Saturday, December 31, 2005


Prompted by the Manor, I did a search
of 'seeds' within my archives -- finding this
from my courting days of m'lady Em

Ah, it is still dark
or so envisioned by those still asleep.
Yet the Mistress is about and above and over there,
casting amber shadows on things so real
in sunlight glare that we may not see for blinking.

Life spreads before us a tapestry,
woven of warp threads of eternity
and our feeble yarn of self-dilution.
we get caught up in this shuttle of life
and forever pass guilt and envy to another
"woof" is a magical term as any other!

Come on then, my Lady, reflection of my soul;
show me the texture of the shadows
and hide the discarded trash of yesterday.
Open my eyes to what can be made real
instead of reality made ugly and less hopeful.

Why does the world choose to slumber, half awake
when they could walk the path of wonder
only lit when your golden laughter
draws me to my pulsing
seed of life?

It is only by reflection that we can see the truth,
both in harsh realities of pain and strive and yearning.
Strive to look at life's choices through the eyes
of one less fortunate by your own limitations,
than those would you would set
on a pedestal of greed.

Or just settle here in the softest of moonlight,
and remember you mother's gifting arms,
and know that you are always home as one
and need not do anything
but remember.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

List of Fall

Dream Fall

Fall came to me in fluttering colored notes,
in spite of leaf blower's howl
and confused warm-cold breeze.

Fall came to me in sparse clutching barren twigs,
raw bone chilling sunbeams,
and instinct geese veeing south.

Fall came to me in the lawn's moonlit frosting,
mindless afternoon shadows,
and a determined stubborn leaf.

Fall came to me in piles of rakey leaves,
busses yellowing off to school,
and football Monday knights.

Fall came to me in long forgotten sweaters,
one mitten in the drawer,
and a clock that scrambled back.

Fall came to me in newly visible mistletoes,
a jack-o-lantern scare,
and a maze of looming corn.

Fall came to me in soups and ham-hocked beans,
tall mountains passing snow,
and bow hunters deer to me.

Fall came to me in hot turkey gravied peas,
ruby saucy cranberries,
and whipped up pumpkin pie.

Fall came to me in fairy dancing triple-lutz,
the mower packed away,
and a thick fur shaggy dog.

Fall came to me in the silence of the meadowlark,
the rain's soft guttering,
and Christmas babies finally born.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Summer Pine

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

So much for plans

Well, Em says, "Of course you will write a new story."
Besides, she wants me out of the kitchen
so that she can bake coookies and make fudge
and Scandanavian goodies -- without help!
A blind lady works best without too much help, sometimes.
So I will ignore the clatter of falling pots and some
comment about mashmellow melted all over the
microwave. and write a Parson Christmas story --
just because she asked ...



Only be one problem (I be figerin' byself)
'bout that Parson and Christmas.
Thar be but one Parson and a whole
lot o' Christmas doin's up ta Ridge.

"When he mosey by this year, recon?" (offers ole silent Willie)

"'Bout time that crackling pig be done
for the turnin' o'r them coals you keep
lettin' die too low." (somebody's women sure)

"Na," offers the Squire. "There be a plan
set up fer a spell. I ain't the one ta say,
but my nose is a spicion suptpin's up." (his nose is big enough)

"Ya might have somethin' there." (Chester always agrees wit the Squire)

"Be remem'rin' at the barn fiddlin' last big moon,
how the Parson be chattin' up some folk off ta side like."

Then there was a bit of whisperin', and jug passin',
and fetchin' more cobs fer the fire, and checkin'
on what the youngin' was pretendin' not to do." (I watches everything)

Then Lottie do his reg'ar summin' up sayin' (we'd been awaitin')

"Here's what seems to be agreein'.
Each year for gone that Parson gets' ta talkin'
round bout harvest time 'bout the special meanin'
of Christmas and shortest year and nature hiddin' cold.
'Bout how folks ta Ridge here be tired of mendin'
and patchin' work, and start thinking 'bout Spring a commin',
and that's why baby Jesus day is set near the new year."

