Search This Blog

Monday, February 21, 2011

Circular Happiness

A shorter version of this can be found at Where I Work

Overhead, the Fire Hole

Perfectly round path of light
Rafters descending, rays of pine
Blue sky above, infinite puff of clouds
Coast raven in old walnut tree calls
Morning enters the place and the ribs
Of the big top breathe with joy

©2009 Viola Weinberg

It’s a long way from Kazakhstan, where, so many years ago, I first stepped into a yurt.  The Kazakhis called it a “ger,” the Mongolian word for this welcoming, highly portable structure.  Round, covered in a tent top with a fire hole at the apex, it was lined with heavy rugs and hung with musical instruments and wolf skulls, a backdrop for a state-sponsored cultural exchange.  I was there on the high plains of a place I had never imagined with a U.S. delegation that included a U.S. senator’s wife and many others.  I went as a journalist. The USSR had yet to break apart; we were officially the guests of a desperate government of a failing federation.

 After a week of vodka fueled state dinners in colorless Moscow, we set out for Kazakhstan, the home of Polygon, the Soviet nuclear test site.  Four hours by Aeroflot air bus, and another four by a creaking old bus, my first impression of Kazakhstan was desolation, a high desert swept by winds that carried dusty air off the forbidding mountain tops of the Dzungarian Alatau— the range dividing the Xinjiang area of China and eastern Kazakhstan.  Once the high clouds lifted, you could see the Dzungarian Gate, the pass that served invaders from Central Asia for many centuries as they attempted to take China for their own.

 There, on a distant plain, with dirt devils and low-growing weeds rose a colony of gum drop-shaped yurts.  It was like a dream.  To this day, I have the same sensation when I step into my own yurt, which I named “Gert,” slightly after my first ger.

A ger at night, aglow.

My yurt is modern—no yak hair, buttered with unspeakable lards—and no wolf skulls and rugs decorating the interior, although I wouldn’t mind it.  It has a Gortex exterior, insulated with something that looks a bit like bubble wrap, and a thinner, interior wall that hangs on a cross-hatch called a “baby gate” for the way it looks once unwound from the packaging.  I ordered it online, after touring a smaller yurt in a neighboring county.  And to be honest, the idea of a yurt wasn’t my first concept of a special place to write.  I wanted a little writer’s cottage that could be landscaped to look like something out of the French countryside.

 But, we live on the remnants of a primordial swamp, a marsh.  On the back property, where I wanted to put my space, the water table is about a foot under the soil.  The county simply would not allow us to place a permanent structure there.  Our home and property once belonged to my parents.  It resides in a semi-rural village between two cities in the fabled Valley of the Moon where literary giants like Jack London, MFK Fisher and Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote.  It is at once stunning and natural and cabled with huge expanse of vineyard and tourists.

I had my eye on the back of our acre for a long time.  My father had a number of interesting little projects there at any given time.  He first devised a “park” there for my daughters when they were very small.  He laid in sod and roses and irises around an old walnut tree, where they swung on funky swings and sang silly little songs to the neighborhood wildlife—deer, foxes, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, and bullfrogs.  After the girls grew up and my mother died, he cut down the walnut tree and refashioned the area into a meditation garden with a bench, a crude Torii gate (we lived in Japan when I was a child) and yellow roses in memory of my mother.  At the center was a three-foot high Kwan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, to whom he would tell his troubles.

He grew increasingly frail, unable to go to his space to meditate.  Dad suggested we might want to build my study out there, an idea I loved.  As our search for acceptable structures grew more frustrating, a short article was published in This Old House magazine about the beauty of a modern yurt.  We researched county codes and could find nothing to prohibit the raising of a temporary structure.  My idea was born in February.  By March, the wheels were in motion and I had settled on Pacific Yurts as the company to make my yurt.

There were many custom options.  Modern yurts no longer have fire holes, but they do have an option for a crank-open acrylic dome.  Ventilation and beauty!  The yurt kit contains other options which I ordered—windows with matching Gortex covers applied with Velcro, which allows some shade and certainly protects against the cold.  I chose a double set of double doors with windows, also for beauty and air circulation.  Where my yurt is situated, there is scant shade, so this was essential.  And the colors!  I lingered over a deep green, a sand brown, and a terra cotta earth color.  With our adobe dirt, it seemed that terra cotta was the only choice.

