Poet Nina Carey Tassi


“There’s spiritual luminescence in these poems by Nina Carey Tassi.  It’s clear that Tassi is in touch with her own intelligent soul as the Everywoman sojourner of the book. This is a morally satisfying collection of poetry that travels the world from Beijing to the Antarctic with forays back in time to the Holy Land. We feel the ascension of the poet’s spirit as she meets varied believers and cultures from Naomi of the Israelites through Quan Yin of China.”  -- Daniela Gioseffi, author of 16 books and winner of an American Book Award.


“Each poem in this collection opens up a timeless space of imagination and wonder. Nina Carey Tassi clothes her stories in beautifully evocative language. A book to be savored one poem at a time.” – Pat Chaffee, OP, author of Lemon and Calabash, latest of 12 chapbooks.


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   --from Spirit Ascending (2016)


Sky a vast expanse of glorious blue,
centered by the sun, sending forth
a million brilliant tiny points
down to the sand and sea.

No cloud breaks the sweep of sky,
sea hushed by intensity of blue,
world held in abeyance;
light envelops us.

Sky floats down; a silk mantle 
wraps loosely about my shoulders,  
makes me beautiful for you.
I glory in your gaze.

Your eyes welcome the sky,
you invite the sun to dazzle us,
and you say: I will never leave you;
God’s breath, full of play, seems near.

Sky an immense spreading mantle
of blue gossamer, showing a way
beyond billions of galaxies
toward eternal light.

--from Spirit Ascending (2016)


           Genesis 16-21

Hot-tempered Sarah, chosen
By God matriarch of the Jewish nation,
Cajoled her husband into her slave-girl’s bed,
Raged at Abraham, hands on hips, red-faced,
When pregnant Hagar lorded it over her,
Called on God to judge who was wrong,
Attacked the slave-girl with all her fury,
Drove her into the wilderness, where
Hagar and unborn child could have perished,
For all Sarah cared. Womb empty, beauty days
Long gone, Sarah brooded on Hagar’s fiery eyes,
Forest of raven hair, her ease in the birthing tent,
Squalling Ishmael delivered with hardly a sweat.

When angels appeared in strangers’ guise,
Sarah, eavesdropping, laughed behind God’s back,
Scoffed at the promise of pregnancy at ninety;
Even the Lord asked Abraham: why did Sarah laugh?
Despite joy overflowing at Isaac’s birth, Sarah felt
A secret claw at her breast: the love in Abraham’s eyes
For small frowning Ishmael, whose ill temper grew
Apace with hers. At Isaac’s weaning feast, she spied
Ishmael taunting Isaac, ran to Abraham, demanded
That he cast out this slave woman and her son,
Vowed Ishmael would not be heir with her son Isaac,
Cared nothing for her husband’s loss of Ishmael,
Banished to the wilderness with a little bread and water.

Down to the present moment Sarah reigns upheld
By God, righteous mother of Jews and Christians alike;
Who knows the Mind of God, His mysterious Heart?

                                      --from Spirit Ascending (2016)



So much fierceness, Anne Hutchinson!
Did you need to cross the sea so fire-haired,
husband children pots and pans in your furious wake?

William kept saying to me,
Must you, Anne?  Must you, my darling Anne?
Yes I must, you know I must.

I knew every minute that the bread
of adversity and the water of affliction
were soon to come upon me.

And my beloved Will?  Fortunately he
worshipped me and the children of our flesh;
I could devote myself to my revelations.

They really couldn’t stand her loud mouth
in Boston: so unseemly for a Christian woman
to match words of Elizabethan wit in meetinghouse.

Such a sorry little place, Boston --
with its scrubby cows and hogs at rut and
puffed-up ministers strutting about in the mud.

Wasn’t it a muddy wilderness indeed,
an improbable place for a fierce female
prophet to arise and take her stand?

I did not look upon the meanness of the place
nor did it discourage me; in fact I found it
bracing—cold sea, barren shore, wild grasses blowing.

You welcomed it: the stripping of your mind’s cloth,
the crown of thorns, sunk by those dark Puritans
into the tangled mass of your burning hair?

Yes! I had the Word of the Lord:
“I am the same God that delivered Daniel
out of the lion’s den, I will also deliver thee.”

I stared savagery in the face long before
my throat was slit; I refer to Boston’s severe-eyed,
gravelly-voiced, bowlegged excuses for men of God.

And when you were slaughtered by the natives,
did you forgive those magistrates and ministers,
your eyes fixed on the crucifix of Christ?

I had no thought of them, for the Lord as He promised
sent Daniel to take me by the hand and raise me up,
singing exultations, to glory everlasting.

                                            --from Spirit Ascending (2016)



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