I’ve chosen that double-dip name for my blog (Sophy-wisdom), first because Sophy is my Christened name, spelt like that, with a “y,” and then because all my life I’ve been straining and struggling to find wisdom.
Last week I was in Barcelona with my daughter, my sister and her daughter. Oh, my gosh, we had so much fun. But on our second night, however, a gypsy stole my cellphone in a fashion so clever that I am still in awe. There’s a spiritual aspect to the story, but first, let me tell what happened.
It was late at night. We had gone, all four of us, to market to buy food to cook for dinner in our rented quarters. We were jet lagged and tired, having walked five or six miles that day. Outside the market a Rom or gypsy man approached, begging. He was ragged, dirty, and a little aggressive, and, startled, we hurried on. We walked two blocks back to the hotel, where we had rented the apartment, rang ourselves inside and climbed a flight of marble steps. My daughter was putting the key in the lock to our rooms when suddenly we found the man behind us —frightening, standing too close. No one had heard him climbing the stairs behind us. At the same time Continue reading
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, for recent political matters have consumed me: the election of our new President, the Women’s March last weekend, and this week the Anti-abortion March at the Washington Monument, where Vice President Pence delivered the official (new) Government position on abortions.
Recently I was talking to an Anti-abortionist, who was deeply concerned about the pain of abortion on the fetus. It’s a huge issue, and it has set me thinking at a deep spiritual level: Why is abortion done? Is it morally wrong? Is there a solution? It involves hurting and killing an unborn fetus, or if done early enough a group of cells; and no woman would do this lightly. It is horrifying, and given a choice, I think no one would do it. BUT… — and there is always a “but,” even with the spiritual —
But I am of the age when women could not get an abortion, I’m that old. I remember how a young girl would get knocked up (as we called it), and have to marry, if she was lucky – if the rooster didn’t leave her to raise a child by herself at a time when to have a bastard left a single mother alone and isolated and disdained. She could put it up for adoption. But many women died in back alleys (which was the word for illegal abortion efforts), trying to poke or pull the baby out with a coat hangar, and many women were left permanently harmed. Or dead. Why? And what of those who became pregnant due to rape or incest, or little girls, thirteen or fourteen years old, still children themselves, whose lives are changed irretrievably by unwanted pregnancy (or even unwanted sex). What is our spiritual path?
Anti-abortionists call themselves pro-life, but, struggling with the spiritual aspects of this problem, I find they care about the fetus, but not the baby, child, or adult that the fetus will grow into, so that we find Congress determined to cut food programs, schools, contraception, health care, assistance for disabled–even for vets–anything that helps a woman live or raise her child. Is that pro-life? Spirituality is always about love. How can we love more deeply? How can we express it, show it, more? Isn’t that what Christ was teaching us?
And then I think that, instead of knee-jerk opposition, I should take the Anti-abortion position seriously. They have a point!
So, here is my MODEST PROPOSAL TO END ALL ABORTIONS in the United States and ALL ATTENDANT PAIN TO THE FETUS.
- That too many babies are unwanted, resulting in abortions
- That abortions cause pain to fetuses,
- That abortions are morally and ethically wrong;
- That not enough people want to adopt less desirable or disabled babies
- That women, who are the ones getting pregnant and giving birth, have no capacity for wisdom or making sound choices concerning life, their children, or abortion;
THEREFORE, it is the responsibility of the U. S. Government to intervene in order to save the sacred life of each and every fetus, and
Every man or woman, married or single, shall be chosen by lottery (with special emphasis given to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive Branch) to take one unwanted child and rear it for its lifetime, either alone or with the assistance of a spouse, AND MOREOVER
- That Government intervention and intrusion by a Government bureaucracy in private lives is undesirable and morally wrong;
- That Government itself, being large and unwieldy, must be reduced or abolished, excepting for the military and national security;
- That health care, public schools, prisons, transportation, the environment and eco-systems, and other government functions, are best left to the private sector in unregulated capitalism;
- That dependence upon Government handouts is agreed to encourage malingering, selfishness and laziness:
The rearing of said new-born infant shall be undertaken by the lottery foster parent, (as with all children) with no government assistance, financial aid, health insurance, food stamps, or free public schools.
THUS, shall the need for abortions and all pain to unborn fetuses be eliminated while maintaining the dignity of the Individual and a smaller government.
KNOW SOMEONE WHO LOVES CATS?
LOVE, ALBA, “Indie BOOK OF THE YEAR (romance)”
“I love this book. I read it in one gulp! Burnham’s romantic tale fires the imagination…” Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way
www.Amazon.com +Sophy Burnham Love, Alba
Is it tacky to promote your own books? Yes! And (sigh) here I am doing it.
A BOOK OF ANGELS
OOPS! I don’t have a photo to show, darn it! But it’s a BEAUTIFUL BOOK. Look on Amazon. Yours for about 90 cents — or for $70 (how odd)
FOR WRITERS ONLY
FALLING: LOVE-STRUCK, THE GOD POEMS
www.Amazon.com click books + sophy burnham
Here we are at Christmas/Hannakah, and look! Here is the story I promised: a whistleblower, an attempted murder, a life saved. You’ll tell me it was all imagination, and true, nothing can be proved, but the point is . . . I urge you always: follow your Intuition, that “still small Voice of God.” It may save your life. I wish I had the ability to add a photo of the cover of the book, but I don’t know how. He refers to A BOOK OF ANGELS, available on Amazon both in print and on kindle: This item:A Book of Angels: Reflections on Angels Past and Present, and True Stories of How They Touch Our L… by Sophy Burnham Paperback $11.72.
Dearest Mrs. BURNHAM!
I’ve just read your delicious and very interesting book about angels: it was splendid & marvelous because it is true! We’re all in connection with the spiritual dimension at any time & at any place: the spirits & angels are on our side, guarding us & protecting us & surrounding us! Fifteen years ago I had a life-saving experience through my personal guardian angel as I went through a very difficult, bad patch. I worked in a Dutch-Belgian firm, and I was very unhappy. I was suffering from [subject to] harassment in this modern & established workplace!
Precious tools for the production unit that I had to take care of continuously & systematically disappeared, and it seemed a bit suspicious to me, just as it did to other colleagues who–most of them–suspected me of having stolen them! We all became suspicious of one another, but I was suspect number 1, because I was the new “talent” in this firm. . . Continue reading
Don’t you love to get unexpected letters? They come to me mostly by email now, and always still spreading Hope and Love, and always with a little Mystery. And now, I give you two stories, one from Sweden and the other from Germany of long ago, for in these troubled times it is wise to remember that we are surrounded by angels. Two angels accompany you from the moment you are born, your special companions, and in times of peril they can call a cavalry of angels to your aid. The question is — Who will see them in disguise? Who will hear them when they speak? Here is the first story:
Dear Sophy Burnham,
Being a refuge war baby in Germany, I know of angels from very early on. At age 4 or 5, I fell out of my crib. My left arm swelled up so my mother took me to the hospital. I stayed in the hospital for 18 weeks before they sent me home, saying I am going to die of bone cancer. This was in 1948/49. Continue reading
I’m passing on the link to an article I wrote, for the publishing addict.com site. It’s called “Grim Commonsense” but I assure you there is nothing grim about it — but rather delight and joy. Here’s the link, if anyone is struggling to write.
Not long ago a Dutch woman wrote me about a book she is writing, in which she interviews women named Sophie (Greek for wisdom), asking, What is Wisdom? And, Given your name, Have you thought about Wisdom?
I won’t tell you my answer to her question. I gave one. But I’m interested in what others think.
Tell me, What is Wisdom? I’ll collect the answers from all you non-sophies and post them here. And maybe I’ll divulge my answer as well.
On the election of Trump. (11/09/16)
Oh, in the darkest of days,
When weeping is the only action known to eyes,
And inside your chest the twisted rag of your heart wrings itself
In agony, when Hope is lost and Faith’s gone roaming
In the deserts of Imagination,
How is it that You find a way
Dear God, to touch the lyre of my soul?
I glance up, eyes blurred by tears,
Toward the picture hanging on the wall above my desk,
“The Hand of God,” I call it – this ocean depth,
deep, black and billowing beneath
A sky with outspread fingers formed of clouds
Shredding—it is the blessing
Of God’s palm outstretched. I see it every day
But now it hits as if I’d never noticed it before:
“I’m Here,” it says, “All’s well. Be still.”
I open the computer then to find a stranger’s letter
Thanking me for words in books I’d written
So long ago I don’t remember what they said.
He gifts me with his angel tale of hope and energy–
This when my heart is breaking, rainbows needed now.
In the deepest Valleys of the Dark
You are with me, angel,
Singing in small silent sounds and only heard by
The one to whom you Sing. O Mother!
O Goddess! O Daddy! Care for me. For us.
I am afraid.
I am afraid for my beautiful country,
For Democracy, afraid of the rise of Ignorance
And hate, oblivion of Wisdom. O Help us, Dearest Love,
To remember kindness. Is that too much to ask?
Help us to be kind
To one another.
LOOK! My poems are published!
Available on Amazon, through Finishing Line Press, FLPbookstore@aol.com at bookstores, or from Me, autographed!
I’m so happy, I’m wagging my tail. For me, Poetry comes right after music on the stairwell of ART, with music is at the TOP. Imagine! A publisher wanted my poems!
Would you like to read on or two? Scroll down. I’ll give you 3 (just after these flattering blurbs). They are all vastly different, but all about Love-struck. Even if you don’t buy, please write a review for Amazon. If I get 50 reviews, Amazon kicks the book up in its advertising.
PRAISE FOR FALLING: LOVE-STRUCK
Sophy Burnham has given us a collection of poems to read under the eyes of God.
Her words teach us to breathe and how to catch our breath. Her poetry tells us to stop and enjoy the miraculous. Burnham makes us think of Bly and all those writers who love nature. Come listen to the ringing of her soul. There are beautiful dreams giving birth in these poems.
- Ethelbert Miller Board Chair, Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)
The voice in this poem speaks out of the wisdom of a life lived passionately and consciously in the body, a voice in love with the world, attuned to loss and woundedness, open to relationships – from lovers to granddaughters – and animated by the childlike wonder of a true mystic. To read these poems is to fall in love again – with the earth, with our fragile and beautiful humanness, with words and yes, with the lively mystery that some of us call “God.”
Kathleen Henderson Staudt, author of Waving Back: Poems of Mothering Life and Annunciations: Poems out of Scripture.
It’s so hard to choose only TWO POEMS out of almost 40, but if you like them, please buy my book. And review it on Amazon (because it really makes a difference. If I can get 50 reviews, Amazon starts advertising the book).
The basement stair
There was a day when I, a little child,
Was dancing in the sunbeam’s shaft that filed
Or streamed across the chambered hallways of my mind
(I was all joy; no worlds were left to find)
And, laughing, whirled in rhythm with the luminous floats—
The spirit lights like golden notes
Singing in the high air.
“What are you doing on the basement stair?”
It was my mother’s voice. “How dare you? Just in underpants
And playing in the dust! You feel enhanced,
I s’pose, to be here smeared in dirt!”
She muttered more. I rose protesting pride against my hurt,
And still she would not stop. “I’ve never seen the like!”
I felt tears back against the dike
Of my control, then overflow, broken on her reproof.
I dressed. She stood aloof.
And then I saw the lights were only motes
Gray dirt or grime against the cellar door, the kind of grit that floats
In any moldy air. The sun was gone.
So, too, the siren song.
It happened long ago, but oh! What I would give
To hear that song again and like a child sieve
Dancing sunlight out of golden beams,
In dirt stand dazzled at God’s dreams.
Be still and
breathe. Is anything more important
than this (one breath)? You’d think
we’d think about it
The way we do when
held down by your
bullying older brother in rough-
house joy, except
you’re thrashing flailing
gasping—oh god! For
clear lovely and invisible sustenance
sucked greedy into collapsing lungs, the way
the asthmatic hauls in
each one a shuddering
prophecy of when you won’t be able,
the dark descending
as it floats from the skin of your shell
to that moment when breath no longer matters
- I’m losing my words
Or my mind, one or the other,
Groping for a name, a noun.
The adjective that used to
Leap like a young goat
The cliffs of joy
Onto the page is
Now a stuttered shadow
Of a memory.
They come back, the words return
Drunk and reeling after a night at the bars.
They lurch into the empty streets
bottle-swinging, shout: Adjacent
Awake in bed I grind my teeth
Helpless against the green glass
Shattering on the dawn curbs
When what I needed was now hours gone.
They slink off laughing like felons
On the prowl.
2. I dream how when I die the words will all come back
Falling in apple blossom blessings
Floating, falling through the silence
White cranes curving
To my tongue
Taut and tangy to the touch.
They’ll flap one indolent wing
To keep aloft
Swoop, settle on my scorched skin
Like burning kisses:
. . .
3. In my dream the words snow
Silently from gunmetal skies, drift in piles
light wind-whipped powder-soft,
These carriers of the fierce music
Of my life.
Buckled and booted for war
The huntsman’s horn, the screech of wheel,
Laments of loneliness and love.
They are choral bells pealing forth their
Hope faith fears.
They are canticles to
We’ve known before
This one around.
In my dream
I wonder if it’s words I’ll miss
Or whether words will wing
In whatever heaven I’m assigned.
I’d even want another incarnation
Here if I could hear
Words tumbling from your
Beautiful sweet mouth, pouring
From the bellows of your throat.