Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Morning Musings"

         It occurred to me recently that I need to live my life the way I write about it. When I sit down to blog, I have a general idea of what’s on my mind, but I never generate an outline or a formal form of preplanning. Instead, I let fancy and serendipity take control. I “wing it.”
         In my life, though, I’ve always tried to map out the route to every goal. I’ve planned my agendas with the optimistic misconception that I won’t hit a roadblock or setback that screws everything up. But chaos and life go hand-in-hand. No matter how many lists, outlines, or plans I plot, the unexpected and unpredictable plops dead center and forces quick thinking and alternate courses.
         And isn’t that the fun of life? That spontaneous event that forces us to diverge onto a new track? I wonder about all of the wondrous people and places I’d never encounter if every plan panned out safe and predictable.

The road not taken? Hmmmmm. . . maybe

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Friday, January 20, 2012

“Jane Eyre—Rewrite?”

         I fell in love with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre when Mrs. Smith, my sophomore English teacher, assigned the novel to the girls in our class (the boys read Shane). I soaked in every detail of Jane and Rochester’s romance. The twists of fate that landed Rochester in to a foolish and destructive marriage with a madwoman appealed to my teenaged heart. I identified with young Jane’s rebellious indignation. A part of me felt sorrow that discipline and firm instruction at Lowood School distilled the spunk out of youthful Jane and left her a primly proper governess who bordered on being boring. Although I understood the contrast between Jane’s purity and good heart to the madwoman in the attic, I pondered the depth of Rochester’s devotion to Jane.
         I found myself mentally rewriting a few scenes in the book, even from the very first reading. I made Jane less subservient and less timid. By the time I started teaching the novel, I imagined wonderful scenes between Rochester and Jane that—ahem, fleshed out their relationship beyond Jane pining from the security of a curtained window seat.
         In my revision, Jane doesn’t run away from Thornfield Hall at all. She never stumbles into the Rivers’ household to receive the coldly practical proposal from St. John. Instead, I visualized a wonderfully sensual scene where the prudishly proper Jane pulls Rochester into her bedroom after discovering the truth about the real Mrs. Rochester. In my version, she lives in sinful lust with the man she loves.
         I know, of course, that Jean Rhys’ The Wide Sargasso Sea delves into the passionate and youthful Rochester, but I’ve often wondered if other fans of Jane Eyre imagine different scenes and events, or if it’s just me.

I have not seen this version of Jane Eyre, but I loved this clip!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

“A Thousand Sleepless Nights”   

In the dark of night,   
she rocks and hums   
her hand rubbing circles upon her baby’s back   
he hiccoughs   
tucks his small feet against her warmth   
slips into slumber   
she rocks and hums until dawn   
In the dark of night,   
she paces and frets   
her lips pressed to his forehead   
measuring his heat   
as he cries, “Mommy, make it better!”   
she stretches out next to him   
wrapping him in her love   
as she wills away his pain   
In the dark of night,   
she listens and waits   
her body tense and alert   
until the clicking of key in lock   
the signal that he’s safe   
his voice floats on moonlight, “I’m home”   
In the dark of night,   
she sits and cries   
as he unburdens his fears   
her arms ache to hold him, rock him again   
she longs to take away his pain, shelter him from harm   
In the dark of night,   
she rocks and weeps   
her hand rubbing circles over her heartbreak   
her fingers long to stroke his hair, touch his cheek   
her kiss longs to linger on his brow just one more time   
her despair flows   
endless and evermore   

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Sunlight’s hot silkiness   
            dancing gracefully   
                        to wind chimes   
Bodies entwining   
            hands clenching    
                        fingers stroking   
Like cool water and soft tears       
Finishing sentences   
            reading thoughts   
between long kisses and whispered sighs   

Copyright 1996 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

“A Rusted Tub”

The Burren Perfumery, County Clare, Ireland--September 2010

         The Burren Perfumery snuggles at the end of a winding road used more by cattle than cars. Even at the end of the flowering season, its gardens hold delightful surprises for the idle traveler. Somehow, among the endless expanse of rock, nature takes root with riotous blossoms, feathery ferns, and ivy clinging to mortar and bark.   

          A narrow footpath takes the wanderer into sunshine standing shoulder high. To the right, the soft morning shadows shelter fern precariously clinging to stone.

           Meandering leads to an old rusted bathtub filled with blossoms and promises. I wonder about bathing in flowers and moonbeams in this mystical land.

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Monday, January 16, 2012

“A Family’s Spin”

masks worn to hide empty souls   
embraces feigning loving devotion   
covers of shrill condemnation and lies   
disguises of endless discord   
prayers smugly offered for self-adulation   
actors preforming prescribed scripts   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Sunday, January 15, 2012


            Look at the word   
                        How do you say this word anyway?   
                                    Look at the number—   
A Mobius strip   
M. C. Escher
Two circles stacked   
A number of depth   
            Purple rooms   
            Playing poker   
“Mom, why can’t Paula take me swimming?”   
                        in full color   
                                    first fetal photos   
                                                explained in one afternoon   
            With Uncle Red   
                        and root beer   
            And collections   
                        of dogs   
                        of teapots   
                        of memories   
Layers of happiness   
            enfolded in blood   
Dad’s cheerful letters   
            from a distant war   
                        News flashes   
            Charlie’s lip   
                       torn away   
a bloody hand print on my thigh   
                        Wrapping back onto itself   
                                    joy and fear entwined   

Copyright 1994 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman