Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last poetry prompt is to write a farewell poem, and I am writing mine to a young friend who I much respect as he enters the last days of his life.

Farewell, Good Soul

I wonder if you will die tonight.
If not tonight, soon. Too young.
Includer, friend, husband, father
son, brother, seeker, keeper of trees,
you have feared, raged, wept, hoped,
hung on, calmed, wiped tears, let go.
You walked into my office seeking
wisdom, left as much as you found.
Thank you. I will miss you. Farewell.

Victoria Hendricks, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Today's poetry prompt is to write a poem starting "Never....". Much easier than a sestina. I don't know if my version is more prayer or promise.

Never Stop

listening, learning, looking,
growing, receiving, giving,
forgiving, dancing, hoping,
remembering, dreaming,
writing, working, playing,
changing, creating, building,
healing, loving, living,
As long as I breathe,
may I never stop.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks, April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

OK, this is a big deal, the poetry prompt today. It was to write a form poem, a COMPLICATED for poem called a sestina. Anybody who wants to look up the pattern, here's a link. That's not why it's a big deal. This is the one prompt in the poetry challenge I gave up on last year. It frustrated me and made me cry and I just quit. I got very close to that point this year, but here it is, my sestina, followed by the poem about my freedom to write or not write sestinas or anything else I please. The sestina also mentions many of the birds Bob and I saw Sunday at the Port Aransas birding center.


Pink cloud, Roseate spoonbills lift
over marsh. Miracle moment, quick loss.
Sora strides out of reeds, out of dream,
I raise binoculars, resolute, quick with hope.
Mystery quicker than mind, rail hides in mist.
Birds rise, leave me on boardwalk alone.

Wind kisses, slaps, purifies as I stand alone.
White shape encourages, eye follows, hope lifts ,
but it is just a trash bag, no bird, flapping in mist.
hope, loss hope loss hope loss hope loss hope loss
hope, loss, hope, loss, hope, loss hope, loss, hope.
I raise binoculars again, between reality and dream.

Roseate spoonbills circle, drop pink feather, dreamer
I stand on boardwalk holding feather, thankful, alone
Splash in the water, way out, fish jumps, heron hopes
for catch. Ordered line of heavy brown pelicans lifts
ponderous, graceful, one bird's catch, another's loss.
Ten foot alligator still as log in green water under mist.

Magic brilliance of indigo bunting storm breaks mist
Color too bright for reality, must come from dream,
vanishes when grackle squawks, loss, hope, loss.
Coot cries. Giant red eared turtle dives. Again,alone.
Each time beauty disappears, I choose whether to lift
binoculars , whether to accept loss, hope, loss, hope.

Translucent neck of tricolored heron sparkles, feeds hope
color and absence alternate, through morning mist.
Rain falls, mist lifts, mist descends, loss falls, hope lifts
Roseate spoonbill cloud. pink as any sweet dream
evaporates as fast, alone, alone, alone, alone, alone.
Put binoculars in case, sick of loss hope loss hope loss.

Alligator under boardwalks snaps jaws, mallard's life lost
Meadowlark rises cry too beautiful for orchestra, like hope
Foolish illusion, so much life death in marsh, no way alone
Colors flash pink, indigo, translucent, yellow through mist
Beauty, life, death, hope loss is real in the marsh, no dream.
I unlatch case and reluctant, catch rosy cloud as binoculars lift.

On boardwalk, in marsh, I lift binoculars, risk loss
of flash of dream, surrender again to persistent hope
Keep peering through the mist for connection, never alone.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks, April 28, 2009

Resisting Patterns

Freedom, the wise woman taught,
is neither rebellion or compliance.
I don't have to follow difficult forms.
I don't have to refuse. I choose.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks, April 28, 2009
GOOD NEWS SO FAR - The baby niece of my husband's teacher friend survived her surgery and is breathing OK now, in pain and they don't know if the tumor removed is cancer or what - but so far so good.
Today's prompt was longing - which gets real primal for me.