"The Book don't say it that a way." (Willie always interuptin')

"It don't say nuthin' bout calendars or
crop gatherin' or prayer meetin's neither" (Squire getting' feisty)

"Parson say there are three Chrismas" (I gets in a lick)

"That' right! The kids' be tellin' me. Lets' get one."

"Fercus -- git on over here fer tellin'" (That's Willie's biggest one)

Now t'ain't regular to have a youngin' join
the men folk for palaverin', but noddin' heads
be saying' it be right to have the tellin' straight.
(I see Bessie wavin' the ladies close)
"Now son," says Willie kind like.
"What's that Parson be tellin' y'all 'bout
Christmas when ya's chattin' by the crick?"

"Well, he be asignin' parts of the story to read
from the Book ta sunrise meetin' tomorrow." (we'd be knowing that!)

"and the shavers got a skit ta do past sundown,
with Sassie in charge of teachin' the words." (could tell the women know of this)

"No -- I mean this three Christmas preachin'" (Lottie don't got no kids)

"Oh that! Not much diff'rent that what he says
in stories the rest of the year, I recon'" (even I's surprised now)

"Yup, he says that this time o' year people gits
a little skert with nature dyin' a bit and they needs
bememberin' that there's always new life hiddin'
beneath the leaves and all" (no body sayin' nuthin')

"So Christmas is 'bout restin'
and patience and believin' in Spring --
an' gatherin' close with fambly,
an' fixin' things broken. Plannin' -- he says that too."
(the kids have come close up ta fire)

"Second part is 'bout celebratin' livin',
why Jesus come ta tell us it's all right to be
simple folks with pain and grievin' and laughin',
fer each of us is like a buried seed of love
ta burst forth in some special way." (I hear a sniffle over yonder)

"Don't need a special day fer that, he says --
should happen every day, but we all get's busy
fer forgettin' and not celebratin' right,
so the whole world get's to do it all at once,
and the darkest night seems 'bout right."
(Fercus seems older now somehow)

"The third Chistmas be about the giftin',
'specially 'bout the secret makin' of the dolls
and walkin' sticks and mended pots and warmin'gloves
an' store found books from down the river I don't know
how pa ever fetches up."
(there be snickerin' here 'n there)
"Parson be sayin' people kinda shy 'bout
sayin' thanks fer barn raisin' and group plowin'
an' watchin' kids fer sick folk and all --
so they say it with a bit o' music
or a special somethin' to say they was listenin'
all along; er they would like to get to know some gal better,
or hug their ma but gets too big … (he kinda drifts off quiet)

Now I don't know what kinda Christmas stories
you be tellin' in the cities with glitterin' trees,
and big church singin' and battery toys --
but if they ain't bout plannin' and plantin',
gathering and sharing and restin' and remembrin' --
then maybe I's glad to be here up ta Ridge
waitin' fer that Parson amble by."

Only thing I cain't figure sure is how he
see all us folks in hollows 'n canyons 'long
ta Ridge 'bout seventy miles, I figure --
some fer supper, some fer dancin',
some for story tellin' all 'tween Christmas eve
and Solstice day --
an' where he puts all that food
we by cookin' up, 'an how he finds
time to make this little whistle
to replace the one I lost --
an' how he talk Chester's pa
inna giving us this pig,
'bout ready now
fer Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

No new story

I wasn't going to write anymore Chirstmas stories --
calling it quits after the book, but ..

The church as small, which should be attractive to some. We all like the pageantry and fine voice of huge choirs, and a thousand candles to warm out hearts found in the cathedrals and festive outdoor displays. But some would rather come here, where there is nothing but silence. Oh, there was a Crèche, of course -- straw gathered from the field; hand-carved figurines of mismatched size -- an empty offering bowl beside even more empty candle sticks. As it should be, perhaps. Why should anyone pay for a chance to celebrate the Birth?

Because we pay every day of our lives. That's why. Now I don't care if you relate to the arrival of this brother as a Messiah, or a repeat of Current message throughout time, or nothing of spiritual import at all. But you must admit that this event has had a profound impact on Western culture, and even in protracted misrepresentation has some value. You know, deep within, that we celebrate the wrong event, for the birth is meaningless without the sacrificial death -- of which you may attach no significance -- save that many do and therefore affects your life.

