Monday, May 30, 2005

Sign up for Road Trip to Duwamish

Abbey Dwellers
If you are planning to join us on the magical mystical tour to Duwamish could you formally make your booking by joining the Going To Croatan blogger To do this you need simply let Anita Marie Moscoso or myself know and we will sign you up.

For those who do not plan to leave the sanctuary of the Abbey, even for a short trip, we will send postcards and newspaper clippings to keep you up todate with our trip. Personally I am hoping to acquire some ephemera for the Abbey and hopefully will stock the Abbey scrapbooking supplies room with lots of interesting things.

Of course, when we do return you will be able to see our visual travel diaries to check out exactly what we have been doing.

love to all
The Abbess

Crazy Happy Me

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When There is No One Left...

What will it be like, I wonder,
When there is no one left to care,
No one to say, I love you,
No one left to hug,
Or laugh, or cry with me?

Will the stars no longer twinkle?
Will the moon forever wane?
Will the tides no longer rise
Or fall,
When there is no one left to care?

Will the rain no longer nourish?
Will the grain no longer grow?
Will the wind no longer blow
The clouds away,
When there is no one left to say, I love you?

Will lightning no longer dance across the evening sky?
Will the breeze no longer cool midsummer's heat?
Will water no longer quench the thirst?
Will food no longer satisfy,
When there is no one left to laugh with me?

Will roses no longer share their fragrance
With those who pass my garden gate?
Will robins no longer sing their song
From the sanctuary of my old, gnarled, but friendly Oak,
When there is no one left to cry with me?

What will it be like, I wonder,
When there is no one left to care?
No one to say I love you?
No one left to hug
Or laugh or cry with me.

©May 30, 2005

Costello's Duwamish Travel Journal

Make Travel Journals for Duwamish

The Lonely Planet do their best

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but really girls, I think we can do better than this. I am planning to make an altered book that I can keep my travel sketches and notes in and I am looking forward to seeing what sort of notebook those of you who decide to come bring.

Initially I thought it would be a weekend trip but then I scoured the Lonely Planet and when it didn't even mention the Duwamish I did some of my own research. Trust me! We may take awhile to come back! This place is not on anyTourist Routes but if my sources are reliable we are going to be kept busy. Besides the Innkeeper offered me a particularly good deal. She insists that while Duwamish Inn is not five star accommodation we will be very comfortable. We do have to share bathrooms but there is plenty of hot water. The good news is that they have very comfortable beds, rooms with a view and offer hearty old style meals thatwill keep us going all day.

I am beginning to get excited but I am curious about the Embalmers Conference that is happening on the weekend we arrive. According to the Innkeeper the conference attracts not only embalmers but forensic scientists. Interesting!

ROAD TRIP!!! Heather has booked a bus to take a few of us to Duwamish Bay. Costello, packing up various vials, scales, crystals, candles, notebooks and jars of baby food, prepares to board the bus.Do you suppose I'll want a swimming suit? Is anyone going in the bay? I mean on purpose . . . I've got to sit in the front of the bus, I get bus sick. My goodness, it does look comfortable, doesn't it? I've got a CD player and the new Ebony Raven CD. We can listen to the remix of "Duwamish Bay" all the way down there! We'll all sing along and people will probably start dancing in the isle . . . ROAD TRIP!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

If any of you feel like showing us what you have been doing lately that would be wonderful.

In my lair I mix metals, amalgamate time
Merging and fusing, admix and combine
Brewing, decocting, sacramentalish wine
Of mead from the Abby bees, rich and divine
Scented with flowers, with herbs and with pine
And bright tastings of gold from a glade mallow mine
Here pieces of wonder manifest and entwine
A profound mystic mixture too deep to define
But for one whispered breath: "There are words on the shrine"


Duwamish Bay

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Duwamish Bay by Heather Blakey

I have been testing my skills with a grey lead pencil and I have been having a wonderful time, sitting in the autumn sunshine, here in the Abbey, drawing images to go with Anita Marie's story about the unusual authors at Duwamish Bay. I am planning to send a reporter down to this Duwamish Bay to see if we can get an interview for Soul Food, or at the very least, some kind of travel report. I have checked out the Lonely Planet Guide Book and Duwamish is not listed but it does seem to have some places worth visiting and people who would be interesting to meet.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the quiet and have not been feeling lonesome because I sense the presence of others working around me. If any of you feel like showing us what you have been doing lately that would be wonderful.
The Abbess

Friday, May 27, 2005

Notice of Gleaning

A Seed Line has been Gleaned from the poem “Ecstasy” by Vi Jones
Posted at the Lemurian Abby, Friday, May 20, 2005

“Such is ecstasy”

The resultant Gleaning is posted at the Alluvial Mine
Thank you Vi
Gleaner: Edwina Peterson Cross

Notice of Gleaning

Seed Lines have been Gleaned from the poem “Dancing in Perpetuity” by Anna Chinappi
Posted at the Lemurian Abby Tuesday, May 24, 2005.

“She’s done with the dancing,
no steps and moves left,”

The resultant Gleaning is posted at the Alluvial Mine
Thank you Anna
Gleaner: Edwina Peterson Cross


The Raven Queen is hanging out in the Abbey. Look for her in the shadows.

