art ~ spirit ~ transformation

e*lix*ir   #1
autumn 2015



  • Forging a Poetry of Hope
    by Sandra Lynn Hutchison

  • Poetry

  • Christine Anne Pratt
  • Harriet Pasca-Ortgies
  • Valerie Senyk

  • Fiction

  • The White Dog
    by Maya Bohnhoff

  • Memoir

  • Riding a Purple Bicycle
    in the City of Isfahan

    by Sahba

  • Reviews

  • Luminous Journey
    by Anne and Tim Perry
  • Prison Poems
    by Mahvash Sabet

  • Column

  • The Writing Life: Beginnings
    by Sandra Lynn Hutchison

  • Art

  • Paintings
    by Honnie Goode
  • Paintings
    by Louise Mould

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    Birds of Paradise

    We always want to go home
    to some familiar yet distant land
    where hills rise rocky and lean
    with the lush valleys
    hidden in mist

    where snow-fed streams pitch forth
    from alpine heights

    and the cloud-swept sky
    arching over it all a bountiful
    upturned bowl, a blue cathedral.

    Then again,
    we might find haven
    in a temple in India, lotus-shaped,
    surrounded by reflecting pools of light
    in a land dry and hot

    or near a mosque, a pinnacle of prayer
    spinning out in echoing cries
    over a stone city -- a city of rose gardens,
    nightingales and charitable works.

    Isn’t this the way?

    The heart traveling through rough terrain
    makes its slow ascent

    like the bar-headed geese
    who barely clear the Himalayas
    every snow-clad spring.

    These wandering birds
    venture forth in all weathers
    through all lands until, at last,
    they find their way home.

    Red-Tailed Hawk

    Initiate of air
    balances on a wind
    neither of the east nor west

    wing-walking, then gliding on updrafts
    trailing a red cloth behind.

    Every morning, he woke me, whistled
    from a nearby tree on his shrill flute
    insisting I unfetter myself

    rise above this hallowed earth,
    its captive denizens

    sail on a rose-scented stream,
    dark wings dipping,

    inscribing in calligraphic arcs,
    the breath of God.

    I hiked through the forest from the notch
    bypassing Swamp Trail and Rattlesnake Knob
    to the overlook on Mt. Norwottuck,

    where they appear, one by one, circling
    in wide gyrations, masters of air.

    Counting hawks, I breathe in a long breath
    counting hawks, I breathe out a long breath,

    I ride waves, jump to new thermals,
    spiraling higher and higher.

    What would it take, I wonder, to leap
    into that wild blue welkin,
    red tail flashing?

    Conservation Land

    In late November, I spread out for acres,
    brown sedge and grasses mowed down.

    Home to bluebirds in airy boxes
    built by the conservators of hope,

    where field mice, juicy and sweet,
    sustain the hawk and surgical owl

    and wood ducks find refuge on
    their way to warmer weather.

    Now windbreaks crossing these
    flat fields are dry and brittle.

    A deer path winds by the river.

    Fox runs the perimeter by white pine
    and a fir family old enough to remember

    when people sweated corn from the ground,
    smoked trout on the banks of my waters.

    On this late afternoon,
    I am big enough to hold both earth and sky—

    now bannered in amethyst, copper and rose
    now naked and undisguised—ever-changing.

    Who am I to beg the pilgrims walking here
    to pause, give up thought and wonder—

    is there another rhythm?

    At Brookfield Farm

    Before the trees take off like rockets,
    a stillness gathers.

    Wild aster converses with bees and goldenrod;
    thistle lets loose its seed.

    Crimson fingers stained by raspberries
    dig up globs of potatoes, thin-skinned, dirt clinging

    while a child naps in the bean patch
    to the cicada’s symphony.

    Picking beans is hard work.
    We hunch over rows of lacey leaves.

    Easier, they say, to pick blindfolded, feel
    their slender bodies clump together like keys.

    Earlier, we unlatched the summer shed door
    carried empty baskets into the fields

    and were met by a dozen piglets
    rooting for love.

    The truth is I opened a door in late September
    and walked out

    expecting nothing.

    Scattering Angels

    (for Nina)

    When she chants
    something stirs the air
    and the little fish that lives
    in my heart leaps out of its element.

    Wild birds rise in a black cloud
    from the fields of Indiana,
    their myriad voices one
    as they unspool
    themselves in a
    dark line
    the sky.

    From the
    to the swelling
    grasslands of Africa,
    new springs bubble up,
    ancient roots are moistened
    hunger is forgotten, stones sing.

    Spruces in the forests of Siberia stand taller,
    the ash quivers, five-fingered maples
    shout out with zeal,

    And, from their empyrean thrones,
    her Persian ancestors, anointed
    by the blood of the martyrs
    and saints, peer through
    the thinning veil like
    a convocation
    of eagles,

    And a shiver
    ripples like a pebble
    across the pond of forgetfulness
    embossed with red and golden leaves
    atop a mirrored sky,

    then my own voice breaks to the surface
    and the world settles.

    Christine Anne Pratt
    Artist Statement:   My goal is to uplift and inspire through my creativity, to touch the hearts of readers and generate transformation. In the artistic process, I find I am navigating the tension between contemporary ideals and ideas of poetry and listening to my own voice, between personal experience and a world-embracing vision. I am working on how to convey certain messages without sounding didactic, how to de-emphasize the self yet be relevant to readers, how to write spiritually-inspired poetry without sounding idealistic or sentimental. The Bahá’í Writings help me keep perspective and clarify the message.
    Bio:   Christine Anne Pratt lives in western Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in The Aurorean, Albatross, Common Ground Review, Silkworm, Freshwater and Stickman Review. She enjoys exploring nature and listening to Celtic and world music.