Friday, February 24, 2017

I Wondered: a poem

I watched his red face, the fist swinging-arch
in his rear-view mirror.
I saw her pull at her child, her fingers
clench white and clawed while others turned away.
I listened to him tell his tale of loss
yet again, nothing changing as the years eeked by.

And I wondered.

I watched him raise his glass of beer
because the team had won,
good excuse as any.
I saw her sign a contract for millions of dollars,
Millions watching, chips in hand.
I heard him say my country, right or wrong
while others cheered.

And I wondered.

I sat with the heron along the creek bed,
the air a thin sheet of dampness on my skin.
I held my child, seventeen and weeping
on the bathroom floor and
could not measure the time spent.
I stood by the coffin of a three year-old,
knowing the next time I saw his mother
it would be her wedding day.
Would both be filled with such sunlight,
playfully spanning the stained glass window?

And so, I wondered.

Up Through Carcasses: a Poem

Snow sugar-dusts the harvested cedar,
their trunks stacked like stairs 
leading into
a gray sky.
Root hillocks create stationary waves, 
restless stillness in the new field,
frozen-frothy in the wind.
Come here and touch the fresh snow with your fingertips-
can you feel it?
The baby cedar crying in the darkness,
digging up through
carcasses and damp and cold,
restless to point
at the distant sun

and wave arms at birds in flight.

Mirroring Dharma: A poem

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
the frame is cracking and
spilling you out as light,
finger out into the crevasses,
wriggle yourself into what lies
beneath the carpet,
maybe drip into the dirt
propping up the ridgepole of this

Reflection feared to go.

Being Buddha, Being Christ: A Poem

He did not talk about his religion—
only bent and weeded the flower garden,
taught us how to drive the tractor like
a mythical rite of passage,
carved out walking paths with sittin’ logs,
and laughed out-loud at the raccoons
perched up high in the Council Oak.
He dressed simply,
a farmer’s matching shirt and pant
in green, in tan, and brown;
helped us craft bows and arrows from wood;
and gave us bits of meat to feed to the crawfish.
I will never forget how
still, contained, a half-smile on his lips,
he sat on the porch to watch the sunset

with blue-satisfied eyes.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Painting Break: a Poem

Place the paintbrush with exquisite care,
and sit on the floor,
cosmic mudra,
legs crossed,
spine erect
eyes cast down.
 Strokes from the shoulder and wrist echo,
wall and ceiling after-images,
green-speckled pants, hint of a sigh.
Stained carpet.
Paint sneeze flirting with
coffee and sage--
Again, breath.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dark, the Forest: a poem

Dark, the forest before the woodsmen came,
the cedar fencing out the sun,
tangling even the legs of the furry ones,
corpses of trees the only root supports.
The machine wriggled through the mud,
scything, grasping, piling cedar and not-cedar,
incense on the air whispering over damp stumps,
and this morning
a bald eagle circling the open field,
a laugh and a brightness

etched on a blue sky.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Homestead Update February 20, 2107

These pictures are from the first day of work freeing up the 40 acres of swamp that makes up most of our property.  The cedar grow so small, stunted and tight you have to crawl through in places.  In the deep winter, there are no tracks in the swamp--it's fairly "dead" space and not very usable for hunting. 

We listed the back forty on Craigslist, offering free wood for folks who wanted to harvest it.  A chipping company took us up on it, and started in this week. In less than three hours, they opened up about an acre, neatly stacking and sorting the wood as they went. 

And the bonus?  We've already seen deer tracks, evidence they were drawn to the tender tops of the cedar now on the ground.  And both a hawk and a bald eagle circled the space--now we have a vista where we can actually see the sky and birds.  Two grouse strutted through this morning, all a feast for us feather-watchers!

We can hardly wait to see the whole 40 open up.  We will have two "bands" of trees we will leave, sectioning the 40 into three big fields with highways for the deer to move through the land and access the alfalfa and clover.  

I'll update the blog with pictures as we go along.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Deep Communion--with Guest Rev. Karen Bacon

Follow this link to hear my interview with Rev. Karen Bacon--a touching and inspiring story of living with mental illness and a hope-filled message of healing. 

