You reading this, be ready


Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life –

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

teaching the dead bird to sing


the title of a book. it called me. i’m into birds lately. so it seems.

” … to perch on a lonely sill, with only myself for companionship… perhaps to be discovered by One capable of teaching me to sing an untimely song in an unlikely place …

… the life most of us live is a lonely one … wandering through our own wildernesses, eager to find a traveling companion with whom we can be vulnerable together.”


extracts. elixirs.


It is a cold day nearing Autumn’s end. My mom is 76 today. Over the phone I heard the tinkle of cups and conversations, the deep whir of my dad’s voice, and I felt peace pulsing  across the ether … six days gone we honored my dad’s 80th birthday … goodness and mercy follow us. I sit on my sill (in reality a doughnut shaped cushion), apron strings hugging my body. Wafts of early morn’s baked bread still hovering (not puffing the struggle with a cold sourdough starter). I listen to the sound of woodwork tools. Timber and trestle, shavings and sawdust – young adult hands dovetailing old wood into new dreams. A self figuring out another self – jigsawing pieces together.

And here I am, seesawing – 27 years older than the young working on his life’s puzzle, and 27 years younger than a lived-life of 80. Perched and cold.

… and rigid fingers start typing, pressing words into a blank space … for some One to read and see, for i remember another’s written words –  for me, to see

…. to break the bread of our lives with one another through any form of sharing is prayer…









A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

a Chinese proverb

This bird’s throat is sore. Not from singing too much, but from giving too many answers. She needs to practice singing. And she needs to remember – she’s a bird, and singing is her calling.

How to be a teacher (nota bene)


Gratia plena for the gifts

to show, to share.

You must observe you are

the learner, the listener,

over and over

more than you are they who enter

a world – sharing people,

discomforted and

yearning. Listen to them,

hear their call, the voice

of all our selves.    


Be – with awareness of being

present in the here and now

allow eyes to join.

Listen and keep listening.

Welcome words of the wise;

guard against the self.

Guard against the pretension

that uplifts itself to inspire.

There are no know-it-all teachers

only hesitant beginners

growing in life, the teacher.


Welcome the begin agains.

Receive the moment’s surprise.

From the others the message;

not your own voice, slow and endless

learning to the one who teaches

be a teacher that grasped

always the begin again.

                                                                                                      ~ sonja s

~ an imitation of a poem by Wendell Berry

always we begin again






Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the plowshare of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring, and reserve a nook of shadow for the passing bird; keep a place in your heart for the unexpected guest, an altar for the unknown God. Then if a bird sings among your branches, do not be too eager to tame it. If you are conscious of something new – thought or feeling, wakening in the depths of your being – do not be in a hurry to let in light upon it, to look at it; let the springing germ have the protection of being forgotten, hedge it round with quiet, and do not break in upon its darkness; let it take shape and grow, and not a word of your happiness to any one! Sacred work of nature as it is, all conception should be enwrapped by the triple veil of modesty, silence and night.

~ Henri-Frederic Amiel

a trilogy of poems

a reflection on Edward Hirsch’s I am going to start living like a mystic


Poem the first

I am going to start living like a monk

Today I am wearing a tunic, a cowl, stockings and shoes
and walking to the church of this world’s flock.

The benches wait like emptied wooden arms about to brace
each body’s always we begin again –  solid, welcoming.

Stained fragments of gospels lighting the timeless presence
are the greeters of the veiled, the entering streets.

I will look at my neighbours as longing for answers
and search in mask worn faces, mirrors of mine.

Some will light in the way of thousands before a candle
and beat upon their breasts beyond the pain for mercy.

The light shall search the souls for cracks
as if the brokenness were consecrated by the cries.

I will unfold the cloak with my tunic bare,
a worker of the field, adorn with the apron of jugum Christi.

Poem the second

I am going to start living like an artist

Today I am coming out of the hiding place
and gluing down the harsh fullness of this moment.

The memories grab like gnarled fingers across the years
each a slant of the past – wild, judging.

Sombre shards of shadows blocking out the glow
are the crossing of a border, an invitation.

I will rummage the hoard as searching for a reason
and unfurl the layers, savings for a perfect day

I breathe will  into hands with eyes watching outward
and pencil onto a blank page questions among desires.

Not daring to think  I shall make the way by walking
as if my whole being is this one moment.

I will go to bed with curtains wide open,
a beholder of light, in plain view of the dark.

Poem the third

I am going to start living like a child

Today I am removing the grown-up lady mask
and wearing the white skirt with ribbons braided through my toes.

The mask left like fifty two and a half scars of harrowed stains
each a deep pierce of a thing – tightly, clinging.

Animals of clouds playing with the grass-tickled body
are the hungers for a life, yet secret.

I will watch the clouds as dreams in the day
and weep the nightmares, wounded hurts of summer.

I will bow on grazed knees with split heels
and finger the earth for the life of the ant.

I shall again look up lolling in light
as if yesterday and the morn were scrubbed by it.

I will whirl the white skirt with hands wide free
a child of light, un scarred by the other self.