Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

Me-Me : Visual DNA


I can't get that code to work.


but there's the link.

I hope you have better luck

Poems: Understanding Gravity

Understanding Gravity
By Amy Unsworth

for S.

You sleep surrounded by our sons.
I keep watch, listen to the night’s wind,
to the dog’s complaint
as coyotes scavenge, padding
through streets and meager grass.

When the sun rises
you’ll be in the wide arms
of the sky. The boys will eat
their breakfast of oranges
and strawberries, juice
dripping from their chins.

You will step from the body
of the plane and wait
for the wrench,
for silk to catch wind,
the earth rushing its claim.


Honorable Mention, Desert Moon Review Poetry Month Contest, 2002,
Editor's Issue, Poems Niederngasse

Enter the Drawing for: Primitive Soap Prize

The year's first winner of "The Primitive Soap Prize" from Small Branches Studio is Mr. Dick Jones of Patteran Pages !

Mr. Jones, if you would, please send me an email so we can arrange shipping for your prize!


Enter the next Primitive Soap Prize Drawing:
Please leave a comment with your email address on the blog
Or send an email to let me know you'd like to enter
between Jan 19-Feb 2, noon central time.

( for this contest, I will only accept entries from the US, due to shipping constraints.
Future contests may be open internationally, but I have to research the shipping first)
~ stay tuned for more!~


Update 2 May
If you'd like to order some soap, please send me an email & I'll let you know what I currently have available. Some weeks I'm working on primitives, others I garden, and much of the time I'm writing poetry. But I often have soap ready to go in Bear's Best (Oatmeal & Honey-Almond) and Far Horizons (Orange & Almond).

Small Poem: Western Wind

Western Wind

Western wind, when will thou blow,
The small rain down can rain?
Christ! If my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!




Poetry cross pollinates music.

Listen to the Agnus Dei section here. (midi file) See an example of Agnus Dei

Now see here: John Taverner.

Thanks to this guide for the directional marker!


Blogs & Charles Dickens

As regular visitors might notice (Hi Glenn!) I've recently updated the blog's look and added the tags. This update made me aware of the blog's serialization of my life. And I noticed that I am always reading other people's blogs as mini-autobiographies or fictions. I follow several blogs quite regularly and it is interesting to watch the "lives" unfold there. (However "mediated" these may be, some strive for more fictionalization than others.) Which reminds me of Charles Dickens and raises questions about the writing life. So, a theory to discuss.

Dickens wrote a great deal of quality work. Is it possible that the actual process of serialization helps a writer develop? I can think of these benefits (even if Dickens didn't do these):
  • You have to show up to write, but you don't have to write it all today.
  • You have to have something exciting/important/gripping happen in regular intervals to keep the reader's attention so they'll buy the next version, but doesn't this help maintain interest in the long (novel) form too?
  • The possibility of feedback? If you have a bad episode, the readers might complain! But you have a chance to fix it before the printers set the type for the long version!
  • Offers a chance to let the characters develop as they will, instead of having to map out an entire book at once. (I don't know enough about Dickens to know if he did write this way, but it seems like it might be a positive thing. Any Dickens scholars out there?)
  • The possibility to use/exploit current events in your story line. ( the news in poetry?)
I feel as if the blog helps me formulate ideas that I might otherwise let slip into oblivion. It helps me keep a record of what I'm doing and thinking about for future reference. It helps to have a real readership to think of, rather than some abstract vague audience. I realize that having a reader to think of makes be be more accurate when I write and try to fill in specifics and details. When I go back and read old entries, I am amazed at how much detail I don't recall of those moments. I'm greedy, I don't want to lose a single thought.

I came across a Latin quote that seems to sum the idea up nicely:
Sic transit gloria mundi (thus passes the glory of the world). I don't know the source or context of this quote yet (a grave inscription?), so allow me to put it in a context for myself for today: There is glory (truth, beauty, things to be grateful for, love, learning, pleasure) in each of the moments passing through our lives. It is there, in the quotidian, waiting for us to acknowledge it.

Someone was looking for Ents!

I am always interested in why people I don't know might be visiting. Someone was searching for Ent Poems, so I thought I'd add mine to the blog. The poem was originally published in The Minas Tirith Evening Star which is the publication for the American Tolkien Society (.org).

Lament for an Entish Wife
after Tolkien

By Amy Unsworth

Evergreen, my love, among the pins and cones I wait for you
watching through driving rain, sleet, and branches choked with ice.
Winter piles her drifts between us, the meadow a perfect
glittering sign: no footprints, no homecoming for Solstice night.

My tender shoot, autumn pains me. Every creature stirs
against the rising cold and the sap grows thick at the heart of the trees.
The gold-shot woods wear the colors of your hair and eyes,
every burning tree, a glimpse of you, swirling in brocades.

In summer, I walk through orchards tended by graceless men,
I graft branches from yellow pippins to those of crimson.
Each year the fruit grows ere sweeter, the skins stippled, a gift.
In harsh tongues, men speak of Elves, even while resting in my shade.

Come then, to the edge of the wood at Spring, see the young deer
leap up at my rustling. Here, in the thin sunlight, on the wetdark
branches of the redbud, on the tremulous arms of the dogwoods:
a signpost—the blossoms bearing the tally of all our days apart.


(I'll add the rest of the publication information here-I have to go look it up.)

and remember to enter the drawing. Right now there is One entry & your odds are good!

