Gifts from the Muse

By Carol Pearce Bjorlie
Ruthie Rosauer and I have been in cahoots with one another since October, 2013.
Ruthie’s photos are poems without words. My muse kicked in when I saw them, and I began to write. Ruthie found poems of mine, some ten years old, which spoke to the scenes she had frozen in time.
I can’t not write.
Ruthie can’t not click.
Poemscapes, the framed collages, cards, and videos are the result of a synergy between two members of a creative team.
What Ruthie and I have in common: We stop. We look. We listen. (We have husbands from Minnesota.)
In Annie Dillard’s essay on Seeing, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, she writes,
“It is all a matter of keeping my eyes open. The appearances of nature are free gifts.”
For the poet in me, the one with pen in hand at art galleries, gardens, and concerts, this statement makes complete sense, “Unless I call my attention to what passes before my eyes, I simply won’t see it.”
Consider a photographer’s stillness. Ann Lamott calls this, “Present and in awe.” She adds, “There is ecstacy in paying attention.”
The word “attentive” comes from a French verb which means to stretch. Stretching is hard work. It requires time, stillness, silence, and solitude.
In Bill Moyer’s anthology, The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets, W. S. Merwin says it all. “Any work of art makes one simple demand, and that is to stop. You’ve got to stop what you’re doing, what you’re thinking and what you’re expecting, and just be there for the poem (or landscape) for however long it takes.”
Ruthie waits for light. Carol watches clouds, both reverent in the presence of the world.

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