Hold Me

Hold me. Enfold me.
Never let me fall.
Keep me safe.
Keep me close.
Don't get sick.
Don't get hurt.
Don't die. Don't die.
Hold me. Enfold me.

Victoria Hendricks, April 27, 2009

I'm happily back from Corpus, though with long layover. was great in a way I got paper letters and cards written, which I've been putting off - but I'll need to punctuate tomorrow with a nap or two and get to bed now.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Prompts keep hitting home. Today's was miscommunication. I think I spend way too much energy trying to be clear, to fine tune, to get communication just right. I try too hard and get tangled up and in the end what I really want is just the same thing a child wants, love, connection, acceptance, being heard.

Child's Plea

It's really quite simple.
Please love me.

I pick you a flower.
Please love me.

I cry when you leave.
Please love me.

I paint you a picture.
Please love me.

I dance on the table.
Please love me.

I get sick and whimper.
Please love me.

I get straight A's.
Please love me.

I do all my chores.
Please love me.

I sulk in the corner.
Please love me.

I fight with my brother.
Please love me.

I eat my green peas.
Please love me.

Why don't you hear me?
It's really quite simple.

Victoria Hendricks, April 26,2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today was good. Bob 's tutoring went well though with smaller turnout than he hoped for. Cleaning the apartment was pleasant and successful and I introduced Bob to online scrabble (Lexolous on Facebook) to which I am joyfully addicted. Our beach birding was pleasant - odd conditions at beach, very flat gray day, dry dunes from drought, clammy breeze. We didn't get into the water but had fun. Oddest bird sight was a cattle egret standing in a flock of laughing gulls and Caspian terns, whittish and awkward but wearing a gorgeous cap of rusty breeding feathers.

We continue to process and pray about the news about Heidi's renewed cancer growth. Our lunch with Bob's teacher friend was canceled because her one year old niece was in emergency surgery, suddenly unable to breathe because of a large growth constricting her internal organs, and her parents had been told babies don't always wake up after surgery. I was horrified for this family, but visualizing Liam or Andrea so ill really shook me. Also, much less serious. but frustrating and painful, we learned that Chris had a soft tissue injury to his leg during a TAKS pep rally yesterday (over zealous wrestling coach carried away with throwing Chris choreography. So he's hurting and on crutches and that's unfortunate, especially right before TAKS.

Chris' accident and the poetry prompt to write about an event emboldened me to write about a recent near miss of my own - about two weeks ago - that I hesitated to write about here, probably more out of embarrassment than anything else. My right knee still aches some and there are sensitive spots on foot and shin still, but I'm mostly back to normal.


Ordinary morning, clock scolds,
time to get moving, clients
expect me. Author reading is
scheduled for tonight. Favorite
soft black skirt, apricot top,
amber necklace, comfortable shoes
all await on rocking chair and desk,
ready to go. Not I. Stayed up too late,
groggy but responsible, I roll left like
every morning. expect to land standing
beside tall bed with feet on cool floor,
but I roll wrong, too much momentum,
smash against bedside table, spill
slat night's soda, overturn bowl of
change, kick power cords, unplug clock,
upend lamp, all free fall, then splat.
I sit up fast in a pile of pennies,
dripping Diet Dr.Pepper, lamp in my lap.
I sit still, stunned, hurting, feel right
knee start to swell, finger knots on shin
and under right eye. Even if I get ice on
it fast, I'm going to have my first shiner.
But I can think, stand, walk, call a cab,
listen, offer counsel, read with feeling,
sign books, receive hugs, get home, even
remember dietary restrictions for Passover.
I am still myself. Life goes on one more
day. I did not crack skull, snap neck,
break foot, wreck knee, die. Live, I think
I'd better, between falls, each ordinary day.

Victoria Hendricks, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's odd how the prompt on the poetry challenges keep fitting my experiences and mood. Today the prompt was to write a travel poem - and today I rode the Greyhound bus down to Corpus to visit Bob. Writing this travel poem was fun.

Secret Time Machine

Greyhound bus sailed across
across green Texas green flats,
where cattle took shade, munched
bluebonnets under knots of live oak,
through tiny towns with giant
courthouses, tempting bakery
signs, main street banners
proclaiming rodeo, water melon
thump, football championship.
Homecoming..Secret time machine.

Greyhound bus let me out
today in beach city where
husband's welcoming arms
pulled me in.. He couldn't see
I'd detoured back forty six years
to my first bus trip alone, finally
old enough at twelve, sucking
Crystomint, playing solitaire, past
grazing cattle, under bright banners.
Homecoming. Secret time machine.

Victoria Hendricks, April 25, 2009

I'm glad to be here with Bob as he nervously prepares to tutor kids in math tomorrow morning - nervous because this group is just beginning to get important concepts, and very close to the dreaded TAKS. While he tutors, I'll clean. Then we'll join a teacher friend and her husband for lunch and hope for dusk on the beach. It is good to be here. And I was glad we were together when we learned that Heidi's tumor markers were increasingly abnormal this month. I haven't absorbed that news entirely yet, just sitting up feeling love and support for them while Bob sleeps to get ready for the tutoring.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm tired tonight, talked out, too warm in my house and too stubborn to turn on the AC, need to pack a few things to take to Corpus to see Bob after work tomorrow. Need to get more sleep than I got last night. I haven't seen any of the kids except K.K. for two whole weeks and here I am going away for the weekend. Next weekend I'll have to get a baby and boy fix big time.
I am looking forward to migration birding with Bob though, just being with him. And I smile imagining us on the beach at dusk.

Today's poem prompt is to write a poem of regret and I'm keeping mine simple.

I Regret

harm done
good left undone
cards unsent
letters unanswered
compliments unspoken
gossip exchanged
resentment harbored
forgiveness withheld
love unshared
good left undone
harm done.

Victoria Hendricks, April 23, 2009
A friend shared this prayer in honor of Earth Day.

The Land's Prayer

Our Father, Our Mother,
We are on Heaven;
Hallowed be this ground.
Your Kingdom will come
If our will is one
on Earth,
As it is our Heaven.
Give all this day their daily bread,
And forgive us our excesses,
As we forgive those whose excess exceeds ours.
And lead us not into consumption
But deliver us from avarice,
For ours is the power
To preserve Your Kingdom
In all its glory,
Forever and ever.

Layne Longfellow

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prompt today is to write a work related poem.

They'll Pay You

Mama said Education is
the road to success. Get
a degree. Get three.
Don't depend on a man to
support you. Men leave.
Men die. You have to be
able to take care of yourslf.
Education is the key.

Daddy said Don't let
anyone turn you into a
bean counter. Find work
you love. Work like hell
to get damn good at it.
Work from your heart,
passion shows. There's
always money at the top.

I listened well to both,
got degrees, found work
I love, made it my own,
work from my heart,
come home satisfied,
most days, good tired.
Still I needed smarts,
and luck. Very thankful.

Victoria Hendricks, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Prompt today was to write a hiaku and/or a poem about hiaku (against the form or in praise of it). I wrote my hiaku about the view out my office window and my second poem about the family dramas people have brought into my office over the years.

Late Spring Afternoon

Green blows across blue.
Warm light, Chill breeze, short shadows.
Late sunset tonight.

In Need of Hiaku

Family drama swirls messy,
florid, torrid, hot with similie
and metaphor, reference
to past and future, blame,
resentment, recrimination.
Needs the cool quick focus
of hiaku, clean in the moment.

