Sunday, May 8, 2016

Making Christmas and Mystic Rose for the New Year 2013

Large White Poinsettia - Maja Trochimczyk

The sunlight in California is so different from that of northern areas of Canada, or Poland. There, the light is pale, often grayish, frail. Here, it brings a rainbow of colors to everything it touches. Everything is more vivid, more intense, under the bright rays, in summer or winter...

I came to Los Angeles in 1996 ... I made Sunland my home, with a garden of roses and pomegranates overlooking the magical golden, bronze, purple mountains. I love writing and taking pictures of flowers, leaves and the sky. Like my roses, I’ve flourished in sunlight – there is a lot to be thankful for! First and foremost my three children, Marcin - born in Poland, Ania and Ian - born in Montreal, Canada.

Christmas Decorations by Maja Trochimczyk

With a blended, multicultural family, we had to become creative. We have had a real Christmas every second year, starting on Christmas Eve with the Polish Wigilia dinner of traditional dishes (of beets, mushrooms, and fish). The dinner included best wishes shared by breaking a white square wafer, called oplatek. On Christmas Eve, there was also time for the midnight Mass and carols, but no gifts - that were shared at the Wigilia table back in Poland. We had our pile of gifts on Christmas mornings. In this, we followed North American customs. Instead of a large family brunch and dinner parties (hard to do without family here), we gathered around the Christmas tree, opened our gifts, mostly books and videos, and lounged around in our new pajamas, listening to carols and snacking on chocolate and cakes. We created our own traditions.

Barszcz z uszkami, Wigilia 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

What about the years without Christmas? We did exactly the same thing, but a week earlier. This year, our Christmas will be on December 22!  It was (and is) quite amusing to go out for an afternoon walk, dazed by all the Christmas charm of gifts and affection, to see everyone else rushing around, frazzled and busy, still days before the holidays… For years, we have lived in our own time zone, created our own traditions, our own happiness…

Christmas Tree Decorations - Maja Trochimczyk

A Christmas Engagement
(for Vivien)

The tree has its ornaments
Cinnamon its green apples
Gold paper waits for the gifts

Gingerbread pairs up with chocolate
Dried figs waltz with the pecans
Paper angel spreads yellowed wings

Clementines fill Christmas stockings
The first star peeks in the window
The Wigilia dinner is served

He takes her hand with affection
The holly dances with ivy
She laughs at her sparkling ring

(c) 2012 by Maja Trochimczyk

Christmas in the Bandito Park, Tujunga Canyon Road

Richard Stewart, an artist and community activist, did exactly the same - created his own holidays! For Christmas, he dresses up the rock sculptures in his Bandito Park on Tujunga Canyon Road in Santa Hats.  This year, on December 15, 2012, the sculptures were visited by poets and dancers from Alethea Dance Group and the performances were recorded for a documentary film.  I read one poem and gave the dancers some chocolate-covered gingerbread. My poem, along those by other poets, is to be published in a coffee-table book of photos of the rock sculptures and poetry "Rock of Rancho Tujunga." What a wonderful idea! Thank you, Richard!

Richard Stewart, Maja Trochimczyk, and Dancers at the Bandito Park

The Place of Stones

Here before us
Here around us
Here after us

Stone people

Solid - silent - still

Galaxies collide
Stars explode
Nebulae form

Stellar dust drifts
Swirls across the ocean
Tides rise and recede
Waves spill over the desert
Plankton becomes plants
Shells merge into rocks
Layered - heated - pressed
Hold on! Hold on! Do not go!

Stone people outlive us
Stellar dust and sunshine
We age
Petrified - fractured - stressed
Sink into the earth
Blend with the elements
Grow roots until

We can breathe out free
Serene - silent - still

Stone people

(c) 2012 by Maja Trochimczyk

Maja Trochimczyk reads poetry in Il Bandito Park, December 15, 2012

My poem is not very Christmasy, it is a reflection on our mortality and the fact that rocks, indeed, do outlive us. This does not bother me. Actually, what's really annoying is that our own clothes outlive us. I was struck with this surreal thought, that mere fabric with buttons and sweaty seams has more life in it than we,  the transient dwellers of this planet. Of course, we have the secret of immortal life that our clothes or rocks do not know... 

