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Julie Cadwallader Staub

Julie Staub was born in Minneapolis MN. She grew up with her five sisters, her parents and a dog beside one of Minnesota’s small lakes. Her favorite words to hear growing up were, “Now you girls go outside and play.”

Julie graduated from Earlham College, a Quaker college in Richmond, Indiana, in 1979 with a degree in Religious Studies. At Earlham, she had the good fortune of rooming with a Jane Cadwallader from Iowa, who introduced Julie to her big brother, Warren. They were married in a Quaker ceremony in 1979, had three children, and moved to Vermont in 1992, where they joined the Burlington Friends Meeting (Quaker) and then College Street Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) in 1995. They were married for 23 years, until Warren’s death from multiple myeloma at the age of 49.

Julie earned a Masters of Social Work degree at Rutgers University in 1984, and made her career in nonprofit organizations and public sector positions, seeking to improve the wellbeing of women and children, and others disadvantaged by our society. Her poems have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, published in journals, and included in anthologies.  She was awarded a Vermont Council on the Arts grant for poetry in 2001 and the Ruth Stone Prize for poetry in 2015 by the Hunger Mountain Review.

Her first collection of poems, Face to Face, was published by Cascadia Publishing House in Telford PA in June 2010. (http://www.juliecspoetry.com/about/)

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This poem made me think so much of Opher over at Opher’s World. I don’t know anyone who shouts as reasonably and LOUDLY about equality and unity as Opher does. His belief that this world can be a better place is truly inspiring to me. So Opher, this one’s for you.

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Blackbirds

I am 52 years old, and have spent
truly the better part
of my life out-of-doors
but yesterday I heard a new sound above my head
a rustling, ruffling quietness in the spring air

and when I turned my face upward
I saw a flock of blackbirds
rounding a curve I didn’t know was there
and the sound was simply all those wings
just feathers against air, against gravity
and such a beautiful winning
the whole flock taking a long, wide turn
as if of one body and one mind.

How do they do that?

Oh if we lived only in human society
with its cruelty and fear
its apathy and exhaustion
what a puny existence that would be

but instead we live and move and have our being
here, in this curving and soaring world
so that when, every now and then, mercy and tenderness triumph in our lives
and when, even more rarely, we manage to unite and move together
toward a common good,

we can think to ourselves:

ah yes, this is how it’s meant to be.

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Picture Credit: www.themistsofavalon.net