Poetic Natterings

by Laura Mauney


Mountain Lupine Flower - Photo © Laura Mauney

Mountain Lupine Flower – Photo © Laura Mauney

Winter is over.
The lupine time has come again.
The ground is heating up.
I lift my wings to embrace the light.
Even when the air is chill, I am warm.
And so I glow as spring meanders to summer;
I sing my colors and dance with the breezes.



Iron fist slammed into the
Lily pond;
Clear water scattered in a
Fist formed ring, its
Unity dissolved into
Leaves and soil;
Lily pads severed from stems;
Lotus petals bent and flattened,
Like mashed bows in the late delivered
Christmas package;
Guppies, tadpoles, skitterbugs, flung to rot.

The repair was hurried and patchy:
No replication or imitation and certainly
No restoration;
Simply a cover to mask the ruins.

Neither birds,
Nor snakes,
Nor any furred land creature can
Sip through the hard, deceptive fake;
Turtles are long gone.

So, afterall, rust was the iron fist’s fate.

We knew this already. Incongruity is the message.




     Our active senses,
      And somehow just plain knowing,

      Are the tools we use to perceive the patterns particles form
 As they move and reform and connect, particles
      Brushing by, or…….

Moving aside on the surface of a soft summer sweetgum leaf
to make room for the tips of our fingers.

Time empowers us to interpret the meaning of the patterns

      The subtle approach of something new,

     The understanding that everything new is also old, that all things are just the same thing, configured differently.

(The first draft of this poem was published by Laura M Mauney in 1999 on the late Rodney L’Ongnion’s Wonderverse website.)


The river rocks holding the sheet music in place seemed normal.

A butterfly fluttered across the stage. I wondered if it knew those vibrations were music.
After awhile, the bird time came, and the birds tried to sing in time.

The wind kicked up and the oak leaves danced in the setting light.


The Moth who slept on my porch yesterday flew off in the night, so I decided to clear the deadwood of the Passion Fruit vine, to make room for new growth. New Passion flowers are scheduled to bloom anytime now, and the Wisteria needs a chance to breathe if she’s ever going to survive.

As dust and smog-smut and flakes of leaves showered over me, I rambled randomly (in my mind, of course); delicately stitched together that first fresh move, first blush, first crush crushed, first dance danced, first kiss, first heartbreak, first time promise was fulfilled, first child born, second child born…

(Do the men even comprehend the effect they have on us?)

Rejected that thought. How could a woman ever know?

(Generalities are offensive, anyway, and never suffice.)

(Stick to the narrow sliver of truth that you know to be dead.)

(I will never forgive him and him alone for leaving us in danger.)

For fear of mites, I massaged tea tree oil through my hair, cleaned my face with lavender water and rubbed the lotion that smells like roses (that my children gave to me) into my skin.

Such a combination of scents; They’ll linger with me for the rest of the day as I admire the improvement in the quality of light as it filters through the Passion Fruit leaves, into my house.


How amazing is it that a simple lens can warp the vast magnitude of the universe, bazillions of light years long and wide and deep, stealing its light, like a black hole steals energy and mass, spitting it out on the flip side in a whirlwind of reconstructed particles, delivering it to us in a size that is smaller than ourselves, the plain and accessible size of a monitor or photographic print or telescope eyepiece, and thereby bring it all down to an eye-catching user-friendly scale that we, grounded here on earth, can actually comprehend?


Who knows? Perhaps the striations of water crystals and CO2 photographed by Rover on Mars are really the havens of teeny-tiny, microscopic or even quanta-sized Martian civiliations?

Oh sure, some scientist would tell me no, not so… that planet’s dead, been dead for a long time… but how would he, or she know?

Was HG Wells’ vision of a Mars invasion prophetic, in a reverse Roverian sense, or perhaps a case of “careful what you wish for” or clever idea-planting?

Imagine, if there is a quanta sized civilization on Mars, what that Rover must look like to them… eeeeek!!! Shock and Awe!

(and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read Wells’ book – it’s called War of the Worlds, and it’s great).


If love, complete and culminated, was sound instead of touch,
Love would be jazz.