But today, the thought about not being here, or rather leaving suddenly after a very short visit, is made all the more real by the recent death of Frank Pastore, killed in a motorcycle accident on the 210 freeway. The beloved KKLA religious talk show host did a lot to make each holiday season special...and was, like me, just 55 years old. Rest in peace...

Camellia blossom, Descanso Gardens, December 2012

The Year 2013 will be very unusual. It is going to be the Year of the Snake, apparently filled with good luck, material blessings, but also with deception and interpersonal problems.  What it willl be depends on us, and we can make it a beautiful, blessed year, if we property focus our attention on things that matter.

Haiga "The Gift" (c) 2012 by Maja Trochimczyk

In response to an invitation by Susan Rogers, I created a little reminder of this focus on what really mattters as a bas-relief collage haiga, that is a paper and fabric image with a haiku-like comment.  The invitation was to create a poem or an art-work on the theme of the Snake or Target on a rectangular board.  The results in the form of calligraphy, artwork, photos will be displayed at the Japanese American Cultural Center in Los Angeles.  

My choice to make a surreal flower with petals from a white poinsetta, daisy, and a photo of matilla poppy, with a double eye in the middle reflected the choice of the theme - the Target. The eye is copied from another collage of mine, created for the Beatrix Project of Kathi Stafford for my poem "Rosa Mystica" and published in her chapbook (and reprinted below). 

Here, the double eye of the rose here becomes the eye of the Mystical Sunbloom. I entitled my little art-piece for the New Year 2013 - "The Gift" - and I think a lot of people, especially Christians and those following mystical traditions know the answer to this riddle. If not, reading the anthology Meditations on Divine Names is highly recommended. The answer to every question about the meaning of life and everything is "42" as we know from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  The trouble is we do not know what is the question...

Ever calling - Never heard

Ever seeking - Never seen


Detail from "The Gift" (c) 2012 by Maja Trochimczyk

Happy New Year 2013!


The original version of the eye appeared in a digital collage for "Rosa Mystica"  - a poem about Mother Mary and Dante's Paradiso.

Rosa Mystica

The love that calms this heaven always offers welcome
 with such greetings to make the candle ready for its flame 
 ~ Dante, Il Paradiso, Canto XXX: 52-54 

I knew it all along
(at least, suspected)
Beatrice’s swimming cap
betrays Heaven as nothing 
but an oversized pool

where saints swim like fish
in the river of light 
and God-Mother rests 
on white lounge petals 
of a Mystic Rose 

Giovanni di Paolo’s
illumined pages of Il Paradiso  
unveil creature comforts 
beyond the sapphire glow
of Dante’s Empyrean 

Angels curl in their pods
like babies asleep 
on metallic wings 
with round pillow halos 
of shimmering gold 

Multi-hued gowns of cobalt, 
salmon, palm green, and sienna 
reveal the childish joy 
 of heavenly hosts
adoring the Trinity 

Cherubs play hopscotch 
dance the Sarabande
twirl like a swarm of bees 
among light-bursts that do not 
 sear their eyes with pain 

Rushing waterfalls of laughter 
sparkle in diamond waves
of the robes of our Mother 
Daughter of her Son 
figlia del tuo figlio 

She gave Him a kiss 
on the way to Rose Garden 
serene Love’s Greeting
beneath seraphic wings 
rainbows that cut our darkness


The digital art collage includes my photographs and Beatrix from Giovanni di Paolo’s illustrations for Il Paradiso. These images are a part of the British Library's Yates Thompson 36 Codex made in Sienna in the 15th century. Rosetti’s drawing of the Rose Garden is in the collection of the Museum of the Fine Arts in Boston and his painting of Love’s Greeting is in the Isabella Stewart Garner Museum in Boston.

The reference to the Virgin Mother, “figlia der tuo figlio” (daughter of your son), is from Dante, Il Paradiso, Canto XXXIII: 1.

 The ephigraph is cited from the Princeton Dante Project ( “Sempre l'amor che queta questo cielo / accoglie in sé con sì fatta salute / per far disposto a sua fiamma il candela.” Il Paradiso, Canto XXX: 52-54.

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