The Moth Emerges

Moth Begins to Emerge, by Beth WK and AI

It’s been a difficult two weeks. I’m still finding words as I prepare to walk through this next bit, but at least there’s a way forward now, after a couple weeks stuck in a strange limbo. I’ve walked through (am walking through) a couple significant losses: a malicious cyber stalking attack, the very sudden death of a dear friend, and now moving on from my job.

But in the middle of the ugliness and sorrow, there’s been such an ocean of love, of Love, to rest in. The support and kind words from people in all the merging circles of my life have been humbling and encouraging, in the deepest sense of the word.

Couer: French for heart. So courage is to be heart-filled, and to encourage is to offer someone courage, to fill someone’s heart.

So. I think this moth is emerging, ever so slowly, from her cocoon. That goo stage was excruciating, and the emergence has its own angst and drama, but–to be a little cliche–Love wins. I still have to sort through vast rooms of sorrow and rage and anxiety, but Love is a strong presence in the process.

So much love has come my way in the past two weeks, and I want to allow it to flow in and through me, and outward. The tower of my ego has taken a significant hit, but so many of the people I love (and even people I don’t know!) have Seen me and told me who I am, that I think I emerge with a greater sense of purpose and belonging, and a determination to answer every question with love. (That doesn’t mean I won’t be raging and weeping and angsting my way through this–love has room for all of that.)

Remind the young people in your lives that their voices matter, even when it feels like they aren’t being heard. Their voices make a difference in ways that they themselves might not see and know at the time. The world is a safer place with this crowd of youngfolk moving in.

Because of the cyber stalking, I have made it a little more complicated to comment here, for now. At the beginning of this mess, someone was leaving spiteful comments on my recent posts here. You can still comment, but you may need to have some kind of password. Sometime in the future, when I feel safe again, I’ll open up the comments more freely.

Because of my recent silence on social media, I stopped posting poems for every day in April. I won’t fill the blog with all of those. I’ll start from here and move forward. Here is the link to my slideshow, if you want to read them all. For today, this is the three-part poem I wrote on the morning when I began to see the extent of the ugliness that was being dropped on my doorstep. It’s in the mondo form, a form that my students really love. Haiku-style stanzas, the first a question, and the second an answer. Zen-like.

Holding Center

1.

How to hold center
when the savage wind pummels
at your sacred, inner truth?

Be love, that is all.
Be love, and love, and more love.
For love will be your anchor.

2.

When angry voices
try to silence and demean,
shall we go out with raised fists?

To what end do you
attack when you are attacked?
Be a stone Love breathes into.

3. 

Where do you go to
find the Holy One when hate
destroys all that’s in its path?

Listen, always, for the
whisper of Love in all things
for She will never fail you.


Gratitude List:
1. The mycelial network of loving circles of community that has held me during my trial by fire.
2. Feeling the feelings, even when they’re awkward and gooey. That’s part of what I think I’m here to do, to learn how to feel and integrate and transform feelings, no matter how raw and ugly they are. So, not grateful for all the feelings, exactly, but for the learning and the growth.
3. Young people. Their fire, their love, their sense of fun.
4. Dreaming of what might be
5. Maybe this is sort of a repeat of the first point: Being Seen and Named.
May we walk justly, in mercy, and humbly.


Earth Day Words:
“The world is, in truth, a holy place.” —Teilhard de Chardin


“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” —Henry David Thoreau


“You are your own cartographer now.” —Ralph Blum


“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke


“Every creature is a word of God.” ―Meister Eckhart


“The forest for me is a temple, a cathedral of tree canopies and dancing light.” ―Dr. Jane Goodall


“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” ―The Onceler (Dr. Seuss)


“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” ―Rachel Carson


William Stafford: “I place my feet with care in such a world.”


“A society is defined not only by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.” ―John Sawhill


Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ―Rachel Carson


“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.” ―Rachel Carson


“Few words are so revealing of Western sexual prejudice as the word Goddess, in contrast to the word God. Modern connotations differ vastly from those of the ancients, to whom the Goddess was a full-fledged cosmic parent figure who created the universe and its laws, ruler of Nature, Fate, Time, Eternity, Truth, Wisdom, Justice, Love, Birth, Death, Etc.” ―Barbara G. Walker


“Our vitality is inextricably bound up with creativity. Like a tree whose expression is fruit, giving our gifts is what keeps life pushing through our veins. It’s what keeps us feeling alive. As anyone who has strayed too far from their creativity knows, without it every corner of one’s life can fall prey to a terrible greying spread. As Kahlil Gibran writes about trees in an orchard, “They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.” —by Toko-pa Turner

Weathering

Some days feel like the lightning rods of days. Today has been one of those. People attacking people and institutions I love. Attacking me. People working together to answer with love, to hold out our arms, to support each other. Good, hard work–Good Good Work. It’s wearying. And still, there’s the daily and the mundane work to get done in the midst of this other.

I am glad I’ve chosen the path of poetry this month to get me back to the inner work of writing and get me out of my own head.

I don’t know how to withstand the onslaught of the culture wars, especially when they begin so directly to affect me and those I love. Offer love. Offer a hand. Offer a word of wisdom or care. Hold steady. Be the conduit for the Holy One.

