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Poems I Love

Prayer for the Great Turning

Frequently Used in Workshops
May the turning of the Earth save us.

May the turning of the seasons & the turning of the leaves save us.
May we be saved by the worms, the beetles & the microbes turning the soil.
May we be saved by the turning of vegetation into compost
& the turning of compost into rich soil.
May the turning of seeds into plants & the turning of flowers
into fruits save us.
May the grasses & weeds, the vines & mosses all conspire to save us.
May we be saved by the turning of sprouts into saplings, of saplings into trees,
& the trees into forests.
May the scurrying, foraging, pouncing & lumbering of the animals save us.

May the breath of heaven in the breezes & the stormy winds save us.
May the dance of the butterflies, & the musical flight & return
of the birds save us.
May we be saved by vapors turning into clouds & by the turning of
the ever-changing clouds into rain.
May the waters flowing from springs into the lakes save us.
May the streams flowing into rivers, the rivers into seas,
& the great heaving of the oceans save us.
May we be saved by the patient turning of the rocks, the hills,
the mountains, & the volcanoes.
May the metabolism of the climates of the Earth save us.
May the turnings of all Beings great & small move us to find wisdom in our own turnings.

May we be saved by our waking & sleeping, by the rhythms of our blood
& our appetites, by the cycles of birthing & nurturing, injury & healing,
mating & nesting, loss & discovery, joy & mourning.
May we find in time the grace to turn to one another, & may this turning
also become our salvation.
May we learn to benefit the life of Earth with peace, humble in our needs,
& generous in our giving.
May we learn to celebrate the abundance of life with gratitude, & to embrace
the Earth with our bodies in return.

-- Joanne Sunshower

 

THE GREAT TURNING

Frequently Used in Workshops
You've asked me to tell you of the Great Turning

Of how we saved the world from disaster.
The answer is both simple and complex.
We turned.

For hundreds of years we had turned away as life on earth grew more precarious
We turned away from the homeless men on the streets, the stench from the river,
The children orphaned in Iraq, the mothers dying of AIDS in Africa

We turned away because that was what we had been taught.
To turn away, from our pain, from the hurt in another's eyes,
From the drunken father, from the friend betrayed.

Always we were told, in actions louder than words, to turn away, turn away.
And so we became a lonely people caught up in a world
Moving too quickly, too mindlessly toward its own demise.

Until it seemed as if there was no safe space to turn.
No place, inside or out, that did not remind us of fear or terror, despair and loss, anger and grief.

Yet, on one of those days, someone did turn.

Read more...

 

A Thousand Years of Healing

Frequently Used in Workshops
From whence my hope, I cannot say,
except it grows in the cells of my skin,
in my envelope of mysteries it hums.
In this sheath so akin to the surface of the earth
it whispers. Beneath
the wail and dissonance in the world,
hope’s song grows. Until I know
that with this turning
we put a broken age to rest.
We who are alive at such a cusp
now usher in
one thousand years of healing!

Winged ones and four-leggeds,
grasses and mountains and each tree,
all the swimming creatures,
even we, wary two-leggeds
hum, and call, and create
the Changing Song. We remake
all our relations. We convert
our minds to the earth. In this turning time
we finally learn to chime and blend,
attune our voices; sing the vision
of the Great Magic we move within.
We begin
the new habit, getting up glad
for a thousand years of healing.

© - Susa Silvermarie

 

Questo muro

Frequently Used in Workshops
Quando mi vide star pur fermo e duro turbato un poco disse: "Or vedi figlio: tra Beatrice e te e questo muro."

- Dante, Purgatorio XXVII

You will come at a turning of the trail
to a wall of flame

After the hard climb & the exhausted dreaming

you will come to a place where he
with whom you have walked this far
will stop, will stand

beside you on the treacherous steep path
& stare as you shiver at the moving wall, the flame

that blocks your vision of what
comes after. And that one
who you thought would accompany you always,

who held your face
tenderly a little while in his hands---
who pressed the palms of his hands into drenched grass
& washed from your cheeks the soot, the tear-tracks---

he is telling you now
that all that stands between you
& everything you have known since the beginning

is this: this wall. Between yourself
& the beloved, between yourself & your joy,
the riverbank swaying with wildflowers, the shaft

of sunlight on the rock, the song.
Will you pass through it now, will you let it consume

whatever solidness this is
you call your life, & send
you out, a treamor of heat,

a radiance, a changed
flickering thing?

- Anita Barrows
 

Excerpts from Common Sense

Frequently Used in Workshops

We have been born
into a moment
of unprecedented danger and opportunity.

Our failure to act
is itself a choice.

There is nowhere to hide
from this awareness.

It is time.

Our purpose here
is to build a bridge.

The purpose of the bridge
is to span the distance
between our present situation
and our vision of a better world.

The beauty of a bridge is that,
once it is in place,
anyone can walk on it.

A few people can build a bridge
that can be walked on by many.

Read more...

 

Hokusai says

Frequently Used in Workshops

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.

Read more...

 

Full Moon Speaks: The Promise of Things Not Yet Born

Councils of All Beings
In a slow, steady rocking chair
a mother nurses her child.
I bathe her in my light.

I touch gently also
the cheek of the soldier who will never
be younger
than he is now
and
catch the tear
that waits
in the pause
of his shocked eye
but
does
not
fall.

Tonight I shine as full as I ever will.

Tomorrow the descent
toward darkness
will already have begun

So I will give what light is mine to give
now,
like mother’s milk
from full breasts.

