art ~ spirit ~ transformation

e*lix*ir   #7
spring 2018



  • Cancer, Comics, and the Healing Power of Art

  • Poetry

  • James Andrews

  • Translations

  • “If I Should Gaze Upon Your Face” by Tahirih
    translated by Shahin Mowzoon and adapted by Sandra Lynn Hutchison
  • Selections from Rumi
    translated by Shahin Mowzoon and adapted by Sandra Lynn Hutchison

  • Essays

  • A Landscape Yearning Towards the Light: A Year with the Paintings of Catharine McAvity
    by Sandra Lynn Hutchison

  • Art

  • Paintings
    by Catharine McAvity

  • Comic

  • Ruhi & Riaz
    by Eira

  • Voices of Iran

  • Sweet Fruit
    by Anisa Bahamin

  • Looking Back on Books

  • The Incomparable Friend
    by Shirin Sabri and Sue Podger
  • The Story of the Báb as a Child
    by Will van den Hoonaard and Gloria Savoie

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    “Landscape” (1977) by Catharine McAvity


    The Ladder

    The trees of the eastern forest,
    ash, oak, sugar maple,
    bend with the wind,
    their leaves catch the Gregorian chants
    from the morning’s mass.

    Incense mingles with bright air
    and the simmering sap
    steaming on the stove.

    He likes this time,
    when he can lie among the leaves,
    rehearsing his lessons, the cities and prophets
    of India, Persia — the East.

    He can hear the bells pealing through the valley,
    ringing out notes he does not know yet.

    The song bounces off rugged rocks,
    and sends leaves flying
    around the stone tower
    where the bells live.

    Rising now,
    feet clambering over roots and stones,
    heart chasing the leaves,
    he runs to the tower
    where the ladder stands.

    White pine, strong and straight
    with rungs of sweet birch,
    a Pentecost calls him to climb above his texts
    and learn the music of sitar, pipa, oud.

    Raking Leaves

    My bamboo rake scratches the cement,
    landing place for the fallen maple leaves,
    gathers the strays into a weightless cone of russet.

    Inside, your kitchen knife chops sweet orange carrots,
    gold potatoes, garden-fresh parsley,
    Your soda bread bakes in the oven.

    A rock gets swept in among the leaves.
    I toss it clattering against the ivy covered wall,
    stone against stone.

    I see a new bloom crowning the aloe cactus,
    And a single white gardenia peeks from waxy leaves.

    Do you remember that February in Lyon
    we crossed the bridge between the old city and the new?
    Do you remember the marionette show,
    the brème bordelière,
    the olives vertes?

    Yes, we will go this winter to Barcelona,
    walk the streets of the Gothic quarter
    weightless and bold,
    We will cross into another weather,
    eat oranges, burn with russet flames.

    The Crossing

    They pass in front of me,
    the one
    seeking a sign
    from the other
    of being seen.

    The hands,
    rough memories
    hewn of hard labor,
    cotton, heat, hurt.
    The walk,
    graceful steps now.
    The shoes fit now

    The feet remember the no-shoes time,
    walking on the hard red earth,
    Earth of his grandmother,
    of her grandmother,
    She of a different place,
    a different crossing,
    And she who sang
    “Praise the Lord of All Hope!”

    The feet remember the shoes’ time.
    Marching on the hard grey streets.
    Streets of his father,
    He of a different time,
    He who sang
    “We shall overcome!”

    The eyes —
    He does not see them in the other
    as they cross in the street.
    His eyes ask
    “Do you not see me?”

    James Andrews

    Artist Statement:   In writing poetry, I hope to contribute to God-inspired and gentle, heart-felt social discourse, and to feed and express my artistic spirit. I look for the metaphors linking spiritual and physical reality, and for the subtleties in personal interactions that illuminate spiritual truths.

    Bio:   James Andrews is a native Californian who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. His parents moved from Chicago, where they had roots in the Polish community. He attained advanced degrees in public administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia and in education from San Jose State. Following a career as a human resources administrator in the public and private sectors, he is now focusing his energy on his first passion — writing poetry. James and his wife, Patricia, live in San Jose, California. Theirs is an international, multi-cultural family, with nieces and nephews around the world.