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And a few of what I consider my best. This is my most beloved poem about my children, it was written while sitting in my car in a giant rainstorm one night, and was inspired by one of Adele's songs.

My Love For You

From the very first moment
That I knew,
From that moment,
That I could feel you,
You were my truest love.

From that first sign,
Of your pure light within,
Out of that joy,
Our song began,
And so was born our love.

How could it be true?
That I could be so blessed with you?
I rejoiced in you!
Growing, glowing, shining,
And so began my love for you.

From that moment I knew, I knew,
I'd give my life, I'd go black and blue,
I'd take this whole world on, it's so very true,
There's nothing I wouldn't do for you.
And so it is my love for you.

I am only yours and you are mine.
Like a feather in the wind,
A kiss on the wings of time,
I hold my breath for your you.
I will always hold my breath for you.

I've loved you since time began
And my love for you will never end.
Across the centuries,
Across the seas, the skies above,
And so you are my endless love.

If all else ends, if all else fails,
My little Loves, know this to be true,
There is nothing that compares to you,
No one that hails my heart as you do,
And so it is my love for you.

To my sons, Nicholai and Cruze, I will forever be searching for the perfect words to describe my most magnificent love-that which I have for only you. -Mommy

Elisa Fortise Christensen 1-18-12

Kahlil Gibran on Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
Kahlil Gibran and Mary Haskell Painting by Kahlil Gibran


buy the book

On Death
Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

I would be remiss if I did not include a few of my favorite pieces by my absolute, favorite poet in the entire world, Kahlil Gibran. A native of Lebanon, Gibran's writing, "The Prophet", a collection of his incredibly insightful understanding of all things human, from parenting to love, death to birth, is a book so stunning and so brilliant there is no describing it. You just have to read it and let it pour into every crevice of your soul, renewing your faith in the human race and its capacity for brilliance and beauty.

Gibran's book, "Spirits Rebellious" was banned from Lebanon, burned publicly and resulted in Gibran being exiled from his homeland. If you can get a hold of a copy, it is most certainly worth reading, as it explores four different scenarios that show just how impossible it is for us to judge others unless we have indeed walked in their shoes.

Here I will post my three favorite pieces from "The Prophet", "On Love," the most eloquent, smartest advice on what real love really is and how to treat it with respect and reverence, "On Death," which I have read at several funerals and is in my opinion the only collection of words that really offer any kind of true comfort when in the throes of deep sorrow over the loss of a loved one, and "On Children," which offers insight into parenting that is brilliant no matter what country, century or situation it is presented in.

While it could be argued that this is actually not a poem at all, it is still one of the most touching, powerful series of words ever pulled together that I have come across. It is so prophetic, it gives me chills every time I re-read it, and even though I've read it to myself and out loud to others hundreds of times over the years, I'm still reduced to choking tears before I am ever able to reach the end. I hope it has a profound impact on you as well.

Letter Of Chief Seathl of the Suwamish Tribe
To the President of the United States, Franklin Pierce, in 1854

The Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. The Great Chief also sends us word of friendship and good will. This is kind of him, since we know he has little need of our friendship in return. But we will consider your offer. For we know that if we do not sell, the white man may come with guns and take our land. How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man. So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us...
Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. But we will consider your offer to go to the reservation you have for my people. We will live apart, and in peace.
It matters little where we spend the rest of our days. Our children have seen their fathers humbled in defeat. Our warriors have felt shame, and after defeat they turn their days in idleness and contaminate their bodies with sweet foods and strong drinks. It matters little where we spend the rest of our days. They are not many. A few more hours, a few more winters, and none of the great tribes that once lived on this earth or that roam now in small bands in the woods will be left to mourn the graves of a people once as powerful and hopeful as yours. But why should I mourn the passing of my people? Tribes are made of men, nothing more. Men come and go, like the waves of the sea. Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.
One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover is our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land: but you cannot. He is the God of man, and his compassion is equal for the red man and the white. This earth is precious to Him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. The whites too shall pass, perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.
But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man. That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, and the view of the ripe hills are all blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival. So we consider your offer to buy the land.
If we agree, it will be to secure the reservation you have promised. There, perhaps, we may live out our brief days as we wish. When the last red man has vanished from this earth, and his memory is only a shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, these shores and forests will still hold the spirits of my people. For they love this earth as a newborn loves its mother's heartbeat. So, if we sell our land, love it as we've loved it. Care for it as we've cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you take it. And with all your strength, with all your mind, with all your heart, preserve it for your children, and love God loves us all. One thing we know. Our God is the same God. This earth is precious to Him. Even the white man cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see...