Jazz is pure love, organic and
Infinite, revolution, involution, evolution, and cannot be defined
By the strictures of musicology, bars, measures, half-notes, whole-notes,
Nor even marks for syncopation and directions for modulation

And that is why the birth of Jazz mandated the simultaneous and
Spontaneous combustion of the gramophone, because the survival of any species
Requires environmental conditions that enable transition with a capacity for
Transcendance, transmutation, transformation.

But do let it be know that the advent of laser digitization and microcircuited
Quadrophonics cannot completely master the effect of Jazz
Played live. Jazz is all music in the great history of music and all Music
is Jazz, the rhythm of the ancestral and celestial come from the

Rhythm of our heartbeats, of women in childbirth, of child’s first breath and instinctive
Suckling, of acts of love that precede gestation and the everlasting continuation of
Time in the cycle of seasons, and the
Rotation and circulation of earth as we spiral through the universe.

Jazz is the harmony (dis-melody) of all the sounds of life, internal, external,
Eternal, what we have made in the thrum of our city streets, what we perceive
In the cries of our children, the chatter of birds, the hiss of rain, the rush of wind
In the eucalyptus trees, the silence of the clouds, what we proclaim in ourselves when we choose to listen.

Jazz is Men with sleepy eyes and black ties, white shirts and open coats, slim pants, shining shoes,
Who stand together in acoustic shells and pink light; kiss brass, reeds;
Stroke strings, ivory, ebony, skin in the night to sing to women and make us blush. Jazz is
Women who sing and play with a flushing full, palpitation, oscillation, fibrillation, that is just

Like memories in the dream time,
Sound reconvened as truth.

– originally composed in 1996


~ * ~Laura~ * ~
~ * ~Veronica~ * ~
~ * ~Sarah~ * ~


Wherein mathematicians quantified
the quality of poetry so that they could write some
of their own and thereby
prove the value of the result.


Family lore tells us that Mauney was originally spelled Mani, as in Jacob Mani. Tyler discovered a manifest for the ship Lydia, out of Rotterdam, that verifies that Jacob Mani was probably the first of our clan to arrive on American soil, upon the ship Lydia, as part of the Palatine exodus from Switzerland in 1741, 35 years before the American Revolution.

After landing in Pennsylvania, lore has it that Jacob, or one of his sons, made his way south to the Blue Ridge of North Carolina, and proceeded to foster three sons, Jacob, Valentine and Christian, who were subsequently responsible for engendering the entire rest of the southern Mauney clan (yes, we are all related). Obviously, the spelling “Mauney” was either a Germanized or Anglicized version of the original name, “Mani.”

Though we have been able to trace the original Jacob back to Switzerland, Tyler has also come across evidence that the Manis may have earlier been part of a migration of Christianized Sinti gypsy musicians from India to Switzerland to escape Ottoman persecution in the 15th Century.

Mani is, afterall, a Sanskrit name, meaning “jewel,” and several descendents of Jacob in America were given the middle name of “Simra,” which means “memory” in Sanskrit, and which is also the name of a city in Nepal. Mani, as well, is the name of villages in both Tibet and India (but also many other places around the world, including Greece). Music, as most Mauneys know, runs strong in our family, so that part fits. Genetically, Manis still living in Switzerland have been linked strongly to north Indian ancestry.

The name Mani also has origins in ancient Greece and Persia, and Ricky pointed out that the name is additionally tied to a 3rd Century Christian sect, Manichaeism, founded by the Babylonian prophet Mani. Manichaeism spread east into Tibet and China eventually, so it is possible that the Manis who came to Switzerland, from India, were descendents of the early Manichaeists.

Concrete evidence of this theory is not yet available, but additional research may uncover some additional support, or not.

Beyond all that, our particular branch of the Mauney clan is also all mixed up with pre-revolutionary Scottish, Irish and French Huguenot settlers of the southern colonies, as well as a native American tribe or two.


