Something About Place


When you find a place that you really love,

a place with power and beauty,

you want to return there again and again;

it becomes an obsession (almost).

Silly, but you anticipate returning

in the way you anticipate

seeing a dear and intimate friend,

or a new lover

who seduces your curiosity and titillates your sensibilities

as if you were a schoolgirl …

or in the way a person seeks guidance

from a counselor or spiritual advisor

… or in the way you research a burning question

whose answer eludes you …

You think of Monet

who painted 30 unique canvases of Rouen Cathedral

because he just couldn’t get it out of his being …

And when you return on each of many pilgrimages,

you find it delightfully different every time:

the temperament of the sky,

the colors that are blooming,

the subtly transformed limbs and leaves of the trees,

the birds who are there that day—

like moods or clothes a friend would wear on different days …

And like a lover, you want to keep this place a secret

because it is so beautiful

you are jealous

to share it with anyone else.


April Flowers

Wildflowers encountered along San Francisco Bay wetlands. If any of my botanist/flower-loving friends knows their names, I’ll caption them. Otherwise, just enjoy looking at them!

The heart’s geography

© 2013 Anne Campagnet-Reed

How well can you claim to know

the geography of the heart?

You’ve explored it many times

on casual wanderings,

study tours

and even planned vacations—

and each time you add features

to your map, based on

discoveries made that trip.

You think you know

the lay of the land

well enough to lead tours.

But every visitor

makes clear to you

that there are regions

you have never seen:

treacherous rocks

or serene pools;

underground caverns

that the locals

tell no one


don’t take it.

don’t take it.

Don’t support aNYONE

who does.

Live your life and love.


You don’t want to give them

the satisfaction of your attention:

those misled demons

who have to


your joy,


your body


your hopes,

sTEAL lives,

bURN souls,

hiding behind

their pointless



and making everyone gUESS

who they are;

Life is sacred;

don’t take it.

Don’t support aNYONE

who does.

April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon bombings

The Meaning of Existence

What is the meaning of existence?

To play, eat, love, communicate;

To find out what it feels like

To do things differently

From your past attempts

And in doing,


You are


This is a nonet: a poem with the pattern: 1st line = 9 syllables, 2nd line = 8; etc. It was written in response to a challenge on Poet’s Corner (see link in Blogroll).

The Prophet: Love

Chakra Center

On Love

Then said Almitra, “Speak to us of Love.”
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves…

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The Labyrinth


Feet feel cool stone floor through socks. Mind takes in view of long, curving paths, convoluted like smoothed, stylized intestines. I remember what the white-haired reverend said as he handed me the brochure: “Just give up your thoughts and let go as you enter…”

Aware, peripherally, of the handful of cathedral sight-seers. The lines take me on an unexpected trajectory–I thought I was in this quadrant; now, not having completed that section, I’m in the one to the right. They are all interconnected. Rational mind on the outskirts knows they will all resolve in the end: there is only one exit, which is also the entrance. I ponder this conundrum, which reassures me.

Still, I watch my feet, become aware of my gait. Less agile than I thought I would be, with the weight of years and the world belying my youthful mind. I take the turns less gracefully than expected, so quickly do they double on themselves.

Stay on the path. Remember to breathe. “Breathing is the only autonomic system we can control.” Am I in control of my destiny or is it in control of me? We are one. There is only one path. My mind wanders as my eyes stray upward and meet those of a young bald man in a wheelchair, watching my progress from a corner near the entrance. I break contact, returning concentration to the path. “This is ‘practice,’” I think. Religion is practice: the physical act that allows the spirit to think–or be. No need for endless liturgies or indoctrinations. No one judging. We’re all here for the same thing. My mind returns to my feet. Am I coming back out yet?

I don’t know how I got all the way over here. My mind is a tourist in a strange land, not familiar with the streets. The breath feels restricted, I work hard to slow it down. I remind myself that I will be coming out at the starting point. I seem to be on the outer rim. But wait–I am now heading for the center! That’s right–I haven’t been there yet. How like life, I reflect. We are confused, distracted, not sure where we are headed. But in the labyrinth there is only one way to go: forward.  As the radio talk-show career guru had said, “Don’t look back; just go forward, one baby step at a time.”

Finally, I am in the center of the labyrinth. A big circle with small petal-like motifs on the edges. I feel a sense of accomplishment. I deserve a pause and a bit of “beingness.” I close my eyes, aware of the high-arching limestone pillars all around me, the patches of color thrown on the floor by the sun through the windows. I calm my brain, grateful for an empty mind and the brief inner peace I have achieved.

I am more confident about the journey back, having achieved its complement. I have lost track of time and my place in the journey when I hear the sudden peal of bells. I feel the leonine grumble as each of the twelve bells bongs.

Moments after the last bong, I am aware of the ingress of people through the high door. I feel a sense of urgency to complete my walk, hoping not to interfere with services. The people float past me, engulfed by the cavernous arches, and settle in the pews. My presence is not unwelcome; just a normal part of everyday life that was noted and dismissed. Just as I am wondering how and when I will reach the end, I do.

Silently and reverently, I walk around the outside of the labyrinth to the back pew, where I retrieve my shoes and jacket.