Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wage Peace

- Judyth Hill

Wage Peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble.

Breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red-wing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists

Breathe out sleeping children and fresh mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out life long relationships intact.
Wage peace with our listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothing pins, clean rivers.
Make soup.
Play music; learn the word "thank you" in 3 languages.
Learn to knit: make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries.
Imagine grief

as the outbreak of beauty or gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.
Never has the word seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.

Celebrate today.

[NOTE: This was first posted by Melissa on June 9, 2008, with the accompanying note: Judyth Hill is a stand-up poet and teacher of poetry, living in amazing beauty, where the Rockies meet the Plains, in Northern New Mexico. Her six published books of poetry include Presence of Angels, Men Need Space, and her collection of poems of her land, Black Hollyhock, First Light, from La Alameda Press.]

This Much I Do Remember

- Billy Collins

It was after dinner.
You were talking to me across the table
about something or other,
a greyhound you had seen that day
or a song you liked,

and I was looking past you
over your bare shoulder
at the three oranges lying
on the kitchen counter
next to the small electric bean grinder,
which was also orange,
and the orange and white cruets for vinegar and oil.

All of which converged
into a random still life,
so fastened together by the hasp of color,
and so fixed behind the animated
foreground of your
talking and smiling,
gesturing and pouring wine,
and the camber of you shoulders

that I could feel it being painted within me,
brushed on the wall of my skull,
while the tone of your voice
lifted and fell in its flight,
and the three oranges
remained fixed on the counter
the way that stars are said
to be fixed in the universe.

Then all of the moments of the past
began to line up behind that moment
and all of the moments to come
assembled in front of it in a long row,
giving me reason to believe
that this was a moment I had rescued
from millions that rush out of sight
into a darkness behind the eyes.

Even after I have forgotten what year it is,
my middle name,
and the meaning of money,
I will still carry in my pocket
the small coin of that moment,
minted in the kingdom
that we pace through every day.

[NOTE: This was first posted by Melissa on Feb. 10, 2009.]

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mother, A Cradle to Hold Me

- Maya Angelou
It is true
I was created in you.
It is also true
That you were created for me.
I owned your voice.
It was shaped and tuned to soothe me.
Your arms were molded
Into a cradle to hold me, to rock me.
The scent of your body was the air
Perfumed for me to breathe.

During those early, dearest days
I did not dream that you had
A large life which included me,
For I had a life
Which was only you.

Time passed steadily and drew us apart.
I was unwilling.
I feared if I let you go
You would leave me eternally.
You smiled at my fears, saying
I could not stay in your lap forever.
That one day you would have to stand
And where would I be?
You smiled again.
I did not.
Without warning you left me,
But you returned immediately.
You left again and returned,
I admit, quickly,
But relief did not rest with me easily.
You left again, but again returned.
You left again, but again returned.
Each time you reentered my world
You brought assurance.
Slowly I gained confidence.

You thought you know me,
But I did know you,
You thought you were watching me,
But I did hold you securely in my sight,
Recording every moment,
Memorizing your smiles, tracing your frowns.
In your absence
I rehearsed you,
The way you had of singing
On a breeze,
While a sob lay
At the root of your song.

The way you posed your head
So that the light could caress your face
When you put your fingers on my hand
And your hand on my arm,
I was blessed with a sense of health,
Of strength and very good fortune.

You were always
the heart of happiness to me,
Bringing nougats of glee,
Sweets of open laughter.

I loved you even during the years
When you knew nothing
And I knew everything, I loved you still.
Condescendingly of course,
From my high perch
Of teenage wisdom.
I spoke sharply of you, often
Because you were slow to understand.
I grew older and
Was stunned to find
How much knowledge you had gleaned.
And so quickly.

Mother, I have learned enough now
To know I have learned nearly nothing.
On this day
When mothers are being honored,
Let me thank you
That my selfishness, ignorance, and mockery
Did not bring you to
Discard me like a broken doll
Which had lost its favor.
I thank you that
You still find something in me
To cherish, to admire and to love.

I thank you, Mother.
I love you.

[NOTE: This was first posted by Monica on Sept. 28, 2008.]


- Rumi
Whoever finds love
beneath hurt and grief
disappears into emptiness
with a thousand new disguises
[NOTE: This was first posted by Monica on Dec. 17, 2007.]


- Sri Aurobindo
With wind and the weather beating round me
Up to the hill and the moorland I go.
Who will come with me? Who will climb with me?
Wade through the brook and tramp through the snow?
Not in the petty circle of cities
Cramped by your doors and your walls I dwell;
Over me God is blue in the welkin,
Against me the wind and the storm rebel.
I sport with solitude here in my regions,
Of misadventure have made me a friend.
Who would live largely? Who would live freely?
Here to the wind-swept uplands ascend.
I am the lord of tempest and mountain,
I am the Spirit of freedom and pride.
Stark must he be and a kinsman to danger
Who shares my kingdom and walks at my side.
[NOTE: This was first posted by Monica on Nov. 17, 2007.]

To the Lilac Bush

- Claire Rossini

Flowers who have not labored
To be among us,

Who freely ladle purple
Into air,

You, lilacs,

I can't smell you
Without growing young,

This spring becoming
Every spring

I've entered,
My senses opening

Like mouths.

[NOTE: This was posted by Bobbie Benson to mark the Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day, 2009, with this accompanying note: Here's an excerpt from Claire Rossini's "To the Lilac Bush" to add to your pocket. It's in Claire's book, Lingo, a journey through life and language that's both lovely and clear-sighted.]