Wednesday, December 28, 2005

dressing up!

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Saturday, December 24, 2005


Xmas tree.jpg

Friday, December 23, 2005

To market, to market...

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, dancing a jig;
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog;
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.

By Mother Goose

Friday, December 16, 2005

Luna as Red Sultana


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A gown of moonlight

Cinderella dress.jpg

In a distant peaceful land
A young girl lives in a kitchen

She often falls asleep reading books near the fire
Her stepsisters unkindly refer to her as Cinderella

The ash covered girl loves books
Especially the ones given to her by her father

Humble chores connects her to her father’s estate
And his books give her the world

She cares little for fancy clothes and gossip
What she likes is walking in the forest and daydreaming

She makes up stories she tells the cat
Or the birds in the trees

Unnoticed and unwanted Cinderella becomes a lovely lady
With intelligence and kindness

The stepsisters think she is simple and base
While they obsess over royal intrigues and their wealth

One day while sorting the grain
A letter arrives

Smudged with soot and sweat
Cinderella delivers this letter to her stepmother

Through the excitement, laughter overflows
At the idea of Cinderella attending the ball

This breaks her heart with the finest cracks
That runs quite deep

She expects little
But this small wish expands into a great desire

Overwhelmed with despair
She cries for the first time since her father died

Cinderella opens the floodgates to her heart
She slowly drowns in misery

An energy begins to collect from the corners of the room
A swelling of light concentrates into a figure

A soft voice gently speaks
Blinking through her tears

Cinderella stares amazed at a petite woman dressed in radiance
“Oh darling, there is a way for you to go.”

Magically a gown of golden luminosity whirls around her
As she walks up the stairs to the ball

She is like the sun rising in the night
All heads turn as she enters

The prince comes directly
And bows

He gently takes her hand
And the waltz begins

Some whisper the prince is bewitched
He cannot take his eyes off her

No words are spoken
But a bond forms that cannot be explained

At midnight Cinderella rushes away
As her fairy godmother instructed

On the road home her fine gown disappears
Her stepsisters come home and shake her awake

They talk about the foreign girl
Who occupied the prince all night

But tomorrow they vow to get their chance
To turn his head.

After the stepsisters go to the ball for the second night
Cinderella waits in the garden for her fairy godmother to appear

Tonight her dress is several shades of aqua
Golden fish dart in and out of the folds like sea grass

Upon arrival the prince is waiting for her
He takes her hand and they disappear through the open doors

The strain of music can barely be heard
And still they dance

At midnight Cinderella runs home
The prince tries to follow but a confusion of ladies block his way

Cinderella pretends to be asleep
As her stepsisters arrive with complaints of the ball

She tries to act interested
But her small smile gives her away

Her quick stepmother grabs her wrist and asks what’s so funny
Cinderella says something simpleminded and her stepmother smirks

A mask is required on the last night of the ball
The stepsisters fuss over their clothes and keep changing their minds

The fairy godmother waits nearby
With a swish of her wand

Cinderella is enveloped in cool shimmering light
A lace mask hides her face

All eyes dazzle to see this moonlit beauty
The Prince knows her instantly

They move onto the dance floor and begin the waltz
The prince by now has memorized her every feature

He knows her hands
And the way she moves

The prince speaks intimately
He knows in his heart she is the one

The prince begins to ask…
But the midnight bells chime, she has no choice but to run

She wants to stay in his arms
But the broken charm would show her in rags

She losses a shoe on the stairway
And cannot stop to pick it up

Confused and frustrated
She doubts he would look at her without the fairy glamour

And yet what did she expect?
She only wanted to go to the ball

What happened is more than she could ever wish for
She has fallen in love with a person she barely knows

She has fallen for the way he touches her
So gently as they dance

She has fallen for his sweet expression
When her looks into her eyes

She sighs to herself
And gives up on ever seeing him again

At dawn she tends her chores like any other day
A messenger arrives announcing a shoe fitting

The stepmother rushes about
Getting her girls ready

Cinderella does her best to help
But the exasperated stepmother shoos her away

The first daughter’s foot is too large
The second one almost fits but her little toe is too big

The stepmother whispers in her ear,
“When you are queen, you won’t need to walk.’