I will take you in my arms
I will hold you in my lap
against my round belly
so full of the promise
of things not yet born
and things not yet dead.

We will cherish this moment before it is gone.

Tonight I will rock you in the cradle of
silver oceans
pulling on threads that stretch to their
waters
and to the secret seas of women.
You will see me in an old woman’s
long white hair
and the fine filaments
of the spider’s web
that mirrors the lines
on the Great Crone’s face

In my gentle fearless lapping
I will call you out from your hiding places
from the cramped quarters where
you blow on meager coals

I will bring you forth on
frostbitten hands and knees
you will gaze at each other in awe
my reflected light in your eyes,
and you will be transformed.

You will know this moment in all
its broken possibility
has been given to you in greatest trust
and is already passing from
your fingers
leaving the smell of saltwater
and the cry of seabirds
and the cloudy image
of what might have been

Therefore
look to me!
Look to my coming,
my waxing
and
waning.
Look upon my milky face
drink deeply my light that
comes and goes
and comes once more.

Take heart, fearful ones!
Be loved
my sweet,
scared children!

Do not fear your shining
nor its passing
but shine, shine into the dying of the light!
and then turn gently
into that good night!

The darkness will hold you --
it must --

just as the womb
holds our dearest dreams,
softly,
and with
most
tender
care.

- Rebekah Still
 

I take to myself

Frequently Used in Workshops

I take to myself
my broken self:
my guilt, my peace,
my folly and joy,
my sickness, my health;
in laughter and agony,
hating and loving,
my fear and my birthing--
and I am made whole.

I take to myself
you, my neighbor,
cupping your life
within my hands:
your broken self
pure gift to me;
not burden, gift,
as mine to you--
and I am made whole.

Read more...

 

from De Rerum Virtute

Frequently Used in Workshops

...I believe the first living cell had echoes of the future in it

The deep green forest and whale's track sea.
I believe this globed earth not all by chance and fortune
Brings forth her broods
But feels and chooses.
And the galaxy, the firewheel on which we are pinned
The whirlwind of stars in which our sun is one dust grain
One electron, this giant atom of the universe
Is not blind force
But fulfills its life, and intends its course.

And felt direction and the great animals

- Robinson Jeffers

 

A Warrior Has No Safety Net

Frequently Used in Workshops

I walk on the precarious edge
of the new and the old,
wanting to shed
the locks and lies of a mechanical world,
eager to dive into the smooth cool water of abundant life.

*********
I am young,
I am a woman,
I live in a land where I can choose.

There are disco lights
and magnetic forces
pulling me into The Tunnel--
The Tunnel where everyone goes.

Almost everyone.

Read more...

 

The Book of Endings

Frequently Used in Workshops
Some time while you read this page
or the next one, a species –
a species as vast as your life
and the lives of all your ancestors
chasing bison across Old Europe
or huddled around a fire – will disappear.
A species that has found its own
ways of eating, of moving, of hiding
from predators; a species
that meets itself and makes love
in the bark of a tree or on the leaves
of the canopy or in the humid dirt.

Read more...

 

We are in the rapids now

Frequently Used in Workshops
We are in the rapids now

and there is no choice but to go with the flow

a rite of passage out of the plague of numbness

where we cant avoid looking into the ugliness

and where we have no choice but to wake up to the beauty

Perhaps if I walk the earth softly enough

I can feel the roots move below my feet in a slow search for water

I can feel the earth turn

Read more...

 

Prayer for Entering the Book of Sorrow

Frequently Used in Workshops

…May great courage accompany those willing to cross the River of Sorrow
May all who read these words be freed from the bondage of fear and denial.
May our eyes remain open even in the face of tragedy.
May we not become disheartened.
May we find in the dissolution of our apathy and denial, the cup of the broken heart.
May we discover the gift of the fire burning is the inner chamber of our being-burning great and bright enough to transform any poison.
May we offer the power of our sorrow to the service of something greater than ourselves.
May our guilt not rise up to form yet another defensive wall.
May the suffering purify and not paralyze us.
May we endure; may sorrow bond us and not separate us.
May we realize the greatness of our sorrow and not run from its touch or
Its flame.

Read more...

 

Gorilla Speaks: Message to the Naked Ones

Councils of All Beings

I see you, naked Ones

out of my big, brown, sad eyes

I see you

with your spindly limbs,

lack of fur

clever fingers

thin necks

big heads

I see you and I am puzzled.

I am Mountain Gorilla
and I am on my way out.
Farewell naked Ones -
you may soon be the last primates left.
Grieve with me little Ones,
grieve with me and hope
that you can bear the pain of our loss
and the pain of your loneliness.
I am Mountain Gorilla, the gentle One
I do not kill, I do not destroy, I do not attack unprovoked.
Do not fasion me into the image of what you fear in yourselves.
I am no King Kong.
I am peaceful and patient, I forage and chew leaves.
I live in family and close to the earth.
All I need for survival is community and space.
And there doesn't seem to be enough space for you on this planet little Ones.
How can that be?
I see you, naked Ones, and I am puzzled.
I see your pain and your confusion and I wonder.
I wonder how you forgot

that the ground, the grass, the earth

longs for the touch of your naked feet,

how the rain loves to caress your skin,

how the wind enjoys playing with your hair.

I wonder when you forgot that we are siblings and that you are loved.

Yes - despite everything you are loved.

Wake up! Remember!

Remember that community is more important than things.
Remember that and you might yet survive.

I will not.

I am Mountain Gorilla.

Remember me well.

Let me go gracefully.

Farewell.

 

- Martin Dronsfield

 
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