Why do we celebrate any person's birth rather than their accomplishment or effect on this and that? Why would we light a candle in this barren place even though we are penniless? Why would I reach out and touch the cheek of another in a homeless shelter. Why am I standing outside the cathedral in the snow? I praise the glory of the stained glass windows that they keep the awesome music from me! I sing Hosannas that the person held close against my chest will not be judged, but is only in need of shared warmth -- which I can give this day. In the jumbled rags the soul is sexless, and it matters not.

I lit a candle in that little church and could not pay. But that glowing candle in my vision will keep us warm this day, and I sing to this child (I think of it so) that I might be warm enough -- just enough, for more is not required. He or she will probable not say anything when they shuffle off in the morning. They would not insult my simple sharing, after all, except by knowledge that they will someday light a candle in a little church. And will not pay.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Season of Renewal - Best Wishes to All

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Wishing all travellers in this realm

the best of the season,

Imogen Crest, Hermit - Lemurian Hermitage.

a new traveler wanders into the group...

I awoke to the loud burst of lightening and clap of thunder, my heart racing, the house shaking. I could not return to sleep so I wandered into the room of scrolls to find a new one had arrived for me, awaiting my presence on a new journey. A journey to Lemuria! I was excited and eager to go, although not at all packed or ready for such an undertaking. What should I bring?

I wandered about collecting journals, papers, pens, paints and other supplies to bring with me on this new adventure. I had much trepidation. After all my creative muse had left sometime last year and forgotten to tell me where she went so I had been rather weak in the artistic department. But then the other day, sometime in the middle of yet another rainstorm, she reappeared and told me it was time to go ahead. Then this scroll and this chance to journey into a wondrous wilderness of new adventures. New words. New colors. New perspectives. I was excited.
Eager to meet those already here and ready to start I pen these quick words of greeting and start moving forward.

Secret Visitor to the Abbey

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

A secret visitor to the Abbey comes

in the night with a wreath of plenty...

Christmas Monk

Abbeys and monks have some relationship,
though perhaps only in contemplation of silence.

It is close enough to Christmas for this ... (From "A Christmas Dozen")

Silent Knight

The caretaker of the hunting lodge was naturally startled to hear pounding on the door. It was often months between visits to this desolate spot when winter claimed the beautiful setting as its own. He should have been more startled by the giant figure filling the doorway in the gloom, but a calm settled over the old man as he recognized — felt — the Knight for who he was. Through gesture and pantomime the monk secured paper and pen. By sheer force of presence, the priest imparted the urgency and danger of the small group of campers up in the old logging camp. Fortunately, the isolated lodge had a short-wave radio, its link to the distant world. “Call for help," he demonstrated. Dann’s personal frustration over not having the strength to lift the logs and free the child brushed past his mind like a pestering moth. Hope — hope! The news was not good! With the narrow passes closed by the storm, it would be well into the next day before help could arrive. Personal fears of being trapped and helpless again pushed in upon him. Together they got the message out and started the rescue process. The monk hurled himself into the night.

"Only an hour has passed? Where are they?”
The swirling snows had swept clean the measured footprints, a second by second recording of his earlier race down the rutted mountain path to the lodge.

"Gone? No! ... only paved over to tiny velvet drifts. Faith needs little help,” he reminded himself with a restored resolve and discipline. The nearly full moon coaxed faint shadows from the silent pines, pointing the way back up the mountain. These pines, once coated with the dust red pollen of death — spewed by passing logging trucks, urged him on.

“Snow hides many sins,” he mused. “Not a good thought for today though. Try praying!" the priest chided himself. "Snow — cleansing snow — lends dignity and clarity to some of His finest artistry. Good job Lord... That's better."

Even the barren shafts of dogwood and willow, stark and ugly in the day, flashed silver piping in the night, and in contrast, lent softness to the white pillows on each ladened limb of fir and spruce. The cushioning silence would normally have caused the monk to stop and cherish and praise. Now it served only to muffle the crunch of his 40-inch stride.

Contrast! Gleaming black boots flashing beneath the flowing white robe. His former life — filled with pain and anguish — a house in disarray; now peace — 'cares forgotten among the lilies'.

"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."