I took pictures and fabric samples around to the neighbors, who had left their yards open to ours for a good view of the woods.  One was divided by a cyclone fence, another by a low, split level fence.  After we had buy-in (or so we thought), we ordered the yurt kit and called friends to join us in a yurt raising.  By October, we had already put in a platform for the deck, knowing how easily the area flooded. A couple of weeks later, about a half dozen folks showed up; without them, there would be no yurt!  It was a fascinating and simple process, which quickly became complex, given the eccentric nature of our friends. 

The men lugged the heavy stuff (after a single Fed Ex delivery woman got the behemoth crates of material off the back of her semi.)  One of my friends, a stickler for detail, quickly became the reader of the manual.

St Peter in the halo of Gert the Yurt

And so it went.  The yurt went up quickly, and we spent the next couple of weeks tightening cables and bolts that installed a “semi-storm rafter system” of timbers that has saved it from blowing over in wind storms.

By this time, our formerly agreeable neighbors were calling to express, variously, “the invasive nature of that thing,” or my personal favorite, “it looks like the circus has come to town.”  One neighbor instantly put up a badly built pre-fab fence with lattice extensions.  But nothing would hide Gert.  Eventually, everyone came to accept the yurt, once they were able to accept that it wasn’t built as a platform to invade their privacy or as a tent where fortunes might be told.  These days, I can best describe their emotional reactions as yurt envy.

None of that matters now that I’ve spent four years writing in this sacred space.  I’ve only allowed my daughter, her husband and their kids to sleep in it once.  I prefer to separate the dreams of others from my own.  As a creative writer, I need all the flights of my own imagination that my sub-consciousness can hold.

When I first wrote in the yurt, I had not retired yet.  I worked for a loan corporation and conducted conference calls and wrote products in the yurt.  Once I retired, I still took freelance assignments for private foundations for a year or two, investigating proposals and grant seekers from my “tent in the woods.”  Finally, came the time for me to write solely for myself.  What great abandon I have in this structure, this round house of spirit and space!

The experience of writing poetry in a yurt is mystical.  One of my first big projects was in collaboration with the painter Mario Uribe—a Buddhist tea master who paints the Zen circular symbol called an ensô.  Mario brought 24 paintings he had created in 24 hours and asked me to write on them.  I was sure I would be sent to hell for such a thing!  I kept them quite a while, laying them out in a circle, meditating on them, arranging them as I saw fit.  As time went on, I started to whittle down the bloated poetry (which had grown to over 30 pages by that point) to 24 lines, one for each painting.  The simplicity of this exercise was cleansing, beautiful, intelligent.

Working in circles of art, writing circular poetry.


Blossoms snow
on shoulder mountain
Spring sputters
Songbird surrenders
A song for a nest

Thunder clouds
Rattle their foil
Perfume of dry grass
Summer rhyme
In the looking glass

Clatter of waters
Wash board of autumn
A new green apple
For a freckled hand
This racket of late joy
A cello in maple woods

Heavy black ink
A rock thrown
Into a deep well
Quiet charcoal on white
A hand lies down
Winter comes now

©2008 Viola Weinberg

After 24 weeks, I returned the paintings with the lines written on them in my clumsy hand.  They were exhibited, photographed for prints, and we were approached a Chinese art book publisher about a book.  The book took almost two years to come to life—about 24 months.  Finally, it arrived and debuted on June 24.  After this experience, I knew I was meant to write out my days in the quiet and grace of this structure.
I wrote another book of poetry in the yurt before the Ensô book, a compilation of epistolary poems I had been writing for years, Letters to Pablo Neruda.  This was also a winnowing experience.  I chose 50 favorites from 500 poems.  Both books have a pleasing and graceful look, all born in my magical space.  From my desk, a semi-circular, I look into the woods behind us.  Some mornings, quail perch on the Hopi statue in the garden.  From spring to fall, the garden spreads to my left, the leafy, small vineyard my father left on both sides.

 Writing in a yurt is decidedly different than living in a yurt.  The county codes forbid plumbing, although it is wired for electricity and Internet.  It’s a long walk to the house. As I get older, I tell my husband that, if he loves me, he would give me a composting toilet!