One of my favorite poets ever, Fran Landesman was a talented, irreverent, comical, honest, fabulous female poet from the sixties. One of my favorites from her, "Pearls in Your Oyster" I have sent out too many times to count as a very unique, memorable birthday wish to my favorite people over the years. Enjoy and make sure to save so that you can re-gift it for your next loved one's birthday.

Pearls in Your Oyster

Here’s pearls in your oyster
Here’s plums in your pie
Here’s fun in your future
And stars in your sky

Here’s mail in your mailbox
Here’s wisdom and wealth
Here’s sun in your summer
Good luck and good health.

Here’s everything you wish yourself
May all your dreams be sweet
Here’s wine and whiskey on your shelf
And wings upon your feet

Here’s fruit in your garden
Here’s cash in your hand
A lover to meet you
Wherever you land

Here’s strength to your elbow
Success in your art
Here’s pearls in your oyster
And me in your heart.

– by Fran Landesman

Opting Out

So at 47 I have arrived.
A position most disconcerting,
Troubling? Nay,
Downright disturbing!
A blatant assault.!
An ego in default.
Should have steered left,
Perhaps joined a cult.

Having settled back into the lap,
Of my original birth sack,
I am anything but patient.
I now care for
My matriarch. Ancient!
As she skids down that slippery,
Persnickety, slope,
That slaughterhouse of all hope.
Toward her final expiration.

Once a beauty of
The extraordinary kind
With the quickest of mind,
Don't get it twisted.
Aging is nothing if not unkind,
Names of her clan,
She now labors over, unable to find.

Her once glowing blonde tresses,
Sexy, 50’s signature dresses,
Athletic leaps, impressive,
All night sexual feats,
Replaced now with wrinkles.
A faint frame, once sturdy
Now wobbles and crinkles.

I shall have her warped feet, it appears,
Twisted, worn down from all the years,
As I step back and upsize,
The navy blue faded from her eyes,
Now light gray, I see my own,
Paired with my offensive demise.

I say “Nay!!!”
Launching a rather
Loudly inappropriate protest.
With all of my feisty lather,
I attempt a half-assed jest!
But I'm not joking.
I am not.
Gravity. What a horribly shitty guest!

I opt out!!
I simply do. It just not for me.
This aging get-down,
Perhaps it's for you?
But not I.
Protesting with an icy chill,
This is a far cry from a thrill.
(Excuse me for just a moment,
I must go take another pill.)
Sore joints, crows feet, vision going South?I have had my fill!

You must understand my decision,
Appreciate my unprecedented position.
I have been paying for the botulism syringe,
Carefully dodging sunbeams that offend,
From beneath my wide brimmed hat.
Ordering fine potions.
(Please! Ship STAT!)
Getting any older?
Nope. Not doing that!
I opt out!

Yes, you heard me,
I'm simply won’t go.
I've called the 800 number,
About losing my glow.
What about my sexual, slippery slide,
Threatening a possible dry run?
Not happening!

My feisty partner laughs and says,
“Princess Vanity,” you have no choice here!”
I say “Nay!” “I refuse!”
I’ll even give up my,
Lavish festivities,
The entire month I decided to show,
If I can dramatically get this aging thing to slow!

You enjoy getting older, but
I’m showing age the door.
I shall remain the way I am at present,
Don’t care what’s inevitable,
It matters not who says it.
This girl is aging no more.
I opt out!!!

4-27-16 Elisa Fortise Christensen

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

A Dream

I dreamed once of my life's end,
24 hours only left to live,
What to do with such little time,
Delicate, never to have it again,
Only a day in which to give.

A limited moment in the fabric of time,
Understanding my own demise,
No concern in the very least,
For the great tasks I'd achieved,
Not longing to be more wise.

Quickly I searched for those in my life,
The ones who had fluffed my soul,
Those who had been my brilliant kites,
Lifted me high, made me whole,
To thank them for being my light.

I saw my life through shiny, new lenses,
My understanding of why I was here,
The beauty overtook my senses,
My heart devoid of all fear,
Reaching out to those so very dear.

Reaching each one, I began to speak,
" You are the reason I have lived,
My life has no meaning,
Without you in my heart,
For you're the very beauty in my art.

You loved me without any limit,
You embraced me for all I could be,
You celebrated with me my life,
For each locked door you were my key,
Now in my passing you have set me free.

Fully knowing what it means to live,
Understanding my circumstance,
I've been given the ultimate chance,
A single day to reach you now,
And thank you for this dance.

Thank you for believing in me,
When my efforts fell so short,
For your encouraging words,
The shade of my tree,
My strength when I needed support.

