c. Mary Kathryn Gough


Memo # 12

I have finally instituted a writing day for myself. Non-interpretive, uninterrupted. Awesome.

There is a rose on my desk from Valentine’s Day, I’ve eaten a delicious maple & pecan pastry, I’ve replaced the ink in my printer, and I’m armed with a belly-mug of tea.

First, a meditation.

My favourite thing this week is a difficult toss up between the clear, dense and sparkling blanket of stars over the ocean these past few days, striking like those here in my old mountain range:

and a Neruda ode to socks which I handily rediscovered by being introduced to a frog poem over coffee (online here). My favourite song has been the one from the Hobbit 2 credits, ‘I See Fire’. My overriding intent this week has been to finish up my collaged chest of drawers, but so far, no such luck. The main reason for this saddening failure is that I’ve been saddled with a migraine of the sort that simply wants to shackle me without actually breaking me. Thus, I am reduced to treating it constantly (and treating myself nicely) while foregoing a lot of life and wearing out spectacularly quickly. Hmph.

At night I dream of art like growing vines, and the mysterious smile that speaks of souls in -contact-, learning. Once I get to sleep anyway. My dreads are full of grief at the moment…

Today, I will be bulking out my submittables and preparing at least one packet for the mail. Perhaps deciding on the fate of my next poetry collection: to be or not to be?

Here goes.

From For the Light


There is little snow on the ground
when you begin your morning walk
on this the shortest day of the year.
This is the season of gathering cold,
the fading memory of spring.
Light flows slowly through the woods,
a light you could harvest like grain
or scoop into your astonished mouth
the way a bear scoops honey until
your bones dissolve and you can never
return to the life that you were living.
You could do this if you dared, but you
have things to do so you keep on walking
telling yourself that this will happen again.

~ from Tom Sexton’s Collection For the Light


I recognize this from the bottom of my soul to the tips of my fingers and the cells in my face that stick together so tightly I can’t relax even there, where the light burrows into your heart like motherhood on its inexorably welcome warpath of love… gouged by a lance of total sweetness. I wonder if embracing death is the existential truth of that feeling. Thus we will never really live, telling ourselves we’ll have the chances we need again, trying all the while to outrun death — when what we ought to have done was contented ourselves enough to live harmoniously alongside its demanding nature, loving. We must let go of striving for our own goals at the expense of all else, must die to gain, in order to really live. And on many other levels this is true.
I just find it nifty that it shows, even in this one moment recorded.
‘For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ ~The Bible


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Crypt ~ Marykathryn ~ 2.14.06

Valentine’s Day. Indeed. Don’t know what to say about that. I want to write about St. Paul’s Cathedral and the feeling I get when Walking on the Dead.

i would that i could
float; rectangles of
laid against one another and
above mortal flesh
entombed, entombed, entombed,
but i cannot. my
footsteps are an eerie
echo in this place
of must and mystery, of de-fleshed
history; a chill
walks its slim fingers windingly
up through my gut to rest, fluttering
solidcold in my throat.

my spirit quails within me and i am walking
(so heavily! bone, sinew, flesh encased in
breath)i walk
on the dead.

~marykathryn huffman 2.20.06 5.30pm

It felt like desecration, like insult after insult after insult and a rending of fragile heart-strings. I tried stepping on the cracks but it did no good. There was no going around them. I felt my boots treading on people’s faces, indignity and horrible lack of respect residing in the hollow space between my shoes and that-which-is-(I know)-no-longer-they. These people, who ought to have been laid to rest in deep soil, lost instead beneath a multiply burned out and rebuilt cathedral. . . No grass, but carvings of flowers, never changing. Can I make it out without crying? My heart moans. Suddenly, after perhaps half an hour, I realize I have been standing on someone’s face, listening to our guide talk about someone else’s achievements without so much as a murmur inside my chest. Not even a blink of discomfort. I have grown accustomed to walking on the dead. (Indeed, so have we all. . .)

c Mary Kathryn Gough (maiden:Huffman)


the wet outside tamps down

the dust in my soul, clearing my

throat and freeing me to

B R E A T H E – – – –


more, more, moremoremore:givemeMOREec-

static – set loose – whatcouldido

today? Possibility and opening must be

often (while not always)

triggered by the physical. . . well, sobeit!

So be it.


I am entranced by ionic activity – it lures me;

it draws me in; it expands my soul.

In its personless companionship somehow I LIVE

so much more.


c. Mary Kathryn Gough, Feb 9, 2012 9.25pm wales

Ideas/Dried Roses

Tragedy, do you understand? the
Tragedy of ideas pinned up
like roses on the corkboard of
Reason —
concepts crucified, the souls contained within
run out like life-blood, drained now,
paperthin, these Words
this Meaning which should have been
able to encompass nations,
reach out through universes,
and embrace Truth
are simply Roses — dried, cracked tributes
to a life and power unSeen
hanging pinned securely to the material world,
lifeless, powerless, limited;
an empty, brittle shell —
concepts of Meaning are crucified
by legalistic minds whose souls are
running out like blood from stone-cold hearts
even as they wonder at the loss of warmth,
movement and power, the river of motion
which is able to recognize and embrace
the fullness of Ideas is slowing, its language
quieting, softening, soon the soul-river, drained, will stop speaking.

c. Mary Kathryn Gough, June 9th, 2001