art ~ spirit ~ transformation

e*lix*ir   #5
spring / summer 2017



  • Art as a One Eared Mad Man

  • Fiction

  • Ivory and Paper
    by Ray Hudson

  • Poetry

  • Patricia Ranzoni
  • Lynn Ascrizzi
  • Monte Schooley

  • The Writing Life

  • Joining the Circle: Art and Spirituality at Little Pond and “A Prayer in Nine Postures”

  • Essays

  • Life in a Maine Village:
    Sarah Orne Jewett and the Pace of Fiction

  • Looking Back on Books

  • Moments Rightly Place: An Aleutian Memoir
    by Ray Hudson
  • Things We Left Unsaid
    a novel by Zoya Pirzad

  • Art

  • Artwork
    by Jim Schoppert
  • Reinventing Tradition: The Art of Jim Schoppert
    by Ray Hudson

  • Voices of Iran

  • A Small Piece of Heaven on Earth
    by Saba Shadabi

  • ← Previous       Next →

    “Aleutian Autumn” woodcut by Ray Hudson


    Red Tree

    (for Mark Tobey)

    There’s almost too much red
    for such a slender tree.

    In dying, what is each leaf saying?

    We who try to read the correspondences
    written in blazing trees and falling leaves —

    how do we comprehend
    the tongues of fire
    those torn apostles speak,
    or the branch that once held gently,
    that pierces now.

    And who knows how they’re spelled —
    the unresisting words they cry,
    or how that singular, ruby light
    envelopes all.

    Better than new,
    now that the tree has yielded
    and the leaves are through.

    For in that light, what is success?
    We’re best when we lose ourselves.

    Night Migration

    Late November.
    I wake to the cries
    of geese flying south
    above black woods
    and leafless gardens.

    I cannot see them passing
    outside my window,
    but I hear their ordeal
    in the strenuous rush of wings
    that knife-edge freezing air
    and in the urgent calls that echo
    between the young and unversed
    and those that have learned
    how to make the dark crossing
    together without a map,

    to trust in the moon and stars,
    in magnetism, the winds,
    in their pounding hearts,
    in their courage to stay
    the course, to get through.

    Memorial Day

    On a back road
    where a farmhouse looms
    through early morning fog,
    I drive past a man flanked
    by lilacs and apple trees,
    putting in a garden.

    As retreating clouds lift
    over fences and blood-red osiers,
    he counts seeds in the palm
    of his hand, in the rare
    pearl of an unstained hour.

    In a blurred instant, I share his holiday
    and name him friend, though I scarcely
    know him and barely recognize
    the small piece of myself transfixed
    in the rearview mirror, as I try
    to recapture a vision that tumbles back
    into itself on the swiftly narrowing road.

    So, I wave to the man wearing
    work clothes and hat — to the gardener —
    who has taken this day to remember
    himself and to rebuild his earth,
    who gathers fallen branches
    to mark his planting lines,
    tamps row after planted row
    with the back of a hoe,
    who knows by heart
    what each cradled spark
    yearns to become.

    Hard Ground

    To all things that grow
    in hard ground,
    like crabgrass that thrives
    between rocks
    and reinforced concrete,
    erupts from secret nodes,
    pushes up through
    cracks in sidewalks,
    seizes particles of light and air,
    springs sheath and blade
    to burst open on hot tar —
    green stars in a dustbin world,

    To all that is small
    and unkindly regarded,
    snubbed and trampled,
    spit upon and bruised
    but leaps back,
    filled with the irresistible,
    untiring life impulse,
    bringing its color, gift and glory
    to every bleak and trafficked place,

    To all things looked upon as weeds
    that blossom anyway,
    like wild sunflowers
    beaming in smoking landfills,
    or cornflowers blowing
    ragged blue notes
    near guard rails and tenements.

    To the unbidden tenacity
    that pushes back,
    that seeds tiny plots of grace
    by stop signs and detours,
    waving us to move on,
    reminding us of the rebellious,
    gritty stuff inside the heart
    that prevails in every
    afflicted, oppressive place,

    To the mystery of generation
    that aspires, like velvet-leafed mullein,
    to light its flower candles
    amid the ruin of this world,

    To the sacred will
    that wants to, and shall
    reassert itself —

    We welcome your return
    to our dazed and bulldozed earth.

    Lynn Ascrizzi

    Artist Statement:   Writing poetry nurtures visions that, for me, spring from essential experiences — singular events over which I have no control. These first insights are nonverbal and appear to arise from the interplay of attention and intention. Suddenly, in the middle of everyday life, a poem is seen. The work is to fit form to vision.

    Bahá’u’lláh states: “. . . within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that Most Great Light.” The natural world is a veritable fountain of essential experience, as is so-called ordinary human life. My hope is to write a poem that uncovers the gems hidden within the dust of existence, even amid the darkest struggles.

    Bio:   Lynn Ascrizzi is an artist, poet, freelance writer, and organic gardener who lives with her husband, Joseph, in a house they built in the woods near Freedom, Maine. She studied at Hofstra University and has worked as a teacher of art and of English, a senior editor for Farmstead, and a lifestyle editor and feature writer for Central Maine Newspapers. A recipient of the Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship, she has published poems in Xanadu, Orison VII, Puckerbrush Review, and in two anthologies of work by Maine poets based on a weekly poetry column entitled “Take Heart” and published by DownEast Press (2013 & 2016).