Category Archives: writing

50–“Risk” from “As Easy as Breathing”

Updated from a post on Jan. 20, 2017

Trees and Shadow by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2010


It’s a risk
to wake up every morning

and see
if you fall short

or stand tall,
grow an inch or a foot,

see what seeds may land
and take root,

your heart cracked open
like a walnut.

It’s a risk
to get up every morning,

leave the land of dreams
and begin again,

leave the land of dreams and dreaming,
stride on solid ground,

learn and teach,
grow and glow…

then throw out all you know
and begin again.

It’s a risk.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1998

From my book, As Easy as Breathing: Reclaiming Power for Healing and Transformation. It was written in response to a guy I knew who said he needed risky sports to feel alive. Watch my reading here:

In the years after my first breast cancer treatment (1996-7, surgery, chemo, and radiation), I continued to write with a healing intention, sharing my poems with those who might be helped by them. Eventually I considered assembling a book. My first concept was a small collection to help cancer patients and their families and friends. After 9/11/2001, I realized that people like me, who had dealt with life threatening illness, learned a lot about living in times of great fear. And so the book got bigger, with selected poems from a 6-year period. Over the years, these poems have supported many people in coping with all kinds of traumatic life circumstances—including cancer—and to even thrive.

“Risk” is track 34 on my CD, Full Blooming: Selections from a Poetic Journal… with some other poems from As Easy As Breathing and also Letting Go and New Beginnings (and 3 songs).

For more video poems

62–“Express, Process, Assess” from “Resist the Slide into Darkness”

Chicago Trains, Coming and Going, by M D Mikus, Copyright 2012


Express, Process, Assess

After Mike Latza and Oriah Mountian Dreamer

Fear and I are well-acquainted
but any love lost is unrequited
Fear is not my friend though
sometimes I pretzel-bend in its wind

It is a choice, this distance
a choosing and re-choosing in the face of challenge
Not what has happened that might
suck me down and in and under but
who am I in relation to this
potential grand piano falling from the sky
Why ask why when there is no answer
Why contract into fetal-ball position
as if that guarantees protection

Beaten egg whites gently folded in
add humor as leavening to lighten
the batter I am making from a recipe
handed down or found or made up on the spot
Trust…just enough

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

From my upcoming book, Resist the Slide into Darkness. Listen here:

Mike Latza is the editor of the journal, Willow Review. (I was the Illinois Featured Author in 2013.) I wrote this poem after the annual Willow Review launch and reading at College of Lake County, which is always inspiring for me. Oriah Mountain Dreamer is the author of The Invitation–based on her poem–and other books. We are connected on Facebook where she often writes beautiful, insightful short essays. Inspiration can come from anywhere and threads begin to weave together into something that speaks to me, that whispers “write this down.”

Randolph and State Streets, by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2012

For more poem videos in the series

53—“After Lisel Mueller” from “As Easy as Breathing”

Peony from my Driveway, Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2007

“…be still enough

to hear direction
even when heart

pounds in the darkness…

From “After Lisel Mueller” in my book, As Easy as Breathing: Reclaiming Power from Healing and Transformation. (p. 286 in the paperback, also in eBook formats) Listen here:

Before I wrote this poem in mid-May of 1999 I had been deeply discouraged and had decided to stop writing. Lisel Mueller lived near me and, in 1997, had won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book, “Alive Together.” I already had tickets to hear her speak, so I decided to go. It was life altering. I learned so much from that one talk/reading. Some of her poems soaked into me as if she wrote them specifically for me, and others not as much. During the book signing Lisel Mueller was gracious and generous, taking unhurried time with each person. It felt like we were all at her house for afternoon tea.

This poem “popped out” as I drove home. (I did pull over to write it down.) And I discovered I was not going to stop writing poems, since “After Lisel Mueller” flowed out from me in one piece just like this. The words were very compelling and clear. My energy shifted, I was recharged in every sense of the word. Later I gave her the poem and she wrote back to me with an encouraging handwritten note. I am grateful still.

Let these words flow over you and recharge you. Breathe out and breathe in…

This poem is also track 35 on my CD. You can listen to all tracks here: Full Blooming: Selections from a Poetic Journal.

For more poem videos in the series

45–“Selective Memory” from “Frazzle”

Walking to the Pond by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2016

“…I am only aware of
where I am and what is
now going on,
what healing is yet undone.
I forget where I came from…”

From poem 45, “Selective Memory,” in my book, “Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine” Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing.” Listen here:

One day at a time, this project is teaching me to be where I am, not to jump ahead even one day. It is guiding me to take care of myself, be more balanced, less anxious. If I want to deliver the poems—and I do—I have to be focused and healthy, as rested as I can.

On the good days I take a lovely walk to the pond down the road, perhaps a poem begins in my head as I go. If it’s not a good day and my only two smiles are at the beginning and end of that day’s video, at least I remember I can smile. And I feel a certain sense of accomplishment at getting another poem recorded.

My intention is still to sequentially read all the poems from “Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine.” At one per day, it will take over a year. You and me, sitting at the table, maybe we have cups of herbal tea with honey. Thanks for listening. See you tomorrow.

For more poem videos from “Frazzle”

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing

40–“A Way to Release Sorrow” from “Frazzle”

African Violet (Pink) by M D Mikus, Copyright 2007

“…I am at vat-bottom
holding my arms up in a “V”

and the sorrow is leaving me,
leaving a delicious temporary
which I fill with joy….”

From poem 40, “A Way to Release Sorrow,” in my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen here:

Notes: A blue moon is a second full moon in a month (or extra full moon in a season). I wrote this poem on New Year’s Eve, the day of the blue moon, which was the end of a decade, a rare event indeed. I had been doing intense healing work with Tricia Eldridge, the founder of the Energy Touch ® School of Advanced Healing. A follow-up phone conversation led to this visual and the poem came directly from that.

It can be daunting to attempt healing of deep trauma or sorrow, long-time painful beliefs, scars of the body-mind-spirit, or even still raw wounds. How to transform it all without being washed away in the process? I can tell you it requires patience and also trust. It does not require belief in anything, but rather a discerning openness, the willingness to take a small step and see what happens. It does require energy and it can be a slow process or instantaneous. Healing also ultimately gives back energy, uplifting and transcending. Blessings on your healing journey.

For more poem videos from the “Frazzle” series

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing