Poetry began as an oral tradition.  May we return to our roots and the vibrations in our bones of words and sounds and vibrant images.  May we give voice to beauty, to sorrow and delight, and to the wisdom  and landscape of our hearts which the poets speak and point to.  May these recordings call forth, touch, and give language to what longs to be spoken and, somehow, speak the unsung songs of the Earth. 


What Rises in Our Bones

Today I am speaking the poem "Arabic" by Danusha Lameris.

In times like these, when the forces of division ride on the wind like the seeds of these winter grasses,  it seems important to return to places of common ground, places like our bones, like the way the earth feels on our soles, on our souls.  To say, from the memory of bones, that we, too, remember lemonade and an innocence in childhood, the kindness of someone. We, too, played games with our childhood friends and whispered secrets into the ears of a beloved fur.  And yes, we, too, feel the ache of “what did we know then of the endless trail of losses?”   [While we also acknowledge that the losses of war zones usually are a hundred or a thousand fold]. 

May we recognize that what we are led to believe of what divides us is, at the least, inaccurate, that there is a common ground that “is not quite gone, but lingers.  Not the language, but the bones…” and the heart, the thirst, the flesh, the touch of kindness, the way words vibrate beneath our breastbone, the fire of the sacred inside our bodies.

 May we linger long enough to let the edges soften enough, that we might welcome and honor the common ground in the bones of our human family.

 Music Credit for previous offering:  Peter Kater – CD: Migration.  Track: Becoming Human




Rising Together

Today I am speaking the poems: 

“Grief” by Lucille Clifton

“Sharing the Grief” by Corlene Van Sluizer

“This Little Orchid” by Elizabeth Carothers Herron    

“We Need Each Other Now” by Maya Spector                            

The waning moon was slow to bring light to the night last night while was my heart aching for light in this darkness.   There is a poem, Riddle, by Jericho Brown, that ends with the lines: “Wait. Wait. What are we? What? / What? What on Earth are we?”  Those lines wouldn’t leave me alone last night as I wept for all of us.  Yesterday I learned that at the United Nations, the U.S. blocked a move by the U.N. Security Council to open an investigation of Israeli forces killing 18 and wounding 1700 Palestinian protestors on Friday and on Saturday 49 more injured.  That added to the USA making a 12.5 billion dollar weapons deal with Saudi Arabia who is bombing Yemen, added to the USA withdrawing support from Syria, handing it over to its leader Assad and Russia, who are using chemical weapons and torture on their own people. Piling on top of that, the unbearable truth that the US government withdrew from the Paris agreement and is lowering emissions regulations, etc. Or, that same government is vying to put a woman with a warrant for war crimes in Germany as head of the CIA.  Then to shift our gaze to the care of our own homeland, to our own people, the social services, health care, our immigrants their children, assault weapons clung to…on and on and on the list.  “What on earth are we?”   Sometimes it is very hard to face what is, to “hold it next to your bones,” “to try to absorb what we are doing to each other.”  It is time like these when I am taken to my knees that I know so clearly, “We need each other now.”  That somehow we must share the grief of the world, the suffering, the despair, the lost-ness while we each remain rooted in our own gifts and wisdom.  Somehow we must join hearts and prayers and our creativity in invitation, in hopes of finding “a new configuration”, in hopes “something original will emerge, or something ancient”.   

 Music Credit for previous offering:  Peter Kater – CD: Compassion:  Track 1 


"Grief," "Sharing the Grief," "This Little Orchid," and "We Need Each Other Now"

by Lucille Clifton, Corlene Van Sluizer, Elizabeth Herron, Maya Spector as spoken by Molly Traffas


Rising Through Story

Today I am speaking the poem “The Givers” by Mark Nepo.

“My work is loving this world.”  (M. Oliver) 

“Love is never abstract. It does not adhere to the universe or the planet or the nation or the institution or the profession, but to the singular.” (W. Berry)

 Music Credit for previous offering:  Jami Seiber – CD: Timeless.  Track: Begin Again




Rising in the Night

Today I am speaking fragments of:

“Hieroglyphic Stairway” by Drew Dellinger;

“On the Oregon Coast (for Wm Stafford)” by Robert Bly;

And the full poems of:

“Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye;

“Cain and Abel” by Mark Nepo.

I woke last night, about 3 AM, with Drew Dellinger’s poem running around my heart and fragments of poems, like tributaries, spilling into that river of restlessness.  A line from Joanna Macy’s poem, Prayer to Future Beings, “Stir us awake” stirring me out sleep, while visions of a young female high school student stirring us all with her shattered heart’s passion and with her courage and clarity of speech.  Poem fragments carrying me into the angst, into the question that haunts so many of us… what should I do?  What am I asked here, now?  The answers, it seems, are as varied as we.  What is it we love to do? How is it we hold what we are given in this life?

 I am hesitant to speak only pieces of two of these poems, afraid that I am not honoring the integrity of each.  Yet, ‘stir us awake’ has stirred me. I rise, here, shaken from sleep, with crumbs given me to share.  I will ‘go with that’.

 May we remember that how we hold the berry, receive what we are given, even if in our weakest state, makes all the difference.

 Music Credit for previous offering:  Peter Kater – CD: Migration.  Track: Becoming Human



"Hieroglyphic Stairway," "On the Oregon Coast," "Kindness," and "Cain and Abel"

by Dellinger, Bly, Nye, and Nepo by Molly Traffas