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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Praise for gracing us with Maya Angelou. What a model for living life with your true heart and soul! You didn’t just triumph over adversity, you took a whole world along with you – leaving inspiration in your wake. I honor you today, Maya Angelou.

Those who were old enough to watch Maya Angelou recite this poem, written especially for the Presidential inaugruation of 1993, were no doubt also filled with hope and the promise of a fresh start, fellowship, and a new beginning.  Few could watch and listen without tearing up.

 

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A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The river sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the tree.
Today, the first and last of every tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river.
Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca,
You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me,
Then forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of other seekers–
Desperate for gain, starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot…
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the tree planted by the river,
Which will not be moved.
I, the rock, I the river, I the tree
I am yours–your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes,
Into your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

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This week’s inquiry … questions designed to be experienced …

Is it safe now to move beyond my wounds?

 

“… if you love … let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.” ~Kahlil Gibran

Through the great pain of stretching
beyond all that pain has taught me,
the soft well at the base
has opened, and life
touching me there
has turned me into a flower
that prays for rain.  Now
I understand: to blossom
is to pray, to wilt and shed
is to pray, to turn to mulch
is to pray, to stretch in the dark
is to pray, to break the surface
after great months of ice
is to pray, and to squeeze love
up the stalky center toward the sky
with only dreams of color
is to pray, and finally to unfold
again as if never before
is to be the prayer. ~ Mark Nepo

There is a relationship that stands apart from our wounds, or any belief that a person, circumstance, life has betrayed us.  This indefinable, immutable relationship does not seek your awareness, your belief or even your trust in it.  When the mind is emptied, exhausted and all talked out, begin here.  ~Bethie

 

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This week’s inquiry … questions designed to be experienced rather than thought through …

What would innocence bring to this thought, this person, this situation?

Innocence waits for nothing,  It has no opinion of your story, holds no grudges, makes no conclusion, knows nothing of your suffering.  Innocence doesn’t age or remember.  It holds no deep pockets filled with unending rules.  It carries only one inherent knowing: it knows the wholeness.  ~Bethie

When you know every thought of attack towards anyone is a sword that is dropping on your own head, and when you know that your willingness to see the innocence in another person, then therein lies your capacity to experience your own innocence. ~Marianne Williamson

I could spend my day with my history and my pain and my failures.  I could also live the day as a blessing waiting to be unwrapped by my eyes and my grateful heart.  Given the choice to drown in a sea of pain or float effortlessly on a sea of bliss — hmmm, which shall I choose?  It’s a no brainer, right?  But ah, that history can be seductive!  And yet, each day, patiently and silently God draws aside the curtain.  I awake, I peek around that curtain with all the innocence and curiosity of a newborn, because that’s what the newness of this day and this opportunity really represents.  ~Bethie

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back     may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

~Lucille Clifton (at St. Mary’s)  Blessing the Boats

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Earlier this week, I sent myself a portion of my horoscope and labeled the subject line “HOPE”:

“And although you could take yourself rather seriously today, rest assured there are plenty of good times right around the corner.”

Who me, take myself seriously? :-)

When I do take myself a bit seriously I tend to think I will feel this way forever.  Then I remember … so this is life, the in-between.  The heart-felt journey between the pages of the beginning and the happily ever after. 

There would be no pages to fill were it not for the things we both love and curse, our losses, challenges, our dreams, hopes, and passions. It’s the heroic journey in between that makes these pages come alive.  It will include stories of how we rose to meet life’s challenges, how we stumbled, faltered and sometimes broke. 

And, ultimately how we came back to lay in the fertile green fields of our hearts.  As we lay there through the late afternoon sun and soft wind, the clouds rolled in and drenched us in a downpour of love, kindness and hope.*  Every pore soaked its holy sustenance in …

… as we turn the page and a new chapter begins.

Whatever your challenges today or any day, remember this:

“No feeling is final.  Just keep going.  Nearby is the country they call Life.  You will know it by it’s seriousness.  Give me your hand.” Rainer Maria Rilke

 

*to my friends Terri and Ahmee

 

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“It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living.  Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. 

That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, – is already in our bloodstream.  And we don’t know what it was.  We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes.  We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens.

And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside.  The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate.”

~Rainer Maria Rilke

Rarely am I ever speechless, but this is as close it gets.  I wept when I read this.  It is expressed so perfectly and eloquently, as if no one has ever had anything meaningful to say on the topic of our sadnesses until now.

If you liked this piece, go give some love to the Facebook page of “Rainer Maria Rilke”, because this is where I transcribed it from.  I have many books by Rilke, but I have never come across this piece before … beyond, beyond exquisite!

I’ve experienced a great sadness recently and I’ve really reached out to no one.  At times I wanted to pick up that phone, but I didn’t, I just knew it wasn’t what I needed.  My husband is out of town, too, so not even him to turn to.  And now I know, this has all been orchestrated for me to spend moments like I just did in the solitude of my back porch, reading Rilke, framed by the overhanging of our steadfast red mountain cedar.  Sure I could have commiserated with others, but I knew I had been touched in ways I could not yet understand, nor make sense of, nor find a solution for. 

I also knew there was a light, there was the “sunny hill” that my eyes had already touched, as Rilke writes in The Walk.   And I would be guided, even as I set out seemingly alone, I called upon all my guides and angels to be with me.  I was, as always, answered, in so many ways and continue to be.

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