With Sally Davies Precious Woods Song and Gong
Inside this new love die.
Your way begins on the other side
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like somebody born into colour.
Do it now.
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
And be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign.
That you’ve died
Your old life was a frantic running.
The speechless moon
comes out now
Rumi translated by Robert Bly
Dear Poetry Divers,
First of all thank you so much for being part of the Poetry Dive on Wednesday, and for being so open to sharing what you had written. And thanks to those of you who have sent me your beautiful poems since then, which I’ve included below. The poetry dives are such a powerful process, I’m always amazed by what people are inspired to write, and this time was no exception.
I said I would let you know which poems I spoke and here they are…
Adrift – Mark Nepo
Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost
in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very center, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.
Lost – David Wagoner 1999
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
If you listen – John Squadra
If you listen,
not to the pages or preachers
but to the smallest flower
growing from a crack
in your heart,
you will hear a great song
moving across a wide ocean
whose water is the music
connecting all the islands
of the universe together,
and touching all
you will feel it
It is in that light
that everything lives
and will always be alive.
Messenger Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—equal seekers of sweetness.Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.Here the clam deep in the speckled sand. Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let mekeep my mind on what matters,which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to beastonished.The phoebe, the delphinium.The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here, which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heartand these body-clothes,a mouth with which to give shouts of joyto the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,telling them all, over and over, how it isthat we live forever.
Today – Mary Oliver
Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.
I thank you God – EE Cummings
I thank You God for most this amazing
For the leaping greenly spirits of trees
And a blue true dream of sky
And for everything
Which is natural which is infinite which is yes(I who have died am alive again today,
And this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
Day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
Great happening illimitably earth)How should tasting touching hearing seeing
Breathing any–lifted from the no
Of all nothing–human merely being
Doubt unimaginable You?(Now the ears of my ears awake and
Now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Undressing – Rumi
Learn the alchemy true human beings know.The moment you accept what troublesyou’ve been given, the door will open.
Welcome difficulty, as a familiar comrade.Joke with torment brought by the Friend.
Sorrows are the rags of old clothesand jackets that serve to cover,and then are taken off.
That undressing,and the naked body underneath,is the sweetness that comes after grief.
The Peace of Wild Things – Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Pandemic –Lynn Ungar 11/3/20
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
And here are the lovely contributions that have been sent to me since the Poetry Dive ….
From Claire Walsh
Monday – late Spring
The moon slides into darkness, meteors shower.
I settle into stillness, slowing down to the speed of sound.
Able to hear and see the world around, able to notice the colours of a fishes eyelids.
The still bare branches of the Ash trees clack gently against each other, wood on wood in the wind.
Their hearts wrapped in Ivy they cling to life in the face of dieback.
Will they live to see another summer?
They are still beautiful in their nakedness against the brilliant blue sky.
There’s not a trace of cloud but the heat of the sun is whipped away by the harsh easterly wind.
A pair of crows, black as night, fly overhead.
Cry’s of seagulls, wood pigeon, A bark of a dog.
A pale blue butterfly flutters and a dandelion scatterseed, carried on its wispy parachute, drifts by on the scent of the lilac.
Time passes more slowly now.
A bug wanders along my arm.
I am being taken back by the Earth.
I turn onto my belly and come eye to eye with the heart of a daisy, blazing in all its glorious yellowness.
I let myself drop into the undergrowth and drink in the sweet smell of the grass.
~ Claire Walsh
From Avril Banks
Adrift in a sea of green
I am serene
Supported by trees
My spirit frees
I swing and sway
I spend the day
Adrift in a sea of green
I am serene
From Bethan Lloyd – 2 photos of the poem she shared (these are attached)
And thanks to those of you who have made donations to me for the Poetry Dive. I’ve had a donation from S Havard, and don’t know who this is, is it one of you?
I’m planning to do another Poetry Dive soon, which I’d like to focus on Mary Oliver poems – she was such an amazing poet, and covered such a wide range of topics in such exquisite detail, many of which are just perfect for this time.
If you’d like to be involved, are there particular days and times which would suit you best? (although I know we all have less commitments at the moment)
Thanks again, and looking forward to hearing from you,
Love and best wishes,