Friday, October 26, 2018

Hymn of Tonglen

I'm sorry you feel broken:
There've been times when I felt broken, too.
There's a way I've found to deal with it
that might also work for you.

Whatever fills your heart with sorrow,
whatever causes pain,
try to spare a thought for all the others
who struggle with the same.

Think of me,
and I'll think of you,
and if we all think of each other,
then somehow we'll get through.

Pray for me
and I'll pray for you
and if we all pray for each other,
then somehow we'll get through.

Whatever makes your heart break,
there's a way to help it heal.
Extend your prayerful thoughts to those
who know just how you feel.

One way to bear our brokenness,
one way we can get through,
is to breathe a prayer on behalf of those
who are broken just like you.

Think of me,
and I'll think of you,
and if we all think of each other,
then somehow we'll get through.

Pray for me
and I'll pray for you
and if we all pray for each other,
then somehow we'll get through.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Don't let your mind
go down that dark road to loss.
Be here with me, and hold my hand:
we'll cherish what we've been
and who we are.
Don't go.
don't leave me here alone,
the empty space beside me
like a pillow puffed with pain.
this moment, and hold me;
together we can face what lies ahead.
Breathe, my love,
Breathe, and then keep breathing.
Don't stop.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

What lingers

Old breasts can still remember from a distance of 30 years
that sensation in the nipples that you feel when your child cries.

Old hearts can still remember the way they used to skip
when a certain someone walked into the room.

Old eyes can still envision the colors of the countryside;
the autumn we've not seen for many years.

Old melodies still linger, and old fingers still remember
how to play her favorite hymns, though her feet no longer walk.

But old brains begin to stutter: Is it now, or was it then?
Is this my husband or my son? This cat, so like the one I lost at 12...

Old muscles, filled with memories of wounds and great adventures,
will still flinch or warm at a touch, and twitch until we take that final breath.

Old friends will still remember us, our families may mourn,
but the love we brought into the world lives on.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The truth is an elephant

The truth is an elephant, and all of us are blind,
declaring what we feel to be what we know.
But what will we do with the contradictions
that inevitably arise?
How can we safely stand beside
the huge paradox in the room
and trust that the magnitude
that encompasses all our beliefs
empowers and appreciates us all?

Friday, April 6, 2018

What is it?

What is it that you've heard along the years
that's opened you to thoughts you'll never think,
lives you'll never lead;
all the ways of being that aren't you?
When you empty your heart,
what is it that spills in?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

On the 76th anniversary

Where I live, most folks come from somewhere else,
and having come here, we now claim it as our own,
each of us bringing something of before --
-- of culture, or of art, of prejudice or belief --
that becomes another brick in this home we build together,
while the history that shaped this land
before our late arrivals still exists as our foundation;
decisions made that drew us in
and determine how we all hope to continue;
a gross injustice rectified,
a loss recovered, the falsely accused
returned to open arms and reunited,
a reconciliation shared that echoes in our bones
and fuels our hearts with hope.

Having chosen our new forebears,
we are the undescended children
of a new vision of community,
our former diversity a model which exists in awkward yoke
with our current lack of same,
a shared past shaping us which has no mirror in the present.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Thoughts for an unproductive artist

Think about the cherry tree--
bare for so much of the year,
and yet we plant them everywhere
and wait each spring, anticipate
the fullness of their blossoms,
admire their pinks, their rosy fullness,
inspired to plant more just to experience
those few days of delight.

From bare to full and quickly bare again,
the cherry trees remind us:
perfection's never permanent.
Rejoice when it takes place,
and trust, when it must leave,
that its brilliance must return,
and that all the days when we feel barren,
empty and bereft,
we are just storing up the light we'll need
so we can bloom again.