Since age four, when my mother taught me to memorize and recite children’s poetry, the sounds and rhythms of all kinds of styles and voices have come to haunt me. In Caught Heart I use the language of lyrical and prose poems, as well as the immediate awareness of haiku, senryu, and hibiki to make sense of the mind--never in control, trying always to integrate dark with light.
      My subject is daily life. I write about lakes and rivers and the sea, family and friends and enemies, the ways of the sun and moon, and especially about the seasons--nature’s and my own. None of this is new to poetry. But, hopefully, the reader’s imagination will see reflected here the vulnerable psyche. For each person must find her or his own truth, even as so many choose to stay in spiritual slumber.
      As a Pisces, I hear, feel, and see existence as an inward experience, allowing the translation of actual reality into personal truth, however surreal. These poems echo the cosmic pain entrusted to each of us and the joy of overcoming bitterness that may come from that pain.
      I: Recaptures beginnings in Michigan, where the beauty of ordinary things and people formed my understanding of the larger world. Ordinary people for me were workers and farmers rather than the elite. The quiet strength that many of the poems propose comes from the introverted Swedes and Norwegians of my father’s family. Mother’s French family loved to change words into pictures drawn with plenty of emotion.
      In May of 1959 after graduation from Detroit’s Wayne State University with a degree in speech and in sociology, I moved to California and learned to relax in the Bay Area’s kinder weather. Here my two children demonstrated why our questions can never fully be answered.
      II: Details the painful end of twenty-five years near and in Palo Alto, followed by a nine-month return to Michigan to aid my dying father.
      III: Returns me to Palo Alto, where my second husband and I shared a comfortable life for a decade. But we became too adept at producing marketing documents for executives in Silicon Valley--and burned out. Family members as well as friends began to experience deep suffering. Our little city soon personified the “boom” of the 1990’s.
      IV: Reveals the rebirth we felt on moving to Santa Fe in 1995--we still cherish the vivid earth colors and power of the light. Here we also share the challenge to live in wisdom and compassion and gratitude for earth:
      oh, ancient river!
      --Noreen Norris
      Santa Fe