Alana Chernila is Queen of Her Own Heart : On Local Berkshire Wonders

On this last day of July, I have to tell you that over in the Out of the Mouths of Babes blog series II department of this website, you will find Alana Chernila emerging from her writing room to talk about what happens for her in there.

Alana is a superstar here in the Berkshires. The streets are peppered with stars such as she, but Alana persists in imbuing her own brand of sparkle and genius in to everything she does. Alana is one of our Selectpeople, working with our Town Manager on getting our little town to work smarter. Alana also sells produce at our Farmer’s Market for Indian Line Farm. She does many things, and does them well, but what bursts your heart opens is when she writes and reads her work. You can hear her in our Out of the Mouths of Babes event next March, 2013. For now, just head over to read her latest post.

Will Wonders Never Cease

A few weeks ago at the Triplex Theatre, I sat in the front row as Taylor Mali spoke this poem of his. It was a tender day in his personal life, a turning point moment, and he personalized the poem as he spoke it.

Remember Me From Now

If for years before I die,
I linger and wither and forget
myself, like the old apple tree
in the orchard I cannot bring myself
to fell: if sadness or some other cancer
has spindled me to breaking:

then add to that blue future
to the list of reasons to remember me
as I am now, bursting in my glee,
in love with this day, this forest,
and these trees, these dark,
and lovely trees.

©Taylor Mali 2009 from The Last Time As We Were

Here is a peek of Taylor in action.

On Kidnapping

Paulus Berensohn, the artist and deep ecologist, taught me to ‘kidnap’ poems. He once presented this idea to his close friend and poet Mary Oliver and described to her how he memorized her poems and inserted words in key places to make them intensely personal, expressive of his own feelings within the container of her poems. From Paulus’ telling, Mary resisted the idea for about a year, then called him to say she had finally come round to liking the idea. Paulus has the beautiful ability to speak a poem at just the right moment in time, from memory. And, ofttimes, in his kidnapped versions.

I kidnap Mary Oliver’s poem, Why I Wake Early, nearly every day as I do yoga under the oak in my backyard.

Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(Why I Wake Early, 2004)

When Taylor personalized his own poem to capture the poignancy of his day, with details I will let him divulge, the work jumped alive off the stage and wrapped itself, arms and legs around my heart.

Today, I will kidnap Taylor’s poem, to capture my day, this one moment in time. I’d love to hear what poem you’d like to kidnap and how you’d do it.

Remember Me From Now, after Taylor Mali’s poem, kidnapped by Suzi Banks Baum

If for years before I die,
I linger and wither and forget
myself, like the old apple tree
in the orchard I cannot bring myself
to fell; if sadness or some other cancer
has spindled me to breaking;

then add that blue future
to the list of reasons to remember me
as I am now, bursting in my glee,
in love with this day, the sunset and the green tomatoes, this good green land,
and these trees, these dark
and lovely trees.

Miracle view from the hammock. So glad I lay down. #summer #tree #heart xoS

Make a poem your own today.
Let the elegant hand of Mary Oliver, of Taylor or some other writer of soul filled words carry your heart out in to the clear air, where we can all draw a quick breath at the fleeting beauty of you.
xo
S

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