saved

Poetry will save us
as it has
and always does

It's poetry who catches us
falling in
and out
of love

A resting tent that nurtures us
while our souls replenish,
touching the universality of our own uniquely fragile stardust...

Stroking our foreheads,
breathing peace into our hearts,
illuminating the beauty in everything
and stitching it
into a cloak of light,
draped lovingly around our shaking shoulders;
whispering cogently to us of its impenetrability, 
of our own sovereign safety,
so that we may rise refueled
our furnace stoked
charged by the life force now burning
outrageously bright in us
to face the world and all its oddly timed surprises
with the optimistic courage of a rising sun

This day is mine!

Poetry has saved me.

Again.

Body and the landscape…

  The Old Mendicant

Being rock, being gas, being Mind,
being the mesons traveling among the galaxies
at the speed of light,
you have come here, my beloved.
And your blue eyes shine, so beautiful, so deep.
You have taken the path traced for you
from the non-beginning and the never-ending.
You say that on your way here
you have gone through many millions of births and deaths.
Innumerable times you have been transformed
into fire storms in outer space.
You have used your own body
to measure the age of the mountains and rivers.
You have manifested yourself
as trees, grass, butterflies, single celled beings,
and as chrysanthemums.
But the eyes with which you look at me this morning
tell me that you have never died.
Your smile invites me into the game whose beginning no one knows,
the game of hide-and-seek.

O green caterpillar, you are solemnly using your body 
to measure the length of the rose branch that grew 
last Summer.
Everyone says that you, my beloved, were just born 
this Spring.
Tell me, how long have you been around?
Why wait until this moment to reveal yourself to me,
carrying with you that smile which is so silent and
so deep?
O caterpillar, suns, moons, and stars flow out
each time I exhale.
Who knows that the infinitely large must be felt in your
tiny body?
Upon each point on your body,
thousands of Buddha fields have been established.
With each stretch of your body, you measure time
from the non-beginning to the never-ending.
The great mendicant of old is still there on Vulture Peak,
contemplating the ever-splendid sunset.

Guatama, how strange!
Who said that the Udumbra flower blooms
only once every 3,000 years?

The sound of the rising tide - you cannot help hearing it
if you have an attentive ear.


Thich Nhat Hanh
(In Love Letter to the Earth, Parallax Press, 2013).

~~~~~
Breathing in I contemplate this poem and all it contains

Breathing out I am grateful for our dear Teacher
~~~~~

“Suns, moons, and stars flow out each time I exhale”!!! 

“Carrying with you that smile which is so silent and so deep”

“Innumerable times you have been transformedinto fire storms in outer space.”

As I enjoy this wonderful poem, I am humbled by the power of language as a tool to support the making of meaning, and our understanding of it.


This week in my life, I have had the great fortune to be part of an immersive dance-theatre practice-strengthening retreat on the theme ‘body and the landscape’.

Within this, we have practised mindful walking; enjoyed wonderful poetry and the discussion of philosophical concepts around our body and the land, and the ‘I’ in art-making and the role of staying open to the present moment in allowing art to happen through us. 

We have given great attention to the depth possible of really truly acknowledging country, feeling into the reverence for the land we are on and embodying respect for all the ancestors and knowledge-holders who have come before us, and the caretakers emerging and yet to come.


In this, I have been nourished by the knowledge that nobody here has been able to take this week out of our lives because we happened to have a whole week free, just sitting there, available, empty. 

Each of us has worked in countless ways to make this appointment with our creative, spiritual selves, and each other, to honour the human necessity to bask in contemplation, exploration, play.  


The theme of ‘body and the landscape’ ties in so beautifully with Thay’s teachings in Love Letter to The Earth that I have been studying recently, I am touched by the overlap between my spiritual and creative practices, and am feeling humbly excited by the synthesis that is being allowed time and space to become illuminated and articulated.


In this, all of the other busy things that usually fill my hours, the things that invite me, sometimes insistently, to forget about the peace of choosing not to hurry, have receded.  And I find myself wondering how different our world could be if all of us had more time to remember that “in the ultimate I dwell”.  


Could Thay have written this deeply rich poem within this wonderfully practical and clear book (one of so many!), had he not chosen monastic life?


As we are called by our planet to firmly shift our relationship to the mindless consumption that props up over-production of disposable, low quality, planet-harming objects that have been produced under the energies of distress and exploitation, can we all possibly be moving ever so slightly towards a more mindful existence?


Can less time in shops and more time in nature bring us closer to having more space to be open to the eloquence available to us that our dear Teacher demonstrates with such gracious poise? 
I invite you to take the space to enjoy this poem again:

 

Being rock, being gas, being Mind,
being the mesons traveling among the galaxies
at the speed of light,
you have come here, my beloved.
And your blue eyes shine, so beautiful, so deep.
You have taken the path traced for you
from the non-beginning and the never-ending.
You say that on your way here
you have gone through many millions of births and deaths.
Innumerable times you have been transformed
into fire storms in outer space.
You have used your own body
to measure the age of the mountains and rivers.
You have manifested yourself
as trees, grass, butterflies, single celled beings,
and as chrysanthemums.
But the eyes with which you look at me this morning
tell me that you have never died.
Your smile invites me into the game whose beginning no one knows,
the game of hide-and-seek.

O green caterpillar, you are solemnly using your body 
to measure the length of the rose branch that grew 
last Summer.
Everyone says that you, my beloved, were just born 
this Spring.
Tell me, how long have you been around?
Why wait until this moment to reveal yourself to me,
carrying with you that smile which is so silent and
so deep?
O caterpillar, suns, moons, and stars flow out
each time I exhale.
Who knows that the infinitely large must be felt in your
tiny body?
Upon each point on your body,
thousands of Buddha fields have been established.
With each stretch of your body, you measure time
from the non-beginning to the never-ending.
The great mendicant of old is still there on Vulture Peak,
contemplating the ever-splendid sunset.

Guatama, how strange!
Who said that the Udumbra flower blooms
only once every 3,000 years?

The sound of the rising tide - you cannot help hearing it
if you have an attentive ear.