Discovering Zanshin

skuldthevalkyrie's Blog

Zanshin – described to me by my sweet husband Abel as a state of calm awareness. When I first saw him demonstrate and describe zanshin, we had taken one of our first bokken walks in Mine’s Falls Park in Nashua, NH. Now, to set the stage, here we are – newly dating, taking a spring walk through the woods. With our wooden swords. We meander a while until we reach somewhat of a clearing. Abel takes out his bokken and swings it a few times; I assumed he was checking for branches. He then scans the ground and picks up a few twigs, brushing the forest floor covering of browned pine needles aside. “This is the spot.”

We began our walk with the Ipponme Kendo Kata. Ipponme means “number one” or “first” in Japanese, and as Julie Andrews put it, starting at the beginning is a very good place to…

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Red Tidings of Great Ploy

With all credit to Rush and especially Neil Peart, to the tune of ‘Red Tide’ Sorry guys, I can resist anything but temptation.
Media has some new plague to run in our feeds

An ombre’d meme we are doomed to repeat

Facebook feed, becoming a bore

Thirsty travelers – find an open store

Frothy drink leads to open war

And the red cup crashed to the floor



Stay out of that star, it only bucks my skin

Lattes full of poison, baristas named Satan

Where’s the Sun that Mary bore?

Where’s the snowflakes like years before?

Black gold’s sipping is nothing to abhor

But my red cup’s crushed to the floor



No way will we redesign!

No way we will bend!

Is this conspiracy, or is this just a test?

Bottom line approaches, for the weary man

We used to be frothy, now even McD’s has head

Too late to change, to loud to ignore

Use social media as our coffee whore

Christmas tidings, let the profits soar!

And the red cups arrive at the stores

Now’s the time to make some sense

Let’s turn on the light

Let us not fall victim to this corporation’s hype

So ubsurd to think a travel mug could change a silent night

Let us not fall victim to this corporation’s blight


Bend like the Birch

skuldthevalkyrie's Blog

Solace sought from sour siblings,
Nature’s parchment curling on slender arms
Beckon challenge out of the soil
Grip us.
Conquer us.
Come see with our eyes.
Fleshy limbs seeking wooden ones,
I scamper up the trunk, gaining
Footing on knobs and knuckles and knots,
Until my weight bows the bough.
My arms and legs tendriled, and
With the greater bole below,
Together we sway.
Leffffft. Righhhhht.
Cheek pressed to the bark and eyes closed,
Pounding xylem and phloem in my ears, I
Autumn’s cool kiss tousling my hair
We bend deeply together,
Rocking daughter, cradling mother.

Much of my time as a small child was spent outdoor amidst the wooded land behind our home in rural Southern New Hampshire. Being the youngest sister of three, I spent much of my time observing nots: learning what not to do, how not to get caught, how not to be found…

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The Dance

skuldthevalkyrie's Blog

Tentative fingers softly tracing
A Viennese waltz on flesh so firm
Secrets shared drives rapturous rhythm
With breath’s quickening pacing

Up-tempo chassé, brows glistening
Pulses stepping in syncopation
tango’s allegro, merging as one
in love’s crescendo,  list’ning

Flowing and ebb in undulation
Vitalities attune, partaking
each other; in turn auditioning
ecstatic vociferation

Breathlessly entering refractory
Lips supple, swollen, slightly parted
Souls parallel, hearts integrated
Languishing in love’s forte

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Falling in love at 39,000 feet

skuldthevalkyrie's Blog

Fall and rise, rise and fall

Head on my shoulder rested

Knee caressed by a small hand

How I long just to hold her

But to land would surely cease it


Dark and soft, soft and dark

Silken chestnut crown, scented

Of morning perspiration

Into a woman you’ve grown

Awakened as we descended


Done and over, over and done

Moment’s fantasy bested

Still vision beholding that

Little girl. Can’t you see her

Face in aperture reflected.

For Joiya – May 14, 2015

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