mantra review

Fall 2018



"Householder" (Grihastha) is the second phase of life in the four-stage Hindu ashram system, typified by marriage, home, and family, followed by Vanaprastha (forest dweller) and Sannyas (renunciation).

Tell me about your life before . . . what of your marriage?
            My heart held in a constant vise—

Your family?
            A knotted cord of black silk that bound me to my labors—

What was your childhood ambition?
            To live on nectar and starlight, to be feckless in my ways,
            to be free, bound to nothing—

What do you now seek?
            Freedom from the good name to which I am shackled—

What do you tell your daughter and sons?
            Construct a life from the confusion of wonder
            that is the world. Stumble awhile under
            the moon’s calyx of light until
            you find a refuge, the dharma,
            your sangha, a home.

C.W. Emerson’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including Atlanta Review, Crab Orchard Review, Greensboro Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Poetry East, Tupelo Quarterly and others. Emerson achieved finalist/runner-up status for the 2017 Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize, was a finalist for the New Letters Prize for Poetry 2017, and a semi-finalist for the 2017 Tomaž Šalamun Prize. He received an International Merit Reward in the Atlanta Review 2017 International Poetry Competition and was a semi-finalist in the 2016 The New Guard Knightville Poetry Contest. Emerson lives in Palm Springs, California where he works as a clinical psychologist, and studies with poet Cecilia Woloch.

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