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Raven carried his ball of light into the sky,
so we no longer live in darkness.

The old self image must die
Death must precede the
Psychological revolution that is welling
the creative reorganization demanding to
Unblock the flow of psychic energy and
Give life new meaning

Into the cauldron Coronis
Beautiful crow maiden gently places
Black seeds from my shadow
Black wormseed from my ego
to incubate, regenerate and
Facilitate rebirth

A beginning, the end
Dying to the senses, withdrawing
Voluntarily entering the dark inner world of the soul
at home in the darkness of suffering
Only in death is a greater thing born
Only within the darkness lie germs of recovery

Thursday, May 26, 2005

This has been here before, but I couldn't help it! When you said visually depict yourself 'HANGING OUT at the Abby . . ." This is me on my Alchemist's Lair, just, um, hanging out!

Who Is Hanging Out Here

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Take a leaf out of this Grade 2/3 class and find a way to visually depict yourself hanging out here in the Abbey. Make sure to have fun doing this.

Star Rise Over the Superstitions

Dancing in the Light

If I Were a Spirit . . .

“They say that candles attract the spirits so when I light them at night on our patio, I invite all, seen and unseen, to join me in the light.” (Vi Jones)

If I were a spirit
Drawn like a dream
From the star-scattered sky
Where the dark Superstitions
Turn back time . . .

If I were the marrow of myth and magic
Spun in the deep chambered heart
Of the giant Saguaro . . .

If I were the earth echoed essence
Of red desert wind
Yearned through a coyotes throat . . .

If I were a spirit . . .

I would be drawn to your fire
And finding there such giving grace
She wisdom, such love
I would stay
And dance forever
In your light

Edwina Peterson Cross
May 26, 2005
For Vi

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Red Shoes

Dancing in Perpetuity

When dancing
people say that women should follow the leader.
Her partner was a loss leader, it turns out,
and the floorboards echo only
the faint clicks of ghost-heels,
Solo, in the spotlight
counting in threes
to keep time
while tossing out
the dance card filled with names
that hang in the air like overripe peaches
on the branches of her outer limits.
She’s done with the dancing,
no steps and moves left,
done with the partners who can’t mind the beat.

Her younger-day phantoms form a circle,
she systematically peels away her clothes.
It’s only her now
and some smooth moves –
to the song in her head.

Emeline, dance with me!

The music changes,
her hair not gray.
Life’s a party
and she is the
enthusiastic guest with the red stand-out shoes.
The men line the wall,
eager soldiers,
while she flashes her hips to the left,
arms to the right,
a sashay forward and they all bow to the fancy dancer.
Somebody tell me, who’s leading now?

Emeline, dance with me?

The floor is linoleum,
easy to clean,
and the shoes now are dirty pink slippers.
Still, she sways me,
and moves to music that no one can hear,
Arms never stop,
a woman’s feet in perpetual motion,
partners left in the dust,
the forever dance is about to end.

Anna Chinappi

CANDLES - Sorry, I Didn't get this in next to the poem. I didn't know it was going to happen until it did!

Abbess in the Street

She was dressed as I've seen no other Abbess dress
She was wearing garb like mine
Dark, dirty and full of holes
Could she really be an Abbess, prowling secretly through the streets?

Do the state of her clothes indicate
That she wanders the hallways and brushes against the cold, wet bricks of the Abbey walls?
Does she go out into the ghetto streets and speak to people like me?
Why me? Why now?

I look up into her face which although dirty with slime,
Gleamed and shone as if from a light within
Her eyes were smiling and kind as she held my hand lightly in hers
Her warmth radiated towards me

I felt a puzzling hope
My thoughtless life seemed not destined to end in these dangerous streets
Could I really better myself again and be the woman of dignity I used to be?
Could the message in her eyes ever be true?

She drew me to my feet
And led me to the soup kitchen
As the food warmed my belly
And her voice soothed my manic mind
I saw a light at the end of the tunnel

She led me to the back of the building
And I was offered a job in the kitchen
Could feeding those as hungry as myself
Be my own road to salvation?

As I watched her walk away
And kneel down beside another Lost One
I knew that if nothing else
She was a true Abbess in her heart

Cherita of Light for a Dark White Night

I burn candles

Radiant, knifelike flames of spirit and heart
Flickering, dancing, with the breath of hope

Transformation, translation, testified in hot wax
Intention illuminated incarnate
Light glowing from within: prayers made manifest

Radiant Heated Fear

Radiant heated fear
Pulsates through blooded intestines
Pressing on my sphincter
Demanding I purge
Bloated intestinal tubes

Tubes pumping, pulsating
Razor edged emotions temporarily purged
Nervously anticipating another
Spontaneous panic filled attack
Triggered by relentless, stalking, circling fear

Fear of loss, of grief
Of utter helplessness in the face of
Chronic, debilitating pain
Fear that nothing will
Appease or palliate.

