lightly

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“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.
When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic.
No rhetoric, no tremolos,
no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell.
And of course, no theology, no metaphysics.
Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.

So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,

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A Few Turns Of The Moon

For all the hardships that life throws at us, I have always felt that life keeps living. Perhaps not in the same form or in a way that is recognizable. But life keeps pulsing under everything. And no matter the pain or confusion I face, something in me keeps reaching for that irrepressible pulse. This poem comes from my reaching.

A FEW TURNS OF THE MOON

From the balcony of this restaurant, I watch
a hundred lives below: burrowing and laughing
and finding their way. And perhaps because
I’ve lost my father and our beloved dog in the
last year, perhaps because at sixty-three, I see
over the final hill more clearly, I also see the
hundreds on the other side, still burrowing
and laughing and finding their way. I don’t
know if this is alarming or a comfort: that
we go on the same, that the gleam pressed
out of every hardship is the jewel of existence,
here and on the other side. So I spoon my
soup and sip my wine, knowing the balcony
is the gutter and the gutter is the balcony,
that the dark waits all curled up in the light,
and the light, thank God, waits all curled up
in the dark.
~Mark Nepo

Now That We Have Tasted Hope

Now that we have come out of hiding,
Why would we live again in the tombs we’d made out of our souls?

And the sundered bodies that we’ve reassembled
With prayers and consolations,
What would their torn parts be, other than flesh?

Now that we have tasted hope
And dressed each other’s wounds with the legends of our
oneness
Would we not prefer to close our mouths forever shut
On the wine that swilled inside them?

Having dreamed the same dream,
Having found the water behind a thousand mirages,
Why would we hide from the sun again
Or fear the night sky after we’ve reached the ends of
darkness,
Live in death again after all the life our dead have given us?

Listen to me Zow’ya, Beida, Ajdabya, Tobruk, Nalut,
Listen to me Derna, Musrata, Benghazi, Zintan,
Listen to me houses, alleys, courtyards, and streets that
throng my veins,
Some day soon, in your freed light, in the shade of your
proud trees,
Your excavated heroes will return to their thrones in your
martyrs’ squares,
Lovers will hold each other’s hands.

I need not look far to imagine the nerves dying,
Rejecting the life that blood sends them.
I need not look deep into my past to seek a thousand hopeless vistas.
But now that I have tasted hope
I have fallen into the embrace of my own rugged innocence.

How long were my ancient days?
I no longer care to count.
I no longer care to measure.
How bitter was the bread of bitterness?
I no longer care to recall.

Now that we have tasted hope, this hard-earned crust,
We would sooner die than seek any other taste to life,
Any other way of being human.
~Khaled Mattawa

Accepting Heaven at Great Basin

When you doubt the world
look at the undivided darkness

look at Wheeler Peak
cliffs like suspended prayers

contemplate the cerulean
the gleaming limestone

the frozen shades
the wildflowers

look at the bristlecone pine
a labyrinth to winding wonders

listen to the caves
sing silently

remember the smell of sagebrush
after a thunderstorm

that Lexington Arch
is a bridge of questions

in the solitude of dreams
that here

distances disturb desire
to deliver a collision of breaths

the desert echoes
in this dark night sky

stars reveal the way
a heart can light a world.
-Nathalie Handal

About This Poem

“I’m an urbanite but when I started teaching at the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College and discovered the numinous openness of Nevada, something unnamed untangled me. Standing under the crisp golden-red light then the infinite dark at Great Basin for the first time felt like being in the middle of my heart and asking, where do I go from here? Where does one go after they’ve lived wars, been too close to death’s shadows, and then sees a version of heaven? Can we give ourselves permission to inhale its glory without betraying those who couldn’t flee, or didn’t survive? Perhaps we are meant to see such wonder to inform us of how beauty resists.”
—Nathalie Handal

Time

Some days, I see time as a great stretch of fabric with the stars all speckled over it and the planets scattered across it. They are plump with the seas and volcanoes and all of the people, who are stitched together by hope and gravity.

There is an old woman who darns time whenever it frays. She takes her needle and thread and makes it neat again. That’s where the saying “a stitch in time saves nine” comes from, because if she happens to miss the chance to fix it straight away, it has this awful habit of unraveling rather quickly.

A lot of things cause time to fray. Not paying attention to beautiful things is one of them. So if you’re watching a glorious sunset and thinking about porridge, or worse, stocks and shares, time might start to get raggedy. Anything dramatic makes it a little wild as well. In those moments when the world breaks your heart, if you were to just happen to look at the right second, you’d see her diligently fixing a small tear in the sky or precisely cross stitching a cherry blossom which was beginning to lose its shape.

Sometimes she’s at your shoulder, fixing a little part of you that’s beginning to lose its thread, pins in her mouth even though it’s dangerous, so she can get the hem of your existence just right.

She is always patching this, or noticing that, and occasionally if her hands are weary, working the pedal on her old sewing machine to pick and redo the stitching of one of the lesser moons, for practice.

The silver of the needle. The thimble. The neat reels of cotton. All of these tiny things making something so much greater than themselves. Like we do as well.

Life is so fragile, and so is time. It is only kept together by her determination and the thin thread she holds safe in her hands. By luck, too.

And maybe it’s a strange idea, but I can see her so clearly, and I can hear how she lullabies into the stillness while we continue and we try to find whatever magic we can.
~Sarah-Louise Jordan

Sarah-Louise Jordan

A Calling to the Lightworkers

light

I am putting out a calling this day ~

A calling to the lightworkers. To the bringers of peace. To the villages that raise the children. To those who live in the forefront of dearest Love.

A calling to Rise Up and show yourselves…like never before in your lives. To take the hands of those sisters and brothers next to you…no matter who they are, what they believe, or where they came from…and put that great Love, that light, to work. To reconnect our lives as they are meant to be… To heal us, once and for all.

Not just for us here in this country…this would be simply another form of divisiveness…but for the world around. All of us.

Love CAN conquer all.

Can you hear my call?
~Kathleen Boylan

Kathleen Boylan

Mysteries, Yes

Truly, we live with mysterious too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stone are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will
never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
~Mary Oliver