Victoria Hendricks - April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday night Bob and I had one of those experiences of art that it would be wrong not to note in a post - one of those highs where art illuminates human experience and suffering - just pours through like white light and purifies, and also keeps one thinking for days. We saw Austin Lyric Opera's production of Dialogues of the Carmelites - , a 1953 opera in three acts by Francis Poulenc. Set during Reign of Terror France, this opera explores courage, fear, sensitivity, faith, doubt, suffering, martyrdom, loyalty, freedom - so many of the big themes. Blanche, the main character is a highly sensitive young woman of noble birth who takes refuge during frightening times by joining the Carmellite Order of nuns - only to find it is not a refuge at all but a sisterhood which tests her to the point of martyrdom. I loved the complexity of the characters, and the music just sang through me, down to my very bones.
There is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen
Prompt today is to write a rebirth poem and again it is a perfect fit for me, thinnking so much as I am lately about the experience of living the life I have now in the marriage I cherish now after grieving Kerry. That marriage, that life, seems like ancient history now, and I never thought that would feel true. It is sweet history, but history. Life as I know it is life with Bob. I wish I had gotten to this place sooner - not quite sure when I got here, but here I am.

Never The Same

Friends who loved us as a couple,
friends who mourned his death,
gasped when I announced
plans to marry, to marry you.
It will never be the same
each warned, different styles
same message. Lonely, hopeful
ewly in love, I didn't listen.

It was not the same. You were
not his shadow, You liked
more hot sauce, detested scent
of jasmine, arrived on the dot,
hated my habit of rearranging stacks.
I fought your uniqueness, molded
you hard into his image. You resisted.
I panicked. It was not the same.

Daughters grew up. Grandchildren
came. Yours. Ours. You took
us all to the zoo, the beach, the
wilderness, put up the tent, brought
new stories, new songs, held me nights,
worked beside me days. Love has your
name now. He is sweet memory.
Doesn't need to be the same.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks - April 20, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Prompt today was to write an angry poem and the timing was perfect because I hit a mood about the time Bob needed to leave that was full of that deep frantic tantrum anger - the if you let go of me I'll die but if you come too close I'll yell at youkind of anger I don't feel too often these days. I think it got triggered at the baseball game by the consistently rude behavior of the man behind us. He yells at players and uses crude language in a loud voice and bad grammar and profanity and just has an edgy, ugly attitude that brings out the worst in me. I want to turn around and tell him to shut up - or say something profound that will make him want to change his ways - or just punch him. So it is easy to get into angry tonight.


Can't find words,
targets, reasons,
need to smash,
break, break out.
I need you to
hold me tight.
Let me go.
never let go
all at the same
time and you
have to go it right
or we will both
disappear and
the world will end.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Great Saturday - so busy - short now because Bob is here and falling asleep. Just goiong to post poem. Promt was "an interaction" and I grabbed mind out of this weekend, taking K.K> to watch Ian dance.

Let Go Of Her?

You are going to have to let go
of her, I said. The cab won't wait.
He held on just a second more, still
in stage makeup and Oberon tights,
she in her best dress with turquoise
jewelry I made for her, and her mother's
kitten heels, hair brushed down her back.
So young, just friends, they say, taken
ballet together since he was eight and
she was five, eight years growing up
watching, listening, helping, supporting.
She surprised him after the show, his
first real lead, top billing. He didn't know
she'd come and of course she spent all
week planning outfit and transportation.
He grabbed her hard, grinned, even asked
his mom to snap a picture. He hates
being photographed. She leaned in close,
beamed, glowed. You are going to have
to let go of her, I said. Maybe not.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Satisfied tonight after a long work day and work week. It even rained plenty today so the garden and trees should be happy. the babies' new apple trees are really leafing up. I have K.K. asleep in the back room. She and I went to see her friend Ian dance in Mid Summer Night's Dream with a youth company. He had his first lead - Oberon, and he danced it well, and was delightedly surprised to find K.K. waiting for him in the wings after the performance. The kids also danced a moving modern piece in tribute to the brother of the director, a south central L.A. school teacher who died of AIDS. Interesting commentary on medical care is that K.K. was surprised an American had died of AIDS - she sees it as an African problem.

So I'm satisfied tonight which makes the prompt easy. I'm supposed to write a poem starting with "All I want." So many places I could go from there, but none of them rings really true so I wrote it simple.

