Image Credit Wade Brizius
I come as a lover of poetry. To me, to many, poetry is the language of the soul. I/we utilize the poems of many different , hearts, for it takes a village to raise a child, a village to speak what needs to be spoken, a village to change the course of the river. So, I/we pull from many poets, to include one’s own poetry. The poem(s) we choose resonate in some way with each person. The poetry may offer prayer or invitation, allurement or trembling, praise or lament, grief or profound hope. Poetry is a portal into the heart and the soul. It is a way, in these challenging times, that can cut through the confusion of our differences and bring us together at the ground of the heart. Poetry is a way of praying. It is a way of joining, a way of communion. It is a way of speaking of what is impossible to put into words. It is a way of cracking open doors, a way of building bridges, a way of inspiring, of calling, of begging, of awakening, of singing. Poetry allows an intimacy which we might not share otherwise. So, may we come here…together… in prayer and song …for ourselves, for our earth, and for all …all our relations.
“Poetry is our first language. Literally. All over the world, mothers croon to their babies in rhythm and rhyme. Perhaps this is because the womb itself is a poetic place. Your ear is against the iambic meter of your mother’s heartbeat. You are steeping in sounds that have been changed by their passage through the amniotic fluid into a kind of whalesong…
I started reciting poems. Those words gave me a way to express my most vulnerable feelings where my own capacity for such intimacy was missing or forgotten. As I gave voice to the poems, layers of self-protection dissolved and my interior life poured out. Not only through the words, but also the silences between them. Not only through the poem, but also through the resonance of my now liberated voice.”
Kim Rosen- Blog post
Sometimes You Hear a Voice
Sometimes you hear a voice through the door
calling you, as fish out of water
hear the waves, or a hunting falcon
hears the drum’s Come back. Come back.
This turning toward what you deeply love
saves you. Read the book of your life,
which has been given you.
A voice comes to your soul saying,
Lift your foot. Cross over.
Move into emptiness
of question and answer and question.
It is time for all the heroes to go home
if they have any, time for all us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things we live by.
Far to the north, or indeed in any direction,
strange mountains and creatures have always lurked:
elves, goblins, trolls and spiders – we
encounter them in dread and wonder,
But once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold,
found some limit beyond the waterfall,
a season changes and we come back, changed
but safe, quiet, grateful.
Suppose an insane wind holds all the hills
while strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, sturdy for common things.
One day it’s the clouds,
one day the mountains.
One day the latest bloom
of roses – the pure monochromes,
the dazzling hybrids – inspiration
for the cathedral’s round windows.
Every now and then
there’s the splendor
of thought: the singular
idea and its brilliant retinue –
words, cadence, point of view,
little gold arrows flitting
between the lines.
And too the splendor
of no thought at all:
hands lying calmly
in the lap, or swinging
a six iron with effortless
More often than not
splendor is the star we orbit
without a second thought,
especially as it arrives
One day it’s the blue glassy bay,
one day the night
and its array of jewels,
visible and invisible.
Sometimes it’s the warm clarity
of a face that finds your face
and doesn’t turn away.
Sometimes a kindness, unexpected,
that will radiate farther
than you might imagine.
One day it’s the entire day
itself, each hour foregoing
its number and name,
its cumbersome clothes, a day
that says come as you are,
large enough for fear and doubt,
with room to spare: the most secret
wish, the deepest, the darkest,
turned inside out.
What Kind of Times Are These
There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.
I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.
I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.
And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.
A Ritual to Read to Each Other
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
Prescription For The Disillusioned
Come new to this
day. Remove the rigid
overcoat of experience,
the notion of knowing,
the beliefs that cloud
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
When I Am Among the Trees
When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself, in which I have goodness,and discernment,
and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, “and you too have come into the world
to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”
The universe does not
revolve around you.
The stars and planets spinning
through the ballroom of space
dance with one another
quite outside of your small life.
You cannot hold gravity
or seasons; even air and water
inevitably evade your grasp.
Why not, then, let go?
You could move through time
like a shark through water,
neither restless or ceasing,
absorbed in and absorbing
the native element.
Why pretend you can do otherwise?
The world comes in at every pore,
mixes in your blood before
breath releases you into
the world again. Did you think
the fragile boundary of your skin
could build a wall?
Listen. Every molecule is humming
its particular pitch.
Of course you are a symphony.
Whose tune do you think
the planets are singing
as they dance?