The continuous prayer drifted out on each puff of frosted breath, later to settle on the crouching manzanita and greet the dawn as jeweled 'pogonip', the 'white death' of Indian legend. The breath of life in the night — the threat of death in the day. The Knight's thoughts turned again to the small girl miles ahead, trapped in the collapsed slag pile of discarded branches and gnarled trunks. His pace might have quickened out of concern, but discipline controlled his steady drive. One hundred giant strides running, one hundred long paces walking — another mile conquered every 8 minutes! The sharp crack of a broken branch pierced the awesome silence and startled a hidden owl from its perch — another ghostly form to glide in the dim moonlight — a lost soul perhaps? Sacrilege? The golden cross on the breast of the priest's tunic flashed a reminder of the stronger light that burned within and allowed such thoughts without harm, 'O living flame of love!' The whirling staff in his hands carved an endless 'figure eight' in the lightly falling crystals, a symbol of balance and strength — a metronome to pace his stride. On — on. He would arrive about midnight. Christmas! Joy! If anyone were present to see, they would have been startled by the intensity of blue eyes shining through the protective slits in the cowled facemask. The decorative embroidered crosses stitched in the hem of the warm hood were but a few of the many functional tools hidden in the simple garb. The Mylar sheet, sandwiched between the layers of wool, kept the keening wind at bay. Only memories crept in.

Christmas — rebirth — it is this monk's birthday also. Back — back. As the mind reaches out, it reaches in. “Wherever the pilgrim wanders, memories remain. Action always speaks louder than words. Being alone is different than being lonely,” he intoned internally. The jumbled thoughts threatened to slow Dann's mission but he gained focus by recalling the words of his mentor, Saint John of the Cross, "'I will not head for the mountains and for watersides, I will not gather flowers, nor fear wild beasts; I will go beyond strong men and frontiers.’

Dann always felt slightly guilty over his inability to place all of his personal tragedies and pain behind him; months in the jungle prison camps, the torture and the broken larynx. He wrestled continuously with his personal ‘sin of humility’, the belief that his burdens were greater than the next man’s, the taking vows, would make the choices simpler.

Dann was the largest of all the pilgrims in the strange monastic order. He also was the only Knight who could not utter a sound. Ten years of study, discipline and transition had been more difficult for him because of his lost voice. Such a price to pay to become a monk, then a priest, and finally a Knight. But then, he didn't need words — a discovery that had released the young soldier from his despair and fear. Action! "Focus and discipline," he recited, to push the thoughts into the shadows. "’To come to be what you are not you must go by a way in which you know not.'”

An accepted cup of tea before starting back up the mountain had produced some guilt, but also deepened prayer that the meager supplies he had left with the lost party would help sustain them until his return. More critical were the instructions he had left on how to survive and save the little girl while he was gone. Never had his need for speech seemed more important. Whether from faith or fear, the group of itinerant campers was following the monk's instructions very carefully. They had built a lean-to of fir branches to keep away the wind and snow from the shivering child. A small fire glowed — but far away from the collapsed pile of branches and slag through fear of a worse disaster than the freezing cold. The solution was simple but arduous, difficult to convey without speech. Each person stood close to the fire in turn, then hovered close to the child where his radiated heat and breath could keep the girl safe. As long as they all worked in trust and cooperation it would turn out all right, sacrificing their own comfort to save another, while in confidence that the Knight would return. Of course, the message of Christ’s existence on earth served as an example. The example was bolstered through the night by the feeling of an incredible voice calling through the blinding storm — the monk yet miles away. The gift of song is in the heart. Tiny branches quivered with the swell and caress of his yearning and faith.

Dann stood on the bluff awhile, watching the scene in the woods, thinking back to other times, other children, but also to regain the breath and composure expected of a Knight. The small group had worked and prayed as required through the freezing hours and were now secure. They scarcely acknowledged the priest's return and the rewards were rightly theirs. The setting was pastoral. There was no church in the lessening snow. The woven boughs would serve — a safe haven in the friendship of the trees. A simple scene. Four men and a woman knelt in the leaves around a tiny figure, wrapped in the monk's extra white robe. They were all singing of a Christmas long ago.