All I Have

All I want
is all I have.
All I have
is all I want.
This moment.
Child sleeping.
Cat rubbing.
Rain falling.
Heart beating.
All I have
is all I want.
All I want is
all I have.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today's prompt is to write about a color.

Almost Silver

Almost silver
moonlight, starlight,
rush of rapids,
sea foam, snow glow
first last sun gleam,
beginning, ending,
yearning, memory,
transcendence, hope
Almost silver.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today's prompt was to change the title of a known poem and then write a new poem with a new title. I chose Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" a poem I've both loved and struggled with for decades. I love the love and spirit in the poem, the fire, the fight. And yet I remember the sweet release, the tenderness of Kerry's dying - the tenderness of NOT fighting.

Let Me Go Gentle

Let me go gentle
into welcome night.
Noon is not eternal.
Eyes squint against light.
Long shadows fall tender.
Release is brave as fight.
Please bless surrender.
Let me go gentle
into welcome night.

Victoria Hendricks, April 15, 2009


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This morning's prompt was to write a love poem and an anti-love poem. Easy prompts the last couple of days.

Miss You Mornings

I miss you mornings
wake up alone in bed
imagine you teaching,
struggling to get kids
on track, wanting them
to care as much as you
do about what they learn.
I love how you struggle,
how much you care,
love that you choose
to teach school instead
or wake lazy in my bed.
I miss you mornings.

Hollywood Love

Hollywood love
is cut flowers.
Bright, fragrant
short lived
Me, I'd rather
plant a tree.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Today's prompt is to write about a hobby - an easy one for me.

Beads on a String

Color and light,
cool glass beads,
mixed in a bowl
to match my mood,
bring your smile,
chase shadow away.

Color and light
cool glass beads,
exuberant, serene,
fall into pattern,
shine in the sun
by my will alone.

Color and light
cool glass beads,
demand no answers,
suffer no pain,
need no comfort,
simply calm my mind

This evening I went with a friend to City Hall to act as moral support and courage while she waited for the ruling on a variance for an eight foot tall fence around her pool. She got the variance with no complication and was much relieved, AND I found the whole experience of listening to a board discuss and vote on requests for departures from building code totally fascinating.

The board dealt with small issues, like my friends fence, and in several cases with issues of minor improvements in poor neighborhoods of old houses where keeping modern space restrictions just didn't work. They also huge issues of development, pros and cons, for example whether a drive in bank could be built in a neighborhood trying to become more urban and pedestrian focused (the neighborhood between my office and my house). The bank company was granted the variance to build in a way that is more car focused, because the board ruled that this was practical and also because of safety concerns regarding robbery and employees walking from cars to work if the parking was not visible from a street. The vast majority of the people who came tonight were members of neighborhood associations against the development of a new rehab hospital in an area that is already overdeveloped and impinges on my local creek, Shoal Creek. The very assertive young woman behind this proposal was strongly instructed by the board to talk to the neighborhood associations for a month - and to LISTEN to them before coming back with a revised proposal. All in all I liked the way the board dealt with the range of issues before them and am glad of the unexpected way I spent my evening.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The poetry prompt today was to write a ooem entitled "And So We Decided". I wrote my poem late, after talking to Bob on the phone, after a tiring, rich, wonderful weekend of interfaith celebrations of renewal and hope, freedom and commitment. I get overwhelmed way too easily by trying to manage in the world, get supplies bought, meals on the table, keep the spirit right. On the one hand I struggle, am not a smooth proficient hostess who keeps it all together. On the other hand, it is so good to have a family of people I love and respect, who love and respect me, to have a home in which I can entertain, to have money for not just groceries, but holiday foods, to have paying work I even love, to have health. The poetry assignment and my mood really melded together. I need to remember when I start to get anxious that it is a decision, my decision, hundreds of time a day, that what I have and am really is sufficient, dayenu.