The yurt is not always hospitable.  It can be very cold in the winter (I once slipped and fell, hard, on the icy deck) and it can be hellishly hot in the height of summer.  When it’s that hot, I change my writing hours to the evening or early morning hours.
And the yurt has a life of its own.  In wind storms, I open the skylight slightly so that it can breathe—which it does noisily.  Sometimes, there is the faintest whistle that comes when a breeze drifts by, perhaps the muse bending over me, singing, “write, write, write.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Beatitude of Quietude

O, that Wednesday
when you knocked off early
when we were so tired, so weary
that we fell down on the bed like the dead

Side by side, garden-dirty, the both of us
The soil and air both soft and warm
Our tired feet in their wet sox hanging over the bed
Toes cracking like castanets in the breeze

Too tired to talk, we just laid there, awake
You could hear appliances humming in the kitchen
You could hear the dog and his sloppy drinking
from the blue bowl, and a fly, a screen door somewhere

But neither of us raised a finger, listening
Instead to our beating hearts, those drums of blood
We simply let love wash over us, cleanse us
heal us, peel the fatigue from our lives

Honeyed, loving thoughts were on our tongues
all the more sweet as time passed soundlessly
Those minutes, so mute and beautiful are
somehow younger than the rest of our bodies

Cellular happiness, dwelling, abiding and deep

© 2010 Viola Weinberg

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Photo Genius

I interviewed Ansel Adams in 1982 for National Public Radio on the occasion of his 80th birthday.  The great punk photographer, fStop Fitzgerald came with me and we enjoyed our time together with Ansel and his assistants, Jim and Mary Allindar.  Even more rare, I had a chance to talk with Virginia Adams that day.  Notoriously camera shy, Virginia's father owned Curry Studios in Yosemite Park, where they met.  She told me that he was a pianist then, but soon caught "the fever" which changed their lives--and photography--forever.

When interviewing celebrities, especially artists, I always closed the interview with the question, "Is it possible for artists to be married to each other?"  Virginia laughed at that; she had been a promising opera singer and gave up her career, helping Ansel lug his equipment all over the back country.  At a certain point, she said, "I finally bought him a mule," which answered my question rather soundly.

I learned many things from this interview and was somewhat humbled to be in his presence.  At the time, his images accounted for 50 percent of all photos sold in the world.  They may account for more, now. His zone system was the very bible to photographers.  He loved fStop's name and called me "Zone V".  Looking back, I am reminded of his fragile hands and quick wit.  I truly felt that I was in the presence of a great man.  I had heard many rumors about him that may or may not be true.  I decided to take everything he had to say at face value, and I'm glad I did.

He frequently tested photo gear prototypes, and told us about a new film that would take the place of developing in the dark room--by developing the print in the camera.  So close and so far away from digital photography!  He also said he admired the photography of Edward Weston, but loathed unnamed  "pictorialists" who wanted to tell a story with every photo and titled their work with "a little too much of a flourish."

In answer to my questions on the environment, he had a lot to say.  I asked him how California could continue to support so many people and he suggested de-salinisation plants along the coast.  It struck me that a battle over natural resources might separate Northern and Southern California and asked him what he thought of that.  "Well," he said, quite seriously, "That would mean civil war."

Photo Genius

We followed the trail of your hand
as you spoke, waving to the horizon
where a tiny ship plowed the water 
a mere bubble on Earth's curve
"Imagine it," you said, "Imagine
a city of men, all working like dogs
maybe seeing the light bounce off
my window, at least one of them
Is thinking, "Landfall!" you went on
And we followed you, working like dogs
Cameras clicking like old teeth
Motor-driven film and steel bodies
Capturing images of the light, of us
But then it changed suddenly, resolutely
seemed to glower and burn, the sun 
finally surged and fell flatly to the sea
"It's like that," you said, and 
we all knew what you knew and what you meant
It was all about light crashing 
geometrically on the back of a cloud--
jagged shadow, illuminating 
the tiny hairs on the shivering cypress 
as the wind blew icicles and night 
tumbled in, rough and stark, papery 
and sour yellow with grays in every range
A ship was coming in, in the dusky half-night-- 
Inside, a fire threw our long shadows out to sea 
© 2010 Viola Weinberg