Free Me Pegasus

Oh beauty wild and free,
Your dance captures me.

With the wind in your wings,
And flight beneath your tail

You haunt me in the dark,
And throw away my days

Take me on your back,
Take my anywhere you choose

And return me to grief,
To mourn, to weep.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Boughs of Plenty

Banquet and music, all things fine,
laid out, boughs of plenty,
the colour of green,
the true colour of the
A wondrous year of
travel and discovery, lands
once unknown are known,
corners of darkness
are illuminated.
The Abbey is crowded with
travellers, each
with a tale to tell.
Mine is one of friendship
and gratitude, the
balm that eases things --
in the darkness dwell.
The Abbey is decked
with boughs of
plenty and gratitude.
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Making Music and Celebrating

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As travellers arrive for the banquet to celebrate this year's calendar, le Enchanteur and the Abbess are making music in the Abbey gardens. Join them to make music and tell stories from the road.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Catacomb Fiend I mean FIND

Just a littl Holiday Gift from The Catacomb Staff ( that's me, Anita Marie ) to all of you above.



The Manor House --
so grand, yet unprepared for cold,
that even Tegsh nestles near the ebbing fire;
with snuggled petpeople near to hearth and soul.

The upstairs is austere,
with draped and close covered windows
such that only diffused hint of faerie moon
and golden streetlamps prove of life beyond.

One tiny window alone
in the cloistered garret bath
allows a view of treetop winter clarity --
a leafless glimpse of memories entwined.

There is no saving depth
nor relative perception against steel sky,
to give meaning to myriad layers of net --
cages of spirit webs of simple graying branches.

I hear a faint swishing --
a breeze caressed frond against the pane
which I can view with stretch of balance
and cheek pressed against fogged portaled glass.

Holly green and berries red --
a single tree is born again this day
in proud defiance of season's claim
to remind that all is well at Sakin'el.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Image Hosted by
Spirits in the ether
mix, though never have they met,
perhaps never will.

Of importance is the moment,
this moment, and every
contact in either or blood, alters.

Spirits in ether, seeming nothingness
touch, move by, and through,
intentful and thoughtful.

The spirit moves about
on particles created through the energy of one soul,
moved to react by having touched the other.

Demonstrations of affections,
endearment, are every bit as real
as those our primitive senses would witness.

All is not made of flesh,
all does not need flesh,
spirit is eternal, sentient.

Spirit makes us players,
in the eternal theatre of this universe
delicately balanced, the good, the bad.

Nothing we do, or intend,
no thoughts, emotions are
ever inert.

In this universe, each spirit
holds the same power, and responsibility
as the hand of the divine.

Sparrow Girl - Meeting Death

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPeople die. People we know and love eventually leave our lives forever. As a child my naivete was often abruptly brought to an end and death was no exception. Old people were going to die, life came to an end in the aquarium, then my cat died, but people, well that was much harder to accept.

The first death of a person in my life came when I was near four years of age. Maya was a beautiful woman, tall, elegant with long black hair and exotic green eyes. She was my mother's friend. Once before I was born my mother had been a nanny to her young sons. The youngest son, Robert was about six when I was three and whenever Maya came to visit she would bring Robert. He would politely play with me, because that is what his mother expected of him, but he did it with great sweetness and I adored him.

Maya was in my young eyes the ideal of what I one day hoped to be. She sat on those occasions, perfectly dressed in the latest of haute couture suits, silk stockings and Italian pumps. To watch her cross her legs, sit back and tilt her head to one side while her clack hair cascaded over the edge of the chair was an all out performance, you could hear the music that should accompany such a perfectly choreographed movement. No surprise, Maya was after all, a very well known and highly paid fashion model. She would come to visit after the shows and Paris and Milan on her way back to her flat in London. Her sons attended school in England where their pianist father lived. She was not married. I am not sure why my mother impressed that detail on me when I was so young, I don't think it had anything to do with the morality. It had more to do with a level of envy my mother felt, I think my mother would have been happier had she been single, but she lacked inner strength to say no to my father's proposal.

