How to Start a Poem

There are a million ways to begin;
OK, maybe twenty-six.
But the little letter i
opens out to infinity,
and without u
there would be no universe.
And e begins every ending.

To start, all you need is the letter s.
And a w brings the whole world
tumbling after it.

The Loom

It has been quite a long time since my last post! These long pauses seem to be just the way it is right now with me blogging as I try to understand my creative life as it continues to change these days. The good news is: I have still been writing (and even drawing recently), so the Blue Bicicletta continues to ride! And so, here is a poem for you that I want to share because it has echoed in my head ever since the day it came. I hope you are having a wonder-filled summer and finding time to walk in the early mornings or evenings (as I like to in this season) and look at the trees and sky.


The Loom

What trembles
but your fingers
weaving a way out.
Weave blind.
You know the way
by touch. You know the way
by the sound of your heels
in the doorway.
There is darkness
and there is the loom.
You have been lost before
but not now.

Sky Poems : : The Stream


The Stream

Anything can happen
when you go to the stream to drink.


See all Sky Poems here : : Read a short intro to Sky Poems.

The Music (from Rumi)

The Music

For sixty years I have been forgetful,
every minute, but not for a second
has this flowing toward me stopped or slowed.
I deserve nothing. Today I recognize
that I am the guest the mystics talk about.
I play this living music for my host.
Everything today is for the host.

{From The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks}

Let Your Life Speak: Parker J. Palmer on Vocation


I recently read a joy of a little book called Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer. I am surprised that I had not read it or heard of it before because I have been scouring library shelves in the work/vocation section for years now, but perhaps the book came to me at the right time when I would be most receptive to it.

This is not your normal book on finding your work. There are no exercises or tests to find out what you’re best suited to. This is a very spiritual book that sinks deep into the truth of life, and (exactly as the title says) Palmer believes that finding and fulfilling your vocation is about deep listening to your truest nature.

One of the things I most loved about this book is Palmer’s emphasis on wholeness—he asks readers to consider their whole selves, explaining that our truest self includes both our gifts and our limitations, and both of these are equally important in discovering how to live in a true way.

I could go on and tell you more of what I got out of the book, but I won’t because I would just end up oversimplifying the beautiful complexity that Palmer writes about. Instead, I have gone back through the book and pulled out some of my favorite quotes to give you some more glimpses of what he talks about. If you’re at all interested, get thee to the library and check out this book! If I was in the U.S. and near a good (English language) public library, I would find every book written by this man because he writes about real life with all of its light and dark.

Without further delay, here are some bits I underlined with my little pencil while reading:

“Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about—quite apart from what I would like it to be about—or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.

That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for “voice.” Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live—but the standards by which I cannot help but live if am living my own life.

Behind this understanding of vocation is a truth that the ego does not want to hear because it threatens the ego’s turf: everyone has a life that is different from the “I” of daily consciousness, a life that is trying to live through the “I” who is its vessel.”


“An inevitable though often ignored dimension of the quest for “wholeness” is that we must embrace what we dislike or find shameful about ourselves as well as what we are confident and proud of.”


“Vocation at its deepest level is, ‘This is something I can’t not do, for reasons I’m unable to explain to anyone else and don’t fully understand myself but that are nonetheless compelling.'”


“One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as the result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess—the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have: it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place. . . When the gift I give to the other is integral to my own nature, when it comes from a place of organic reality within me, it will renew itself—and me—even as I give it away.”


“As often happens on the spiritual journey, we have arrived at the heart of a paradox: each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up. All we need to do is stop pounding on the door that just closed, turn around—which puts the door behind us—and welcome the largeness of life that now lies open to your souls.”


“. . . anything one can do on behalf of true self is done ultimately in the service of others.”


“We are here not only to transform the world but also to be transformed.”


” . . . if we allow the paradox of darkness and light to be, the two will conspire to bring wholeness and health to every living thing . . . when I yield to the endless interplay of living and dying, dying and living, the life I am given will be real and colorful, fruitful and whole.”


” . . . if we want to save our lives, we cannot cling to them but must spend them with abandon.”


“Whether the scarce resource is money or love or power or words, the true law of life is that we generate more of whatever seems scarce by trusting its supply and passing it around.”


