Why, in the middle of your busy life, would you pause to read poetry?
Because good poetry points us to what truly matters, which is why I use poetry so much in my work. A good poem offers sanctuary, reminding us of the necessity, power and beauty of contemplation. In a world hell-bent on filling space with activity and silence with noise, this is a subversive act. So slow down, digest a poem, let it take you by the hand. Allow yourself be touched, even changed. Indeed, poetry has been know to save lives. Nuff said. Onward!
Image: Paul Cezanne, Still life, pitcher and fruit
Shining dead center in this stunning poem, are these words:”…the voice is an advent of spirit.”
We would be wise to regard every voice, human and non-human alike, as such.
May kindness and confidence prevail in the coming year. Avec amour, always.
[I rise before the sun does]
I rise before the sun does. Each morning I sit on the edge of the bed
with my feet planted on the unlovely linoleum floor and I say slowly but quite
distinctly to the darkness, “Sweet joy befall thee.” I feel like an actor speaking
the first words of a play except my life is no play nor does my soul need an
audience. What I do need is confidence. I’ve built my life up from very shaky
ground and William Blake, the man who wrote that line, has been a godsend
to me. The human voice that speaks a poem rises from a powerful well; we
take it for granted but a voice is an advent of spirit. I know from attending
numerous churches during my haphazard childhood that the joy that preachers
trumpet comes in a box with grievous dimensions. Their salvation is a
machine of wrath; they break your back on hell so you can get to heaven. The
joy I invoke can go where it chooses because it resides in our being alive.
The joy I invoke is Blake’s Jerusalem, the city we can build each day through
kindness: “The most sublime act is to set another before you.” No one has ever
called the place where I work “sublime,” so I need that word, too.
Baron Wormser, from The Poetry Life: Ten Stories
Take it from the birds. Sing a song loud and clear, for your voice, too, is an advent of spirit:
Remember this: Look for the helpers. And this:
You may be the helper someone else is looking for.
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”
By Danusha Laméris from Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection
Vast light, a million suns of kindness or love or compassion, amid the sea
of sorrow and joy. May we all be dizzy in the shine of this forever-light.
I Have a Witness
Among the stars one light shone below
the line of the mountains, a campfire maybe. Steady.
All night I kept in mind that sun, my chosen
place, and let the earth gyrate. With dizzy
certainty I slept inside that reckoning.
Sometimes a center the soul can recognize
will speak from anywhere, inside a mountain, or from
a whirlwind . . . The world can take; the soul
restores. A million wrong voices proclaim.
One light lives forever.
William Stafford, from A Scripture of Leaves
Copyrighted material; for educational/therapeutic purposes only.
For additional encouragement, the fabulous Keep Going On Song: