Poetry

children dancing

When They Sleep

 

All people are children when they sleep.
there’s no war in them then.
They open their hands and breathe
in that quiet rhythm heaven has given them.
They pucker their lips like small children
and open their hands halfway,
soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters.
The stars stand guard
and a haze veils the sky,
a few hours when no one will do anybody harm.
If only we could speak to one another then
when our hearts are half-open flowers.
Words like golden bees
would drift in.
– God, teach me the language of sleep.

Rolf Jacobsen

_____________________________________________________________

grandmother

Indigenous Grandmothers Surround Me
There are old women
who come to you at night
when you are sleeping,
when you are awake,
when you are relaxed
and have stopped “trying”
to make something happen.
When you have surrendered 
your grasping, clawing, survival 
and give yourself over
to rest 
to allow
to let go 
and 
just be soft,
breathing, 
open fertile
emptiness.
And then,
when you are in that place of allowing,
they can reach you
they sit around you
always talking softly
around the fire of your light.
They chew on roots, leaves,
your words spoken
in brusque, harshness
They eat Fear that
oozes out your pores.
They laugh and pour tea
and always always they Listen
and chant into your ear,
soothing down the voices
that would make you small
and less than.
They are there,
always there
whittling away on the debris
that covers your soul,
tending you
holding you 
planting you...
though you try your best
to pull the roots
and block the shoots.
They wait,
silent, mindful, knowing.
In Pure Trust.
They sit 
inches from you,
offering you the true bread,
waiting my love, 
smelling your blossom 
before it has bloomed.

 

Deborah Gutierrez

 

 

dragon spume

IF YOU KNEW

By Ellen Bass

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

 

 

gratitude 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was Rumi who said “If you only say one prayer in a day, make it thank you.”  I  love this poem by Elaine Sutton:

After a sleepless night, worrying about the world

I stand in the whispering grass,
watching the mountains crouch
under their burden of sky.

The morning sun glides above the peaks
and the field is suddenly flooded
with turquoise light. A flock of red wings rise,

they turn together like a page of poetry.
I read between the lines
realize I am lonely, and afraid.

I worry about the wars, the weather,
the end of our beautiful, broken world.
I see the way we can harden our hearts

when fear is what moves us.
Now a marsh hawk cruises the yellow reeds, she dives swiftly
and some soft-furred creature’s life is over.

For each of us, hauling our basket of dreams,
it is only one breath, one breath,
that divides this world, and the next.

What is there to do then but give thanks,
Offer praise and gratitude for the sweetness we’re allotted,
Fling open our burning hearts, and help each other.

 

pelvic bowl 3

Prescription for the Disillusioned

Come new to this day.

Remove the rigid overcoat of experience,

the notion of knowing,

the beliefs that cloud your vision.

Leave behind the stories of your life.

Spit out the sour taste of unmet expectation.

Let the stale scent of what-ifs waft back into the swamp

of your useless fears.

Arrive curious, without the armor of certainty,

the plans and planned results of the life you’ve imagined.

Live the life that chooses you,

new every breath, every blink of your astonished eyes.

– Rebecca del Rio

wings

Halleluiah

Everyone should be born into this world happy

and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!

 

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important
is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.

 

Halleluiah, I’m sixty now, and even a little more,
and some days I feel I have wings.

 

~ Mary Oliver ~

 

 

 

forest

~ Clearing ~

Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose.

Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life

and wait there patiently,

until the song that is your life

falls into your own cupped hands

and you recognize and greet it.

Only then will you know how to give yourself

to this world

so worthy of rescue.

Martha Postlewaite

_________________________________________

prayer hnds

Prayer

May I never not be frisky,

May I never not be risqué.

May my ashes, when you have them, friend,

and give them to the ocean,

leap in the froth of the waves,

still loving movement,

still ready, beyond all else,

to dance for the world.

~ Mary Oliver ~

___________________________________________

wave

Trough

There is a trough in waves,

A low spot

Where horizon disappears

And only sky

And water

Are our company.

 

And there we lose our way

Unless

We rest, knowing the wave will bring us

To its crest again.

 

There we may drown

If we let fear

Hold us within its grip and shake us

Side to side,

And leave us flailing, torn, disoriented.

 

But if we rest there

In the trough,

Are silent,

Being with

The low part of the wave,

Keeping

Our energy and

Noticing the shape of things,

The flow,

Then time alone

Will bring us to another

Place

Where we can see

Horizon, see the land again,

Regain our sense

Of where

We are,

And where we need to swim.

~ Judy Brown ~

cattails

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees

are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,

whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver

 

turtle

On the Ridge 

We can grow by simply listening,
the way the tree on
that ridge listens its branches
to the sky, the way blood
listens its flow to the site
of a wound, the way you
listen like a basin when
my head so full of grief
can’t look you in the eye.
We can listen our way out
of anger, if we let the heart
soften the wolf we keep inside.
We can last by listening
deeply, the way roots reach for
the next inch of earth, the way
an old turtle listens all he hears
into the pattern of his shell.

Mark Nepo

_______________________________________________________

black dance

I love the dark hours of my being.

My mind deepens into them.

There I can find, as in old letters,

the days of my life, already lived,

and held like a legend, and understood.

 

Then the knowing comes: I can open

to another life that’s wide and timeless.

 

So I am sometimes like a tree

rustling over a gravesite

and making real the dream

of the one its living roots

embrace:

 

a dream once lost

among sorrows and songs.

~ Ranier Maria Rilke ~

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

FullSizeRender

I’m releasing:

my body as indispensable

the limits of my heart’s capacity

the notion I’m losing my mind

 

attachment to a guaranteed next breath

my ancestor’s fear and shame

the pull to distraction

 

belief my body cannot heal

my beloved from the need to change

my judgments about 1,000 things

 

the seduction of isolation

life in the fast lane

the jaws of perfection

 

the earth from fixing this mess

my children to live as they will

my need to know

 

bella 10-28-15

 

spark9

To be alive: not just the carcass

But the spark.

That’s crudely put, but …

If we’re not supposed to dance,

Why all this music?

~ Gregory Orr ~

 

rooted tree

 A Necessary Autumn

…I have one small drop

of knowing in my soul. Let it dissolve in your ocean.
There are so many threats to it.

Inside each of us, there’s continual autumn. Our leaves
fall and are blown out

over the water. A raven sits in the blackened limbs and talks
about what’s gone. Then

your generosity returns: spring, moisture, intelligence, the
scent of hyacinth and rose

and cypress…

There’s a necessary dying, and then Jesus is breathing again.
Very little grows on jagged

rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up
where you are. You’ve been

stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.

Rumi

fear0

~~The Thing About Fear~~

We try to avoid it, distracting ourselves,
even put others in the way. Because it
makes what is necessary seem monumental.
It makes what is needed seem uncrossable.
Yet when we stumble over the line, or are
loved over the line, or, in our exhaustion,
fall beyond our pain, what we feared
was a fall to our death turns out
to have been the next step.

~Mark Nepo~

 

Quan Yin6f

Forget about enlightenment.

Sit down and listen to the wind singing in your veins.

Feel the love, the longing,

and the fear in your bones.

Open your heart to who you are, right now.

Not who you’d like to be,

but the being right here before you,

inside you, around you.

All of you is holy.

You’re already more than whatever you can know.

Breathe out, look in, let go.

John Welwood

plane58

Memorial Day

Grandpa was conscripted by the czar,

marched to the battle beat before

desperately herding his fledglings

to the dream shore of America.

 

My father was a bombardier

loyally perched in the womb of a P-38

gunning the faceless to kingdom come,

burning visions haunt his bedroom still.

 

Me? I sat silent in slick university halls,

paraded in hope-filled San Francisco streets

outraged at senseless carnage déjà vu,

my high school heart-throb stolen.

 

Now Memorial Day transpires once more

and I remember the sacrifice of youth and

the ancient lineage of wounded fathers passing

this mortal legacy through time immemorial.

 

In a world where drones fly and grandmothers cry

where collateral damage parades as logic

and home security trumps daily sanity,

we pray for peace, instead of fighting for it.

bella May 26, 2013

 

earth day

All My Body Calls

All my body calls
for something in this sleeping
earth
we call the spirit.

But how
from lifted arms
where stars run through fingers
and the night is like sand
do I breathe a fragrance of its wisdom
do I call its name
or listen to the drops
that trickle down to earth
and hear
life being given
not only through the moving hands of the forest
but through the hand that reaches in
the dark unmoving regions of the chest
and uncovers slowly
the enormous
indistinct
shape of the ocean.

~ David Whyte ~

 

little church80

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth’s own clumsily striving
(finding

Post Your Thoughts