bigger than I perceive.

 

She is the woman, parceled out

in pieces, all over the world’s hardwood

floors, then somehow strung back together

into a silk significance nobody could

have imagined.

 

She is the poetry of what one life can become.

 

– Gina Marie Mammano, in remembrance of Maya Angelou

 

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Transitioning into September

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Summer is daintily putting on her September gown, donning a sheath of early winds, as golden leaves are already dropping in small doses like up-dos falling into their autumn tresses. Watching summer transition over into autumn up here in western Washington can be a difficult thing. We waited so long for this warm, bright season, and now we find ourselves bidding farewell to blue skies and longer passages of light, only to wonder when the rain will set in, those long, drippy days, bathed in grey flannel skies.

I found a gentler way to cross this threshold, however, and it includes choice words. Knowing others have tiptoed lightly into September over centuries, millennia, and written about it, for some reason, gives an ounce or two of comfort, and brings beauty to an otherwise dreary passageway.

“The Spirit of Gardening” website at http://www.gardendigest.com/quotes.htm has been just the spoonful of delight that has helped me enjoy this threshold over the last few years. Choose a month, choose a season, and you’ll be treated to snatches of poetry and yummy quotes that hold your hand when nature’s changes come.

How can you resist John Updike’s quote from his poem “September”:

“Like plates washed clean/ With suds, the days/ Are polished with/ A morning haze. 

or “Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields, The gold of stubble, the brown of turned earth And you walk under the red light of fall . . .” a quote from an Autumn Equinox ritual. How can you not appreciate the turns of season more with such choicely worded offerings!

A personal threshold-crossing poem

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This time of year, we tend to cross thresholds. Children leave through our front doors for kindergarten or college, and anything in between. Summer melts away into preparations for fall. And the adjustments in our own interiors can feel like both loss and release. Here is a poem I wrote that reminds me to cross the most intimate threshold with courage- the one inside ourselves.

Bless the Threshold

Before you cross it today,

pause.

You are leaving the inside

for the outside-

the safety of interiors

for the adventure

of exteriors,

the known, for the

unknown,

or perhaps not.

For the interiors are a

a world unto themselves-

a slow-brewing moment,

a slow-stirring movement,

a dark brooding over the waters,

a bowl of mystery,

a temple of stars,

a sacred altar where

sacrifices are made

with slow, wandering hands,

and flickering hearts

near small, relentless

candles,

under the soft chant of

audible breaths.

Before you cross it today,

pause.

You are leaving the outside

for the inside.

The safety of the exteriors

for the adventure of the

interiors, the known,

for the unknown.

– Gina Marie Mammano