She cuts off the little toe of her own daughter
The stepmother announces the shoe fits!

An entourage swiftly rides to the palace
The stepsister is presented to the king and the prince

The prince knows this is not right
The girl stands with a painful expression

A pool of blood forms around the shoe
The crowd gasps

The prince lifts her onto a couch and removes the shoe
And to his horror sees her mutilated foot

The prince declares this is not the way to find a wife
He takes his horse out into the open air

If a person would cut off a toe to marry a prince
What other kinds of insanity would people do?

He knows he must find his mystery girl
But how?

The shoe fittings are not continued
Cinderella’s shoe lay hidden

The prince races into the countryside
To clear his mind and his heart

He stumbles into a forest where the trail ends
Falling asleep under a willow tree, he dreams

There he sees Cinderella working in a field
Sorting grain

He doesn’t see her face
But he knows her graceful movements

He knows her spirit
Even in a dream

The prince wakes at dusk
Following the trail to a little farm

Seeking water for his horse
He approaches the well

Covered in sweat and dirt
A young girl grasps a water bucket

She sees him and smiles
He knows her even from a distance

This is his mystery girl
But he is confused by her circumstance

In this moment she forgets how she looks
She is filled with love for him

The stepmother sees what is to happen through a window
But she cannot stop this

“It doesn’t matter to me what your status is.
If you would marry me; I would honor you for life.”

He takes her hand and kisses it
Tears streak her face

They marry in a private ceremony
Under a willow tree

As Cinderella disappears
Princess Ella emerges

The Prince and his Princess
Live and love for a long, long time

In a far and distant land...

This story was overheard while drinking Chai in an open market. Please forgive this variation from the original, somewhere in the Arabian Nights.

In a far and distant land was a Sultan who loved his wife very much. He gave her gifts of rare and exceptional beauty to show how much he loved her. And when she became with a child, he was overjoyed. With anticipation the Sultan oversaw the creation of a vast garden.

The Sultana had gathered family near her in the hopes of having this child with great support and comfort, but that was not to be. Her two sisters were so jealous of their younger sister’s beauty and good fortune that they faked kindness in order to live in the beautiful estate.

As the time came for the birth, the Sultan postponed his hunting so he may be near. He waited and waited. And waited all night, until one of the sisters finally came to the Sultan.

“Sire, the Sultana has had...ah.”

“Well, spit it out woman!” shouted the Sultan.

“Sire, the Sultana has had a kitten.” the sister said with a bowed head.

“What silliness is this?” he burst into his wife’s chamber and there she lay all red in the face with a kitten mewing nearby. The Sultan was so shocked and angry that he ran from the room.

This unexplainable event happened two more times. The Sultana was in disgrace. She is said to have had a puppy and another kitten. The sisters secretly smiled satisfied with themselves as the Sultana cried, for surely the Sultan would banish her.

The Sultan and the Sultana lived separately until the day the Sultana quietly died in her sleep. Some would say she died of a broken heart. The Sultan truly mourned her. When he saw her in death, he had forgotten how truly he had loved her. And felt ashamed of his treatment of her.

The palace lingered in gloom but the garden had flourished under the guidance of an expert gardener. The Sultan would often go and visit the gardener and enjoy conversation and good company. One day while exploring the garden where it touched near the wild forest, he saw a young girl playing in a ruin of a teahouse. She had the lovely eyes of his beloved dead wife and thought she must be a ghost. As the Sultan came near, the child offered her play food to him. The Sultan spent a delightful afternoon with this child and assumed she belonged to the gardener or a servant.

The child asked if he would play with her tomorrow and he said he would. The next day a picnic awaited the Sultan. The spread was quite lovely. Except the sandwiches were made of mashed pearls and the water, mercury.

“What manner of food is this?” asked the Sultan. The child looked up and said it’s pretend food. “Ah yes,” chimed the Sultan. Then the little girl asked, “Have you ever heard of a grown woman giving birth to a kitten?” The Sultan gave her such a look., one that warned danger. “What do you mean by this question?” he felt a little hot with anger.

