Chinese New Year

Mrs. Sung has a new kitchen-god.

The old one — he who presided over the household this

    twelvemonth — has returned to the Celestial Regions to

    make his report.

Before she burned him Mrs. Sung smeared his mouth with

    sugar; so that doubtless the report will be favorable.

Now she has a new god.

As she paid ten coppers for him, he is handsomely painted

    and should be highly efficacious.

So there is rejoicing in the house of Mrs. Sung.

 

Edith Wyatt

 

WRITING PROMPTS:
1. Draw and write about a “House God” that you might place somewhere in your living quarters. What would you be expressing? Give this image a name. You might even try writing a dialog with it. (It does not necessarily have to have a religious significance.)
2. Write about your associations to the Sheep, Goat, and/or Ram. Describe the characteristics you would ascribe to this animal. What “messages” might it be sharing with you?

 

Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.

Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized

BLOCK

I place one word slowly
in front of the other,
like learning to walk again
after an illness.
But the blank page
with its hospital corners
tempts me.
I want to lie down
in its whiteness
and let myself drift
all the way back
to silence.

Linda Pastan

 

WRITING PROMPTS:

1. Does the sight of a blank page, or a giant snowdrift, lull you into a trance? Let your mind wander. Trace your pen over the page without looking, making random marks for a few minute. You might want to close your eyes, too. Then take a few deep breaths and look at what you are “written,” and make a journal entry about the process, and whether or not the “product” of your pen’s random wandering might be some kind of secret message you could decode.

2. Notice how the poet says she places one word “in front of” the other, although we write one word AFTER another. What would happen if you put a word at the bottom of the page, and then added words in front of it?

3. Write a poem about February. It might be a Valentine poem, or a poem with lines beginning with F-E-B-R-U-A-R-Y, or a poem about waiting for spring — or all of these, and more! Be sure to share your poems with friends.

 

Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.

Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized

God is Alive, Magic is Afoot

 

God is alive; Magic is afoot
God is alive; Magic is afoot
God is afoot; Magic is alive
Alive is afoot…..
Magic never died.

God never sickened;
many poor men lied
many sick men lied
Magic never weakened
Magic never hid
Magic always ruled
God is afoot
God never died.

God was ruler
though his funeral lengthened
Though his mourners thickened
Magic never fled
Though his shrouds were hoisted
the naked God did live
Though his words were twisted
the naked Magic thrived
Though his death was published
round and round the world
the heart did not believe

Many hurt men wondered
many struck men bled
Magic never faltered
Magic always led.
Many stones were rolled
but God would not lie down
Many wild men lied
many fat men listened
Though they offered stones
Magic still was fed
Though they locked their coffers
God was always served.

2.

Magic is afoot. God rules.
Alive is afoot. Alive is in command.
Many weak men hungered
Many strong men thrived
Though they boasted solitude
God was at their side
Nor the dreamer in his cell
nor the captain on the hill
Magic is alive
Though his death was pardoned
round and round the world
the heart did not believe.

Though laws were carved in marble
they could not shelter men
Though altars built in parliaments
they could not order men
Police arrested Magic
and Magic went with them,
for Magic loves the hungry.

But Magic would not tarry
it moves from arm to arm
it would not stay with them
Magic is afoot
it cannot come to harm
it rests in an empty palm
it spawns in an empty mind
but Magic is no instrument
Magic is the end.

Many men drove Magic
but Magic stayed behind
Many strong men lied
they only passed through Magic
and out the other side
Many weak men lied
they came to God in secret
and though they left him nourished
they would not say who healed
Though mountains danced before them
they said that God was dead
Though his shrouds were hoisted
the naked God did live

3.

This I mean to whisper to my mind
This I mean to laugh with in my mind
This I mean my mind to serve ’til
service is but Magic
moving through the world
and mind itself is Magic
coursing through the flesh
and flesh itself is Magic
dancing on a clock
and time itself the magic length of God.

 

©Leonard Cohen, from his novel, Beautiful Losers, 1966.

 

WRITING PROMPTS:
1. Reread this poem over several times, slowly, entering into the trance-like state it induces. As you read, make quick notes on your associations, the fleeting images that arise, or the feelings you experience.

2. Do you have your own associations to CROW, or to the experience of Magic in the natural world?  Write about those feelings and try, if you wish, to fit them into your own incantation using repetition and word exchange.

3. Of course it’s also possible that you had a negative reaction to Cohen’s words. That’s all right, of course. The world is diverse, and your reaction, no matter how strong, could reveal important information. Write it all out. Disagree, argue, take issue with everything here, or a special statement that got your back up. Go for it, and see if you can express your feelings clearly and strongly.

 

Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.

Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized

Poem by David Hoffman

the wind turns the page
of the timeless calendar
snow flakes are dancing

 -David Hoffman

 

WRITING PROMPTS:

1. What weather is “dancing” outside your window today, or in your heart?
2. The calendar of life is timeless. What seasons do you notice your personal inner calendar passes through each “year?”
3. Write about your birthday and what it means to you. How do you celebrate it? Do you consider it a new beginning in any way? 

 

Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.

Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized