Tag Archives: writing

Words on Wednesday: Looking Back Edition

26 Oct
Amazing Reflection

img via geekarmy.com

A favorite poem, by Sylvia Plath…

“Mirror”
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful-
The eye of the little god, four cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

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What We Talk About When…

2 Aug

I unearthed a few highlighted literature texts the other day and decided I could read through just the highlighted sections, attempting to figure out what compelled me to color, circle and underline. It made me think of the funny things people have concluded about gender and language, that men have limited vocabularies, won’t use as many adjectives as women, etc. etc.

Which brings me to the image here.

via imgfave.com

You can imagine my hesitation in finding this photographic gem the other day, which by no means would satisfy my heart’s desire for a wedding guest book, but yet totally indulges my curiosity about how we choose to describe abstract things, like love.

Where would we choose to leave a mark had we just one choice to make in a dictionary of hundreds of thousands of words? It’s pretty limitless, being that Oxford admits we have no way of figuring out how many words are in the English language, mainly because you don’t always know what counts as a word and also because of usage. Love is a noun, a verb, you get the idea.

I know I wouldn’t be able to choose just one, but off the top of my head I cannot silence this: remarkable.

The Perils of Pavement: A Lament for the Souls Lost to Summer

20 Jul

It happens all the time, but more so in summer. Animals that we share our environments with, or rather, who allow us their space forlornly, lose their lives on our roads.

Honestly, it’s got to be one of the worst parts of taking a walk outside, or jogging in the suburbs. I try not to look when I’m on foot. I cross the street and fix my eyes straight ahead, to avoid the carnage, to shield my heart from breaking. And yes, we’ve all probably been there, behind the wheel, maybe too late in the night… at fault, or in the wrong place at the wrong time. We say accidents happen, but we are cautious near playgrounds. We slow down near schools. We would brake for a child. Why not practice these precautions for helpless animals?

I was coming home from the grocery store recently when I saw a fawn in the road. My first thought was, Poor baby. And then I thought of his or her mom, and I began to cry. I cried all the way home, mostly because I am empathetic to the fact that, while animals can feel sadness, they can’t make sense of it. That understanding alone can hollow you out if you have enough heart.

There’s something that separates the kind from the careless, and it is reflected in Jack Forbes’ poem, “Something Nice,” (below). I think of it from time to time when I realize this is a trait that’s hard to come by.


We must exercise caution when driving and watch for God’s creatures as we would our own children.

“He prayeth best who loveth best / All things both great and small.”
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Desperately Seeking Agnes (or, How I Met a Saint on a Metro North Train)

8 Jul

Do you believe in miracles? I do. I also believe in angels, superstitions, fate and pretty much all things magical and mystical (short of unicorns and Yeti!).With that said, I’m not a religious person. I’m more a “things happen for a reason” sort of person, though I do believe in God, and for personal reasons, am counting on Heaven being a real place. This month I received a message urging my spirituality to come full circle. I met Saint Agnes on the 5:41 out of Grand Central station and I haven’t been able to shake the momentum of the event to this day.

Saint Agnes Painting

Saint Agnes, via fisheaters.com

I work from home but recently started going into the office once a week, for a change of pace and to shake some of my transparency. My first day in went smoothly, until the conductor approached and I realized my ticket was gone. He kindly made my spastic search for the missing stub less embarrassing by telling me he’d be back, so I took my time. I went through my purse and laptop bag over and again, and then, several times more. With no luck, I began to silently mouth the Saint Anthony prayer I was raised to repeat when things went missing. Across from me, an older woman met my eyes and offered to help me look. I thanked her but declined. I joked that I was saying Saint Anthonys and she revealed to me that in her hand was her prayer card, worn and familiar looking, similar to my Mom’s. She said, “I am praying, too.” My heart melted. My hope buoyed with the realization that I wasn’t going to find my ticket.

Minutes later, the woman offered me cash, as I had none. It made me feel ridiculous, so again I declined. I declined until she told me I reminded her so much of her niece, and that she and her husband were not fortunate enough to have been blessed with children, and, would I please just take what she was offering me. This all occurred shortly before her stop, while I eyed the aisle for the conductor. I conceded, and asked her name. She told me, “Agnes.” I told her mine. She came in close and gave me a quick hug goodbye and said, “Say a prayer for me, Amy.”

The conductor never came back for my ticket, and I kept Agnes’ money. I didn’t really know what to do with it. I fell back on my “things happen for a reason” thinking and considered lighting candles at church, if I were to return, or playing lotto (I’m beginning to plan a wedding and had recently been having money woes). I chose to buy scratch-off tickets and more than doubled the money. Within the following days, I wished there was a way to repay this woman for showing me the purest kindness, but was told by a friend, “You can’t. You met a ghost.” Someone suggested I look into whether there was a saint named Agnes. Sure enough, I discovered Agnes of Rome, the patron saint of girls, engaged couples, rape victims and virgins. I told my mother, who replied to me in an email, “You need to go to church Amy, you have been visited by someone special.”

All these years I’ve credited every good fate to my Dad, who passed on Father’s Day, 13 years ago. Now I know there’s an army of angels out there, watching over me. And that it’s time to return to church, wherever that may be.