Friday, April 27, 2007

Apple blossoms

pink-tipped petals spread
rippling into memory
of warm wind and light

Click on the photo for a bigger view.
Thanks again for all the support expressed in response to the previous post.
It helps.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Copyright infringement

My thanks to those of you who kindly inquired about this blog being quiet. I'm fine; life is busy these days with performances, spring projects and other activities. It's likely that I'll be posting less frequently for a while as a result.

Life has also included the unexpected, as follows.


It’s a strange and creepy feeling to read a poem on another blog and recognize it, word for word, as your own work under another person’s name. And then another poem. And then another.

I recently found twenty-two of my poems on a blog where they had been posted with someone else’s name as the author. This person had been siphoning off my blog, posting one of my archived poems every few days for months, claiming to have written them, but in reality lifting them, word for word, from my archives. Blatant plagiarism. Theft. Twenty-two poems.

I was initially stunned, and then furious. I felt very violated. My anger challenged me to balance protection of my work with my ethic of compassion and respect for others.

I spent some time researching copyright infringement and talking with my husband, who happens to be an attorney, and we consulted with another attorney. We also spent some time discussing the emotional aspects of the experience. It was a genuine struggle for me to view this person with compassion, as another human being with their own human needs and flaws. It was difficult for me to see beyond the need to protect my work. A truly compassionate person might have found a way to do more than I did. But, with my husband’s support and encouragement, I chose not to immediately move to shut this blog down. Instead, I sent a polite but firm “cease and desist letter” that gave this person a little time to remove my poems. Again with my husband’s help, I tried to phrase the letter in ways that they would understand that I saw them as a real person. It wasn’t much, but it was my attempt to avoid creating more negativity than was necessary to protect my work. In response, the person removed not just my poems but all previous posts from that blog. For the removal of my poems, I am relieved and grateful.

Plagiarism could (and does) happen to any of us. Not just with poems, but photographs, illustrations, stories, writing of any kind. It could happen at any time. It happens easily on the internet, and it could happen if you publish in a book or a journal. It’s wrong. It’s thievery. And it’s immoral and unethical.

And when I think about that, I begin to feel very sad about this person. I am fortunate to have a life full of creative outlets, full of loving friends and family. It’s a good life and I am grateful. The reality is, I have no way to know or truly understand this person’s motivation. And in the end, the motivation doesn’t matter a whit. It's the choice we make that matters.

In the end it’s about being human with each other. In the end it’s about respecting and honoring each other as fellow human beings. I’d guess I was so angry that I was far from perfect in my response to this person, but I tried. In the end it’s about choosing what kind of world we want to live in, because we create it collectively, moment by moment.


Now back to regular programming.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

For the light

you can sing in the dark
but remember to listen
make space in the dark
for the light to fall in

Click on the photo for a bigger view.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April fool

I am an April fool
dwelling in bright uncertainty —

hope strung sparkling across
the teeth of darkness —

drinking from the world's
elusive green whorl.

Sabal palms. Click on the photos for more detail.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hunting the alligator

Perched on a ledge,
I watched from the edge
of the slow moving, brown river,
scanning for a telltale quiver,
a slight ripple of light
to prove his move —

unlike the heron, skinny-legged and lean,
stepping with care in open air, its hunger keen,
its glance oblique over a long, set beak,
pacing the lapping, salty water
stalking a single, silver slaughter —

no, all teeth and claws
this silent dragon was,
all scales and slinking,
periscoped, unblinking,
of terrible length and yet
imperceptible in the wet —

a sudden splash
belied his dash,
a trap, a trick,
unbelievably quick,
a fast snap and swish,
death for a school of fish.

Click on alligators to see larger versions. It's worth it!