What I Meant to Say

Today’s Prompt is to write a “What I Meant to Say” poem.

I said I was tired,
but what I meant to say was that I had intended to be bolder.
I said you were right,
but what I meant to say was that my own opinion counted, too.
I said it didn’t really matter,
but what I meant to say was that it was a matter of life and death.

I told you everything was fine,
but what I meant to say was that my soul had just caught fire.
I told you I could live with it,
but what I meant to say was that something in me was withering away.
I told you it could be fixed,
but what I meant to say was how furious I was that you broke it.

I said, “Excuse me,”
but what I meant to say was, “I need you to get out of my way.”
I said I was sorry,
but what I meant to say was, “That’s my business.”
I said, “Please,”
but what I meant to say was, “It’s my turn now.”


”When we see the Beloved in each person,
it’s like walking through a garden,
watching flowers bloom all around us.” ―Ram Dass
***
“The present moment is the intersection of eternity with time.” ―Beatrice Bruteau
***
“Only the present moment contains life.”
―Thích Nhất Hạnh
***
“It is the paradoxical nature of grief to lead us to love. There is a seed planted in loss, an evolution made in breaking, a genius found in separation that is rarely apparent in the heart of crisis. But often what looks like deviation is really proliferation, like satellite initiatives born from a group’s dissolution. Intimacy is forged in the hearts of those who know exclusion. To them is given the gift of tenderness which can mentor another through their own isolation.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa
***
“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder.”
―Ansel Adams
***
“You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap.” ―Fannie Lou Hamer
***
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns.” ―George Eliot
***
“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”
―Hermann Hesse, Demian
***
“I went inside my heart
to see how it was.
Something there makes me hear
the whole world weeping.”
― Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi
***
“Did you ever hear a tree pushing out of the ground or the snow falling? Great things happen in silence.” ―Mother Angelica
***
“Everything belongs, even the “bad” and dark parts of yourself. Nothing need be rejected or denied. No one need be hated. No one need be excommunicated, shunned, or eliminated. You don’t have time for that anymore. You’ve entered into the soul of the serene disciple where, because the Holy One has become one in you, you are able to see that oneness everywhere else. Almost like magic!” ―Richard Rohr
***
“Our work is to show we have been breathed upon – to show it, give it out, sing it out, to live it out in the topside world what we have received through our sudden knowledge, from body, from dreams, and journeys of all sorts.” ―Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
***
“We found ourselves in a realm
where dreams are formed,
destiny is chosen
and magic is as real
as a handprint in the snow.”
―Libba Bray


Gratitude List:
1. The River of Cats. We have a new route to school these days to pick up L at her new house. We go on a dirt road past a farm where a dozen cats or so stream across the road as we approach. Needless to say, we drive very slowly. In the morning dusk, their eyes are a dozen sets of tiny headlights as in our car’s lights.
2. Handsome Duck. There’s a silver-feathered handsome duck on the same road.
3. Lancaster. Almost two hours to go in the day of the Extraordinary Give, and we’ve already broken the record we set last year–over $7.5 million dollars. We don’t have a lot to give right now, so we chose one to give to, and it seems so small. But being one little drop in this ocean of giving helps to keep the cynicism at bay.
4. Saying what I mean
5. Sleep

May we walk in Beauty!

Living Poetry


Rumi: “Let yourself become living poetry.”
*
“We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are,” Wendell Berry writes. “Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? Why else would we all—by proxies we have given to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians—be participating in its destruction? Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us. How do we submit? By not being radical enough. Or by not being thorough enough, which is the same thing.”
*
“If I write about the past as I simultaneously dwell in the present, am I still in real time? Perhaps there is no past or future, only the perpetual present that contains this trinity of memory.” –Patti Smith
*
“Waiting on the words
to do their usual tumble,
I will find instead
a pocketful of golden
leaves, and some scarlet berries.”
–Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
Come into animal presence
by Denise Levertov

Come into animal presence
No man is so guileless as
the serpent. The lonely white
rabbit on the roof is a star
twitching its ears at the rain.
The llama intricately
folding its hind legs to be seated
not disdains but mildly
disregards human approval.
What joy when the insouciant
armadillo glances at us and doesn’t
quicken his trotting
across the track and into the palm brush.

What is this joy? That no animal
falters, but knows what it must do?
That the snake has no blemish,
that the rabbit inspects his strange surroundings
in white star-silence? The llama
rests in dignity, the armadillo
has some intention to pursue in the palm-forest.
Those who were sacred have remained so,
holiness does not dissolve, it is a presence
of bronze, only the sight that saw it
faltered and turned from it.
An old joy returns in holy presence.


Gratitude List:
1. The black arms of the walnut tree against the sky
2. Indigo clouds draped like cobwebs upon the morning
3. Always new chances to practice equanimity and balance
4. Wise friends
5. Intellectual puzzles

May we walk in Beauty!

Soft

for Leigh Phillips

Tell me something soft, you said,
and all I can think is the soft bellies of my hens,
the place on the inside of the elbow,
or the tender skin on the head
of the woman of Goose Creek
who has shaved her hair
and walked into her story.

Soft, like the ashes that have cooled
when the burning is done,
when you sift the remnants of the past
between your open fingers.

Even the word loss has a softness to it,
the rounded vowel, the soft hiss at the end.

Are there breezes in your Brooklyn,
soft whispers in the air?
Can you hear how a tree in Pennsylvania
murmurs with your voice
into the soft and tender wind?

 

Gratitude List:
1.  Noticing.  Today I have been thinking about the spiritual practice of noticing, and of all the ways
2.  My parents have taught me to notice.  How noticing keeps me conscious of
3.  The present moment.  How the present moment is
4.  The Exquisite Doorway between past and future.  How that transition from past to future is always taking place, as naturally as
5.  Breathing out and breathing in.

May we walk in Beauty.  Namaste.