Saturday, October 24, 2009

Guest Poet Lisa Nelson

Here is a poem written by a friend of mine, Lisa Nelson. Lisa has a wonderful, sometimes slaunchwise, way of looking at life that pulls deep meaning from a well of humor. This poem is a great example.

Here's one way to do it

A little more than giddy
a little less than panicked
Noticing that the same circumstances
devastate and delight.
How is that possible?
The calculations of these equations
take off, bend, circle back screaming and howling
My god, they're actually enjoying themselves!
The implications stretch and then burst that container they were filling.
It's a new universe!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A lot has happened in my life since last I added my thoughts to this blog. My friend, Dale, has left us, enriched by the memories of a life fully lived. I've travelled to Shasta with six soul sisters. And, of course, I've been caught up in the events that define our lives. But finally, I have a poem I want to post. It carries a few of the memories of my Shasta trip.

From Shasta, I Know...

From Shasta, double shouldered mountain
I learned to see beyond the nearest range
In the panther’s meadow, as I walked
I learned to listen to more than I could hear
In the purity of deep Castle Lake
I saw reflections of all that ever was
And though snow clouds hid the fullness of the moon
I knew myself enlightened nonetheless

A trip to such a place of earthly grandeur
Brings deepest revelation of God’s love

Copyright © 2009 Mary Beth Watt. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How to Create

Today I finally have some time to breathe. For some reason, the last two weeks have been so full that I haven't taken the time to post here, but stray bits of poetry have come to me in odd moments nonetheless. This is something I jotted on the back of another piece of paper before running off to do something else. I found it this morning, read it, and realized I'd written a poem after all. Funny how that works sometimes.

How to Create

We are here to turn things on their heads
To stir the pot
To break free
To spin out of control in so forceful a turning
That we carve new pathways through the rocks

Every thought we hold - 
Even a thought we fight against -
That is different in some way
That smacks of rebellion
That leads us even a tiny bit astray from how others tell us we must think
Strikes sparks of joy in the Universe

It is just such rebellious thoughts
That add most to Creation

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Caress of Understanding

When I see someone
With malice in his heart
I want to be the mirror of his hatred
Until I let myself see the God in him.

When I stand in error
Having done a thing I meant never to do
I view myself with loathing
Until I let myself know the God in me.

When we stand apart
Making differences of all we are
I want to win the battle of our wills
Until I allow the thought that we are both Creators.

Is it respect I must then admit to
Or tolerance or acceptance?
Or is it the caress of understanding we are One?

Copyright © 2009 Mary Beth Watt. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lessons from a Dying Friend

This poem is for my friend, Dale, and his wife, Marilyn. Dale has lung cancer, and they are going through the end times... with love, with dignity, even with gratitude. Not long ago, Dale experienced a crisis that had us all believing he would leave us soon. But he recovered from the pneumonia that threatened him, thanks to his own strength of will. This is the poem I wrote following that time. I've shown it to Dale as a way of thanking him for what he is teaching me.

Dying’s not for the faint of heart, I recall my father saying
Watching you, my friend, I know the truth in that
Seeing you suffer and strain, I wished for your release
Wanting to free you from death through an easier death

But you wouldn’t give up your stubborn life hold,
Not as easily as we wanted to wish for you
Your frail form strove for more life than you had
Your strength overwhelmed the reaper’s call

And I watched you with discomfort at first
Refuting the choices you’d made in your freedom
Until I understood the power of your desire
And gave you your right of sovereignty

What place had I to deny you the full life’s length
Of suffering, of humanity, of unmitigated existence?
You taught me the boundaries that cannot be crossed,
The judgments that cannot be judged

So live fully, my friend, until your own hand
Lets loose of the lifeline you grasp so tightly
I’ll watch through your journey, a friend by your side
And remember your strength till my own life light fades

Copyright © 2009 Mary Beth Watt. All rights reserved.

Thank you, Dale and Marilyn

Monday, September 7, 2009


We spent Labor Day weekend in Cambria. On Saturday, we drove down to the little beach town of Cayucos to walk our dogs on the beach. The holiday brought out crowds of tourists, but we were more interested in the other crowds that gathered. This is what happened.