“My father is suppose to believe I was a kitten,” murmured the child. “ And who is your father?” asked the Sultan. “I do not know, but the gardener cares for me like I was his own.” The Sultan replied, “Let’s go visit the gardener.”

The Sultan pounded on the door of the gardener’s house. A fine, young boy answered the door. Upon seeing the angered Sultan he asked, “Sire, what has my little sister done?” The Sultan bristled, “May I come in?”

The gardener’s house was charming but small. The young boy fetched the old gardener, who came to greet the Sultan.

“I had no idea you had so many children,” the Sultan stated. “Why did you never mention them in all of our talks?”

“I didn’t know how to tell you.” Said the gardener. “I know plants. I know how to make things grow. “

“Surely, it’s a wonderful thing to say, ‘I have fine children, dear Sultan’.”

The gardener sat on a cushion and looked deeply into the Sultan’s eyes. “Sire, I would like to tell you a story…”

“My story begins when your beloved wife became with child. You hired me to create a wondrous garden. You wanted splendid places to play and hide for your child. My old wife and I had not been lucky with children. But soon after we came here, we heard crying outside; in a basket with fine blankets was a beautiful newborn boy. We gave him the best the Sultans land could offer.”

“And some time later, two more children arrived, a boy and a girl. We of course, knew something had happened. And we could not assume anything, sire. Word came down, the Sultana was in disgrace and we were not sure you were of, the right mind. My wife and I brought up these children as our own.”

The king looked at these children in their simple clothes and saw his beloved Sultana in each of them. “But how did this happen, really? “ mused the Sultan.

“I do not know, only that they appeared.” answered the gardener. The Sultan thought to himself. He took each child in his arms and apologized for his blindness.

The Sultan had allowed his wife’s sisters to stay in the palace and live a life of luxury. They had become spoiled and greedy. One night the Sultan had a trusted servant give the sisters the sweetest wine and a few key questions. In the dying candlelight, the sisters spilled the story of the Sultana’s labors were to three children. The sisters talked and laughed, belittling the Sultan’s wife. In the morning the sisters found their rooms changed to the lowest chambers of servants.

The Sultan spoke to them and asked them why they did such a thing. They just spat at him. Ungrateful for the life they lead and wept for themselves.

The Sultan came to the gardener’s house and wanted his children to love him, not because he was their father, but because they wanted to. Everyday he came to visit them and brought tutors and started to have a new house made for the Royal Gardener. Eventually the children came to live in the palace. But each day they spent in the garden with their adopted parents.

The unorthodox family unit created a strong bond of friendship and generosity. The Sultan told his children of their mother’s beauty and sweetness. He also told them what a joy they are to him and he could not imagine life without them.

Three Wise Men

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Chai with camels


Meeting up with the caravan, the gentle laughter of women embraces me. Tents of rest luxuriate in the open air with cups of Chai on little trays. Exuberant smiles and excitement of the pending journey make us all giddy. Silhouettes of exotic people pass over the tent as we wait for our attendants. The ladies settle into comfortable, portable chairs laden with pillows and watch the crowd. Small children run about bartering goods. The clinks of coins are exchanged.

Each of us walks about the camels to choose one to ride. The camels wear colorful tassels and bells. Protection from the evil eye, I think. I choose a young camel with long lashes. She calmly licks her heifer. I watched amazed at her white fluffy baby camel.

The hilarious drama of getting on the camels, keeps us giggling for some time. And we don’t quiet down until the road gets squeezed into a narrow passage. I vaguely think about bandits.

My thoughts drift inwardly. I have read it’s important to have a plan when starting a journey. To ask yourself why you travel. I usually do, but not this time.

The day I left my mother’s home to seek the world, the December sky melted into the hazy band of blue ocean. I was leaving for good, never to be part of San Diego in quite the same way. The familiar winding drive caught me and shook me unexpectedly as tears coursed down my face like a child. I thought I so brave to go, to find my own way. And here I was a churning mess under the surface. That journey cut to my heartstrings and resonated in my bones.