Elaine Christensen

1948 -

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on age, birds, children, darkness, god, ideas, joy, justice, learning, pain, people, sleep, and water

I Have Learned 5 Things 1. The sulfurous flame sunbeams in corners lightning like cracked glass the bulb of an idea your dark eyes all have one source. 2. Pain is truer than people truer than a full plate truer than God 3. Joy is a suitcase packed with everyday things no beaded gowns, no hats no umbrella just pajamas, a toothbrush, sneakers. If it rains stand there soak up every drop like applause. 4. I have learned that I want less: the sound of lake water lapping tadpoles listless in sun-heated shallows wispy grass, knobby reeds greeting me, my name caught in their raspy throats one or two clouds and a bird, maybe, if it doesn't sing. 5. Old age is where you started, a child looking up at the light at jumbled faces at mouths whispering, "there, now, go back to sleep."

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: I have learned five things, 1995 winner, Nat’l Fed’n StatePoetry Societies’ manuscript comp

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on darkness

AND I REMEMBER only this a window box with red geraniums overlooking a cobblestone street our room up a dark narrow staircase and you in that ridiculous tub with Paris all around us the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, Notre Dame always your knees scrunched up by your ears in the bright blue tile tub of our attic cranny above the noisy Rue de Vaugirard framed in red blossoms nothing more

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: At the Edges, published by the Utah State Poetry Society, 1990

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on birds, body, dance, god, and laughter

Inside me there is a dancer. Inside this middle-aged body of a housewife there is a dancer. Don't laugh. I have danced with sunflowers in sandy September fields with fruit trees each spring, blossoms in my hair at the lake's edge in winter where tall grass and thin reeds wobble on pointed toes in the wind and in summer with the sea where anyone can find the dancer inside. Don't laugh. Barefoot, arms outstretched, palms raised to the sky, to the birds, to the clouds, to God, who choreographed it all, I danced. I knew every step and the waves stood up and bowed.

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: I have learned five things, 1995 winner, Nat’l Fed’n StatePoetry Societies’ manuscript comp

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on birds, dawn, and emptiness

LEAVE-TAKING Leave-taking is not birds gathered for one last hymn to summer on thin branches of an empty tree, nor grass, sodden and bent beneath winter's first rain-heavy snow. Leave-taking is not the sun reluctant to smile in a lowering sky, nor the moon taking leave of the stars at dawn one by one. Leave-taking is not the wind suddenly hushed in the rocking cradle of trees, nor the waves stunned and dazed, staring glassy-eyed after the parting storm. Leave-taking is not birds, grass, sun, moon, wind or waves; for these will all come again. Will you?

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: At the Edges, published by the Utah State Poetry Society, 1990

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on choice, darkness, earth, garden, imagination, immortality, life, loneliness, motherhood, posterity, promises, soul, water, wilderness, and women

EDEN We had no childhood, Eve and I. Eden was our mother's breast. Our lullaby was earth's first whimperings as grass and herb bloomed seasonless. I named them blade, by stem, by stalk in loneliness, before the Gods formed woman from my rib of dust. The garden was our womb: to nurture flesh, acknowledge bone, mold our souls in clay. We found our eyes, we heard our mouths, we filled each nostril full of sky, fingers tasted water, hands touched naked skin, bare as the fish in the four rivers, smooth as the serpent, who walked on subtle feet beneath the one tree, given and forbidden. We were pretenders, Eve and I, beneath its leaves of black and white. We played at being Gods below its fruit-filled limbs, imagined our posterity, and in the shade of its dark promise, we dreamed of immortality. Eden was our childhood, lived before the wilderness, before the curse, before Cherubim. And the Gods knew it was a garden like everyman's filled with only one choice.

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: At the Edges, published by the Utah State Poetry Society, 1990

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on body, certainty, children, church, colors, fatherhood, good, husbands, justice, learning, life, mathematics, mind, motherhood, parenthood, passion, people, spirit, struggle, and words

Heredity: the transmission of characteristics from parent to offspring; I sang in church today. My husband said I tucked my chin a certain way and he glimpsed my father. I often look for him. I have his lips, his small, rounded teeth, though when I smile, people say they see my mother. Startled, I've seen her myself in store windows. My father seldom smiled. He told me, as a child he sensed his spirit struggling, wanting to get out, wanting to fly, to be free. "Life," he said, "is learning submission: spirit to body body to mind." "Mathematics," he said, "is good for the mind." He asked what color were my threes, my nines. His were red and green. They stood in lines. I squinted, tried to give mine color, lied, said they stood in circles, counter-clockwise. And when he sang, oh, when he sang he placed each note perfectly, chin tucked, the tone, precise. "Sound should ring''', he said, "right out the top of your head." When I sing I forget where to breathe, how to use my head voice, how to stand, how to project, everything, except the words. For me it has always been words, not numbers, not tone, not mind over anything, just words and the passion they spell. My poems embarrassed him. They were not metered. They did not rhyme. Yet today when I sang, I tucked my chin and some faint seed of him flamed, some spark of him flickered. And those who knew him saw him in me.

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: I have learned five things, 1995 winner, Nat’l Fed’n StatePoetry Societies’ manuscript comp

Contributed by: Zaady

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