More Lather! (and a Drawing!)

And this week's primitive soap flavor is Sweet Orange and Almond: It is made with all-natural ingredients with essential oils for a light & clean scent!

If you leave a comment (with an email address) between now & next Saturday (noon central time) on my blog, I'll enter you into a drawing for some sample size soaps & what not!

'round here (more or less)

I don't even know how (or what I was looking for!) but I came across a photography blog with very interesting/intriguing photographs, many of them from 'round Kansas. I think I learned more about Kansas while visiting this site than I had in the several years I've lived here.

The section on Chapman, Kansas was very interesting and the photographs of last month's ice-storm show a full view of what happened with the trees & wires through that very long week here in the middle of it all.

The architectural features & the period signs are especially interesting. I've been to Junction City (one town to my west) more than I can count. But I'd never the signs until The Lope pointed them out.

Post-Colonial Life

I've been reading some critical essays on life in the post-colonial world. There have been some difficult questions raised about both political and personal identity; and if these are necessarily connected to the patch of ground/nation/region to which a person belongs. The other question is if these "roots" are severed what is the impact on the personal identity? Is it beneficial to retain the cultural roots of a home that you no longer occupy?

One of the critic-poets argues that yes, you can remain true to "your roots" and still make changes. But the solution offered is very difficult; it basically calls for people to not allow themselves to be pulled into the conflict. A "leave the past behind" attitude. While you don't have to forget the people who died, you shouldn't fight on in their name.

This sounds good in theory, doesn't it? But, can it really apply to places like Rwanda? (or Ireland, or practically anywhere that there has been conflict between cultures, which is exactly the entire globe.) Basically, the critic would be telling the people who suffered the most: ok, just move on. (of course, this is a gross simplification) I'm not sure practically how that would work on a grand scale. On a small scale, it's possible. It is possible on an individual level to forgive and move on. But on a large scale? I don't have faith that this would work.

Another argues that the trying to cling to these "pasts" is damaging, especially for the second generation who might end up lost in the limbo between two cultures and often two languages.
Another claims that living "without roots" is, in fact, a self-imposed silence. That's dangerous too, right?

The most popular option for navigating this seems to be "hybridity," which seems great if you're from the dominant culture: I'll appreciate some of your culture and you can appreciate some of mine. But how long will it before the other culture is so watered down that it disappears?

Even though I've lived in the same country my entire life, I still think about these ideas as applicable to my own life. I like the thought of being connected to a history, a heritage. But, I haven't inherited many traditions from my family's country of origin. Our family has been here too many generations and by my parent's time they are all gone. Occasionally, one of my folks will mention their grandparents doing this or that, baking a particular treat, eating a certain food. But all the tradition (how & why) of these has been lost to time. And we move, a lot. Probably more than the "average American," although it seems our culture is getting more adept with the moving boxes every year.

And of course, the post-colonial theory is very applicable to the US today. I've lived across the country where there are some traditions left; and we've known many people from a myriad of cultural backgrounds. (One of our family's favorite meals is a Japanese type of curry that a friend from Hawaii shared with us. Another is a particular (regional) way of making pinto beans that is so much better than any other Mexican-style I'd had, taught to me by a friend from Mexico.) I try to make some 1st generation traditions for my boys, too. (Chinese food on Halloween, anyone?) (Yes, most of these traditions *are* involving food here, because they're the quickest to describe & relate to. [I guess I get a little frustrated too with how many of our American traditions are dictated to us by the corporate world through super-saturation in advertising. Chex Mix, anyone? But that's probably a topic better left for another day.])

Perhaps an effective thing to do, instead of demanding that people mold themselves to one American ideal is just to live and let be. But can this work politically, as well? Doesn't it still lead people to an us vs. them mindset? What does America want? appears to be the question on all the politicians' tongues. What America are they talking about? There must be a million versions of America and each of them wants something different. Good luck answering that question.

So, I'm left to consider how to go about living the best I can in this complicated world and hoping that we each can individually discover a way to go about living peacefully and interacting one with another.

Happy ( Belated) Birthday Blog!

Three years have zipped right by & I still love the view from here.
I'm always grateful to have you, my friends, dropping by to visit.
Thanks for being a part of it all!

Lather Up!

Bear's Best Blend
Hand-Milled Goat's Milk Soap

Ok, not really poetry, but it's what's been informing my days.
(but I did sneak some alliteration in there. . .)


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Literature & Lather

I've just finished unmolding a batch of handmade (my hands) honey-almond-oat soap. I'm trying to keep my hands busy recently as well as my head. I've recently made candles, too. I love the tactile experience of working with wax & soap. But I think it's the connectedness to the past of gardening, making bread, candles, and soap that makes me enjoy these tasks so much. I find more and more that I appreciate tradition and carrying on traditional skills. My boys help some days too-and I find pleasure in watching them learn, too.

Not that my brain hasn't been busy; I've been writing poems, and doing some editing work. I think I've been "under-pressured" for the last year with what I was requiring of myself. I do acknowledge that time out was necessary and the distance from the most difficult parts of my treatment means that I am now able to "recollect in [something closer to] tranquility." I think I'm going to end up with a collection of these poems as well, but I'll honestly say that I'll be happy when they're written and the covers closed. It's a chapter of my life that I hope remains in the past tense.