Poem by Ellaraine referred to in question number 6:

Writers' Retreat

... observe the things that were and watch them pass, not rushing them along nor holding them too tightly. -- Great Expectations, Harvey Stanbrough

He speaks of writing the world
Of sensing the wholeness first
While we sit on hay bales
Pens in hand
Near the edge of an Arizona night
Our mentor encircles the gift of knowledge

His words unwrap it
Ribbons of preconceptions
fall to the Sonoran floor
Sharp observations cut away the clothes
that seam our separateness
from sand, saguaro, hawk
grasshopper and sunset

He casts a last ray of sun
on the continuous web
that weaves us all together
The spider who snares a butterfly
in a creosote bush
Whose seeds feed a kangaroo rat
The two toads who have enrolled in the retreat
And me watching a beetle spin in circles
fighting its own fading light
on a picnic table just out of reach

We're all related says our mentor
Cousin Coyote, grandfather owl
His words soft now in the silk of night
Brother beetle has flipped onto his back
Legs beating against the darkness
His dirge in baritone buzz
is steel wool that scours the sage's waxed words
While the other listeners lean into enlightenment
I curl up in confusion's shadow
Words of patience and intimate observation
waft by in the grey zone
The buzz is bright white and the beat of legs blinding
I want to yank that connecting web
Hang the beetle with Hemlock Society blessing
But I wedge my hands and their traitorous twitch
between butt and hay bale

Our mentor's final message for the evening
comes on sound waves so round and full
they overflow the soul with ancestral memories
and of the branch from which the flute was formed
Even the beetle is silent
But suddenly propelled by unexplained energy
onto the plate of leftover vegetable wraps
landing up-side down and mute
his legs still moving

The man of wisdom and music sits down as I leap up
Sledge a book of poetry onto the plate
The web snaps like a rubber band
and the entire Sonoran Desert winces
But I'm the one with the welt
that stings and reddens my cheek
Ellaraine Lockie