Poetry by Grace Welch

The Day of Saint Assunta
15 August 2010  

  Observing the two women working in the kitchen,
          preparing for the feast of Saint Assunta,
          the 15th of August.

It was as though I was watching a dance,
          The music of the pots and pans, jars and bowls.

And then the silence of the rolling pin signaled that
          the pies were almost finished.

I felt I was at the opening scene of an opera,
          or a theatrical drama, that proceeds to a long table

Where family and friends gather to eat a festive meal,
          prepared with love.  

  Assunta Grace Ripa Welch
15 August 2010
Preazzano, Napoli    

Il Giorno dell' Onomastico di Assunta

Osservando le due donne che lavorano in cucina,
preparando per la festa di Sant'Assunta e Ferragosto,
e come' se stessi guardando un ballo --
la musica delle pentole, e le padelle, dei barattoli, le bacinelle,
e il silenzio del matterello significa che la torta e' quasi finita.
Penso che questa scena e` una replica dei secoli delle madri
che facevanno lo stesso.
E` come una scena all inizio di un opera,
oppure un dramma teatrale che procede a tavola,
dove la famiglia, gli amici, e le amiche convengono per
gustare il pranzo fatto con amore.

  Assunta Grazia Ripa Welch
15 Agosto 2010
Preazzano, Napoli

Friends & Books
(and other cliches)

Meeting a new person is like starting to read a new book

Anticipation rises, and a story unfolds.

Some are short and passive,

Others are quick, punchy spurts,

as a good short story crashes to a climax.

Long-novel friendships, engaging at every level,

Can go on for a lifetime, and hoping never to end.

Unbearable bores are like badly written books,

No matter how much time you spend with them,

They never give back enough to save the friendship,

or the book.

Sparkly, upbeat, grab-life-by-the-tail friends

are like whirlwind travelogues,

giving pleasure with slice-of-life stories.

Quiet, reflective books and friends soothe the harried spirit.

Good friends, like good books are to be cherished.

G. Welch
June 1990

Blank Pages Beckon

Numbered pages of a New Year's organizer
stare blank and stark, beckoning to be filled.
Chrysalis of mental energy separately set in perfect blocks
meetings, lunches, parties,vacations
wait for birthing into reality.

Penciled in are doctors visits, shopping trips, job interviews
pending transformation into daily drama.
Weddings, baptisms, divorces and custody wars
scribbled amongst work-a-day scenes.
Those chancey twins, sickness and death,
not known for scrupulous planning will, in time
serpentine into the record.

We order our lives on pristine pages,
harnessing time to our dreams,
Resolved to master the randomness of fate,
by cataloging its schemes.

G. Welch
28 Dec. 90


I heard the sea speaking last night
Wind-whipped water frothing the sand
I heard the sea speaking last night
Pounding the shore roaring
"Look at me! See how mighty I am!"
I heard the sea speaking last night,
as it has since the beginning of time.

Lying in my cot, listening,
Imagining someone a million years ago
in the very same space
would have heard the exact same sounds
But last night the sea was speaking to me.

G. Welch Feb. 2004
Sivananda Yoga Reteat
Paradise Island, Bahamas

Italian translation:


Ho sentito il mare parlando ieri sera
L'aqua bolenta con vento nel sabia
Ho sentito il mare parlando ieri sera
mazzando il spiaggio disse alto voce
"Guardame! Vedi come sono grandissimo!"
Ho sentito il mare parlando ieri sera
Come dal'inizia del tempo.

Riposato sul lettino ascoltando,
Imaginando qualcuno millioni anni fa
nello stesso spazzo
devessere sentire essatto rumore
Ma ieri sera, il mare era parlando a me.

Love Thy Neighbor
Tolerance 101

Red headlines tell the tale of Yusuf Hawkins,
victim of the word made manifest.
I fear the hate that flickered like a flame that night,
igniting other coiled pockets of hate
as it flashed its way to death.

Grace Welch
June 1990

L e t   G o

Fritz Perls set up a rope 'tween raging daughter and mother,
Daughter held one end, and stand-in Fritz held the other.
She was to pull the rope as hard as she could,
Shouting all her grudges and hold-back hates,
While Fritz held tight to the other end.

Raging and roaring, she tugged and strained,
Face red, tears streaming -- until exhaustion caused her
to let go --
She was free!

Grace Welch
June 1990


When I was a young woman,
thoughts would surface
and I would wonder
where they came from.

I recorded a recurrent fragment,
and saved the tattered note
through the years --
"Bring up the thoughts that lie
deep within you,
Explore them,
But put them not away,
for they are you."

Forty years later, in the mountains
of Massachusetts,
on a spiritual retreat,
I read a fragment from Guradev,
"Begin to experience your inner source,
Sadhana takes you back to your source,
where real transformation is born."

The circle of life continues

Grace Welch
August 1989

(Warrior Mother)

First learned of Durga on a cold, windy Saturday
in the Catskills.
Small, square temple, corner of field,
Multi-armed icon astride tiger,
weapons poised.
Flowers, food, water at her feet,
placed daily by devotees.

She is our protector, said the aspirant,
our nature walk guide.
She is a very powerful diety,
a fighter for her children.
She rights the wrongs of the world.

My identification was immediate.
Five thousand years, on the other
side of the world...
a connection.

G. Welch
December 1989


There exists a vacancy so broad,
so deep, they've given it a name,


That emptiness where women's existence
has been denied,
Her achievements unrecorded,
her courage usurped,
Her pronoun excised.

Who will speak for woman?
Who will write her story,
her wondrous talents,
her irreplaceable Gaia connection?
Women must speak for women,
Sing her song,
Dance her dance.

G. Welch
January 1990