Palliate or appease the pain or
the rising bitter tasting vomit
Wedged in my throat
Unrelieved by sips of water.
Desperate I consider the gate of Mount of Purgatory

Purgatory no lofty island mountain
With indifferent angel keepers guarding the door
Demanding Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice
Bowing my head in penitence
Will not change our fate.

Fated to stand on earth
Fated to bear witness to
a multitude of injustices meted out
By the hands of capricious
Mother Nature

Monday, May 23, 2005

Bones and Dust

Two poems: One is a very old bone- something from behind the mask. The other is a celebration of change - exchanging one mask for another?


Sometimes I cry
hot surprised sobs like a child.

Sometimes I cry
ancient tears from a wound out of sight.

Sometimes I cry
and hear from afar, the noise of my grief
and my hand makes a fist.

In fear and confusion
un-invited, unbidden,
from flood-lit sensation I fly
to be numb and removed.

Then the long night's ache won't erase
nor your comfortless touch
touch that cold place

and my hand makes a fist.


Gather up all childish things:
the girlish hooks and charms,
the gaudy jangles,
the foolish airs,
the jumps , the falls, the false alarms.

Make haste with cleaning stuffy nooks
of teenage angst,
naive despair.
Blow away the dusty crumbs of
lofty romance,
coy and care-
falsehoods, out of nothing made but
sweet little suckers ( and all of them me)
all blowing her horn
and barking up wrong trees.

Heather Marsh, 2005

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Saving Old Poetry

I’m finding bones in the garden
Where the darkness is spiked with cold
Asleep with webs of roots and worms
Winding through the shifting mold

What lost and murky deed was this
In the mist of some long lost night?
That has moldered thus for decades
Away from the air and light?

The shovel turns soil as black as pitch
And clicks against dry bone
Perhaps they should stay hidden here
Undiscovered, untouched, alone?

Perchance there are secrets buried here
That are better left unfound?
Perhaps what this marrow clay conceals
Is best left underground?

Still I dig and flip the shovels-full,
On the ground debris is strewn
Jumbled, disjointed, human bones
White and cold in the shade of the moon

I force my eyes to the macabre brew
In trembling, terror and fear
But as I gaze, moon shadows shift
And the still, pale bones come clear

They are white as pearls in the moonwash
In this garden cold and wild
Unearthed from out the haunted soil
Are the clean bones of a child

The slender bones of a maiden
Scattered across the broken ground
What secrets to these ivory bones
Like ivy roots are bound?

For there is a mystery on them
Unearthed too late, too soon
Suffused with mystical meaning
They glow with more than moon

Who was she, who lies broken here
In echoed pale illusion
These bones of alabaster ice
In scattered, lost confusion?

Did once a name, a heart, a face
Bloom bright beneath the sun?
Before the dank and silent earth
Took all to be undone?

Did the starlight wash her silent
As it sifted from above?
Was she spun of air and magic
As she danced her dream of love?

There is no voice to that dream now
In this dark that has no dawn
No throat is stretched with song here
The singer is vanished, gone

All that was, is afterward
All is nevermore
All that might come after
Was broken by the past before

She is gone without a breath now
Where there dwells no lasting chance
No whisper sings her song now
No steps that mark her dance

And yet - there are these secret bones
Lucent mysteries in the ground
Brittle, broken lilies
Twined with ivy all around

Still full of pith and marrow
Even after all the years
They shine like moon deep opal
Echoed mirrors of ancient tears

A testament everlasting
A rune thorn clearly drawn
Sundered, slivered, broken
Transformed, but not yet gone

There are splinters of words in this garden
Deep buried beneath the stones
Hearts blood spilled onto paper
The truth of a young girls bones

So I gather those splinters like relics
Disjointed and scattered apart
An incomplete hallowed collection
Piles of paper stained with my heart

And there is a mystery on them
Unearthed too late, too soon
Suffused with mystical meaning
They glow with more than the moon

I lock them away, safe and sacred
Shattered bones still charmed and entranced
I save them in humble remembrance
Of the girl who once wore them to dance

©Edwina Peterson Cross

MASKS - Fear and False Faces

Fear and False Faces

"How many of us," asked Vi, "wear masks to hide our true nature?" Where to look to find the fears that must be faced? How to face the facade that fronts the fears we find? Even when we know what they are, our fears are still full of flight and fright. When we stop fleeing and turn, will we find the fear as frightening as we foresaw?

Many children are frightened by masks. This is completely understandable to me. In many ways there is nothing more frightening than someone who appears to be one thing and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are not who they pretend to be. When you discover a person is wearing a false face, you have no idea who/what you are really dealing with. Who are they truthfully? What do they want? This is incredibly, intrinsically frightening.

When it is ourselves behind the mask, it can be just as formidable. If you look in the mirror and see a mask, there is the same fear as when you see it on another’s face. Who is behind the mask? What do they want? What caused the need to put a false face between yourself and the world? And where will the courage come from to remove it?

When I was teaching Early Childhood Education I played a game with the children that rather haunts me now, when thinking of this subject. All the children would close their eyes and I would tap one on the shoulder. That child came to the front of the rug and stood behind a huge “false face” that I held up. It was a Jack-o-lantern and was so big that it completely covered the child so the other children couldn’t see them at all. The idea was for the class to determine which child was behind a huge pumpkin face, usually by figuring out who was missing from the rug. It was an exercise in critical thinking and they kids loved to do it. It is the rhyme that I invented to go with the game that echo’s a bit with larger meaning now.

