What stays with us

“I went up to the door, but I turned away.”
—Pat Schneider, Aug. 5, 2020
           (June 1, 1934–Aug. 10, 2020)

I see you at the door, your hand with its
long tributaries of veins pausing on the knob,
ready to pull it open, step into the hallway—
it’s always the same goddamn hallway
then turn, take a breath, and, when you
are ready, pick up your pen and write.

I’ve heard you give this prompt umpteen times,
imagined I’d have the chance to write
with you once more, even as I knew you
were fading, but word has come
that you’re hovering in the hallway,
poised before this life’s last door.

And, when I close my eyes, put myself
in the hallway, there you are—white-haired
and white-gowned, on your way to ghostly,
or angelic. You turn, smile, radiating
love as you did with every workshop—
you can’t blow it if you love them

and I’m telling you again, forever
and always, as I used to when you
looked to me before you spoke
or taught in my city—
you’re wonderful, you’re going
to do great things for these writers,
they’ll love you, I love you,

Cobwebs of light shimmer behind you
as you walk through the door, as you
feel the wings you’ve grown, lifting,  *
as you become soul,  **
as we trust that, somehow,
what stays with us
is you.

*from Rumi’s “who gets up early,” from These Branching Moments,
translated by Coleman Barks © 1987, Copper Beech Press

**Pat Schneider from “Into Mystery” from The Weight of Love © 2019,
Negative Capability Press


Pat Schneider in Sacramento, 2009

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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8 Responses to What stays with us

  1. Connie Raub says:

    Oh Jan, this must be so very hard for you! Thank you for sharing some of your precious Pat and you with us. Be a peace both of you! Love, ~Connie

  2. Lee A says:

    Thanks for this beautiful post and the sweet, sad place it lands. My condolences to you and Pat’s friends and family. I am sure glad I got a chance to work with her, to hear her read a number of times, to be valued, uplifted, encouraged by her, and to get to do the exciting writing with Pat. I learned so much from her and from everyone she taught who taught me or gave me a place to be prompted. You all help my ears, my voice. Such a big loss.

  3. Richard "Dick" Tracy says:

    It paints a ghostly image that lingers beyond reading
    Dick Tracy

  4. Lisa Morgan says:

    She was a remarkable woman who opened that door to encourage all voices to sing freely into the universe. We have lost a trailblazer, mentor and advocate. She helped me start to let go of my own ” inner critic” with her method. Much love to you as her disciple, supporter and friend, as you grieve her loss- she was wonderful!

    • janishaag says:

      Thank you, dear you. So glad she was as inspirational to you as she was to so many others. I love the way you’ve said this: “to encourage all voices to sing freely into the universe.” Pat would tell that’s strong, that it would stay with her… as it does with me!

  5. Jan, I found this poem very nourishing and a great source of comfort today. My sympathies on the loss of your friend and Dan’s and my teacher’s teacher. What stays with me today are the “cobwebs of light” and the “wings you’ve grown” in these hard times. Faithfully, Dori

  6. janishaag says:

    Thanks, Dori. Hope you and Dan are doing well. Keep writing!

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