How We Are Helped

I cut out tiny shapes
from Japanese papers:
glue them
in harmonious relationships
to the paper
to each other
to my eyes, hand and heart.

I draw anything and everything:
small, detailed
in pen and ink,
then brighten them
with color.

A memory.
Young me
quiet in my room
cutting out paper clothes
for paper dolls,
stringing together tiny glass beads,
painting miniature ceramic pieces:
Feeling safe,
with glimmers of joy.

Being found me,
gave me ways
to stay steady,
find home
in this uncertain world
and helped me
trust beauty
as a compass.

Questions for Contemplation

When you were young and had some time to yourself, what did you enjoy doing that was fulfilling and helped you connect to yourself? Do you still engage in any of those activities? If not, what do you currently do that settles and fulfills you?

What meaning and place does beauty hold in your daily life? If you wish to include more beauty, what might that look like? How does beauty affect you?

Poem a Month Archive


Angel of Sadness

She extends her hand.
Stone, I am.

Sadness says,
“You will fall.
I will be with you.
You will break.
I will take the pieces
and turn them into gold.
You will wail an ocean.
I will teach you to swim.
You won’t know who you are.
I will walk beside you
as you shed the skins
you never were.”

Questions for Contemplation

In the first stanza of this poem there is resistance to connecting to sadness. What is your relationship to sadness? How do you typically respond when you begin to feel sad about anything, eg., a loss, a difficult conversation, a friend’s hardship, a family struggle, the challenges of these times?

Relax, close your eyes and imagine that you are in a conversation with sadness, represented by a symbol such as a broken heart or dark cloud. Ask what it wants to say to you about a situation in your life that is evoking sadness. You can also engage further with the symbol and ask any other questions that are meaningful to you.

Poem a Month Archive


Tell the Stories

Take dictation
from the flat stones
in the river bed.
They speak secrets.

Attend a gathering of trees.
Watch them in communion
with the wind.

Fall into
Earth’s belly.
Hear her cries.

Find the children
who brought pieces
of heaven with them.
Ask them what life looks like.

Make your way through the dark nooks
of the city.

Touch hearts
with our forgotten sisters and brothers.
Invite them to speak their raw pain.

Converse with
the underworld
the Infinite.

Sink into long, quiet times.
Turn towards the fissures and stars
in your heart.
Study your heart
from the inside.

Now tell the stories.

Questions for Contemplation

Is there any phrase or stanza that stands out for you to explore further? Choose one and reflect on it for a while. What is evoked in you?

Do you feel drawn to be in conversation with ‘illness, healing, birth, death, the underworld or the Infinite?’ You can personalize any of these, e.g. your father’s illness, your healing from an injury. Using your healing as an example – find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes and relax more and more deeply with each outgoing breath. Then let an image appear that represents your healing, such as a star or flowering plant. Imagine a conversation between you and the image as if you’re in dialogue with a trusted friend. You are speaking and listening to each other, and either of you might have questions you’d like to ask. Another option other than this self-guided imagery is to write down the conversation.

What do you find when you ‘turn towards the fissures and stars in your heart?’ Either reflect on what you discover or free write what comes to you.

You are Broken and You Are Whole

This morning,
you are shining blonde hair,
full belly laughing,
a field of glow.

My heart falls into place.
I remember you
clutching your belly
on the cold tile floor
in the Boston hotel,
silent screams.
You needed me
to stay back.
I have never felt so helpless.

Disease is a cauldron,
boils us to the core,
strips layers of seeming safety.
Disease keeps us in not knowing,
stretches us beyond
where we think we can go.
Forges us in its heat.

You tend to this wisely
in your quiet ways.
Grace is known to you.
Pain and fire,
the teachers that
turn you towards
the Sacred.

I do not know
all the ways of your mind
or see all the times
you fall to your knees.
Yet it is clear today
by your restful smile
that you are watering
holy seeds
and sit,
In the hands of the Universe.

Questions for Contemplation

Has illness impacted you or someone close to you?

What are the ways that this experience has challenged or stretched you?

If your experience with illness has been transformative, what are some of the meaningful ways that this has changed you? For example, are there qualities, such as patience, courage, trust or compassion that have opened in you?