Who is behind the false face?
Nobody else but me
Nobody else but me,
It is me you cannot see.
Who is behind the false face?
Wouldn’t you like to see?
Who is behind the false face?
Can you tell it’s me?
Who is behind the false face?
I don’t even show . . .
Who is behind the false face?
Maybe you’ll never know!
Who is the one concealed here
In this hidden place?
You can’t tell from looking
It’s a false, false face!

Quarantining Fear

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Whenever I walk in a London street,
I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, "Bears,
Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!"

And the little bears growl to each other, "He's mine,
As soon as he's silly and steps on a line."
And some of the bigger bears try to pretend
That they came round the corner to look for a friend;
And they try to pretend that nobody cares
Whether you walk on the lines or squares.
But only the sillies believe their talk;
It's ever so portant how you walk.
And it's ever so jolly to call out, "Bears,
Just watch me walking in all the squares!"
A.A. Milne

Everyone who has read A.A. Milne knows to watch their feet, to be ever so careful not to walk on the lines. Milne’s story of the masses of bears waiting to eat the sillies who tread on the lines of the street filled me with fear and trepidation and I clung tightly to my parents arms as we walked across the jetty at the beach for fear of falling through the cracks.

As an adult I have developed a sophisticated adamantine security system that includes motion detectors, sensors and burglar alarms’ Doors to my inner self are locked with the finest locking systems and the keys do not have serrated edges, like normal keys have. Instead they are pocked with unique patterns of depressions and cannot readily be duplicated. No one has a key to this inner sanctum that is locked at all times.

Why this stern isolation? Isolating feelings has been a mechanism I have developed over time to ensure that no one, least of all myself, has to confront the marauding bears that growl to each other and say ‘she’s mine.’ I have believed that the contents of the inner laboratory are so corrosive that to step inside would be like opening Pandora’s box and that I would not slam the lid in time to prevent hope from escaping.

Recently, upon viewing an exhibition of the grotesque I felt an overwhelming desire to gaze in the face of my fears and, in doing so, thaw them. Of recent days I have yearned to enter the locked laboratory, to look directly at the grim manifestations that I have feared and in so doing remove any terror that lingers in my heart. Truth, I feel, wants to be discovered.

to be continued

Friday, May 20, 2005


It's midday and way too hot
The sun burns like a beam through discarded glass.

I lay beneath the slowly circling ceiling fan
Eyes closed
Ice tea close at hand while
Listening to Enya's soft soothing sounds.

Such is ecstasy.

Vi Jones
© May 20, 2005

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Gifts from the Past

Did you think I'd gone away? No. When I'm quiet is when you know I'm truly here in the Abbey. The Abbess must have known exactly what I needed when she gave me this cell so near the garden and so far from the books. The stillness in the halls and under the trees renews my soul. I never mind the long walk to the library, because it's then I'm able to examine the art on the stone walls and hidden in little niches along the way.

The hidden ones are the ones that soon become precious to me and when I stand and study them in the dim light, in the shadows, time slows down. I sometimes wonder if I've become invisible to the people who are rushing past, they don't seem to see me, although some stop for a moment as if they sense my presence.

I found something hidden in the library, too. There's a special drawer; I can't tell you exactly where, I think novices have to find it for themselves. Maybe it doesn't even stay in the same place all the time, but moves about of its own free will.

Now you're laughing and saying I need to get out more!

But, no--look what I found! The drawer has scraps of paper left by previous residents of the Abbey as gifts to us. Here are things they wanted to pass on to us, lessons learned, perhaps, even wisdom.

Do you know of a poet named Kabir? I did not. Here's what he says.

My brother kneels (so saith Kabir)
To stone and brass in heathen-wise
But in my brother's voice I hear
My own unanswered agonies.
His God is as his fate assign--
His prayer is all the world’s and mine.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Having Fitz

This is a poetic form called a Fitzgerald. Faucon introduced it at the Live Poets Blog. The poem itself must be exactly 55 words long, but the title can be as long or short as you wish. Ever since I first tried a Fitz, I’ve been perversely wanting to take shameless advantage of that “loop-hole” that lets you use a title of any length. In this poem, I actually used the funny quote about the Gypsies that I put on the end of that last message to Trendle as the TITLE!

I was stolen by the Gypsies.
My parents stole me right back.
then the Gypsies stole me again.
This went on for sometime.
(Charles Simic)

If the Gypsies had stolen me
A breath wouldn’t have been uttered
My mother would have let the back door slam
Gone across the tall grass of the yard
Faster than heat lightening in the mountain twilight
When my father came home and found her gone
Heaven wouldn’t have been enough
To help
The Gypsies

Edwina Peterson Cross


My Lady of the Elwood! Did I dream this, or do you have a gate in your Lemuria Garden that goes . . . who knows where? I mean, is there a gate, or a door, free-standing that might, you know, lead anywhere? Vi wrote a lovely poem about a wrought iron gate in a field and Beliver has begun to write about the concept of Vi's poem. (At Fantasy Cove.) I have a vision of this . . . door? in your Lemuria Garden. Did I dream it?