My own path, while embracing a wide and universal understanding of the spiritual, is grounded in the Anabaptist Christian tradition. I don’t think I have ever asked myself so frequently, “What would Jesus do?” as I have in the past week, the past months. Is this the moment to turn over tables? Is this the moment to offer stories? Is this the moment to bear witness silently? Is this the moment to ignore the ones who rage and spit, and simply do the Work I am called to do?

Today’s poem form is the mondo. I used this form to try to express some of this inner processing:

Gratitude List:
1. Friends who walk with each other and share the burden.
2. So many kinds of daffodils! (Read that Wordsworth poem over and over and over).
3. Finding center. Holding center.
4. The open-armed ones who welcome all to the table.
5. Writing again. This fog that has held me in the past six months lifts faster as I find my way back to words.
May we walk Justly, in Mercy, and Humbly–in Beauty!


“We write to taste life twice.” —Anais Nin


“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” —Maya Angelou


“If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.” —Thich Nhat Hanh


“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.


“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.” —Wangari Maathai

Some See One Moon

Today’s poetic task is an anagrammatic poem. What fun! What fun! The power of limits indeed. This forced my brain in a tangle which all my intellectualizing could not save me from, and I had to swim through the wordplay.

Gratitude List:
1. Found that light at the end of the tunnel. Whew!
2. The dawn chorus
3. Leafing greenly spirits of trees
4. Companionable silences
5. Mondos–a collaborative poetic form that my Creative Writers were working on today. Such a lovely form.
May we walk in Beauty!


“I must have flowers, always and always.” —Claude Monet


“Nobody’s on the road
Nobody’s on the beach
There’s something in the air
The summer’s out of reach…” —Don Henley


‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.” —Roger Ebert


In a mist of light
falling with the rain
I walk this ground
of which dead men
and women I have loved
are part, as they
are part of me. In earth,
in blood, in mind,
the dead and living
into each other pass,
as the living pass
in and out of loves
as stepping to a song.
The way I go is
marriage to this place,
grace beyond chance,
love’s braided dance
covering the world.
—Wendell Berry
(The Wheel)


”You have to begin to tell the story of your life as you now want it to be, and discontinue the tales of how it has been or of how it is.” —Esther Hicks

NPM Day Seven: Mondo

Poetry Prompt for Day Seven of National Poetry Month

Grab a friend and make a Mondo. According to Robert Lee Brewer of Poetry Digest, a mondo is a
question and answer poem. Write a question (can be three lines of 5-7-7 syllables, but doesn’t have to
be). Your friend writes the answer.

My students and I have decided that there’s a certain cosmic significance to a random answer,
written without reading the question. Sometimes it’s hilariously disconnected, but occasionally a
sweet synchronicity occurs and a random answer actually applies to the question.

Here. I’ll start with the question. Feel free to respond with an answer, and then poem a question
of your own:

How do you see me,
when I hide myself behind
this shadowy mask?


Gratitude List:
1. Resolutions
2. Revolutions
3. Revelations
4. Resolutions
5. New Beginnings

May we walk in Beauty!


“Dear friends, look at the real heroes who come to light in these days: they are not famous, rich and successful people; rather, they are those who are giving themselves in order to serve others.” —Pope Francis


“Remember, the ugly, old woman/witch
is the invention of dominant cultures.
The beauty of crones is legendary:
old women are satined-skinned,
softly wrinkled, silver-haired, and awe-inspiring
in their truth and dignity.” —Susun Weed


“God invites everyone to the House of Peace.” —The Holy Quran


“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” —George Orwell


“What a pity that so hard on the heels of Christ came the Christians.”
—Annie Dillard


“The arc of history is long, and what we’re here to do is make a mark. . . . You do the work because you’re slowly moving the needle. There are times in history when we feel like we’re going backward, but that’s part of the growth.” —Barack Obama


“Each moment from all sides rushes to us the call to love.” —Rumi


“You are a co-creator of love in this world.” —Richard Rohr


“Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson


“When we let ourselves respond to poetry, to music, to pictures, we are clearing out a space where new stories can root; in effect we are clearing a space for new stories about ourselves.”
—Jeanette Winterson


“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.” —Eden Ahbez


“Dear friends, look at the real heroes who come to light in these days: they are not famous, rich and successful people; rather, they are those who are giving themselves in order to serve others.” —Pope Francis


“Remember, the ugly, old woman/witch
is the invention of dominant cultures.
The beauty of crones is legendary:
old women are satined-skinned,
softly wrinkled, silver-haired, and awe-inspiring
in their truth and dignity.” —Susun Weed


“God invites everyone to the House of Peace.” —The Holy Quran


“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” —George Orwell


“What a pity that so hard on the heels of Christ came the Christians.”
—Annie Dillard


“The arc of history is long, and what we’re here to do is make a mark. . . . You do the work because you’re slowly moving the needle. There are times in history when we feel like we’re going backward, but that’s part of the growth.” —Barack Obama


“Each moment from all sides rushes to us the call to love.” —Rumi


“You are a co-creator of love in this world.” —Richard Rohr


“Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson


“When we let ourselves respond to poetry, to music, to pictures, we are clearing out a space where new stories can root; in effect we are clearing a space for new stories about ourselves.”
—Jeanette Winterson


“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.” —Eden Ahbez