A letter with a black rim came to the door by courier, and my mother without opening the letter sunk to the floor in our vestibule. I sat by her, feeling oh so terribly clumsy, not knowing if I should hug her. All I could do was sit, when mams was upset hugging could be exactly the wrong thing to do. I'd been shoved away a few times and barked at. I loved my mother as we all do, so I sat by her gingerly, just barely touching her dress, her dark blue dress. She bit her lower lip and cradled her face with her free hand, her short curled hair stuck to the tears rolling down her face.

We sat for some time on the floor. Mams became quiet the moment suspended until the tearing open of the envelope. She hesitated to pull out the card. Mams had lost so many people in her life, more of her friends and family had died during the last year of the war and still more afterward to disease neglected medically during wartime. In my brief lifetime I had lost no-one I knew. Until now.

She moaned it, and screamed it, sobbed it, gasped it. Mams is dead, over and over. Later mams took me and had tea with a neighbour, and there I heard the story of Mams, her brief twenty eight year old life. The eldest son was fathered by a pianist in England, the other son the product of an anonymous affair, with a shady character according to mams. She was a fashion model from the age of eighteen and lived a glamorous lifestyle afforded her by being one of the most desirable ramp models for various haute couture houses. She lived hard, loved many times and was heartbroken every time a relationship ended. I remembered the many crying times during her visits to our house.

The mams I'd known was glamorous and kind, loved her children and was very generous with considered gifts on important occasions. She was a good and supportive friend to my mother and helped her set her singing career on course. Often they were like schoolgirls all gossip and trying on each other's clothes. I think I felt superior to all that nonsense and was slightly embarrassed by it as was her Robert. She hugged me when she came and left. I could not imagine her never again dropping by.

This same woman at twenty eight lacked the support in her life to deal with a profession that was less than accepting of advancing age. She'd already had cosmetic procedures and worked very hard at maintaining the perfect figure. She'd had dangerous silicone injections. She'd become depressed when she felt she was losing her status in the fashion community. she needed the income to raise her sons and could not transition to another profession, all she knew and all that mattered was modeling and being the most desirable arm-piece receiving the most extravagant gifts from the most wealthy men in Europe. It was ending and she had no idea how to deal with it. Maya had tried to land a position and a chance at a new life in Australia, but when it fell apart for reasons I don't know she "stuck her head in the oven" as my mother put it.

Sticking your head in the oven was not something I could picture or understand. For one thing we never had an oven, and I'd no idea what that would look like. We had a wood burning stove in our apartment, it had one spot to put a pot on, but no oven. I knew bakers had ovens.

I did not understand how an over would kill you or why you'd put your head in there. Surely that would hurt, it would burn. Clearly this was not accidental, something had been very wrong here.

Suicide was not understandable to me. What I could understand is that Mams was depressed and desperate with too many responsibilities and not one person willing to help her with the boys and a new career. I did know even at that age, the very importance of people in your life who love you unconditionally. I was so incredibly sad that no-one, not the father of her children, not her employers, and for that matter not my mother, could keep her from being so sad that she died.

It affected my mother. Mams became more focused on her marriage and home and perhaps a little negligent of her singing career. I think she was scared that if she lost my father, she too would end up with her head in the oven. What also happened was that my mother felt, as Maya must have, trapped in her own life, unable to decide on the basis of what she wanted and thus settling for the safest choices. Maya's death was one of the pivotal experiences in my mother's life and she kept it all inside. Sadly, rather than recognizing that Maya's not calling out for help led to her death more than anything, my mother often in great psychic pain shut others out and herself in. These were beautiful and talented women, delightful company and I cannot think that no-one would have stepped in to help, and oh, how different life could have been.

So at age four I had learned you could die, young and beautiful, loved by her children and friends of misery. The oven was not important, that no-one helped when she needed it was important. My mother being sadder than before mattered. The death of a person affect everyone profoundly. It matters that they die, also how they die, how young, how much promise. All lost. All gone. Life even when it seemed to be most perfect, was not. How horrifying that no one could just sense what was going on, because she did have friends and she was loved, and she left a sea of tears behind. I doubt she knew just how much I admired her and wanted to be like her, her independent spirit, her talents. she was not just a runway model, she was a mother, an accomplished pianist in her own right. It is beyond belief that no one noticed the pain she was in.