CASTLE ROCK STATE PARK, CALIFORNIA

(in memory of Joseph Grassi)

Castle Rock

High above the town of Saratoga, California,
up winding Route 9, turn south at the Skyline
crest, you’ll come to Castle Rock State park,

where my husband Joe hiked for many years.
Once upon a time we went to what he called:
his “sacred place.” The last summery warmth

of the woods was retreating. Coolness was settling
in, since the sun was tilting south towards Mexico
these last weeks. Around a bend in the road

kids were playing hide & go seek. Rock-climbing
groups galore scaling several cliffs. Countless
trees losing leaves. Dirt and debris scattered by

unseen creatures burrowing in the brambles.
High above squirrels leaping in branches, carrying
cachets of seeds and nuts for hiding. Familiar with

the trail’s twists and turns, Joe led me to the side
of a trickling waterfall: “By December it’ll be
thriving!” Higher we went along a curving

path leading to ledge-like portico for a large
cave. “Sacred as a chapel,” said this former
priest. Animal drawings, hieroglyphics,

a sketch portraying a phoenix feeding her
young from her heart. A pair of doves calling
in the dark. Light shafts swirling. Tiny drips

of moisture into a small well. Shards forming
a nook resembling a tabernacle. Golden red maple
leaves by the entrance spun miniature rose

mandalas over our shoulders. A faint scent
of incense, crushed sage by our feet. At the back
a rectangular stone resembling an altar. Beeswax

stains on the four corners. An aire of perpetual
presences. Did we pray aloud, swaying beside
redwoods as if in a Sufi dance facing the blue

Pacific! Back at the car, darkness was dawning.
Moonrise over San Jose’s Mount Hamilton,
Silicon Valley lighting up Santa Clara, Los Gatos,

Campbell, Cupertino, Saratoga. Winter rains round
the corner. Perhaps an early spring filling the forests
with fresh flora and fauna, recurring revelations

of hope after the light’s been low and loss,
crushing. It’s then I’ll take the trail he taught me,
to that threshold ledge before my beloved’s sacred site.

At the Peak

Images from https://www.parks.ca.gov/

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LAKE RONKONKOMA, LONG ISLAND

WP Lake Ronkonkama

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OH TIGRIS, OH EUPHRATES…

tigris-poem

map-rivers

A WEDDING POEM

A wedding poem for Eddie Grassi and Shalini Kaushik,  July 9, 2016, San Francisco, CA

MAY THE BLESSING OF GOD BE UPON YOU  .  .  .
 
“May the blessing of God be upon you,
         May peace abide with you,
         May God’s presence illuminate your heart,
             Now and forever more”
                              —a Sufi blessing  

May your lives, dear Shalini and Eddie, along with
your precious Madeline and Ethan, be filled with
God’s blessings, as earth is with flowers, so I pray

May the daisy’s simplicity bring you contentment,
May the rose’s beauty renew intimacy and fragrance
your words and deeds with kindness for all,

May the jasmine’s white stars’ intense perfume
make you dance even on cloudy days, May
the sacred marigold and chrysanthemum help

you soar through ordinary chores, May rosemary’s
tingling taste remind you to smile, May the tiny
Forget-Me-Nots, who pop up from earth each Spring,

refresh your memory of loved ones, who’ve passed over,
yet return when we call their names: Puspha Kaushik,
Joseph Grassi, May the violet’s vulnerable beauty bring

gentle care into your daily practices, May California’s
sky-blue lupine enlighten your works in the world,
May Passionflower calm any worries, May wild flowers

fill your home with fun and laughter, May lavender’s
sweet scent provide courage in facing challenges,
May arnica’s healing balm be at hand, May camellias,

chamomiles, azaleas, cherry blossoms, each and all
together, now act as a chorus singing of God’s
ever present blessings, and May laurel leaves be

woven into crowns for you, Shalini and Eddie,
as queen and king of each other’s heart
now and forever more  .  .  .

Congratulations! and much love,
Mom (Carolyn Grassi aka Cookie)

family

7x5 flora

:Wedding

HEART AND SOUL : POEMS

Broadsides

TO VIEW THE ABOVE SAMPLE POEMS GO TO THE “POETRY’ TAB, OR
CLICK THE LINK HERE: POETRY.

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FROM YOUR HEART & SOUL—GIVE A GIFT FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Xmas Basket

How soon the anniversary of my publication, Heart and Soul, will be coming up—just in time for Christmas. Consider this to be an excellent opportunity to get multiple copies of my book for your family and friends at a special discounted price: $10.00 a copy. They are available at Patmos Press, P.O. Box 27570, San Francisco, CA 94127. Just make your checks out to Carolyn Grassi, for $10.00 a copy, and you can expect your books to arrive before the Christmas tree makes it to your front door!

Here is a sample poem from my book, one of my favorites, if I might say so myself.

THE SUN-DIAL, SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA

Your gentle voice as you lead me round the sun-
dial in the Mission cemetery across the street,
where you perform the ritual of tracing the sun’s
slim dark line circling the dial’s center, while
joyful as a child, you announce the hour and
minutes of the day, though I knew, without
saying so, your time was running out, as I was
trying to discern how you wanted things at
the end . . . I trimmed your hair on the last day
of your conscious life, grey-black strands
falling gently on the kitchen floor, as I was adoring
your high forehead, sensitive mouth, intelligent
brown eyes, Roman nose, large listening ears. Wisps
of silky hair held in my fingers. Your strong hands
resting patiently in your lap . . . months later, I’m
numb with loss, seeking for traces of your presence
wherever we have been, as when I finger the line
of light turning round the sun-dial’s center . . .

Sun Dial

Transfiguration

QUOTING RON HANSEN

"Carolyn Grassi's 'Heart and Soul' is fascinating in its fluent and affecting blend of memoir and poetry, reminiscence and sheer invention, loss, grief and homage. Adopting a persona at times, or imitating a seminal influence on her writing at other junctures, [Carolyn Grassi] has created a quilt of memories and reflections on a life's education—the journey we all hope to make from becoming to being, or from acting as disciples to representing ourselves and our art as apostles..."
Read the complete foreword by Ron Hansen in 'Heart and Soul' published by Patmos Press, San Francisco, CA.

Ron Hansen, author

CLICK TO VIEW

CLICK TO VIEW

Carolyn Grassi

Ron Hansen and Jim Torrens

Blase Bonpane, Ph.D

Lit Prof at SCU