Has this illness been a ‘teacher’ for you? What have you learned about yourself and life?

Tears and Wings

The illness
that found us

a heart
punctured by betrayal

cold mother arms

the burial

the child –

the friend –

the fire
that took our past.

We were
in the dark

with our beloveds

in the underworld.

The shadows,
shaped us,
sculpted a new form
from the descent
the other places
the Sacred lives.

We are

We have
with dark Angels.

We have
learned the songs
of each loss.

Our Light
still glowing
in the ashes.

that will not be extinguished.
Wings sprouting.

rising now,
ready to fly
into the tired arms
reaching for help
in their dark night
in our tear-drenched world.

Questions for Contemplation

This poem can be an invitation to reflect on loss in your life. Is there a loss that comes to mind that you would like to contemplate? When it feels like the right time, find a comfortable place for this deep consideration.

In addition to reflecting on the grief and pain that likely ensued, and may still be present, here are some additional questions to ask yourself when you are ready:

How did you grow and change as a result of this loss?

What have you learned about yourself? Others?

How did this ‘shadow descent’ shape you?

What gifts have you unearthed that you can use to help others?

Poem a Month



If, when you encounter
a space
between your projects,
between your problems,
a gap
in the conversation,
a wholebeing quiet at 3 am
in the silent house

do not run
be not afraid
release before and what’s to come
avoid naming.

The you
in the deep
who knows…
peers into the possible.
A juncture.

The portal
is here,
will reveal itself
again and again,
like this,
in the most ordinary of times.

Be the awestruck child
when just rain is a miracle.
Be taken.

Questions for Contemplation

When there are breaks in the day, it’s not uncommon, especially in this culture, to fill the gaps with more activities rather than enter those portals of possibility. Is this a tendency of yours? If so, would you like to experiment with opening into those pauses from time to time? Would you like to explore ‘the you in the deep?’ ‘Peer into the possible?’ How would it be for you to make time in your day for the unknown?

Poem a Month Archive


To Listen

To listen is to dethrone the surface mind,
be led by
the silky hushes of sky
thrumming of roots
the blood, the sounds of blood
the wings and tears inside words
the subterranean mind.

Listening delivers us
to the vastness
at the core of everything.

To listen is to love.

When I don’t listen to you,
I see you become hollow, lonely.
I hear anger steaming
inside every word
and in the spaces between.

We have listening wounds.
We were dismissed.
It’s not our fault.
We need to scream about it.
Listen to your wounds.
Listening graces the scars.

Listen to how your words close
when you are bitter.

Listen to what’s behind
the fortress of thoughts.

To listen is to bless.

Listen to the other
until there is no other.

I am drawn to people
who hear quiet things.

The mountain wants us to listen
the way she does.

Questions for Contemplation

How do you see yourself as a listener? What are your strengths and gifts? Are there any ways that you’d like to enhance your listening?

Do you have listening wounds from your past? Were you, for example, criticized, judged, dismissed, or ignored by any family members, friends, teachers, or others? How has that impacted you? What do these wounds need from you now?

Poem a Month Archive


How to Find Poems

Consider everything a vast invitation.
Open wide to the unseen.
Look with mountain eyes.
Cease worshiping ordinary time.

Relax your grip.
Forget about safe routes.
Crawl into dark holes and wet tunnels.
Let yourself be scared.
Get lost.
Be found.

Let your lineage of ache teach you
and find its way to the page.
Let your lineage of wisdom teach you
and find its way to the page.

Don’t believe the urgency.
Walk.  Pause often.  See with your feet.
Celebrate what is thriving on this planet.
Praise often.

Listen to the pen.
Forget who you thought it belonged to.
Fall off the page.

Place yourself on the precipice of humanity.
Write what you wish you hadn’t seen.

Let storms reconfigure you.
Write the before and after.

Risk expressing what’s hidden
inside the folds of your life.
Invite words to bleed
and breathe onto the page.

Questions for Contemplation

1.  Which lines or stanzas of the poem
speak to you the most right now? Choose one and reflect on it for a while. What is evoked in you?

2. Where in your life do you often choose safety rather than take risks? What keeps you from taking more risks?

3. When has a challenging situation or event catalyzed significant transformation in your life? In what ways have you been changed by this?

Poem a Month Archive