The Life and Loves of Stones

I
Do not
Want to step so quickly
Over a beautiful line on God’s palm
As I move through the earth’s
Marketplace
Today.

I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
My Beloved.

Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder
And kindness.

I do not
Want to step so quickly
Over this sacred place on God’s body
That is right beneath your
Own foot

As I 
Dance with
Precious life
Today.

~ Hafiz ~

(The Gift – versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

The Soul’s Song

 

This is what you should do:
Love the earth and sun and animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people…
reexamine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
dismiss what insults your very soul,
and your flesh shall become a great poem.

~ Walt Whitman ~

 

(Excert from Preface to 1855 edition, Leaves of Grass)

 

Woody Wonders

I was reading an article today about the way in which woodland, sadly, is being cut back in the UK. It reminded me of when I was young and staying with my grandparents at Blackheath, London. They lived down an isolated lane which lead, for me, to MagicLand. As a kid I loved nature (still do!) and almost the first thing I’d, when I’d arrived at my grandparents’ home, was to greet them then run out into the land of the trees beyond the confines of daily life.

My grandparents had a largish back yard (well, big for London), and when you walked out of the gate at the end of the garden, you entered what was for me a land of magic, peace and quiet. There was no sound of traffic, just the wood pigeons cooing, only fields ahead of me and, further down the wild area, a wood that was absolutely beautiful. It wasn’t big but it held trees, bushes, flowers (it was a carpet of blue when the bluebells were in season), and lots of secret places to explore. I could feel the nature spirits around me, offering loving support and support for my retreat from the world I found very difficult as a child.

I know that woodland and fields no longer exist as they’ve been sold for housing and other developments. But memories of my magical times in that small wood remind me of the power of trees, their strength, their hidden communications, their roots feeding deep into the earth beneath.

I would wish that other children – and adults- could experience the power of being in nature – it’s soothing, it’s healing and it connects us with All That Is resonating between all life on Planet Earth and throughout the Galaxy.

Lost
 
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
 
~ David Wagoner ~

(Riverbed)

 

Still I Rise/Nevertheless She Persisted

This is a tribute to the 98% of black women who voted for Doug Jones in the Alabama election and helped contribute to the defeat of Roy Moore.

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 19282014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

For the Unknown Self

So much of what delights and troubles you
Happens on a surface
You take for ground.
Your mind thinks your life alone,
Your eyes consider air your nearest neighbor,
Yet it seems that a little below your heart
There houses in you an unknown self
Who prefers the patterns of the dark
And is not persuaded by the eye’s affection
Or caught by the flash of thought.

It is a self that enjoys contemplative patience
With all your unfolding expression,
Is never drawn to break into light
Though you entangle yourself in unworthiness
And misjudge what you do and who you are.

It presides within like an evening freedom
That will often see you enchanted by twilight
Without ever recognizing the falling night,
It resembles the under-earth of your visible life:
All you do and say and think is fostered
Deep in its opaque and prevenient clay.

It dwells in a strange, yet rhythmic ease
That is not ruffled by disappointment;
It presides in a deeper current of time
Free from the force of cause and sequence
That otherwise shapes your life.

Were it to break forth into day,
Its dark light might quench your mind,
For it knows how your primeval heart
Sisters every cell of your life
To all your known mind would avoid,

Thus it knows to dwell in you gently,
Offering you only discrete glimpses
Of how you construct your life.

At times, it will lead you strangely,
Magnetized by some resonance
That ambushes your vigilance.

It works most resolutely at night
As the poet who draws your dreams,
Creating for you many secret doors,
Decorated with pictures of your hunger;

It has the dignity of the angelic
That knows you to your roots,
Always awaiting your deeper befriending
To take you beyond the threshold of want,
Where all your diverse strainings
Can come to wholesome ease.

~ John O’Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)

A Blessing for Equilibrium

A Blessing for Equilibrium

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the music of laughter break through your soul.

As the wind wants to make everything dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the freedom of the monastery bell,
May clarity of mind make your eyes smile.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May a sense of irony give you perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May fear or worry never put you in chains.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the distance the laughter of God.

~ John O’Donohue ~

(Benedictus – A Book of Blessings)