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!

A Very Simple Secret


Today’s prompt is to write a self-destruct poem:

When you are finished reading this poem,
it will self-destruct. The words
will fly outward, shards of ideas
exploding, lacerating skin,
feelings and notions piercing the soul,
shredding elevated egos
and mangling worn-out theories.
You will not be able to escape
into the house of another poem,
for all poetry is designed to explode,
to burst, to shatter into a thousand colors,
like the fracturing of light.


“The word is the making of the world.” —Wallace Stevens
*
“Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke
*
“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” —Albert Einstein
*
“I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Suppressing a culture is violence. Neglecting school children is violence. Punishing a mother and her family is violence. Discrimination against a working man is violence. Ghetto housing is violence. Ignoring medical need is violence. Contempt for poverty is violence.” —Coretta Scott King
*
“When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness.”
—Bhagavad Gita
*
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh!’ And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you…”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.”
―Naomi Shihab Nye


Gratitude List:
1. How dreams keep revealing themselves
2. How the leaves fly down from the sky
3. How children see things that adults miss
4. How the work gets done
5. How starlings move as a single bird

May we walk in Beauty!

Winged Heart

Fragment:
To build the bridge from where I am to where I want to be:
I will gather cobweb, shadow, feathers, rainbow.
I will weave a net of dreamings:
spider, lion, wolf, a blazing number seven,
labyrinthine city, and a tower with a thousand rooms.

Every day, I step a little closer to the chasm,
another key, a shining pebble on the pathway,
birdsong in the mist, a shifting shadow in the forest.


Rungs on Wednesday’s Ladder:
“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.”
~ Khalil Gibran
*
Richard Rohr: “The wild beasts and the angels reside in the same wilderness. . .”
*
“There is another world, but it is in this one.” ~William Butler Yeats
*
“It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor” ~ Nelson Mandela
*
“There is always this tension between the lengths we wish to travel in life and the depths we long to penetrate in dreaming. By dreaming, I mean not only the sacred transmissions we receive in the night, but the dreaming we also do in the day: Listening to the wiseness of a moment, an encounter, a humble patch of land. Engaging with magic in an ongoing conversation.” ~ Toko-pa Turner (@ Dreamwork with Toko-Pa)
*
“God is as available and accessible as the very thing we all do constantly—breathe. Isn’t it wonderful that breath, wind, spirit, and air are precisely nothing—and yet everything?” —Richard Rohr
*
Advent At Midlife

I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; It’s just not their task
I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; It already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know that I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness. I believe, I believe.
~ Mary Anne Perrone
*
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. …Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me. When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic. No rhetoric, no tremolos, no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell. And of course, no theology, no metaphysics. Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling, on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a sponge bag, completely unencumbered.”
~Aldous Huxley – Island


Gratitude List:
1. Bridges
2. Cobweb
3. Sunrise
4. Beauty
5. Desire

May we walk in Beauty!

A World Trapped in a Person


Today is one of those days when I wish I simply had a whole day of solitude to ponder that Rumi poem.

“Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between Three—a circle dance of love. God is Absolute Friendship. God is not just a dancer; God is the dance itself.” —Richard Rohr
*
“A writer is a world trapped in a person.” —Victor Hugo
*
“Awaken! Rise from your dreaming.
Raise yourself above the mists
that hold your vision captive.” —Beth WK
*
“Everything you can imagine is real.”
—Pablo Picasso
*
“Don’t you see? Violence doesn’t end violence. It extends it.” —Eleven
*
The Sunrise Ruby
by Rumi

In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”

He says, “There is nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
to sunlight.”

This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!

The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.

Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.


Gratitude List:
1. The blue sheen on crow’s wing in morning light.
2. A reminder from a Facebook friend to be a messenger of grace.
3. The energetic idealism of teenagers.
4. That dream. I dreamed it was Friday. Much as I love school, I also love Friday.
5. Finding the questions.

May we walk in Beauty!

The End and the Beginning


Several years ago–we’ve been going through old photo files this weekend.