Friday, October 29, 2010

Loving Ruth

Discussing your age is the very temple of boredom.
Ruth Gordon
There's a Million Ways to be, You Know That There Are!
Long before "Harold and Maud", I loved Ruth Gordon.  I thought her best role was in the very wicked "Rosemary's Baby", which I saw when I was pregnant!  Before that, she played Daisy Clover's mother in the largely misunderstood "Inside Daisy Clover" -- and that made me laugh as I usually did when I watched her savvy performances.  
Ruth Gordon had a remarkable career.  She began as a actress, but soon realized good scripts were hard to come by--so she joined her screenwriter husband, Garson Kanin.  Together, they penned many a hit, including "Adam's Rib", which starred Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.Ruth Gordon acted in films from 1915 to her death.  She played all sorts of characters, but will probably will be best remembered in her golden years as the wacky, but tough old babe who took no prisoners.  She was unique, maybe crazy, in her portrayals.  In real life, her husband (younger than Ruth by 15 years) once said her rich personality let him enjoy "all the privileges of polygamy with none of the chaos."She cultivated eccentricity and showed me that individuality was very important when one is an artist of any sort.  "Don't be afraid," she seemed to whisper in my young ear, "Just be yourself, no matter how kooky."  Thank you for this lesson, Ruth.  October 30 is your birthday, and I will be thinking of you, you know that I will.

Kanin and Gordon

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sputnik Changes Everything

Fifty-three years ago today, I was 10 years old, holding a ladder for my uncle who was painting the eaves of the barn on Wightman Street in Ashland.  We were listening to the radio, some pop music on the local a.m. station.  I had a reputation, even then, of being a dreamer.  Uncle kept asking me, "Are you still holding on?"  In my faraway thoughts, his voice  had a tinny quality, almost a tinkle.  And yet I know for a fact that his voice was a basso profundo.

"Yeah," I kept saying, thinking about the new school year, my homework (as yet undone) and the thought of dinner, which was always preferrable to holding a ladder.  "Uh-huh."

Suddenly, the announcer broke in to say that the Ruskies, the Soviets, had launched a satellite they called Sputnik that was orbiting the earth as we stood there under the eaves.  The earth!  Ruskies!  And what was a Sputnik?  Good Lord.  Uncle climbed down from the ladder and told me to fetch my father, a wireless pioneer and one of the first electronic engineers.  I ran up the path to the big house, past my playhouse--now used to store car parts--and into the warm kitchen to find Dad.  He was sitting at the table with my grandfather, tipping back a beer.

I burst in to their conversation, unable to contain my excitement.  "What's a satellite?  What's an orbit?  Is it like an obit?"  Dad put down his beer.  "Why do you ask, kitty cat?"  He asked in his kindly, calm engineer's voice.  I excitedly explained that we heard a report on the radio and that something called Sputnik was circling the earth in an orbit.

Dad walked over to the Blauplunct radio sitting on the kitchen counter and switched it on, punching the buttons to scan the airwaves.  Sputnik was on every station.  I looked at my grandfather, who suddenly looked very old, indeed.  He looked up at my Dad, who was listening intently to the reports.  Dad sighed.  "It's going to change everything," he said.  "They're ahead of us, now."

By this time, Uncle had washed up and abandoned the barn eaves entirely.  He walked in, slamming the screen door as he went.  "What's all this mean, Glen," he asked my father, the acknowledged genius of the bunch.  Dad just shook his head and repeated, "Everything is going to change now."  That night, we got out our field scope and looked skyward.  I saw a shooting star, which seemed to be falling casually onto the horizon.  "That's it," Dad said with finality.  "That's Sputnik."  Sputnik was in orbit for 28 days before it fell to earth.  All that's left of it now are a couple of "O" rings enshrined in the Space and Air Museum in Washington, D.C.  My father and his amateur radio buddies kept tabs on it as it circumnavigated the space around earth.  I sat on my father's workbench and heard the scratchy space sounds with intermittent beeps.  We watched it every night as it made its heavenly transit.  Dad would always sigh heavily and say, "That's it."

About 20 years ago, I visited Kazakhstan, not far from where Sputnik was launched.  It was not at all as I had imagined that day 30 some odd years earlier.  It turned out that Kazakhstan was not a shiny amusement park with 50s style chrome rockets; rather, it was a windswept high desert, a bit like Yucca Mountain in Nevada.  Nothing over a foot tall grew there, near Polygon, the Soviet nuclear test site.  Sand was everywhere--in the air, on the makeshift table tops where we ate, under the elaborate hats the Kazakhis wore, sifting out of our notebooks, everywhere.

