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"Judith's stunning collection of poems rides the hidden currents of life, leaving the reader with unexpected gifts of insight.  Each poem cups the heart and steals the breath, revealing subtle symmetries between life and death."

Joan Borysenko

Best-selling Author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind

The Bones We Once Belonged To

Judith Ansara’s beautifully crafted volume of poetry is as accessible as it is profound; personal, yet at the same time universally relevant.  Her poems take the reader on a journey through the multi-faceted terrain of a well-lived life.  We travel with her as a social activist; spiritual seeker and guide; world traveler; mother, daughter, wife and friend. 


Through the elegant precision of her craft, Ansara’s everyday experiences blossom to reveal gems of wisdom and images that evoke and provoke, illumine and inspire.  We are offered intimate glimpses into an almost 50-year love partnership replete with the passion, pain and mysteries common to us all.  She explores the nature and power of lineage, from our ancestors through our legacy to the coming generations. 


Judith guides us through moments of suffering and joy, struggle and breakthrough, death and impermanence as her poems invite us to explore the elusive boundary our very human selves with the transcendent world beyond form. Her poems are vivid in their detail and her honesty and wisdom invite us to claim our own.



in Vanuatu on a rutted dirt road 

our truck almost collides 

with an oncoming car

three grass-skirted women

gasp sound a collective 


wave their reed thin arms

in unison their white teeth

a dazzle of relief

Johanna told me this


how someone else’s story

suddenly becomes your own


now my body knows

the synchronized movement

of those beauties

hears their sighs

when disaster misses

by a single instant

and the other story

the one you wouldn’t want to see

gets thrown to the threshing floor


how on some narrow curve

or slippery edge suddenly 

an arm reaches

steadies your elbow

takes your story in their own hand

and in that companionable quiet


you are sitting in the shade


with your dark sisters


Read & Listen
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