You'll also find a link to Karen's blog which explores how art and writing aided in her recovery.  Her work is provocative and beautiful, almost not-this-worldly.  I deeply appreciate her honesty--whether speaking truth about the pain of mental illness or the joy of spiritual ecstasy.  

Deep Communion, my radio show, airs the third Wednesday at 1 PM Eastern Time at on the internet. Check back monthly for downloadable MP3 copies of the program. 

The show allows me to give voice to folks who work with the Spirit in all manner of things--from gardening to music, art to ministry, writing to healing.  You can also find links to all my books on that page.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Furnace as the Monastery Bell

The furnace clicks on
Picture last night,
50 degrees and dropping,
snow and wind beyond the frosted windows,
my husband bent over his smartphone You Tube screen
a tiny screwdriver and
an igniter in its package.
(Yes, I was praying under the quilts!
Yes, he cussed a bit!)
This morning
each periodic stream of warm air
fluffing the plants
whispering over my socks
murmuring in the background
becomes a monastery bell
come back, come here
be present
and give thanks!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More Poetry from Easing Into the Dhammapada

Nine boxes, taped, and even those
will breakdown
and line the keyhole gardens.
Everything fits in them—the few books
I cling to still,
the bits of jewelry, silvered with meaning,
even the beaded shirt from India—
and perched here now,
knees pulled tight to my chest,
the westering sun sketches
ebony bare branches
over water-color oranges and reds.
What boxes, shirts, books and bobbles
could breathe so lightly
in the coming night?


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Poem from my upcoming Easing into the Dhammapada Book

A mob has been seeded into Facebook posts,

with words like

They and Them and Him and Her,

soundbite micro-realities mixing

with the rush of false intuitions,

illusions heated in little silver children’s spoons,

the flames media-fed and blue-screen hot.



and thundering

word by word by word

full color aura

into the pupils of millions of eyes.





Thursday, February 9, 2017

Alpena Common House and Infinity Church

Hello everyone!

We are moving our Common House gatherings to the First Congregational United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall (elevator accessible second floor) beginning February 19. Please do pass this on to friends who might be interested in our topics and gatherings. We'll also be shifting our meeting time to 6:30 PM to work better with the church's alternative worship service called Underground Church that meets downstairs at 5 PM.  Tea will be served after each service and we'll keep a simple free will donation bowl.

Beginning March 19, we'll be alternating our Common House program with Infinity Church, a fully experiential worship experience featuring an always interesting blend of movement, chant, drumming, art, journaling, meditation, and more.  All faiths are welcome as well as folks who might call themselves "spiritual not religious" or even "religious nones". :-) If you know folks in the community who might enjoy leading such experiences, please drop their name(s) to me!

Notice, too, the first Infinity Church retreat entitled The Enneagram and Mystics will be held on September 16 at 9:30-3:30 at the church.  I'll have more information available for you all as we get a little closer, but I thought you might want to reserve the date!

Here is the calendar through May.  Please cut it out and post it on your refrigerator.  You can also follow The Common House of Alpena on Facebook (if you see a sunflower, you'll know you are on the correct page!

Sunday, Feb 19: Common House of Alpena: Vivekananda and Hazrat Inayat Kahn: Heart and Head of Wisdom

Sunday Feb 26: Common House of Alpena: Thomas Merton and Interfaith Dialogue

Sunday March 5: Common House: The Tao te Ching: Wu Wei Living

Sunday, March 19: First Infinity Church: Presenter: Kim Nunneley: The Centering Prayer/Welcoming Tradition

Sunday, March 6: The Common House of Alpena: Adyashanti and non-dualism

Sunday April 2: Infinity Church: Presenter:

Sunday, April 9: The Common House of Alpena: Meister Eckhart and “God save me from my idea of God”

Sunday April 16: (Easter Sunday) Infinity Church: Presenter:

Sunday April 23: The Common House of Alpena: Pema Chodron and Tonglen

Sunday April 30: Infinity Church: Presenter:

Infinity Church Retreat: Rev Kayle Rice and Nancy Irish, Presenters.  Enneagram and Mystics.  9:30-3:30 PM, Saturday September 16.