Polygon reminded me of a horror movie I secretly saw with my cousin at the Varsity Theater when she was supposed to be supervising me.  In the movie, no one was really alive, they were zombies who moved jerkily to strange music as they whirled around the dance floor of an abandoned resort that once bustled on the Great Salt Lake in Utah.  Walking dead, they were, just like these proud and beautiful central Asians who looked remarkably like Native Americans. Some of the Kazakhis had birth defects. Others were afflicted with cancers unknown to this high altitude tribal people who rode sturdy little ponies outfitted with wooden saddles.

But in 1957, my father was the only person in the family who understood what the launch of the first satellite meant.  The cold war was about to heat up. Spies were going to use satellites.  Broadcast would become dependent on satellites.  Sputnik would also accelerate the age of computer communications.  Soon after Sputnik's glory, my father taught me the phrase electromagnetic pulse.  He said it might be the end of civilization, the way things were going.  Decades later, we would be calling on IPhones, e-mailing Europe on laptops, reading books on Kindle.  His precious telegraph key would go practically extinct.  He sighed wearily. "What's it mean?" he asked rhetorically.  "Everything.  Everything is about to change."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In the Beginning There Were Rugs & Bones

They say poetry is a lonely endeavor, but I beg to differ.

I'm thinking, I'm thinking

Years ago, I was sitting in my chair in Berkeley, California, late at night with a pen in hand.  The words, "rugs and bones" spilled out on the page in a crooked sprawl.  I liked those words, loved them, in fact.  Sometimes, words are ready like that, ready to be put to life.  Where they came from, I'm not really sure and didn't have a clue for years.  They just were there. When I finished, I saw the poem, "Rugs & Bones", had a wild, tribal beat, that it was fun and explosive energy. 

Rugs and Bones

Music, William Fuller and dRAW PiNKY

Lyrics, Viola Weinberg

© Viola Weinberg

When we were young and overblown

We built a house of rugs and bones

On the street of passion dreams

We made the walls of moans and steam

You played the ham, I rang your bones

On rafts of rugs and floors of stone

I'm the master, you're the slave

We have a child he makes us brave

We knew the moment he was alone

Deep in the wall of rugs and bones

And now we drive on roads of steel

To baseball games, hands on the wheel

Stolen bases, sliding home

With balls of rugs and bats of bone

Colors wept from hues to tones

The shade was made from rugs and bones

Soon we'll be old and full of air

With hair so white or head so bare

We'll weave the rugs from dreamy tales

Of men and girls and empty sails

Late at night, misunderstood

Bones white as light in tangled wood

I'll press my lips against your spine

We'll talk of love and speak of time

Think of all the lovely thrones

Where we stood fast with rugs and bones

The very next morning, I typed it up and sent it to William Fuller III, my long-time cohort and collaborator in music and performance.

William Fuller back in the day - courtesy of Ozzie Archives

Bill certainly knew what to do with it.  I have always imagined that, upon receiving such things from me, he puts on a pair of fighting gloves and boxes my flabby words into shape.  But this time, I also imagined it wouldn't be hard work.  The rhythms were strong, the images were vivid; it was ready to go for collaborative process.  Bill is a consummate creator.  I've always had faith in him, and in the other members of the ensemble with whom he works.  In this case, "rugs and bones" quickly became "Rugs & Bones", the poem, then "Rugs & Bones", the song -- for which I am eternally grateful.;

Fast forward a few months.  Imagine me, alone in a picturesque cottage a morning stroll away from Puget Sound on Whidbey Island in a writers colony.  That's where the tape was delivered to me.  I quickly left the calm of the residency, loaded it in my car stereo and set the volume on blast.  As I drove around the empty roads of the island on a sparkling day, I felt a real thrill.  Somehow, Bill had kept the beat, kept the sheer energy of it, and made it something greater.  Jane Kennedy Hastings and Bill vocalized (verbalized?) the piece with every shred of fun possible--the music was hip and wild as a March hare.  I thought about it as I drove.  The bones of my previous marriages and a couple of fatally flawed long relationships were embedded in Rugs & Bones, along with my words, the rugs that would always keep me steady and warm.