And So We Decided Dayenyu

Dayenu, enough, sufficient
Prayer at Passover instructs
me to remember how little I
need, how much more I have.
Last night, draped in purple
silk, sweet cherry wine in
heavy goblet, baby grandson
passed from lap to lap like
pitcher for ritual hand washing,
I looked from face to beloved face
and decided again, dayenu, whatever
I lack, whatever I fear, in this
moment, life, family, circle, dayenyu.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The poetry prompt today was to write about an object

Seder Plate

I did not grow up with
a seder plate, have
chosen and purchased
the artifacts of Judaism
one by one, holiday by
holiday. Tonight I smile
as I wash my seder plate,
creation of local potter,
deeply textured in spirals,
Hebrew lettered wheel of life,
rim like braided challa.
I smile, pleased with choices
that led to this April moment
in which I stand in my
kitchen at Passover and
wash my own seder plate.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poetry prompt today was to write about Friday - and it is just what I need. This week has left me tired, more than usual, glad for a shift in energy. Time to restore.

Friday Evening Falls

Friday evening falls like gentle
rain, purifies weary mind.
Shabbat .enters home,
quiet, calm, reminds me
to rest, appreciate, be.

Victoria Hendricks

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Poetry prompt was to write of an early memory. This is a favorite memory but one I haven't written about.


Lifted out of motel bed - still
in pink flannel night gown,
Daddy wrapped me in blanket -
Quiet - whispered, he wanted
to show me a surprise. Nestled close,
excited, I didn't ask what. He strapped
me into seat of friend's convertable,
top down, cold mountain morning
and drove up snake of road into
clouds- pink, golden, violet, glimmering,
irridescent, inside a mountain sunrise.

Victoria Hendricks

Tonight was great, if exhausting. We had a reading for the grief book Stricken, to whioch I contributed an essay. This is the second time I've participated in a readiong and it was, again, a very pleasing experience. We had around forty people I think - they came and went a bigt, never forty at once. I enjoyed hearing some of hte pieces read which I did not get to hear at the first reading.

Bob is home for Easter weekend - a real treat.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I've been slow to write in tribute to Mort Satten who, with his wife Dorothy, was my teacher of psychodrama, and dear friend. I haven't seen him in a few years, since he became ill with a recurrence of cancer and retired. I'd stopped attending workshops regularly after completing my director's training, but Mort and Dorothy are among the major forces for good in my personal and professional lives. I first studied with them soon after Kerry's death, and they were among the first in my circle to meet and bless my marriage with Bob. It was Mort who grabbed me after I'd directed my first psychodrama and told me I was a natural at this work, Mort who was a strong force in shaping my personal and professional confidence.

Mort taught me so much, more even about life and keeping it real than about craft - though he taught me plenty about our craft. Mort is the source of one of my favorite mantras "Real is better than perfect." I think I was present the first time he said it, and I clearly remember his grin up in a theater in the mountains north of Taos when he said real had better be sufficient because real is what he could do. Me too Mort. And he did a great job of real, authentic, spontaneous, himself. I know he grew up tough and poor in New York City during the Depression, found his skill and power as a soldier in Europe during World War II, was deeply affected as a Jewish soldier present at the liberation of a concentration camp. He lived so much life, arms open to love and loss alike, changed careers, lived a great love, became patriarch to a blended family and to a community of healers. Mort lived big, lived love, shaped many, includiong me, for good and service. I miss him already and will always be thankful for his influence in my life.
Poetry prompt today was to write about a routine.

Bath Routine

I could call it ablutions
but that would be silly.
Every night I give myself
a bath, like Mama used to
when I was a little girl,
warm water in warm room
soft towel waits, scent of
chamomile, ginger, oiled
water softens skin, book
to read as long as I want,
time, my own, behind
closed door, cleansing quiet
between work and sleep.