I just wanted to give a Thank You to Maria Popova, the reader and writer behind the excellent website Brainpickings, which is where I heard about this book. Here’s a link to Popova’s write-up about Let Your Life Speak.

When Winter Finally Lies Down

When winter finally
lies down and shows
its pale belly,
whole office buildings
will empty.
Cars will be abandoned
on highways.
Only trails of jackets
will remain, strewn
over floors and sidewalks,
as we all stumble towards
orchards snowed over
in blossoms, and lie down
in the warm grass.

Sky Poems : : The River


The River

You may feel separate,
like a rock in the desert
adrift in dust,
but once there was a river
that lived in you
and the river never stopped flowing.
Go home to the cool water
that runs through everything.


See all Sky Poems here : : Read a short intro to Sky Poems.

The Return


It’s been a long time since I’ve really written a post here on this blog—the kind of post I used to write here: posts about living a creative life and all of the day-to-day realities of being a human. I’ve been posting my Sky Poems off and on, but they focus more on universal experience. Lately I realize that I feel less alone when I hear the nitty-gritty truth about other people’s lives, and I feel more true to myself when I’m honest about my life in return. So here I am with some truth about where I’m at right now, which is also a bit of a behind-the-scenes explanation of what’s happened on this blog.

A couple of years ago, I came to a crossroads in my art life at which time I chose to close down my art shop and stop doing the business aspects of my art. At the time I said that I was just stopping the business because I wanted to focus on the art, and while that may have sort of been true, the full truth was that I had started to let outward validation (and confusion about my worth based on that validation) get the better of me, and I could not understand what to do but withdraw. I did continue doing some art and writing, but I felt so lost that really I stepped off the path I was on. After several years of feeling clear that my creative work was my life’s work, I didn’t feel clear anymore. I shifted my focus to other things: day jobs, making and saving money, pursuing some other things I care about, like library work. Other big things happened too: I had a baby 8 months ago, and most recently my little family moved from Boulder, Colorado (U.S.A.) to Zurich, Switzerland (my husband got an 18 month job here as a science researcher).

We’ve been in Switzerland for the past 4 months, and this move and going from working two jobs to being a stay-at-home mom has shaken things up in my head. I find myself thinking a lot about what I want my life to be about. This inevitably brings up thoughts about all of the creative adventures I’ve been on and how, when I was really doing this creative work, I felt complete alignment between my inner and outer life. This work felt like the complete manifestation of me, or some sort of big time play. It felt like laughing—that honest, that full of deep belly living. And I miss that.

You may say, but what about your Sky Poems? And you would be right to say that. The Sky Poems are a part of that same energy and play. But it feels like I have been holding back. I have been living as a trickle when there is a rushing river or an ocean just under the surface.

I don’t know what these realizations really mean, how they will manifest themselves in my life. And I have learned again and again that it’s silly for me to make promises in terms of creative output because I am not in control of what comes and how things happen. And that is one of the things I love about creativity—the mystery. I also love the possibility and the expanse: put your faith in creativity, believe in it, surrender to it, and you never know what roaring wildness will come. I have missed living from that place. I hope to be able to find my way back there and begin to share that rediscovery here in this space once again.

Thank you to all of you who have continued to follow along in my adventures for all of these years, and thanks to anyone new happening by for taking a peek. I hope you’ll come back and see what develops and use whatever you see here to light a new fire in you.

Lastly, I would like to say that I am reopening comments on this blog. A while ago I closed comments in order to help myself detach from needing feedback. But now I realize that was largely part of my instinct to withdraw. So, I am reopening comments, which means : comment, don’t comment. Whatever strikes your fancy. Have a wild, wonder-filled creative day!

Sky Poems : : Life Comes


Life Comes

One turned leaf at a time,
until one day you look up
and the whole forest is gold.


See all Sky Poems here : : Read a short intro to Sky Poems.

Sky Poems : : Truth or Fiction?


Truth or Fiction?

Everything you think,
everything you tell yourself
is not true.

Watch how you are writing
the novel of your life
moment by moment,
creating even your thoughts
out of air.

Feel the tethers break.
Snap them yourself.

On any page
the protagonist could
take off her blindfold
and see.


See all Sky Poems here : : Read a short intro to Sky Poems.

Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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