Gratitude of Resistance Twenty-Three: Poetry. November always feels a little frantic because I add writing a poem a day to my schedule. I have been doing this for so many years that by now, I would feel lost and bereft if I didn’t do this. It’s part of what holds me to my true purpose. I love teaching, and I feel like I belong in this job with these students and these colleagues at this time in my life. But I have chosen Poet as my identity, and whether or not my poetry ever makes an impression in the world, I would no longer be able to do my other work without it. November and April and summer always bring me back to poetic center.
This is known as the Ljubljana dragon. One legend says it was killed by Jason and Medea, while they were still on friendly terms. Other legends say it was the ancient Slavic god Veles.
I don’t intend this as a poem. My thoughts tonight are fragmented as I consider the shifts that are occurring in the world in the next twenty-four hours.
Tonight I need a dragon.
I need a fuzzy pink hat with cat ears.
I need a photo of Michelle Obama saying, “. . .we go high.”
I need a soulful labyrinth.
I need to hold selenite and labradorite in my palms.
Tonight I need to pray and breathe and center.
I need a friendly ghost to tap me on the shoulder and wink.
I need a warm cat on my lap, purring.
I need a cup of tea with milk and honey.
I need a wild wind to blow.
I need a spot beside the heating vent.
Let’s keep reaching out, holding onto love, holding on to what is right and good and full of beauty. May we remain grounded in our desire to protect and heal that which we love. May we keep wide awake and aware, bearing witness, staying vigilant and conscious, grounded in our centers, offering our strength and power to those who need it. May justice roll down like waters.
I know of some people who are choosing to walk labyrinths tomorrow morning. I will be dancing through labyrinths of language in my classroom. During our chapel tomorrow morning, we will be celebrating the life and words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Gratitude List: 1. The way breath and heartbeat simply happen.
2. The way breath births language.
3. The way language gives shape to meaning.
4. The way language carries the rhythm of heartbeat and breath.
There once was a grumpy young shellfish
who sold fish in a market–so selfish
was he, losing money,
which was really quite funny,
for a selfish old shellfish can’t sell fish.
Gratitude List: 1. Colors. The colors of sunset, of sunrise, of the blue on a chilly autumn day.
2. Listening to Harry Potter with the boys
3. An after-school nap
4. Finding center. The way people keep me from flying off, floating away, losing my center.
5. Snuggly kids in winter pajamas
(As is the way with internet searches, I found this beautiful piece of artwork with no reference to the artist. If you know, please send me the information.)
Now is the time
to send down the roots,
fine little hairs feeling their way
spiraling into the moist darkness,
between clods and stones,
around the bones
of those who came before,
through the streams that run
deep beneath the surface.
Now is the time
to feed and nurture
all that lives beneath the surface,
all that searches for depth,
all that gathers strength
from the comforting darkness of earth.
Now is the time to bless
the part of the plant that seeks shadow,
that grows inward,
faithfully finding its way
by blind instinct
toward the center.
Gratitude List: 1. Tea with Marie and Benn, conversing and exploring puzzles with the beloved community.
2. How a puzzle on the table creates a perfect setting for making a new friend. It fills up the awkward silences, gives you a shared task, and is itself an image of untangling and ordering creating a new thing.
4. Still a few more days of Christmas Break. I feel myself opening, loosening, drawing toward my center.
5. Richard Rohrer. Moving on from Cynthia Bourgeault’s deepening words of Advent, I have begun to work more intentionally with his daily words. Today:
God’s life is living itself in me. I am aware of life living itself in me.
God’s love is living itself in me. I am aware of love living itself in me.
May Love live us.
1. Mom’s cottage pudding with the last of last year’s frozen strawberries. How did they last all year without being devoured? Time to finish them up. Jon brought the first of this year’s berries down the hill for us last night.
2. Speaking of Jon, he brought me a lettuce yesterday. A beautiful, ruffly lettuce, which he put into a green mug like a bouquet and set on the table. The dining room and kitchen smelled gently of lettuce for the evening–cool, spring green.
3. You know that feeling when you’re talking to someone and they reflect back to you something you’ve said, and you know with a flash of delight that here is someone who “gets” you? That. My cousin Karen provided that for me yesterday, and it filled me. Sometimes when you meet someone out of the blue on the path, you get sweet little friendly chatter, and that is good, but this conversation left me with words and ideas to play with, to integrate, to ponder, and a comforting sense of being known.
4. It’s hard to live out of my deepest center sometimes. But I am grateful for that to strive for, to keep moving inward. But knowing how that inward journey is a journey outward as well. I don’t know if that quite makes sense when it finds its way into words, but I am grateful for it.
5. Somehow, when I see you striving for wholeness, it makes me more whole. That mystery. I am grateful for that.