Hail the Jewel in the Lotus
Tibetan Buddhist Prayer


Green parrots on a wire,
(Cage free)
Taking their
(Almost summertime, morning)
Risk, perching
Right next to the little yellow tin sign
With black letters that say “VOLTAGE”
Squawked and took flight,
(All of a sudden)
And made me remember to write down the time
(Springtime, midnight)
When I decided to
(Head west)
Driving Los Angeles from
Spring Street to 7th Street to Grand Avenue to
Down Wilshire Boulevard
(All the way)
To the Pacific Ocean. After the spot where
Wilshire stops rising, vicinity Lafayette Park,
where the road crests and flattens, going
(Ruler straight),
Every stoplight turned green at once. Greenlights
cascaded gleaming, on wires
Stretched long and far,
For seventy blocks,
Seven miles, or
(10 minutes),
As we say in LA,
Emeralds on a string strung as straight as
Any earthly string can be strung,
Not a single ruby red or golden amber among them.
(Teen drivers)
(I presume)
Taking their
(Springtime, midnight)
Risk, clustered all around me,
In tandem,
(Big City)
Kids in noisy cars, un-muffled motors, techno thumping,
Blackened windows,
(Going forth)
Beneath the greenlight string, to
(Head west)
(Ruler straight)
(All of a sudden)
(Cage free).
(We made it)
(All the way)
To vicinity La Brea Tar Pits
Without stopping once.


Up on the ridge
Above the road
Rabbit ears
Disrupt the interlace
Of seeding grass
And easterly light.


Esther’s little shepherd yapped,
Snarling, powerless,

Behind her green wooden fence
Down the road,
So I looked and saw
A shadow flitting
Along the moonlit asphalt.

Coyote was invisible;
Mottled fur blending
with the cool full moon;
Silence except for the dog,
And an owl calling from somewhere
Up the hill as coyote
Slipped on by and away.


… the answer lies in the logarithm …

Some of my favorite places for learning about universal theory are:

And this is what I think anyway, for what it’s worth…

The answer to the mystery of the universe lies within us, for we human beings, as are all things organic and non-organic, are manifestations of the answer. The answer can be found in our symbolism, our art, our music, our structures, our farms, our clocks and watches, in our Fibonacci numbers, in the math that runs our computers – 0101010110 – and even in our various competing religions.

The answer has presented itself through the ages again and again, burbling up from our most unconcious places and bursting out instinctively as we carry on the work of the universe – the yin yang, Ionic columns, the spiral staircase, ancient Aztecan drumbeats, Beethoven’s symphonies, Ellington’s jazz, modern techno pop, the first words in the Bible: “let there be light,” the Holy Trinity, the birth of ourselves, insemination, cell division, evolution, matter is energy, energy is matter, and so on and on and on…

The answer is inherent in the most basic structures of ourselves and all things. Science is religion. Religion is science. All is ART!

One of my favorite quotes is by Producer/Director Stephen Low of Montreal, who collaborated on the IMAX movie Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, which explores the most primitive life forms growing at the depths of the ocean, near underwater volcanoes, and the relationship of such to evolution.

After a screening of the film, a little girl said to Low, “I thought God created the Earth.”

Low answered, in reference to the film’s subject matter, “Maybe that’s how God did it.”

Spiral Stairs at L'Arc, Paris, France, photo courtesy of R.E. Mauney, Jr.
Spiral Stairs

Spiral Galaxy - Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) - Acknowledgment: Dr. Ron Buta (U. Alabama), Dr. Gene Byrd (U. Alabama) and Tarsh Freeman (Bevill State Community College)
Spiral Galaxy

Tropical Cyclone Indlala, Madagascar, March 15, 2007 - Image credit: MODIS Rapid Response Team/Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center.
Tropical Cyclone Indlala

EXCERPT FROM Roselana’s Theory of the Universe

(Laura’s mystery in progress)

     Have you ever laid on your back staring up at one of those ceilings made of pine planking…you know, boards cut lengthwise, and stained a rich amber color, and nailed across beams to give a rustic effect to the interior of a house?
If you have, you must have noticed the swirls and knots in the wood… Up there, if you look carefully enough, you can see galaxies and supernovas and all kinds of other Universal phenomena… you can see one object flowing into to another.
If you look carefully enough, you might even be able to see the tiny little particles that compose these piney celestial objects; matter, antimatter, and the little sparks of energy that bind the whole thing together and make it move.

