Precious Fossils

Flowers in WindowI feel gratitude for many things: sunlight, birds in the oak trees in my garden, Daraja Academy, the ability to learn & grow, being in a body & all of the discoveries that brings.

It is a gift to receive each day & all of its moments, to accept what life offers, to do all I can to play my part in understanding and manifesting positive values for life.

One month ago, I took a class at the San Francisco Center for the Book with Master printer Mary Risala Laird. It was a beginning-level workshop teaching how to design & print your own book. I chose the font from many drawers of metal letters, & learned to hold the composing stick in my left hand, curling my fingers over it & keeping the type steady as I built words. I chose different em quads for title and lines, then put leads between the lines and, with great care, set the type for four of my poems.

The concentration & need for exactness was a meditation. I laughed when I made mistakes trying to differentiate between p’s & q’s, n’s & m’s, periods & commas. Setting the letters with the nick as the guide for lining the letters up in the same direction was like putting pieces in a puzzle. The final thrill was wrapping string around the forms & seeing my finished poems sitting in the galley.

Mary was a delightful teacher whose warmth, laughter, & patience made my experience memorable.

Here is one of my poems that I set:

Precious Fossils

I knew each of you first – found you on a dig-
Fine, precious fossils from my own body.
Fragments of each other, you arrived one by one,
Brought back to earth with your ancestors’ blood.

You have all moved far away from me,
grit on your bones from learning to speak your psalms.
Warm weather and frosts, you return to visit,
My throat tightens knowing you will not stay long.

Morning sun licks the table where I sit,
Cup in one hand, pen moving on yellow paper,
Limestone dust on my face.
Soon you will pack your car with bags of worn t-shirts,
your dog and his leash, my Prada heels,
Off to explore your own colossal terrain.

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