Mindful Poetry

(Eowyn Ahlstrom) #21

by Ellen Bass

This is where I yank the old roots from my chest,
like the tomatoes we let grow until December, stalks thick as saplings.

This is the moment when ancient fears race like thoroughbreds,
asking for more and more rein and I the driver for some reason
they know nothing of, strain to hold them back.

Terror grips me like a virus and I sweat,
fevered, trying to burn it out.

This fear is invisible, all you can see is a woman going about
her ordinary day, drinking tea, taking herself to the movies,
reading in bed.

If victorious, I will look exactly the same
yet I am hoisting a car
from mud ruts half a century deep. I am hacking a clearing
through the fallen slash of my heart.

Without laser precision, with only the primitive knife of need,
I cut and splice the circuitry of my brain.

I change.

(Steven Crandell) #22

Here’s a poem I wrote. Blessings to you all:


A prayer.
May we change like the water,
Receive like the earth,
Wander like the wind,
Nurture like the light.


Let our eyes open our hearts.
Let us get the knack of freedom
By being aware.


The art of the heart
Dwells in the everyday:
How freshly,
How keenly,
How compassionately we perceive.


Be still.
The listening is the singing.
And life is the song.
The most beautiful one I know,
The sound of your breathing.

(Eowyn Ahlstrom) #23

Thanks Steven, for sharing your own work. Here is one of mine:

Mystery of Patterns and Shapes

A simple, sturdy-enough craft, known as the human body,
Sets forth, breathing in and out,
Going nowhere,
With heart-mind both held and at the helm.

Together we ride and navigate waves of sensation,
Waves of movement and pause,
Together we travel to the hidden edge of every known ocean.

In calm waters, we rest on gentle swells and shifts
With joy and peace growing, steeping, rising up and through us.
In the dark of night, the body seems like distant
Stars, points of light sensation in a vast velvet rest.

Storms shake us, toss us, but for now we hold space with massive undulations.
We brace strong legs and soften full, fearful heart,
Calling out this need to feel real, calling out
“Is it possible to fall off the edge of this breathy, watery world?”

At length, and who can say how long we travel,
Moments or years or lifetimes,
Rest comes on the further shore.

In this stillness body-heart-mind are no longer companions.
Unified now, one with the island grounding,
Where wordless asking is answered wordlessly:
“What is there that does not change?”

(Audrey Perkins) #24

Beautiful!!! What a lovely birthday present this is for me this morning!
Audrey Perkins in Oregon

(Bill VanOllefen) #25

I’m new here. I occasionally write poetry and will share some.
This is my work.

Paradise a mindful moment at sunrise

Golden shafts of sunlight peeking through the clouds
dancing on fields of grass wet with dew,
the gentle breeze blows a sea of emeralds with diamond
dew drops riding the waves.

Paradise lost waiting on a NYC commuter train platform 2 hours later

Commuters …already lost in their iPhones stand like cattle
oblivious to the beauty that surrounds them.
Unable to disconnect from the day ahead, already at work
waiting for the cattle cars to take them to slaughter.

The few minutes of beauty and joy … now lost and gone.
For all to see, yet seen by so few.

(Laurie Swain) #26

Beautiful, Eowyn. Thank you.

(Lynn Koerbel) #27

Hi everyone. Here’s the poem from yesterday’s practicum:

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
Up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
Here’s the joyful face you’ve been waiting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
You would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small
Contracting and expanding.
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
As birdwings.

(Eowyn Ahlstrom) #28

This poem Lynn posted is by Rumi, by the way. Beautiful, Lynn, thanks!

(Tanguy Verraes) #29

“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” - Confucius

(linda esrick) #30

This is beautiful Lynn…I sometimes do feel paralyzed…Maybe I could try to be a little more flexible and open…Thank you for the reminder…:)

(Judson Brewer) #31

Here’s a poem by Rev. Safire Rose titled “She let go” that one of the people in our smoking program just posted. She nailed it:

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

(Gus Castellanos) #32

Love this poem as do lots of other people when I shared it on my newsletter. Thanks Jud!

(Gus Castellanos) #33

Hokusai says
Read By Mark Williams For The Mindfulness Summit

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.

He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive –
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter ifyou draw,
or write books. It doesn’t matter
ifyou saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.

  • Roger Keyes

(Steven Crandell) #34

Thanks, Roger. I really enjoyed both the poem and the reading.

Here’s poem/song by a friend of mine, Dr. David Cumes who is a Stanford-trained urologist and surgeon as well as a sangoma - indigenous-trained - healer from South Africa. It speaks to how mindfulness can free us from expectation and how this freedom in the present can deepen our shared bonds through openness and trust and respect.


I honor your gods. I drink at your well.

I bring an unprotected heart to our meeting place.

I hold no cherished outcome.

I am not subject to disappointment.


He performs the song here: http://www.davidcumes.com/videos_8.html

(Margarita Menocal) #35


Thank you Joan.

(Mary Rose Eaton) #36

Thank you, Steven, for introducing me to this man & his gifts.
~ Mary Rose

(Steven Crandell) #37

Hi MaryRose,

Here’s another:

“God’s breath is heard in quietness and felt in stillness. Beware the noises and clamor of ego which drown out the Divine whisper.”

It’s from a little book with great spirit and heart, published and edited by Dr. Cumes and a wonderful woman (and friend - now passed) named Maryellen Kelley. It’s called Messages from the Ancestors - Wisdom for the Way

(Mary Rose Eaton) #38

Hi Steve,
Thank you so much for sharing these words with me. I am fascinated by our spirit guides, who I think of as the Guardian Angels we learned of as little children. I remember how comforted I was in my deep knowledge that they were always with me. The challenge we face as adults is keeping that inner stillness so that we can hear & feel their guidance. That is the moment to moment awareness which I try to bring to each day - note the word “try”! (Smile)
I do wonder how many spirit guides we have. I want to learn more about ancient spirit guides, & would enjoy reading the book you mentioned. Do you think it will be difficult for me to find? Silly question, with the Internet as a resource!
Have a good weekend, Mary Rose

(Priscilla Koop) #39

Kathryn, your national treasure travels well indeed.
Thanks from Canada,

(Kathy Woodliff) #40

The Only Place

When the future is full of dread
and the past is full of regret
where can you take refuge except in the present?

When maelstroms of tormenting thoughts push back the barricades of your sanity
the present is the calm center where you can rest.

And slowly, as you rest there,
the niggling thoughts and fears dissolve
like shadows shrinking under the midday sun
until you don’t need refuge anymore.

The present is the only place
where there is no thought-created pain.

The present is the only place.

by Steve Taylor