What about those Gypsies that stamped "Trendle" in your forehead? Did I dream that? *snizzle* Ohio. As if. (I love you!)

"I was stolen by the Gypsies. My parents stole me right back. Then the Gypsies stole me again. This went on for sometime." (Charles Simic)

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Beyond what we see,
there is more.
Beyond what we feel,
there is more to feel.
Beyond our universe
is another
and yet another
and so it goes.

Beyond the speed of sound
is the speed of light,
then, the speed of our ability
to understand,
to communicate,
to believe,
to know that deep in our soul
we are not alone, that we are
but an infinitesimal part
of an unseen whole.
A concept
beyond our ability to reason.

Each of us individually
is a grain
of whatever it is to be human,
and tho' we strive, we fail.
When reaching for the stars
our weakness is
debris upon the path,
but we continue reaching
knowing that--

Beyond what we see,
there is more.
Beyond what we feel,
there is more to feel.
Beyond our universe
is another
and yet another
and so it goes.

(c) May 14, 2005

Thursday, May 12, 2005



Tren - Daughter-in-love does sound like "daughter-in-law" but actually it is the term that I use for my circle of extra daughters. I have several consecutive circles resulting in about twenty extras! Laura is #1 daughter-in-love, Lezlie and April's best friend. There are seven in the first circle - my own two and their five best friends who have been together since Middle School and who have spent thousands of hours here. A couple of them actually lived with us during part of High School. This is the poem and painting I did for them recently. Left to Right: Jinni, Lezlie, April, Jocelyn, Laura, Sarah, Rachel. It is hard to make someone look like themself from the back!

Darling Daughters . . .

Clear, clean, ceaseless lights
In a world that has gone
So dark
Brilliant scattering of stars
Still you blaze
In strong, single constellation,
Though you are
Swept far and wide
Across a hungry
Star swallowing sky

The sweet shapeless sound
Of your mingling laughter
Fills Joy
To overflowing
Like wine into water
It has changed the color of

©Edwina Peterson Cross
March, 2005

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Rita Blitt - Caught in Paint

Caught In Paint

My daughter-in-love Laura gave me an incredible present for Mother’s Day. It is a framed, signed print by the artist Rita Blitt from an amazing artistic session that was captured in the short film “Caught in Paint.”
This is a six minute video featuring Blitt painting on four by eight foot transparent surfaces while members of the David Parsons Dance Company are seen in mid-air, behind the transparent surface, imitating the dancing lines of Blitt's paint strokes. Actually, during the session, the creative impetus goes both ways. Part of the time Blitt paints and the dancers reproduce the lines, part of the time the dancers dance and Rita Blitt paints what she sees through the transparency. The photographer on the project was Lois Greenfield, and the collaboration of paint, dance and photography is really something fantastic. My Laura works for the Ashland Film Festival, which showcased “Caught in Paint.” She met Rita Blitt, told her that I had been ill and how much I would love her work, then asked where she could buy a print for me for Mother’s Day. Rita Blitt gave her the signed print, which she then had framed for me.

I have always loved collaborations between the arts. I taught dance using poetry, literature, art and music and taught poetry using dance, painting and music as well. The synergy on this particular project was really fascinating. I told Laura that now we just need to get ourselves some really big plexiglass and try it out ourselves!

Rita Blitt’s art is all interesting.
I found the sculpture that she does from her own single line drawings especially intriguing.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Tradition of Gargoyles

Many tales have been told about the Cathedral of Notre Dame, some true, some not. I leave it to you to determine if there is any truth to this story of how its famous gargoyles came to be.

When Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone in 1163, he admonished all who worked on the cathedral to dedicate their labors to the glory of God and to the Blessed Virgin. And so it was for many years, as a generation of masons and stone cutters, haulers and finishers worked together in harmony toward a common goal. As the building progressed, artists and sculptors chipped away elbow to elbow on scaffolds etching stories of the Bible onto giant archways through which the faithful would pass. Stain glass artisans designed tracery patterns, mixed in oxides and layered liquid colors until they'd created windows as delicate as lacework

When at last the cathedral neared completion, word went out for master sculptors to create the crowning glory of the church, angels that would line the high gallerie connecting the two main towers. The greatest artists from all of France came to Paris to set up shop bringing with them the tools of their trade along with wide-eyed apprentices awed by the sights of the teeming city.

Parisian girls lined up outside workshops eager to offer their beauty for the honor of being immortalized in stone. Those who were chosen soon became vain; those who were turned away, envious. As the deadline drew near, sculptors worked late into the night, models fainted from fatigue, apprentices averted their eyes from the troubling flutter of wings cast by candlelight and lanterns. People argued about who was the greatest beauty, and wine-filled husbands' and suitors' exchanged angry words that spilled over into fist fights and duels.