Here is my poem from the first of April:

Begin your road at the ending,
as the last pathway rounds the bend.
Dance to the lip of the chasm–
place your foot upon a bridge of rainbow.
Keep your eyes upon the distant wood,
your ears tuned to the song of undine and dryad.

Remember, your road is a circle,
and everywhere you are is the start of your journey.
Your road is of water, of vision, of air,
of heartbeat, illusion, and wisdom
a pathway of fire and smoke.

Feel how the sky under your feet holds you up,
how the earth at your back is made only of dreams,
how the only way forward is light and color,
how a distant harping draws you onward.

Here is today’s poem, on The World:

End your road at the beginning,
as the last pathway rounds the bend.
You stand on the lip of a whole new chasm–
dance out onto the bridge of gossamer web,
the wind in your hair, the sun warm on your face,
your ears attentive to whisper and blessing.

Are you back where you started? Do you
set your Fool’s feet on a whole new pathway?
What is your road made of? Of sunlight?
Of shadow? Of birdsong and cobweb?
Of wisdom and heartbeat, of fire and smoke?

Feel how the mystery you have encountered,
the secrets you’ve unearthed,
the knowledge you’ve longed for,
balance the bridge as it sways with your passing,
how a distant harping draws you onward.

No New Prompt for Tomorrow:
And so National Poetry Month comes to an end. I am weary, like my Fool, ready for the open road of the next cycle of the story, ready to relinquish the added work of the month, but I am sad, too, sorry to see the end of this cycle that has brought me new insight, new revelations. I am grateful, so grateful for the feedback I’ve received this month, a chance to hone and develop my craft more intentionally.

Tomorrow is Beltane, the ancient holiday marking the mid-point of spring, the wanton flowering season, the wild celebration of abandon and extravagant freedom. What will you give yourself to in the coming season? What direction will your passions lead you? What freedom can you claim for yourself in the days ahead? Throw off the cloaks and veils that hide you. Remove your corsets and girdles. Run barefoot in the fields. Roll in the grass. swing from the trees.

Tomorrow marks six weeks since I put out my little bundle into the weather and the elements. In the afternoon, I will bring it in and see how the elements have acted upon it, assess the wish I made six weeks ago, and begin to see what I can make from the pieces that I gathered.

Gratitude List:
1. Is there anything more visually and aurally satisfying than a bird with feathers the color of sunlight asking its sweet questions in a tiny tree with baby green leaves? Perhaps, when it flies on its rollercoaster of air to a redbud tree, twittering all the way. (I realize that twitter has become a vacuous word in recent years, but I refuse to relinquish it.)
2. Young voices.
3. Cleaning clutter. I could let myself be a little grumpy about how excited the kids suddenly are about cleaning up the floors, when every time I have mentioned it for months, they have hollered at me that I am trying to control their lives. Oh, but the satisfaction of a vacuumed floor!
4. Beginnings and Endings and Circles
5. Makloubeh for supper. And samosas. And cucumbers. Thanks, Mom!

May we walk in Beauty!

The Whole World is on the Wing

Joss and Cedar
Yesterday we went on a walk to look for beautiful things to photograph.  When I raised my camera to take a picture of this cedar tree that I love, he slipped right in there: “You take a picture of me with the tree, and then I will take one of you.”

You know how sometimes you see one of those huge flocks of birds wheeling over a field–crows or gulls or geese–and then you notice, in the distance, another flock behind it somewhere in the sky?  One of the dreams last night was of a sky full of birds: flocks and flocks and flocks.  My dream-vision was wide-angle.  There were birds above the River, close-up and way off in the distance, in the fields and over the town, high in the sky, between and above and behind the clouds.  And this phrase came to me in the dreaming: “The whole world is on the wing.”

Gratitude List:
1. The Magnificat: “My soul is filled with joy.”
2. Repeated references, everywhere I turn, to “the beloved community.”
3. Wings.
4. Yesterday’s Nap (worthy of an initial capital)
5. Walking in Beauty.

May we walk in Beauty!