I wrote this poem after reading about Parrotfish. They create entire beaches in Hawaii and help build reef islands in the Maldives by eating coral, digesting the stony bits and excreting them as sand. Yep, you read that right. I was fascinated by how these creatures can build whole beautiful beaches and even islands, a little bit of sand at a time. The notion then co-mingled with an image from a digital art piece I had seen that depicted an angel living on the ocean floor, and voila! Now, I’m not saying anything about the digestive habits of aquatic angels, but I had fun thinking of how we might all be elevated one grain of sand at a time.
We come face to face,
and I know there is more to this
In what world do winged creatures live in the dark deep?
I swim passed the hourglass that is shattered
– sand being more useful than time –
and I see that you are building an island
and I am your first guest – a child who knows everything to be true
How very wise of you
Though you know I cannot stay
I am the accidental messenger
The incidental friend submerged by wonder
and taken in by what should never be
If one believes the stories…but I don’t
For you are here amassing islands under sea
Proving all things possible
And when you spread your wings, do you fly or float?
Can there be any greater hope? You rise up either way
Even one grain of sand at a time elevates you
It was September when I brought home these uncommonly dark, richly coloured Stargazers. Within days, the blooms were gone. I planted the bulbs in the garden, and all winter I waited.
The lilies became a symbol for my own internal transitions. Unidentified potential skulking about in me. Restless and impatient with containment, angry and eager to burst. Bruised by the longing to be.
And at the same time, a growing sense of all that is alive in the universe that we do not see. Reading about experiments in physics demonstrating that light is sentient and, in its way, senses us. Waits in its own state of potential for us to choose and take part in the co-creation of what is and what will be.
Awaiting warmth of sun
Churning deep plum
Like a bruise
A cold and soundless
Waiting with hint of light
For scent of night
Alive with bloom
I am often grappling with the uneasy coexistence of absolute oneness and the seeming separation imposed by being in a physical body and of an individual mind – the condition of being an earthling, as it were. Here, the antidote to existential loneliness is an acceptance of a connection that is not knowable through my physical senses – a real surrender to my own beliefs. Physical touch is so much easier, yet this other kind of connection is so much bigger. But how do we live that kind of connection in our day-to-day physical world? We have to reach out our hands, answers my intuition. She gives no further instructions.
The Art Of Touching You
Telescope to the sky
A tingling darkness rises within
Shaping me tenderly
Resonating with things too far or too close for the eye to see
Things to be known instinctively
I sit alone with the universe
Embodying its great infinity
Contemplating the boundlessness
And the borders we impose
Intersecting at nowhere
And it is here that I laugh again
Because you are so close
That I can feel and know and love you
You are in my very own particles
And yet you are uniquely apart, as am I
But the art of touching you
This is the quest for which I turn to the telescope
The finer details eluding me
Out there we intersect, you and I,
At every point imagined and unimaginable
Here, I lie back and open my soul
To the immensity of that truth
My cosmology defining nothing while explaining everything at once
In this vast darkness swirling immeasurable light, I surrender and repose my longing
And reach out my hand and accept that you are here
Weather or not
I hold to my nature
I embrace her presence
Weather or not
She is swayed
And occasionally splintered
Because we all change form
Weather or not
We keep trying
Though the general atmosphere
Is prying at our spirit
Let love reign to the last
Weather or not
I hear a lot of talk about the state of the world. Often, I hear statements that begin with vision and understanding and shift quickly into sentences starting with, “but sadly… .” I hear a lot of voices filled with resignation saying “I hope… .” The implication being “I hope I’m wrong about where all this is headed.” This is not hope.
Hope is not passive.
Hope is not waiting to see what will happen. Hope is not about outcomes. Hope is making choices. Hope is choosing what you do with your thoughts, where you focus your attention, what you do in response to the challenges in your world. Hope is not passive.
Hope is investing in life. Showing up. Being here – for however long you get to be here. You wonder sometimes, “is there any hope for us, for our world?” Youare our hope. Be here! I am our hope. Stand with me! All we have to do is show up, see ourselves in each other and choose accordingly.
What if we go in
What if we go under
Where sunlight doesn’t reach
What if the guards step aside
And let us enter
What if there is light still?
How will we re-configure ourselves
How will we wrap ourselves
Within and around a reality
That is unending
What if there is a way
And we have already chosen it?
What if we surprise ourselves
What if we step aside
And let the mystery prevail
What if we are not masters of our destiny
In a great gamble
Of opportunity and chance
Where risk and reward
Are synonymous with play
And the consequence is freedom
What if the guards were put in place
By our own fear
What if they were never really here?
Look beyond your stories
Your interpretations of events
Look beyond what you think they see
When they look at you
Look for something new
Carry your ghosts
behind enemy lines
And drop them there
Look beyond human shame and indignation
And limitations of birth and time
Look beyond what you think you see
When you look in the mirror
Look for something true
Look for questions, not answers
Reality is in the possibilities
Not in that which has already been named
Forget what you know
You are here now
Even if all the world is a step behind you
You have a right to see
Fear is just a pioneer
Leading our way into undiscovered territory
Making of us children at the feet of a great storyteller
Where colour has no rules and form is open to interpretation
And the unexpected is the stuff of life
And the trail leads on as the story goes
And the artist knows what we fail to imagine
But the ground is broken
And the sun is high
And the first faces will break the chain of habitual seeing
And the pioneers will break their hold on the living
And no more will the roots of tyranny determine our destiny
Heart Open is the first in the “Out Loud” series of my spoken word poetry. Any time you see the above white and orange “Out Loud” logo, click play and have a listen.
Heart Open is about living a courageous devotion to love, vulnerability and freedom and recognizing these as inherent experiences that we all share.
The opening lines, “her heart is open / and mine is watching,” were born as I watched Alicia Keys perform on television. She sang and played, heart on her sleeve, and I felt how my heart had become guarded after a few solid years of consecutive illness, brain injury and personal loss.
I perceived in Alicia Keys’ expression and performance, the fullness of love for life she is capable of enjoying because she is willing to be vulnerable in her art, and I remembered! I remembered how to achieve that experience for myself.
It is a universal experience. A universal capacity to love. To choose love. To be love. To remember that love is life, and life is the point. I am grateful that we can learn, and relearn, from each other. Awaken, and reawaken, because we see ourselves in each other and we know in our being the power of love that unites us.
Her heart is open
And mine is watching
Her heart is open
And mine keeps stopping to see
‘cuz if it’s her
Then it’s me
And the deluge is gonna come
And the day I run?
Woman, that ain’t gonna happen
If I’m livin’, I’m laughin’
I’m soakin’ up the sun
I’m dancin’ in the rain
And I’m sane
And if you’re gonna hit me with rage
I will stand with the almighty
The all-knowing power
‘cuz if it’s in my heart
It’s in your heart too
Sweet, sweet synchronicity
If it’s her
Then it’s me
Then it’s you