If you listen, you can hear the pine moving (for everything constantly moves, no matter how still it appears to your naked eye).
If you pay attention, you can feel it moving, too; you know, like those strange moments of serendipity when you feel a chill, knowing that something special or horrible has just happened. That sensation is simply your body waking up to the movement of the Universe.
The effect is really just a trick of seeing, of hearing, of sensing, sort of like what happens with those Magic Eye pictures… You look at an object one way, and you see one thing, but if you shift your line of vision, you see something else altogether.

So consider this… what if our position in the Universe were different? What if we on Earth were sitting at a 90 degree angle from where the solar system sits now? What would we see?
     Would we still only see the swirls and knots of celestial objects blazing across the sky?
     Or would we see rings, like we would see the rings of a tree if we looked at a tree sliced crosswise, instead of sliced longways?
     Time travels in a spiral, afterall, and everything in the Universe is spiraling somewhere.

“Thought provoking” question: Which photo above is an optical illusion?


A day after the bombs were dropped on Baghdad,
(A sight that I by happenstance watched
with absolute horror
live on the TV, the bombs dripping across the city at night,
like the way water drips from wet cloth
when one rushes it from the sink to the clothes rack to dry),
I was sitting out on the porch smoking and fretting about the whys of war.
A bird flew down and lit on the railing, closer than most birds ever get, and chattered,
Chatter, chatter, chatter
As if he, or she, was chattering to me;
As if he, or she, was telling me all
About those bombs.

Sometime later, from the TV again,
I learned that pigeons can hear sounds generated up to 2000 miles away.

So now, I ask, did the birds hear the boom of those bombs,
2000 miles away,
and pass the word, 2000 miles forward, and forward again?

Was the bird who chattered to me passing the word?

Did birds die in Baghdad on that day, too?

Is that what the bird was trying to chatter to me
With such intense anxiety?



At the house in Winston-Salem,
where our father’s heart broke,
Tyler at two
heard the birds chattering outside the picture window
and whispered “music!”


What if our intelligence quotient is absolutely tied to our position in the galaxy? Meaning, that the closer we get to the center, the brighter we become? If such is the case, and since we the Solar System are way out on the edge of the Milky Way, imagine how much we don’t know! Awesome, isn’t it?


Sarah asks, when you go to bed late, why stress yourself out thinking about how few hours of sleep you will get? Why not, instead, think about how good your sleep will feel when you finally get into bed?


Ricky told me his story about how he was walking down a country road one day, when he all of a sudden had an impulse to stride down into the drainage ditch that ran alongside the road. So he did, and as he continued along, down in the ditch, he heard a car approaching. He hadn’t seen or heard the car before, back when he decided to go down to the ditch.

The car was swerving and weaving back and forth along the road, probably a drunk driver. If Ricky had stayed on the road, who knows what might have happened?

We puzzled over this phenomenon and finally decided that Ricky’s perceptive senses must be quite powerful, that somehow he was able to pick up on the subtle shifts in the airwaves and energy field that were preceding the approach of the drunk driver. He recognized the instability – the danger so to speak – and responded accordingly, unconsciously, of course.

Ricky is a religious scholar with a Masters in Theology.


Because they are both from New Orleans

On the Eve of 2007, at sunset, my girls and I sped fast onto the I-10 causeway that crosses Lake
 Ponchartrain, heading west, into New Orleans, so we could celebrate the New Year in the French Quarter.
  The lake is wide and the causeway is long and the sunset, after blinding us for its final three minutes, cast up
  against the clouds the pastel beauty that southeastern sunsets usually cast up.
   By the time we exited the causeway the sun had set and the land around us, on both sides of the highway,
   was dark.
    We saw the silhouettes of rooftops and the vague mapping of streets for miles and miles, but we also
    saw NOT
     A single porch light, window light, street light, stop light, head light, leftover Christmastime fairy light or
     any kind of light at all among all those houses, far and wide.
      This, we pronouced in awe and with dolor, was the land of the flood below the levee; the land of Katrina.

The cabdriver who took us into the Quarter had blue eyes, white hair and spoke with a French accent. He was playing Marsalis live from Chicago on the radio. Though our ride was only a half mile long at most, I gave him a whole twenty dollar bill for his trouble – whoop-ti-doo, but hey, we’re not rich. Then I bought the girls a feather mask and some Mardi Gras beads from a souvenir shop on Decatur Street.