Morning finds this sleepy beach town waking
To the calling of gulls on the strand
But this day lures more than the usual inhabitants

Something is running just beyond the breakers
The cormorants know, and the seals
Their congregations swell as the service begins

Then dolphins circle, riding the cresting seas
Triangle fins and arched backs rising
Above the swells and beyond the bands of gulls

Soon the air fills with graceful pelican echelons
These master fishers claiming a full share
Of the feast God provides below the cerulean surface

A thousand pelicans surf the air and ride the waves
Until one folds and dives into the sea
Then rises to float by the gulls, beak swollen with success

More brigades of pelicans cast shadows on the sand
As alongside floats another monarch of air
A single osprey, patterned wings slicing through the sky

Copyright © 2009 Mary Beth Watt. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Having Fun Now

We're having fun now, my friends -
No matter that sometimes we're pained
By niggling concerns or constraints
Or hills that seem too high to face

We're having fun here, let's admit
We signed on for this cruise, after all
Each new port we land in informs us
Each day out at sea brings us rest

We're having the times of this life
Let's remember, when things seem the darkest
And our cruise turns instead to a wild river ride
All the fun is in shooting the rapids

So indeed, we are having fun now
And when all of the hills are behind us
We'll look back on the climbs we accomplished
And remember the joy in the climbing

Copyright (c) 2009 Mary Beth Watt. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Here is another poem from my trip to Ireland. We visited the Aran Island of InisOirr (Inishere) on a spectacular day and took a pony cart ride around the island. Just as we were leaving, another cart driver asked if we wanted a ride. Here is my poem.

The craggy shores of InisOirr drew nearer as we sailed
Upon a silken sea beneath white clouds
As we drew up to the dock the magic island beckoned
Its spider web of stone walls called us forth
We met a thousand dreams, some ancient, some brand new
But each one sang to us enchanted songs
The island dogs served escort as wanderings led to wonders
Everyplace we stopped called to our souls
And lives are lived in full there in peace and simple pleasure
The best of all the ages holding fast
Yet too soon departure called and as reluctantly I answered
A cart man pitched a ride about his land
"The sun is here," he said, "it shines here every day"
He smiled to let me in on his small jest
My hand went to my heart as I answered him in kind
"It shines in here, that's good enough for me."

Copyright (c) 2009 Mary Beth Watt. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Symphony of Peace

I wrote this poem in response to a challenge from Robert McDowell, whose own wonderful book, Poetry as Spiritual Practice, I highly recommend. Robert is suggesting that those of us who want to might enjoy participating in a new movement for world peace started by a friend of his, Rich German. I have visited the web site and will now receive a daily meditation for world peace. If you would like to know more, please visit Also, you can visit Robert McDowell's web site at

Anyway, here is my poem about peace.

In a small house in Virginia
A young mother comforts a child
With a lullaby learned at her own mother's side

At an army base near Kabul
A soldier sits at a computer
Laughing at emailed jokes from his son

Near a village west of Nairobi
Six women search for fruit
Singing together to welcome a new day

Everywhere, voices rise
People join in laughter
Harmony brings smiles

Moments of peace playing
A symphony for God's hearing

Copyright (c) 2009 Mary Beth Watt. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Knowings

I know that I am having fun.

I know that I treasure today the memories of even my most uncomfortable moments in my least satisfying times, because they happened, and I felt them, and I became more from them.

I know that life is joy even in pain; love even in times of hatred.

I know that hate is only strong emotion thwarted.

I know that the knife thrust of strong emotion helps us break through to new ways of seeing.

I know that the knowings that come to me in the purity of an open perception are the truest knowings, and I want to remember them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Concert

(Warning... this one rhymes!)

Fast by the Lakes of Killarney
In a rhododendron dream
I saw a leprechaun kneeling
Neath a hawthorne tree by a stream

He’d gathered about him an army
Of herons and songbirds and crows
When he lifted his staff to direct them
A magnificent music arose

The herons strutted a rhythm
The songbirds carried the tune
The crows provided percussion
And all of the forest was soon

Swaying, it seemed, to the music
The leprechaun’s feathered band played
And me, I tried to stay hidden
Not wanting the music they made

To end that day or forever
Since I’d fallen beneath the spell
I would stay by the lake for a lifetime
Yes, deep in that forest I’d dwell

But alas, the dreamsong soon ended
Leaving me sad beyond words
Then the leprechaun turned to smile at me
And winked as he fled with the birds

Copyright © 2009 Mary Beth Watt. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What I Know

I know that knowing is a poem
Comes to me whole

I know that fortune sets its own pace
Comes to us in pieces to assemble

I know that life is a creation
Comes to us new each day

I know that gifts are to be embraced
Comes easily if only we are open

I know that knowing is a poem
Comes wrapped up sweetly in the gift of life

Copyright © 2009 Mary Beth Watt. All rights reserved.