Friday, May 09, 2008

RIVER WALK: Poetry Inspired by Music

(Inspired by the music of Craig Werth, “Slow River”)

Finding my depth
in this new, slow river.
It carries me along
in its daily patterns and rhythms.
I hear the hum of town activity,
as the flow of rippling pathways
takes me past an old willow tree,
brushing the water’s surface
with broad strokes.
An oriole sits,
impossibly perched,
on the tip of a reed.
In perfect balance
he flashes me a glimpse of red and yellow,
like a flag guiding me in for a landing.

I am still a newcomer,
a stranger floating down
a lazy river.
The earth vibrates
just under my feet
on this solitary river walk,
where I will later bring my family.
Carved stones mark a place of memory
for town heroes.
Each monument is a breath of reverence
on a white bridge over water.

Follow the river to find
the soul of this day.
The sound of rushing water
has a hypnotic pull
for one who is stepping into a new life.
Stroll along the water’s edge
to hear the ebb and flow
of the future that meets you where you stand.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Copyright 2008

For more information about Craig Werth and to hear samples of his music please visit: - better yet, go see him on tour with David Francey!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Magical Evening of Music with David Francey and Craig Werth at the Wil Mar Center / Madison,WI

Storytelling brings the audience back to the beginning of love and renews memory, so that the girl in that song getting married is you. The father going off on a trip who misses his 5-year-old son is you. The 80-year-old mother who hears a bird singing and knows that this is the spirit of her dear departed husband is your mother.

I had the great pleasure last night of hearing David Francey and Craig Werth perform at the Wil Mar Center in Madison, WI. Sponsored by the Madison Folk Music Society, the intimate setting of the concert provided the perfect backdrop to an evening of beautifully written and superbly performed songs. The very talented Craig Werth opened the show with a few samples from his new instrumental album, SIDEVIEW. “Slow River” was a particularly engaging piece that brought me into the dream world rhythm and flow of water. I first met Craig while attending the Poets and Songwriters Retreat on Star Island off of Rye, NH last September. Star Island is a magical place to create and meet other like-minded souls. At the group share sessions we had late at night in one of the cottages on the island, I was mesmerized by Craig’s soulful melodies and the warm, dulcet tones of his voice. His vocal/guitar album LOOSE GEMS is a collection that I highly recommend to any avid folk listener and the title song itself "Loose Gems" is one of my favorites! I play this song when I'm missing the ocean and all of the precious friends I met while living in New Hampshire.

David Francey's songwriting is richly layered and affecting. It was truly a blessing to have the opportunity to hear David’s beautiful Scottish accent permeate every note. His stories of living in both Scotland and Canada were steeped in the loves and losses of life itself. I picked up a copy of his latest CD, RITE OF PASSAGE, from which he played songs at the concert. We played the CD on the way home as a way of revisiting our moving, musical evening. As a writer, what I enjoyed most was hearing David tell the story behind the songs before performing each of them. While listening to one of David’s songs,"Their Wedding Day," which he wrote for friends, my husband and I held hands and gazed at each other in remembrance of our own September wedding day. David’s song brought me back in time to my own celebration. Another song that touched my husband’s heart quite deeply was "Ballad of Bowser MacRae", as he reflected on hearing our own son ask the question, “when are you coming home, Dad” (from one of his business trips). From a writer’s perspective, I wholeheartedly identified with a song David wrote about sitting in his friend’s backyard in Portland, Oregon called "Under the Portland Weather". He shared with the audience that this spot is where he always has success writing songs. I find this to be true when writing poetry on Martha’s Vineyard, sitting at one of the beaches near the ferry landing in Vineyard Haven. Hearing David speak of places that foster creativity caused me to reflect on the spark of the muses in art, and how messages are often whispered to us to share with others. The whole evening was a musical journey of spirit that I felt quite honored to attend.

For more information on both David Franey and Craig Werth and to hear samples of their music please visit:

David Francey –

Craig Werth –

I only recommend artists who hold a candle in my heart. Check out these amazing songwriters and enter their worlds of enchantment.

~Cristina M. R. Norcross

Thursday, May 01, 2008

"Once You Were Dreaming of a Future That is Now Your Present"

Sometimes I feel like I am desperately trying to learn how to live. Is working hard the path to fulfillment? Is achievement going to fill the void of the soul? Should I be more self-sacrificing and gain happiness only from taking care of others? Do I need to slow down more and pay attention to each act of living in a loving way, regardless of the end result? Aha! This is the sentence to pay attention to - right now.

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now / A New Earth / Stillness Speaks) writes about living in the now, fully appreciating each experience as it is lived. Living in the past has never been one of my problems, but I do struggle with living with an eager eye towards the future and how much happier I will be “when” I can have more time to write, “when” my husband and I can have more time together again, “when” life will feel more balanced as a mother whose actions and thoughts are constantly interrupted by small (adorable) children.

My mother and I had a discussion recently about this concept of always wishing for the life you see just down the road. This is the golden kernel that stayed with me from that conversation. “Once you were dreaming of a future that is now your present.” I just did not know that those dreams would happen, and that I would wish for other things - for a different future to take shape.

I think this insight can be valuable to the soul of a writer too when the ever-too-present restlessness, that we all feel as artists, starts to gnaw away at one’s peace of mind. There is waste in discontentment. It takes far too much energy to analyze why life could be better three years down the road: if only that magazine would publish your story that you have been submitting everywhere, or how you will only feel complete when you write a full length novel, or that there is never enough personal time in a day to finish all of your beloved writing projects. Engage in your present with fervor. Be thankful for what you are able to write, knowing that it is a gift to bring inspiring ideas together on the page. If others enjoy what you send out into the world of writing, then this is a blessing too, but it is not the goal. It is a pleasant side effect. Making connections in spirit with others through writing may never bring recognition, but it will make a difference in the life of the reader who engages more fully with their own world, because you have shown them one of life’s golden keys.

Keep sharing – keep writing. Don’t look back on your past with angst or regret. Don’t look ahead to your future life with longing. Bring to the page what you are meant to create – right now.

This is the most fruitful moment and tomorrow’s moment will be just as ripe.

Keep writing!