art ~ spirit ~ transformation

e*lix*ir   #13
Centenary Issue 2021



Sacred Stories: Beyond Joy and Pain


Global Poetry Reading Honors ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The Writing Life

The Fountain and the Thirsty One by Mahvash Sabet


Christine Anne Pratt
Elegy with Mourning Dove and Red-Tailed Hawk by Sandra Lynn Hutchison
Dana Paxson


An Opening in the Curtain by Martha Washington


Encountering Beauty: An Interview with Painter and Photographer Chris Page by Christine Anne Pratt

Personal Reflections on Bahá’í Texts

The Wound is Where the Light Enters by Sandra Lynn Hutchison

Artist Profile

Interview with Mahvash Sabet by Raha Sabet Sarvestany
Persian Poems by Mahvash Sabet


Chris Page

Voices of Iran

Thy Court of Holiness by Mahsa Foroughian
The Silence of Being Heard by Nazanin Eslami
The All-Highest Paradise by Melika Rezvani

State of the Art

Books for Children by Allison Grover Khoury

Looking Back on Books

Pearls of Bounty and Light of the World
Agnes Parsons’ Diary by Richard Hollinger
‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Perfect Exemplar by Dariush Lami

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Ann Sheppard


The Crossing

Bridging high steel atop the Chrysler Building,
noise rising from the sweating streets below,
My feet toe in and dance among new rivets
and feel the fallen pine across the stream

rushing mountain-deep in Chouinard’s Gully,
my childhood friends taunting me to dance
where the log rots, daring me against
the long drop to the sharp rocks,

And death. I didn’t fall, but Shawátis did —
John, we called him, grabbed a limb to save
himself. We jeered, let him hang. He coiled,
hooked his leg. shinnied up fast, before the rot

gave way, the log spun, splintered down
and broke the way John broke today
when he missed the beam, fell past me,
clutching the slipping air, met the sidewalk.

I tell you, Shawátis, its holy paths we climb,
these bridges, daring the crossing, fearing
the fall, toeing among the rivets and limbs,
high above traffic, cement, water, rocks,

our prayers silent in our searching toes,
the weight of truth unsteady in the air.

Remembering Euclid

He’s the strong one,
I’m the weak kid.

Gym teacher squares us
off on the smelly mat,

We circle. He takes me
belly down. Straddles.

Rides. He can’t flip me
I can’t move. Three times.

I lose. We’re done. Wobbling
I gulp hard for air. Hide

my heaving chest until
I’m calm and clothed again.

Sitting in my geometry class
I fall into Euclid’s loving arms,

Free at last, I wrestle each problem
down with my pen
pin it to the page.

On Waking

Wake up and die right,
My father said to me
each boyhood morning,
as if he knew from
trying it once,
When the plane he rode in
broke up in a storm
he was wide awake.

Every morning after
he would come to whisper
Wake up and die right!

I was nine or ten —
he died right then,
but since and always
he rouses me from bed.

Dana Paxson

Artist Statement:   Language is surprise embedded in engagement. Dana Paxson has lived in the surprising global span of computing, mathematics, the sciences, fantastic worlds, and music. From all these realms, he draws a wide range of written reflections, from 250,000-word sprawls of future-world visions to one-paragraph verses of flash-paper light, mixed, at times, with software that transforms the reader’s experience of the text. Whatever he writes centers around spiritual exploration. The struggle to express spirituality and to explore its far reaches is his lifelong challenge.

Bio:   Dana Paxson writes science fiction, fantasy, nonfiction essays centered on spirituality and science as well as poetry. He has created digital publishing software, for which he has received several patents. He has constructed virtual settings, accessible online, for his writing, allowing visitors to these settings to read from his works as they send their avatars through those digital realms. His main work of science fiction, Descending Road, is available through online publishers and through his website.