Nov 202012

I’ve spent much of the last few weeks with thoughts on the edge of my brain, but not quite coming forward – thinking at times that the well of ideas for writing had gone dry. Then last week, I had a friend share this poem with me; and, I decided to let those ideas continue to stir, to peek out from just behind my conscious self, until they are ready to come forward.

I’ve also got a number of friends who are having a tough time this fall, buried under the weight of too many expectations and too little resources to meet those expectation. It’s often as if everyone is kind of stumbling around trying to get our bearings on an ever-shifting ground. Before I run into the land of too-many-metaphors, I’ll just step away, and let the poem be what it is. Besides, the poet, Marge Piercy, says it all much finer than I could.

The Seven Of Pentacles

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

Nov 052012

Based on recent conversations, news articles, even posts on NPR such as this one:

I’d be willing to bet that I’m not alone when I say that I AM READY FOR THIS ELECTION TO BE OVER. Part of it could be that I’m in a swing state, so I’ve been inundated with mailers, commercials, phone calls, etc, from various candidates trying to convince me why I should vote for them (and, more explicitly, why I should not vote for their opponent). It’s exhausting; and, to be honest, there have been moments when it has made me seriously my question my feelings about humanity. Candidates have been labeled as “good” or “evil” and the lines that divide us have been deepened – the proverbial lines in the sand have become wounds carved into our collective psyche. I am exhausted from all of the talk – weary of the battle stance I too often feel I have to take – guard up, jaw clenched, prepared to defend myself against anything or anyone who might appear as a threat. To quote one of my favorite Ani DiFranco songs: “I hold on hard to something/between my teeth when I’m sleeping/I wake up and my jaw aches/and the earth is full of earthquakes.”

To put it bluntly, I am exhausted.

The poem below, by David Whyte, seemed to be an appropriate response. Now, I’m in no way insinuating that our government, or the legislative process isn’t important; but, I find it hard to see a world in which change can happen through the White House, or in the halls of Congress, if it doesn’t first start in the breaking of bread, in sitting at a meal with someone – looking them in the eyes, knowing their struggles, and trusting them enough to share ours. We have a million reasons to hate one another, to fear one another, to build walls between one another. These days, it seems the truly prophetic act is one that seeks to tear those walls down – to risk vulnerability in a world that celebrates shame – to give food away in a world that tells us to stockpile – to believe that the loaves and fishes will multiply, that all will be fed and satisfied. May we find the courage to defy a world that tells us that we need to remain captive to our fears.

This is not
the age of information.
This is not
the age of information.

Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.

This is the time
of loaves 
and fishes.

People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.