Susan G. Wooldridge has been teaching writing workshops to adults,
children, and youth at risk for many years, independently and through
California Poets in the Schools. Recently sheís given a number of
workshops in rural libraries in California, sponsored by Poets & Writers
and the California Center for the Book. Her book poemcrazy: freeing
your life with words (Random House, 1996) has a cheerful life of its
own. Her chapbook Bathing with Ants, was published in 2004 by
Bear Star Press. Susan is currently completing a book on finding your
creative practice, tentatively titled foolsgold: making something
from nothing. If all goes well it will be published by Random House
in 2006. She lives in a co-housing village in Chico, California.
An Interview with the Baal Shem Tov
(Jewish Mystic, 1700s)
Well, the spinning began early.
My feet took me to the trees
and circling a tree led to spinning.
Next I climbed.
I knew the moment I hung by my knees
and saw roots in the sky.
Blue ground speaking.
Yes, my mother let me do these things.
Itís the safety of a large family.
Lost in the folds I slipped out
and Iím still slipping.
No, that began when I was seven.
From earth and sky both
the voice came and took me.
No, there were no toothbrushes.
I used foxtails to clean my teeth.
Yes, I wore robes, no underpants,
we had no elastic.
Of course I wandered.
Why would I stay in one place?
I followed my feet and soon other feet
followed mine. That was lovely,
we all sat in oak trees
and sang and listened.
Yes, my dear, a little wine.
Donít you love the grapes?
Where can love take you?
Me, it was uphill
in a circle at the top for a time
and then down.
Yes, sometimes I got cold
but I always dried out in the morning.
Heavens, I canít tell you that, dear.
That you must discover for yourself.
Though you may want to climb a tree
(with drawers beneath your gown)
and hang by your knees.
Waves show us
ice shows us
finger nails toe
nails bridges quake
and break necklaces
snap and pearls roll
carry crumbs to tumbling
hills, tunnels, clouds
and roofs collapse, tornadoes,
floods, sudden winds
at night sweep under
our doors breaking
all we've ever
From Bathing with Ants, Bear Star Press 2004.