April is National Letter Writing + Poetry Month, it is also the first full month of the 2020 pandemic. We have put together a few poems to inspire and delight you at this surreal time in our lives. The first two are from friends of the studio, the last two have been circulating and are beautiful. We hope you enjoy them. Be well my friends!
Two poems by Tina Lanciotti - Middle School Teacher in New Jersey:
A bramble hedge of berries
Or a twisted, tangled
Peering down below the hedges
Where snowdrops grow and huddle
Poppy flowers and zinnias
are never very subtle
Lavender springs in fragrant bunches
Forsythia in yellows
Mushrooms grow lucky fairy rings
their colors are so mellow
Mosses spread beneath our feet
and dewdrops hang and huddle
trees spread wide
their great big arms
and cattails grow in puddles
sunny flowers grow
in great big towers
keep watch over us.
Copyright 2019 by T. Lanciotti
Excerpt of "Mind Full Walking"
Oh beautiful tree
An island of sea foam lichen moss
And I, that young child,
feel your strength as I nestle
against your scratchy bark
When I transform again into an old man
I feel the coolness of your leaves
The canopy shield overhead
Limbs strong enough
to have supported the tire swing
Of my youth
In the next moment
I am a refugee in search of knowing
The name of this unusual tree
Of the bark that I do not recognize
And I find myself remembering something like this
From my distant past
Perhaps a fig tree from Papi’s garden,
or a lemon tree from
Or the sacred Banyan
which started as a seed in Uma’s flowerpot
and grew to be the size of the sea
by Tina Lanciotti
Four poems by Clay Contouris - Student at University of South Florida:
Shining faces all around
Light pouring from their eyes,
“I Love You” they say to me
And I am Home.
Try pulling me away.
But riding on this train
Means to abandon thoughts.
To stop worshipping the brain
And learn to trust the Heart
May not know where tomorrow leads
But I sure know where I Am.
I Am Here, Loving, Now
Writing poems with my hand.
Stop projecting outwards
and reflections come to play
show me where the mind’s attached
and where the senses crave
Longing for experience dwindles
As it comes to a standstill
And from this cave of internal dwelling
Shines a light, love radiates within
Sharing blessings with the world
Shouting loud and free
Singing along to the silent song
That unites You and Me
I forget my history
And my opinions
To put on the role you gave to me
Because I trust that where I am
Is right where I’m meant-to-Be.
I step forwards.
The flame burns bright within.
Though shocked with fear,
Faith leads the way.
Each step of the Dance
In harmony with the whole.
The panorama of senses,
Like a carousel of light.
Bring awareness to each moment,
Struggle fades without a fight.
This is the Dream,
Awaken to your height.
The Tunnel, The Dance
“How deep does the tunnel go?”
He asks, probing with a toe.
“Much deeper than that!”
Jokes his friend Pat
As if live on a game show.
And he carefully takes a step
Not sure whether to trust himself
Or to turn and go straight back home
“Oh come on, man!” Pat urges him on,
While dancing in the cave
“The ground don’t bite!
Keep walking and fight!”
The echoing walls of the cave
Remind of its large size
And he shrinks back inside
Ready to cry
To give up and live in a lie
If you don’t walk now, that’s fine by me
Take your time! Or two, or three!
The Truth will wait ‘till you decide to Be Free.
Two waves crashing
A mirror that reflects nothing
The calm air
Green leaves rustling with the wind
Racoon with tire marks through its back
Flies buzzing around dog poop, left there an hour before
Seeing eye dog walking with a blind person, panting with its tongue out
Artist scared to share his creation
Young boy trapped in his room, scared of his parent’s expectation
A blossoming love killed by fungicide
An alcoholic with an urge to sweat
A monk who abuses his power because its all he has left
A dog looking out the window
A dead man rotting alone in his house, filling the walls with the stench
A gargoyle, ashamed of his wings, unable to fly
A student who loves his teacher and can’t focus on anything but
An elephant statue on the corner of a desk
A car with the front bumper smashed and the windshield shattered
And once again, Here I Am
Sitting by the riverside
Soaking in the breeze
As the grass scratches my legs
An ant crawls up my knee
Next up is a timely and poignant poem by Lynn Unger:
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath —
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love —
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
- Lynn Ungar 3/11/20
Learn more about Lynn Ungar here: http://www.lynnungar.com/
Lastly, a profound and needed musing from Gutpreet Gill:
“There is so much fear, and perhaps rightfully so, about COVID-19.
And, what if...
If we subscribe to the philosophy that life is always working out for us, that there is an intelligence far greater than humans at work...
That all is interconnected.
the virus is here to help us?
What is truly important.
Reconnecting with family and community.
Reducing travel so that the environment, the skies, the air, our lungs all get a break.
Parts of China are seeing blue sky and clouds for the first time in forever with the factories being shut down.
Working from home rather than commuting to work (less pollution, more personal time).
Reconnecting with family as there is more time at home.
An invitation to turn inwards -- a deep meditation -- rather than the usual extroverted going out to self-soothe.
To reconnect with self -- what is really important to me?
A reset economically.
The working poor. The lack of healthcare access for over 30 million in the US. The need for paid sick leave.
How hard does one need to work to be able to live, to have a life outside of work?
And, washing our hands -- how did that become a "new" thing that we needed to remember. But, yes, we did.
The presence of Grace for all.
There is a shift underway in our society -- what if it is one that is favorable for us?
What if this virus is an ally in our evolution?
In our remembrance of what it means to be connected, humane, living a simpler life, to be less impactful/ more kind to our environment.
An offering from my heart this morning. Offered as another perspective. Another way of relating to this virus, this unfolding, this evolution.
It was time for a change, we all knew that.
And, change has arrived.
- Gutpreet Gill
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