On the appointed day, apprentices padded wagons with straw and wrapped the angels in blankets and sheep's wool. As individual carts left workshops and wended their way through the streets of the Ile de la Cite, artist recognized fellow artist and each hurled insults to the other, models stole furtive glances at their rivals and turned away in scorn, apprentices who usually gave mutual support, traded obscene gestures.

In the square in front of the cathedral, a huge crowd waited near a stage to judge the finest statue, the greatest sculptor, the most beautiful woman. Hawkers sold meat pies and drink, cut-throats picked pockets. While priests looked on, wondering how things had gone so wrong, men and women placed bets on the winners.

Dark clouds began filling the blue sky, and some offered a quick prayer that rain would not ruin the festivities, but most folk were too distracted to notice. The sculptors arranged their statues and models on the stage and waited, ready to unveil as soon as the word was given. A few drops of rain fell and several of the men swore. The models looked up worriedly and primped their hair.

The day grew dim with mist and drizzle. Carefully coiffed curls began to droop. The judges finally gave a nod and, as though one, the artists removed the covering cloths to reveal their treasures. Gasps of pleasure and awe escaped the crowd as they looked at granite and marble worked so skillfully the figures might have been breathing. Features so perfectly mirrored the live models that, but for the color of the stone, they might have been twins. Tendrils of hair curled just as on the live girls, arms stretched forth with slender fingers and nails polished to a shine. Sandaled feet appeared ready to take a step.

And the wings! None had ever seen wings conveyed with such precision and grace. Some were completely unfurled, some wrapped about like a cloak. An enormous angel had one sweet bare foot in front and one behind her, as if she'd just come to earth with the wind still in her wings. Feathers made of stone, and all bore a delicacy bordering on transparency.

Some people in the crowd had tears in their eyes at the extraordinary display of beauty.

The sky grew darker and rain fell steadily. The stone figures gleamed, becoming more beautiful. The models became ugly, angry with their dripping hair and bedraggled dresses. As the visibility decreased the crowd pushed forward. The weak and the unlovely were ignored or shoved back, a few fell and were trampled, but no one reached down to help, so mesmerized were they by the beauty before them. A small knot of people dropped to their knees and worshipped the alighting statue. Others knelt to its creator.

Young women who'd been rejected by the sculptors jeered and laughed at the models in their distress. Someone threw a ripe tomato. More were thrown as the rain poured down and the thunder rolled in. Most of the crowd was kneeling now, eyes closed, as they worshipped the statue and the sculptor, all oblivious to the jagged slashes of lightening piercing the sky between thunderclaps. A lone priest, black robes soaked and clinging to his legs, ran about trying to make himself heard but no one listened, no one heard.

Scattered about were a few who had resisted the frenzy, mostly the old and the disabled, or those blessed souls who'd never had beauty and knew how fleeting and false it could be. One of them shouted above the storm, "Open your eyes and look!" and the crowd obeyed.

At first they saw nothing strange, then in a great, lingering, glare of lightening they noticed that the statues seemed not as big as they'd been. The tall, slender angels were shrinking. Pummeled by rain, granite and marble was slowly oozing down on itself like mud, torsos shortened, limbs became thick and stunted. Tender curls disappeared or twisted into grotesque ears and horns. Some angels kept an almost human form but one that mocked and taunted, others transformed into foolish or even hideous beasts. And as every face collapsed, sweet angel lips widened and gaped and spouted water.

The rain stopped as the people understood. Priests ministered to the injured and frightened, heard confessions and gave penances for months, but refused to write the story. The fallen angels were lifted high onto the gallerie and set there for all of Paris to see. Women went back to their husbands and suitors. Artists returned to their towns and villages and when they were asked to sculpt angels to top the ramparts of new churches or buildings, they declined, stating a tradition begun in Paris . A tradition of gargoyles.

Phone Call To My Mother

Happy Mother's Day


Oh, marvelous magic

Mystical box
Powerful tiny enchanted thing
Cradled in my hand
My fingers brush its surface
Dancing out a secret code
Drumming out a private incantation
Drawing forth the magic
Delivering unseen glamours into the thin bright air
And suddenly...
From out of nothingness...
I conjure you
Invoke your voice from far away
Just by the tappings of my sapient secret spell
I have captured you in the palm of my hand!
And here I will spellbound hold you
And pour out upon you all the happenings of my day
Wrap you in the pages of each book I have read
Bathe you in the sparkles of my children's laughter
Into the tiny box around you I will pack all my loneliness
The sharp jagged pieces of my pain
And you will sing me all smooth again
Disembodied beloved voice
Summoned genie in a box
Marvelous magical mystery box
Powerful tiny enchanted thing
Cradled in my hand

©Edwina Peterson Cross
(From Motherhood, Journey Into Love)


Thursday, May 05, 2005

page created for an RR in a book called "Moments

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The winds of necessity

On the night that I last wrote in my Journal the skies grew so dark I could not concentrate and laid my journal aside tell morning . Sleep would not come as the winds howled loudly down the halls of the monastery. Usually I lover a good storm, but this one seemed menacing. Looking out of the window I could see the tree silhouettes against the gray sky, thrashing and bending back and forth to the ground. The thunder roared in the heavens. While I stood there, half exited and half fearful, a blinding streak of lightening lit up the courtyard as a swirling black cloud rushed towards the monastery. It was at that moment that a tornado lifted me from my cell, transported me wildly to the wind of necessity, and sent me back on the path of priority. Last night I was gently placed back in my bed, in my cell, in the Abbey as creativity energy once more welcomed me back.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

My sister's upcoming art exhibition

My sister will be exhibiting some pictures at an exhibition in Philadelphia in June, I think. She has just sent me the link to see some of them and I thought fellow abbey dwellers might be interested to see them.

