Transcendentalism: Thoreau on Writing

“Nothing goes by luck in composition. . . . The best you can write will be the best you are. Every sentence is the result of a long probation. The author’s character is read from title page to end” (Thoreau, 2009:159)

I’m writing about Transcendentalism tonight and its enduring relativity embedded in modern American individualism.  Hence, the quotes and poems by Transcendentalist founders.  While we indeed have deep roots within Puritanism as a nation, we are equally influenced by the individualism espoused by this quasi-religion.  In reflecting upon the condition of American society today, it seems clear that the divisions that separate these two distinct ideologies, their seeds planted during the time of our foundation, still frame the divisions we face as a collective people today.

Self or Denial of Self?  That is the question…

Brahma: A Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson



If the red slayer think he slays,
      Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
      I keep, and pass, and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near;
      Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanished gods to me appear;
      And one to me are shame and fame.
They reckon ill who leave me out;
      When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
      I am the hymn the Brahmin sings.
The strong gods pine for my abode,
      And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
      Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

Listen (An Open Letter to Autism Speaks)

Raven's Wing Poetry

after Michael Stipe

Listen: I have a voice. It is my own.
I did not install you as a little charm box
to hang in the back of my throat
and chime discordant when I send
wind from my sails up to the world

to produce sound – nor did
I rip a little patch of my soul from
the cathedral of strings inside my neck
and give it to you to own and
sound as you please.

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By Michele Habel-Coffey


Tsunami Blue

Blue eyes

Blue waves

Bluest depth

Bluest slave


Drowning in your ocean blue

The bluest soul

The bluest hole

Bluest blood

Bluest fool


Blue like skies

Blue like rain

Blue baby sunshine

Bluest pain

Blue name


Bluest sadness

Truest blue



Into you

My Baby Blue

Organic Geometry

Poesy plus Polemics




you lifted blue sapphires
through feminine eyes
cast with plush panorama
decked out in demure
white travertine thoughts
sculpted contours curved
into sharp masculine
angles and edges
and softened their
graystone ideas giving
rescue to doctrinaire
abstract dimensions
pedantic quadrivium
taught to medieval
young men leaving
much better modern
esthetics to grace
the steps traced in that
most ancient dance
by the fluid asymmetries
shaping the live beating
forms of the heart



(original posted November 2013)

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