Victoria Hendricks
April 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Today is a big day Jewish wise. Passover begins tonight - and today is a rarely occuring (every 28 years) Jewish holiday commemorating the creation of the sun. This holiday has not been much celebrated. It last occured around the time of Ruth's birth. With the concern about global warming and the need to preserve our earth and utilize solar energy Jews around the world are placing more emphasis on this holiday this time around. Here is the basi information posted on my favorite Jewish ritual site,

Tradition holds that the sun was created at the spring equinox, the first hour of the night before the fourth day of Creation. Every 10,227 days – according to the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Berachot 59b – the sun returns to its position at Creation. As codified in the Shulchan Aruch and on the basis of intricate calculations reconciling the Jewish and Gregorian calendars, Birkat HaChammah, a prayer service marking this 28-year cycle, is conducted on a Wednesday in the month of Nissan, when the sun is about 90 degrees above the eastern horizon.

The year 5769 is such a year. The Blessing of the Sun takes place on April 8, 2009 (erev Pesach). It is interesting to note that the secular date was the same throughout the 20th century, and scholars have determined it will continue to be marked on this date throughout the current century.

In recognition of the stresses on the world's environment, many and varied Jewish organizations also are seeking to make this a singular occasion for raising our awareness and taking responsibility as caretakers of "the Earth and all that dwell therein."

Ruth found a powerful utube video with pictures of innovative uses of solar power around the world and a beautiful song.

Words and Music: Unknown
Performed by Rabbi Shawn Zevit of "Generations"

Powerful sun full of radiant light
Weave us the web that spins the night
Web of stars that holds the dark
Weave us the earth that feeds the spark

Strand by strand, hand over hand
Thread by thread, we weave the web

To hear the song and see how some are harnessing the energy of the sun, go to

Used by permission of artist

My very sleepy blessing is that each reader of this blog finds new energy from diverse sources and channels that energy to renew self, others, and earth.
It's been a comedy of errors getting my office put back together. When I arrived at work today, having been promised that the carpet guys would be down and the big furniture back in my office and books on shelves, the carpet was down but the furniture was still all out in the hall and the door wasn't even hung on it's hinges. I freaked for a minute - can't do counseling without a door! But my friend Bill hung the door quickly and we got chairs back in so I could see my first client. I had a break later and just hauled the big stuff back in myself - iompatient to wait, and it's mostly all togethr now. I'm glad I'm phyusically strong. My landlord apologized profusely and so did the owner of the carpet company - said the crew is usually very reliable and has never just walked off on a job like that. I have no idea what happened. Monitoring my own emotions, I realize I could have been much more upset about this whole leak/recarpeting/furniture out of place marathon. Maybe I am actually learning a little wisdom and perspective.
The prompt today was to write a clean poem and then a dirty poem (or to write one or the other) The prompt hit the spot for me because I've been thinking a lot about relationships and intimacy, what makes a relationship feel clean or dirt, comfortable or uncomfortable. I hate guessing or feeling like other people are guessing about me. I want to be able to talk about any conflicts or confusions that come up, and feel uncomfortable and anxious when others make assumptions that they don't make explicit. It's odd, because I think I'm pretty intuitive, but I don't want to base relationships on my intuition or anybody else's. I want it simple and overt - clear - clean. Hence the poems.


You ask until you understand
what I say and how I mean it,
clearly, every nuance, no doubt,
no guesses, no reading between
lines, no figuring me out, no secrets,
no lies, no unfinished business, no
resentment, no walking on egg shells,
no mystery, sufficient commitment
to make consistent effort, respect.
engagement, challenge, enduring love.


You try to figure me out, but don't ask
what I mean, how I feel, what I need.
When I try to tell you, you read between
lines, make guesses, assume intentions,
harbor resentment, walk around secrets,
refuse to ask for what you want, hate me
when I won't guess, want me to get it right
without being told. There is no right enough.
No sufficient commitment, lack of respect,
Romantic tension disquised as enduring love.

Victoria Hendricks
April 6, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

Poetry prompt today was to write about something missing. Here's my effort.

Transmission Imperfect

Chinese gong from Grandmother's
red dining room hangs on teak stand
behind computer desk. Striker is missing.
Glass fronted book shelf from Grandfather's
office holds Golden Books grandchildren
rarely read. Knob of bottom drawer is missing.
Names of people in photographs, stories behind
expressions, nuances, explanations, destinations,
through generations, much is kept, much missing.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks
April 6, 2009

In my actual day, nothing was missing. I spent most of the day with Ruth and Liam
(so much bigger and more participatory in life than two weeks ago when I last spent Monday with them). His eyes follow activity all around him. He seems more and more in the world. Hard to believe two months ago he was still inside - a mystery. I'm glad I';m writing down snippets of these ordinary good days - snippets like Liam loving to look out the living room window, the sweet ringing of the wind chime Chris bought Ruth and hung where she can hear it, the way Ruth smiles when she plays with Liam ...."I'm gonna kiss your....(fill in the body part). These are the kinds of things that go missing over the years - maybe less so written down.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I had a lovely weekend with K.K., who spent both nights with me. We visited old haunts, including Katz' where she got a hug from the owner. I loved watching her in her jazz class, so confident and competent dancing to music from Chicago. I love hte age she is, sharing books and hobbies. We read Twilight to each other and made necklaces.
Prompt today was to write a poem about a landmark.


University of Texas Tower
pushes into changing sky
fossil laden, chiming song
backbone of family tradition.
Declares Ye shall know the truth
the truth shall make ye free.
Mama rode construction elevator
up it's bones, nineteen thirty
something, called it New Main
until she died in year two thousand.
I beamed pride when I used the key
to my carrel in its book-lined stacks,
like my Daddy, like my daughter.
Brilliant burnt orange for football victories,
Stained blood red when mad gunman
used it's height to facilitate slaughter.
Scene for study breaks, suicides, proposals,
Back drop for generations of graduations.
I look for it every time I walk up the hill
to the library, family landmark in space
time, memory, tradition, as long as I live..
University of Texas Tower.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks,
April 5, 2009

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Snowy Owl

Shadow of death, silent as breath,
White on white, soul of night
New moon dreamer, star namer,
Omen caller, pattern closer,
Who hooter, I listen for my name.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks
April 4, 2009

Friday, April 03, 2009


The problem with hope is disappointment.
The problem with disappointment is hope.
The problem with love is keeping boundaries.
The problem with keeping boundaries is love.
The problem with life is the power of death.
The problem with death is the force of life.

Victoria Hendricks, April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I could be frustrated tonight but somehow I'm not. The carpet is being pulled up in my office tomorrow and I may not get replacement carpet until the middle of next week. It is going to be odd working around the mess - using partner's offices, maybe seeing some folks at home next week - but it just doesn't seem to bother me. And little things can bother me. Glad this one doesn't.

Bob's fourth graders successfully reenacted the seige of the Alamo for the PTA meeting tonight and got good attendance and good comments from teachers and parents. It was a challenge to keep the very exuberant and noisy kids on task and moderately civilized, but Bob managed it. I love the way he does his work.

The poetry prompt was to write about the experience of being an outsider and this is what I came up with. I know I'm on a soap box about isolation in public places, but it just really bothers me.

On the Bus

Ear buds, Ipods, cell phones,
portable barriers separate
passengers, each outside
all others' reach. Collars up,
heads down, eyes blank,
each outsider an I, no us.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Good day, happy at work even with the furniture out and about all over the place because of the flooding. Bluebonnets are popping up all over after last week's rain. The poetry prompt was to write an origin poem and I wrote about the origin of my marriage with Bob.

Unexpected Origin

First time we met, at a party neither
of us planned to attend, we talked
nonstop five hours about books, music,
family, hopes, fears, hopes, life, death.

First time we met I was happily married,
weeks away from my second pregnancy,
deep in motherhood, grad school. You lived
with your Golden Retriever, worked, hiked, read.

First time we met I confided in a mutual friend
you were someone I could have married.
The day of my husband's funeral, our friend
shocked herself, told me you were still single.

First time we met, I didn't believe in fate,
destiny, soul mates. Twenty eight years
later, I nuzzle your familiar neck, thankful
mystery unfolds independent of belief.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks, April 1, 2009