These are very different from her usual style. Her name is Hazel Jarvis and if you do a google search on her name you will find that some of her botanical watercolours are held in national collections in the US. She usually does very finely detailed watercolours of flowers and, more recently, cats but she also works in mixed media and has just taught a class in art journalling.

Please don't pass this link on to anyone outside these walls as, so my sister now informs me, it was only intended for me and the graphic illustrator who was going to use the pictures to make the invitations for the opening.

Welcome Heather Marsh!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Flower of Childhood

The Children's Flower

The basic, essential raw material
Of life’s first bouquet
“Flowers for Mama”
They are child sized, easy to reach
They call out with that dazzling color
That even the youngest child understands
A blazing, bursting, shouting shade
That just might be enough,
When given by the fist full,
To voice the overflowing
Of this true ‘first love’
A love that is golden
That is everything
That is infinite

This same flower
Will turn to delicate, airy
Right under a child’s nose
It’s radiant riot of color
Suddenly replaced by
An exquisite, elegant fantasy
Of cream colored lace

Trembling in a brilliant breeze of summer
Waiting for the moment
It will burst into a myriad of wishes
Wishes that will ride on a child’s sweet breath
Into the wind and off to the world
Dozens of soft faery dancers
Swirling, whirling and twirling
Under parasols of whispers

Whispers that will come again
Within the sacred circle:
Brought by air,
Nourished by earth
Blessed by water
Kissed by the sun’s fire
Begin again
The gift of life

Blossom from the meadows of memory
Bloom of bright beginnings
Milky birth of summer wine
Taproots of health and healing
Brought in tinctures, teas and boiled greens
Some call you ‘weed’
For how you
Flourish and thrive
Rugged, stalwart, strong
Radiant with a secret grace
Rich with nature’s laughter

Taraxacum Officinale
Common dandelion
Childhood’s favorite flower

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Novice to the Abbey

Warm and slightly shy greetings to you, the gentle reader and also to all of the members of the Lemurian Abbey.My name is Heather Marsh- definately not to be confused with Heather Blakey, the creater of the Soul Food Cafe, whose shoes would be like boats on my feet. This is my first post to this blog and also my first blog ever!

I came to the Lemurian Abbey by wonderful accident. Heather Blakey came into my shop one day ( I must admit now that I cannot even recall her face) and must have taken a shine to it. My store is called Wunderkammer, which loosely translates as 'wonder chamber'. It is as much museum as retail shop, housing fossils, insects, antique scientific instruments and models. I began Wunderkammer with my friend, Igor, as a way of combining work with my desire to foster curiosity as a way of being, and to nuture my own curiosity for the world with all of its wonders.

Each month I write an article about science and natural history, which I post on my website
Wunderkrammer News
Heather read some of my articles and on the basis of those alone, invited me to join the Abbey. Little did she know that for the past year I have been secretly hatching a plan to follow writing as a vocation and have made good on that plan by writing numerous stories, poems, essays, a picture book for adults, a childrens' picture book and the beginnings of an historical/fantasy novel for young people.

I am truly honoured to be part of the Abbey- a place for artists to work with and support other artists, and am excited at this invitation to make writing my daily practice.

Yours in Curiosity,
Heather Marsh.

May Day

the invaders

a couple of weeks ago our handyman pruned (read savaged) the various hedges and trees in our garden, in particular the false acacias - robinia pseudoacacia - that provide a thorny screen on the bank of our land at the road side of our property. Last week I spent a precious free Friday afternoon digging up dandelions. Yesterday as I was clearing up the pruned branches imagine my horror at the sight of the invaders. They came in their hordes, floating on the breeze from the field on the other side of the road - little thistledown angels (that's what we called them when we were kids), the dandelion seeds. With the acacia screen gone my lawn (completely replaced 2 years ago) lay exposed and vulnerable to the invading hordes of potential generations of yellow-hued squatters. I was helpless and could only hope that the wind would carry them across our garden and on to the field beyond. There seems to have been a glut of dandelions in our part of the world this year and whilst I admire their deep yellow colouring they do not rank amongst my favourites of God's creation.

Here in Luxembourg May Day is celebrated by going out early in the morning and collecting branches of lime leaves and twisting them in to wreathes which are hung above the doors of cafés and restaurants. In Sweden the eve of May Day, Walpurgisnacht is celebrated and our Swedish friends in the village often hold a party complete with bonfire. I suppose bonfires are our modern day version of the old hill-top fires. We have another pagan festival too - the cross-burning - which takes place in February - to celebrate the passing of the winter.

