A wild,stark awe

At the edges of the  failing year,
Since October when the clocks were changed
The furrows, fields freeze with a wild, stark awe.

Trudging landscapes keen and winter-bare
The lines and lengths artistically arranged
By  my eye, this cold day of this year

A single bird flies high with dark winged flair
Insects disappear in sullen rage
The furrows fang the fields with snake-like airs.

Where’s the goat untroubled by a care?
Where’s the lamb they wish to be destroyed,
Unknowing of its future, as Jews were?

See the dead men rising up afar
The eye creates the image and the stage
The furrows stagger, stutter, “here’s the  war”

On such themes, imaginations crash
Aching for God’s chosen unto death
Will there be another farmers’ year?
Why do furrows feel like wailing stars?




Start when you’re older


Life didn’t unfold quite that way. Instead of having a literary career, she married, took a teaching job and raised three children. She wrote off and on, mostly for herself. But when she retired in her late 50s, “words came tumbling out of closets and drawers, leaking from rusty faucets and reappearing as character actors,” said Ms. Shulklapper, now 80. She began sending out poems and short stories, and published her first book of poetry in 1996, when she was 60.

Since then, she has published four chapbooks, which are typically small editions of 40 pages or so, and a fifth is in progress. And in January, Guardian Angel Publishing released Ms. Shulklapper’s first children’s book, “Stuck in Bed Fred.”

“I am living beyond my dreams,” said Ms. Shulklapper, a widowed grandmother of six who lives in Boca Raton, Fla. “I feel as though it’s my baby. A long pregnancy and now its delivery, all 10 toes and fingers.”


Continue reading the main story

Conventional wisdom holds that if you do not write your “Farewell to Arms,” paint your “Starry Night,” start the next Twitter or climb Mount Everest by young adulthood, or

How to Become a Writer? Start Writing


Adam Smith talked about the invisible hand of the market. What you’re experiencing is the invisible hand of art, the desire to pursue a life of creativity. That’s beautiful. But it’s unlikely to lead to financial security, at least in the short term, which is important to you because of your mother’s experiences. So you have to do what every artist does: find a patron. It might help to think of your accounting gig as that patron, at least for now. It will underwrite your apprenticeship, and help you uncouple your artistic aspirations from financial expectation, so you can write what you feel called to write without worrying about whether it will make money. It’s worth thinking, too, about the role you want writing to play in your life and what you’re willing to sacrifice to make that happen. I realize this doesn’t sound very romantic, but there is a practical aspect to the pursuit of our dreams. You have to ask yourself a few candid questions about what you consider essential, whether it’s a decent car or a nice place to live or enough financial security to keep anxiety at bay. The last thing you want is for writing to become a source of stress, because you’ll come to resent it as you do your current job.

CS In asking these questions, you’re undoing some of the ideas you absorbed that led you down the wrong career path, C. P. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to be doing at this moment in your life

When you were with me

When you were with me all the grass was green

Lush and fine like a young virgin bride

The abbey and river set the scene

When you were with me all the grass was green

Stark difference from what would once have been

The ancient Abbey ruined yet divine

When you were with me all the grass was green

A virgin bride so ripe and yet so fine

The river dry

Behind the Abbey church the river runs

Slowly as a snail in summer heat

Let us hope the autumn rain will come

Slowly as a snail the river runs

As desireless as a pale and haggard nun.

Life may not be happy yet it’s gone

The heavy heat will stun the heart that beats

Behind the Abbey church the river runs

Slowly as the snails in summer heat

What the ‘Happiness Paradox’ Can Teach Us About Our Feelings | by Markham Heid | Elemental







Paying too much attention to your emotional state can make you miserable

Photo: Vince Fleming/Unsplash

Ifyou want to feel slightly less happy right this minute, there’s an easy way to make that happen: Ask yourself how happy you’re feeling.

“The moment you check in — how happy am I now? — you feel happiness less,” says Iris Mauss, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. “The very question interferes with happiness.”

Mauss has spent years studying a phenomenon that some have termed the “happiness paradox.” The paradox is that when people try hard to be happy — when they make feeling happy a goal — their well-being tends to suffer for it.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Some appear to be cultural. Some have to do with the ways we define and pursue happiness.

But an overriding lesson from the happiness research is that the more you obsess about your emotional state — the more significance you assign your feelings, and the more you try to steer them — the more likely you are to get into emotional and psychological trouble.

Recently, Mauss and her research collaborators asked people to define happiness.

“We found a huge variety in how people answered,” she says. “Some people said happiness meant having good feelings, which is maybe the most intuitive response.” But when asked what good feelings they were talking about, some mentioned “excitement” or “joy” while others said “peacefulness.”

Some people didn’t talk about feelings at all. “They defined happiness in terms of knowledge — the knowledge that their life was meaningful, or the knowledge that they were a better person than they were five years ago,” she says. Others admitted their idea of happiness was acquiring more material possessions.

‘In the U.S., happiness is a relatively individualistic enterprise.’

The fact that we can’t even agree on what happiness is may partly explain why cultivating more of it is a challenge.

However, Mauss and her colleagues found that a person’s definition of happiness, whatever that definition was, tended to correlate with improved measures of well-being. Excitement and peacefulness and the knowledge that your life is meaningful — that’s all good stuff.

There was one big exception. “When people defined happiness in terms of material possessions, that was associated with worse well-being,” she says.

Mauss uncovered more useful insights while working on a 2015 study that appeared in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. For that project, she and her colleagues examined how people in different cultures around the world think about and pursue happiness.

“We found that in the U.S., happiness is a relatively individualistic enterprise,” she says. The Americans in her study tended to focus on their personal emotional experiences and how best to ameliorate them. And once again, valuing happiness in this way was associated with lower well-being.

But in East Asia, where notions of happiness are more social and collectivist, rather than self-oriented, these patterns reversed. The more a person valued happiness, the greater their well-being.

There, Mauss and her group found that the pursuit of happiness looked different than it does in America. Happiness often involved helping others or spending more time with friends and family. People also tended to associate happiness with sentiments such as “seeing that other people are content” or “making the people I care about feel good.”

Another way to put it, in these East Asian cultures, happiness looked outward, not inward. And that seemed to make all the difference.

One of the unwelcome byproducts of prioritizing happiness — one that’s easy to overlook — is that you end up spending a lot of your time monitoring and judging your feelings.

How am I right now? Am I hopeful? Anxious? Ambivalent? Angry? Whatever answer you come up with, Mauss says that this sort of emotional self-scrutiny can have unhappy consequences.

If your emotions are pleasant, pausing to examine them can reduce their positivity by pulling you out of the moment. The experience of “flow” — of being wholly immersed in something — is a hallmark of many activities that people value or enjoy. Checking in on your emotional state disrupts that flow; it rips some of your attention away from the pleasurable experience.

Assessing your emotional state disrupts that flow; it rips some of your attention away from the pleasurable experience.

On the other hand, if your emotional check-in reveals that you’re not happy, you’re likely to see this as a problem to be remedied.