In collaboration, a fountain of unkillable energy erupted and flared, a beautiful thing.  Bill and Draw Pinky, their band of the time, made it something greater than it could have been in my lonely cottage.  People heard it and loved it when the band performed.  The first time I heard the band perform Rugs & Bones, I remember laughing delightedly, pleased that something written in such monastic quiet could possibly be so entertaining and happy.  I know I've thanked them all years ago for the joy of it, but I have to say it again, thank you. 

I was prompted to write about this by a friend who responded to Rugs & Bones, the blog.  She said she liked the pleasure I seem to receive from writing here, but didn't understand it.  While I don't quite buy that entirely, I think I know what she's saying.  What are Rugs & Bones, anyway?  I have called it personal archeology, a place to think and dig ideas, based on deeply embedded intimate concepts that may be born from the distant past of my own development.  Sometimes, it's out the the primordial soup, sometimes it's a response to something else that pinched my nerve.  Frankly, I hope it's never completely laid bare in the skeletal analysis of literature!  There's a bit to enjoy about a mystery.  I love my rugs and bones.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Love & Fear

Sculpture by Claudia Cohen

To love a thing is intellectual; to love someone may be emotional; to simply love is human.  But how to love without love's homely and protective element of fear?  For example, my father lived to be 97, a ripe old age in anyone's book.  The last two years, he was crippled by a bad fall that broke three vertebrae and forced him off his cane and onto a walker, then a wheelchair.  I loved him very much, we were very much connected "at the hip" as he often said.  Why then, did it take me so long to let go of him when he was feeling so poorly?

Even though I was in my late 50s, I felt fear at the thought of life without him.  He was a brilliant and homespun genius, a poor farm boy who had done well for himself, becoming one of the first electronic engineers, inventing things and creating awesome systems for our home--automated lightning rods that flipped up when triggered by a humidity index in the rather unlikely event of an electrical storm, for instance. 

He could fix anything, install any stereo device in any car, wire anything and dispense frequent advice laced with homey Irish idioms.  I shook off the domestic talents of my mother as soon as I was able--rejected her finishing school manners and fashionable home decorating and tailoring and baking lessons in favor of routing around in dusty bins of bolts and wires.  Dad worked in radio, I worked in radio.  He was an adventurer, a gifted storyteller, I tried to follow suit.

Somehow, it seemed that my world would begin to fade and evaporate without his existence.  Then, as he began to slip away, I rose to the occasion and helped him have a good passage. 

In time, I came to see that love is not perishable, and in fact, it's transferable.  I have tried to take the helm with my own family, now well into middle age with six little grands among them.  I feel a bit fake about it, as if they might know I'm still a little kid inside, a "daddy's girl" or a Tomboy whose life has been driven by the love given at such an early age.

Lately, all of Dad's sidekicks and amici here in Kenwood have died -- Angelino Pedroncelli, Al Rossi, Roberto Guffante, Roy Strong, Kenny the deaf mute, all gone.  At times, I think I hear them down Laurel Avenue where "The Colonel", Bob Guffante lived in a house he built under a big oak tree where the gentlemen would sit, drinking from an unmarked green glass bottle that Rossi generally brought to sweeten the talk.  I even thought I saw Roy riding his bicycle, which he hadn't done for years before he died, holding his wine glass in one hand, circling the village as he visited friends.  I miss them all.

Earlier today, I walked down to the Colonel's place, where his daughters and son were having an estate sale.  We talked and laughed and espoused just like our fathers. 

I bought a few things, mementos, really.  Some old prints of soldiers for my daughter, an extravagant shoe horn and a homemade trashcan made from an old olive oil can with a hinged wooden top.  They threw in a cup the Colonel made from an old cat food can with a handle soldered on.

At one point, Linda Guffante began to speak feverishly about the first amendment and how important it was to allow everyone a say in the world, even if you don't like what they have to say.  I agreed, adding, "Everyone has a story."  Then, we were silent.  I turned to Linda and said, "You know, you sound like your father."  And she turned to me and said, "You sound like your's."  We both smiled and felt the warmth of love, love eternal, free and vitally important.

Sculpture by Claudia Cohen
Lovers, union is here,
the meeting we have wanted,
the fire, the joy.

Let sadness and any fear of death
leave the room.

The sun’s glory comes back.
Wind shakes our bells.

We are counters in your hand
passing easily through.

Music begins,
Your silence,
deepen that.

Were you to put words with this
we would not survive the song.

~Maulana Rumi

Translation by Coleman Barks