Handing the Gift


Today’s prompt is to write a love/anti-love poem. I ended the day today sort of exhausted, partly because of the incredible resistance I am getting from some students in my Creative Writing class.

I see it in your eyes when you ask the question
(the loathing, the defiant refusal to accept)
“Why do we have to study poetry?”
And in this moment I do not know how,
after all these years of this work,
to hand you this gift
that I love so deeply,
which you so staunchly refuse.

It’s about your own power,
I want to tell you,
about your power to say
exactly what you want to say,
to take that roiling mass of uncertainty
that slides out from behind the tough mask
you put on for me,
to take all that and give it words,
to sort it, to speak your truth,
to know the beauty and the strength
of your own words, to find your way
into yourself.

Now. Close your eyes and open your hands.


Gratitude List:
1. My contemplative friend Handsome Joe, how he cocks his beak to look at me as I pass. Paddling in his pool in the creek, or strolling through the green grasses of his estate.
2. The red sprouts of peonies lifting their heads by the shop.
3. The first fern fiddleheads unfurling.
4. They say that every cloud has a silver lining, but it’s their azure and indigo underbellies that capture me.
5. The challenges and delights of belonging to a community.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Contemplative and the Activist

Kloster Disibodenberg
Kloster Disibodenberg

Two streams have been nudging me in different directions lately.

On one hand, I have been working through the Desert Wisdom Advent series from Spirituality and Practice.  While it can be frustrating to try to dig further into a contemplative life during the hustle and bustle of the daily, I believe that it is possible, and this is helping me to find my spaces.  I am trying to maintain that interior castle (was it Teresa of Avila who called it that?), the place of calm and contemplation that keeps me from getting whirled away by the whirlwind of the moment.

The other stream is the rising despair that I am feeling about the lack of will we seem to have in the United States to do anything about our mass murder problem.  We begin to look like people who live in a repressive political regime, unwilling and unable to make a change because the oppressor is too big for us to conquer.  But here it isn’t a government that is keeping us cowed and silent–it’s the NRA.  What keeps us from standing up and saying, “Enough already!”  The US has had more gun-related mass murders than there have been days in 2015.  I think we need an active anti-NRA revolution.

I glibly wrote something the other day about how the work of the contemplative needs to feed the work of the activist in order to keep the activist from despair, in order to keep the contemplative from irrelevance.  Perhaps that can be true.  Somehow I need to find the link.  Contemplation and calm are not the same thing as apathy and impotence.  Perhaps activism can be honed and sharpened by inner work.

Gratitude List:
1. New batch of fire cider on the way
2. Today’s brain is less foggy than yesterday’s
3. Thursday (it’s almost Friday)
4. Ginger
5. Rich colors for drab days

May we walk in Beauty!