Now that my time is ending,
This is all I long to do,
Deliver to you my gratitude,
To the handful, the very few,
To the ones who loved me true.

It's simply not about quantity,
Or the things that we make ours,
It's not about how rich we become,
Or if we've traveled to places afar,
It's about those who loved us for who we are."

I sent this message out that morning,
Once my dream was done,
I didn't expect anything to happen,
Just another day under the sun,
Until the messages back had begun.

One after another they came,
Out pours of the most brilliant words,
Singing to me how I was cherished,
More than I'd ever heard,
My heart wrapped around each word.

My loved ones blessed me with saying,
The precise words my heart had craved,
That I had also changed their lives,
Brought smiles to them each day.
That they prayed I would always stay.

My life has changed profoundly,
From the dream I had that night,
I see things now, so different,
I no longer always need to be right,
Out of darkness I can see the light.

Each moment of life I'm granted,
Each second I'm given with you,
Is a blessing, a single thrill enchanted,
And as I realize they are so few,
I now appreciate each time that I do.

I hold sacred the times that you hold me,
Or simply lend me your ear,
I celebrate the very moments,
You share from your life with me,
Celebrating that you want me so near.

I no longer live life with drudgery,
I no longer spend time feeling low,
I now allow myself to notice,
How when you're with me I simply glow,
For now I understand, I really know.

Each moment in time is so precious,
Our lives could end in the next flash,
How important it is to really appreciate,
The ones who enlighten our fragile paths,
And to tell them how we so love them at last.

Elisa Fortise Christensen

The Wind Tunnel-A Return

I haven't returned since I escaped at 17,
College bound, decadent northern seascape,
Where the intellectuals gather, Birkenstock clad,
Backpacks and tie dye in full bloom,
Seals hopping and yelping for equality upon their rocky steeps.

Far from where I sprung,
Escaping the usual dysfunction,
Of my all-American family best I could,
This wind tunnel with its unremarkable presentation,
I would not have chosen,
Nope. Not even over an Arctic frozen.

Yet now, here I am,
30 years imbibe my exhausted, war-lorn soul,
Having traveled my globe with equal purpose and abandon,
I slink back into town in dark sunglasses and a big, white hat,
Surely this scrawny, insignificant hole will hound me upon return.

What? No fanfare? Not even a parade? A dinner?
Surely word must have reached the masses,
That I have graced this desert with my grand arrival,
An event I fancy unparalleled,
As my ego and imagination together make sweet love.

All surely must know I am here,
Only sprung from the depths of my heart's enormous generosity,
To care for my matriarch, who's years are slipping from her,
Thieving her of her most basic recall--
Names of grandchildren,
My lover whom she bethinks my ex,
The dog now summoned as only, "The brown one."
Here today, tomorrow flat gone.

In tow I bring my feisty love,
Our fighting lights up this sleepy town,
Sending tumble weeds soaring through the air,
Disrupting the local sheep shearing event,
Or was it our lovemaking?
It's hard to tell.

I guess one could call this forsaken land from which I launched,
My original community,
That random choosing my parents certainly communed upon,
Only to be so blessed with,
My grand entrance nine months in the rears.
What glory!

I've always fashioned myself a bit too fancy for this flat place,
What with its regular winds whipping through the gaping mouth,
That lies in a silent scream between white capped mountains,
Not even decent enough to provide a little skiing.
Just messes up my hair. Pitiful.

After all, I went to private schools, Not the multi-colored, drug infested, graffiti laden jokes,
This town erected to toss their offspring about in,
It is I that went around this world, So fancy, important, it is I!

Then it comes to me on another windy eve,
How it feels to have substantial tracks of earth about me,
Instead of the honking, hurrying hustle bustle and city grime,
While looking at those snow capped giants once more,
Majestic. Towers, really,
Or the rolling, grassy hills that provided horse and me,
Endless days of freedom for entire seasons.

I come across those that share my ancestry here, (strangely pleasant,)
And I drive slowly down the street that bears my name.
It's different now, though exactly the same.
A few more strip malls laid out like fat possums,
A new, dangerously ugly courthouse,
Shiny outlets sporting fancy things marked up to be reduced,
And a wide open sky alit with,
What must be stars not eclipsed by thick smog.

Home. Home is where my mother is,
Where my lover lays his head on my belly at night, cooing softly as he sleeps.
Yet here it is, this old, unremarkable village of my youth.
In some odd way it invokes in me,
A sense that I belong, somehow.
Even though,
My knack for humility remains a bit much for,
A small, sleepy wind tunnel such as this.

Elisa Fortise Christensen

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