Gardeners' question time:
with reference to our new (2yr old lawn), the worms have been busy again over the winter and our once smooth lawn is rapidly being reduced to hillocks. Does anyone in the abbey know what to do to combat this? Does rolling a lawn help?
Answers please, on a large leaf

thistledown angels

Dear Traveler,

The neighbors do not know, the garden club society does not know, the local tv news does not know, the agricultural section in the newspaper does not know, do you know who does know? Kids know.

Kids know that what the whole world looks upon as invaders are truly, “thistledown angels” And how can anything as beautiful, as yellow, as cheerfull, as independent and as inspirational as the flowers that make thistledown angels be something to scorn. Yes yes, the whole world scorns dandelions on the lawn, but are we not seeing that the whole world is wrong about such a number of things?

If dandelions were not so free we would be ordering them from mail order catalogs I am sure! Now wouldn’t that be something that we have never seen, dandelions planted in a row! Maybe I will do that some year just for the fun of it! I will have a nice neat bed of dandelions, wouldn’t that be interesting and different! Thank you Travelor for that Idea! But for now I have dandelions strewn throughout my lawn making their bold statement of vitality. Did you know that other flowers when in the vicinity of dandelions bloom sooner then they would if a dandelion was not near? It is true, I think I read it someplace scientific, if a thistledown angel did not whisper it into my ear.

And have you noticed what flower the bee prefers? Now a bee should know about flowers and which ones are the most important, after all she makes her living from flowers and is always after the best ones.

Love to you Travelor and to all dandelions everywhere

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Beltane Greetings


Happy Beltane!

Beltane Dance

Rowan and hawthorn blossom in twain
The oak and the ivy in trance
The May tree is decked out with ribbons
Come wreath you hair for the dance!

Tie up spring flowers in bunches
Lilacs of purple and white
To be gifted with laughter and blessings
And found with the mornings first light

Deck the doorway with Mountain Ash
Stack kindling from nine sacred trees
Bring sweetcakes, new cream and honey
The sweet dripping gift of the bees

The Greenman calls from the woodlands
The May Queen answers his song
With a cup over flowing with Maywine
Clear and renewing and strong

For the fires will blaze on the hillside
The darkness bring riches and chance
The year turns fertile and giving
Come join in the Beltane dance!

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Beltane is a joyful, happy time, when the veil is thin and the earth returns to it's fertile cycle (all that Green!)

My happiest Beltane memories are of my little girls making May Baskets for their friends. It started when they were in Elementary School and the project just kept getting bigger and bigger. By the time they were in High School, they were delivering 60 bundles of flowers on Beltane Eve, we could no longer even consider ‘baskets.’ The girls would go out and cut arms fulls of lilacs - because lilacs usually blossom at the correct time, are very prolific and FREE! The gathering started about dusk on Beltane Eve, lilacs and the multicolored flowers from the hillsides, then all during the night they sat on the floor of the living room in a sea of rich purple perfume, laughing and talking and tying the bunches together with a big roll of hemp string. Each bundle had lilacs and a few other flowers. I bought tulips so each bundle could have one big, very bright flower. When a bundle was finished, it was tied with several different colors of flowing satin ribbon. All night long, my living room would be filled with the beautiful, crystal sound of little girls laughing. It would smell like someone had opened the gates of heaven.

The next thing was to ‘mark their route’ - figuring how they were going to get to 60 different houses and deliver these bundles of joy before dawn without back-tracking all over town. Once the route had been identified and mapped, they loaded the flowers in huge tubs of water and put these, sloshing, into the little VW rabbit. Then they headed out into the night, tape player blazing out Vivaldi. They usually finished, not by dawn, but just in the nick of time. Sometimes it was well over the nick of time, and the last few on the list would be already up and getting ready for school. The need for stealth grew greater with the light! For the recipient must not catch the giver. The recipient should wake up and finds the flowers - just as if they had been left by the faeries!

It became the thing to wear your flowers to school the next day, so during the day of Beltane all of their friends were decked with flowers and ribbons. It is amazing how many people have told the girls, in the years since, that they looked forward to May 1st all year and that those beribboned bundles were a major memory of their High School years. For an astonishing number of them, especially the boys, it was the only time in their lives that they ever received flowers.

Below is another Beltane poem that I wrote. This one has a very different feeling. I wrote it on the first May Day when all my daughters were all away at college; when suddenly the night seemed very cold without the smell of lilacs and the sound of laughter.

Last night, while I painted my fey May Poll, I sprayed the air with an expensive lilac room spray and I lit two lilac candles. I don’t feel so terribly sad anymore, just nostalgic and happy for the beautiful memories of laughter and lilacs.

Beltane Cold

Beltane morning
Cold and dark before dawn
Where have you turned your three faces
Where are the rainbow ribbons, the flowers?
That giving warmth, that opened May
Blooming sweet, scattered petals on the floor?
Cold are the fires on the hill
Broken the ancient circles
The day comes black and vacant
Jack-in-the-Green as flown
With the bright spirits who have left my house empty
The dark, chill air smells of earth and stars
But there is not even a breath
Of lilac

©Edwina Peterson Cross