Poetry

William Wordsworth defined poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility…” 

 

Poems can inspire readers to reflect, dream, reminisce, and observe. They are often written in fragments, and each line often evokes a feeling and imagery. We are encouraged to establish a sense of community between all of us, an interconnectedness, part of a bigger picture, and not alone or isolated. Knowing others have walked our path before us links us to the past, present and future.

Let your imagination run free and open to the possibility of being moved and engaged with the words of others. Here are a few of my favourites...

 Allow ~ by Danna Faulds

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado.  

Dam a stream and it will create a new channel.  

Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground.  

 

The only safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak;

fear, fantasies, failures and success.

 

When loss rips off the doors of the heart,

or sadness veils your vision with despair,

practice becomes simply bearing the truth.


In the choice to let go of your known way of being,

the whole world is revealed to your new eyes.

 

Awakening Rights ~ by Mark Nepo 

We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are

when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved,

and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed

and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.

Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world

but to unglove ourselves

so that the doorknob feels cold

and the car handle feels wet

and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being,

soft and unrepeatable.

Begin ~ by Brendan Kennelly

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.


Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.


Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.


Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret

alone together while making good.


Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion

insists that we forever begin.

 

Fire ~ by Judy Brown

What makes a fire burn

is space between the logs,

a breathing space.

Too much of a good thing,

too many logs packed in too tight

can douse the flames

almost as surely as a pail of water would.

 

So building fires

requires attention

to the spaces in between,

as much as to the wood.

 

When we are able to build

open spaces

in the same way

we have learned

to pile on the logs,

then we can come to see

how it is fuel, and the absence of the fuel together,

that make fire possible.

 

We only need

to lay a log lightly

from time to time.

 

A fire

grows

simply because the space is there,

with openings in which

the flame that knows

just how it wants to burn

can find its way.

I Want ~ by Jorge Bucay

I want you to listen to me without judging me
I want you to give your opinion without giving me advice
I want you to trust me without expecting anything
I want you to help me without deciding for me
I want you to care for me without smothering me
I want you to see me without seeing yourself in me
I want you to hug me without suffocating me
I want you to encourage me without hassling me
I want you to hold me without holding me down
I want you to protect me without lying
I want you to come closer without intruding
I want you to know everything that displeases you about me
That you accept this and do not try to change it
I want you to know … that you can count on me today ...

Unconditionally.

 

Rumi

You have escaped from the cage

Now your wings are spread in the air. 

Oh travel from brackish water

Now to the fountain of life!

 

Although the road is never-ending

take a step and keep walking.

Do not look fearfully into the distance. 

On this path let the heart be your guide

For the body is hesitant and full of fear.

 

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.


A joy, a depression, a meanness, 

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house 

empty of its furniture.


Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.


The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.


Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

 

The Healing Time ~ by Pesha Gertler

Finally on my way to say yes
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life


all the unattended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin, my bones,


those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again


where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them

one by one
close to my heart
and say holy
holy.

 

The Journey ~ by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice--

though the whole house began to tremble

and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

"Mend my life!" each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.  

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations,

though their melancholy was terrible.

It was already late enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly recognised as your own,

that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,

determined to do the only thing you could do-

determined to save the only life you could save.

There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery
~ by Portia Nelson

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

 

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

 

Unconditional ~ by Jennifer Wellwood

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game.
To play it is purest delight;

To honor its form–true devotion.

 

What To Remember On Waking ~ by David Whyte's 

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?

Wild Geese ~ by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.


You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.


Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.


Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.