Writing poetry has been immensely healing for me over the years.
I experience it as a collaborative process, a dialogue with the great mystery, a greater intelligence. Through poetry I can express myself more fully than in many other ways- I can write through pain, confusion, grief and overwhelm and sometimes words emerge like an answer to my questions and struggles. I take refuge in poetry.
When writing a novel, I start with an idea, flesh it out and follow the lead of the characters- but a poem enters differently: wilder, faster, in a more instinctual and primal way. Often a poem finds me rather than me finding it. Sometimes I hear a single line and I know that a poem is coming.
Then I better sit down and let it come to me, flow through me and take notation. It will be gone if I don’t listen, it won’t linger long…
In these uncertain and challenging times, I want to share some of my own poetry and other poems of writers and poets whose work I cherish.
Some of the poems have also been written in response to the current crisis .
I hope you find them uplifting and inspiring!
If you have a poem that you feel would sit well in this collection, please email me email@example.com
Blessings of the Ancients by Eva Weaver
May you have courage
to step through the door that is opening before you
boldly cross the threshold of your constricted heart
and walk in power across the empty space.
May you gather the riches of your soul
body and heart
the places that feel abandoned and lost
and hold them tenderly.
May you gather yourself up and stand tall
yes, taller than ever before.
May you dress in golden robes just for yourself
and gather your wild creatures around you:
wolf and snake, lion and eagle, bear and owl
and gazelle too.
May you walk in grace, lady of the beasts
Queen of your own soul.
May you have heart and know in your blood and bones
that life has unimaginable riches to offer you still
that your hunger will be stilled
and your thirst be slated as you sit
at the banquet of companionship,
friendship and love.
May you know that nothing is ever lost
and all and everything is possible
that you can stop treading on eggshells and
open deeper and deeper to the magic
that is aching to find you.
May you feel your worth always
and may you know in your bones that the old ones
and the ancients walk closely with you and have your back
May you open to the world as wide and deep as the ocean
but equally discerning as the sacred needle penetrating your flesh
and the golden knife cutting away all that no longer serves
to open you to the new like never before.
May you know long nights of love making
rapture and ecstasy
strong arms and fierce hearts
meeting you, holding you
May you know generosity and kindness
love and devotion from many sources.
May the warmth of tribe comfort you
friends and soul family hold you.
May feasts and laughter be alight at your long table
and all your visions and dreams come true.
May your light shine so brightly
and warm all those who hunger for it.
May you rise and soar and shine
and may you feel loved and cherished
desired and held
There it hangs
the chrysalis of humanhood
all certainty suspended
the caterpillar of greed
after its ruthless rampage.
It is no more.
We are plunged into the dark
into unknowing and non-doing
the illusion of control
ripped from our hands.
And while the terror
of loss and illness
sweeps across the world
this one and that one,
the chrysalis of humanhood
All we know is
as it was
But there can be no transformation
without loss of form and face
and now is the time
to return to the primordial soup
to surrender to the dark
to let go
to suspend knowing and striving
to listen deeply in the dark
to your heartbeat
and to the rushing in your blood
that tells of love and longing
to listen for one another there in the dark
and for the humming
Let it all be
until the imaginal cells stir
the imaginal cells
find each other in new clusters
vision and weave and build
from this darkness.
And we know
will inevitably come
grown from fear
to that deep
And whatever is born once it is time
once the chrysalis breaks open
wings will have been painted
and the world’s.
Or so I hope.
So let us know each other
sitting in that dark together
Eva Weaver 28th of March 2020
is the wind
as it catches in the door
the wind not letting up for days now.
is the cat
my furry blessing
that came to me just before lockdown
exploding now into bursts of activity
then sleeping for hours.
are the clouds
forming, journeying over the soft hills
are the birds
cutting the sky with their wings.
are the shoots of seeds
uncurling in my little pots
holding in their tiny leaves
the promise of red ripe tomatoes
in that far away future summer.
are the questions:
When will I laugh again in a lover’s arms?
When will I write again in community around a wooden table?
When will I eat a meal again with my friends,
feeling their hands in mine as we speak a blessing?
When will I kiss someone again?
And who will be there if I fall ill?
And will I see you again?
And you? And you? And you?
for the wind, for the furry blessing, for the clouds
for the birds
for the shoots of seeds
and for you
31st of March 2020
Shedding by Eva Weaver
Do you hear it?
This soft rustle as I slide and slither
out of my old skin?
Do you hear it?
This sweet sound of my shedding?
It’s the skin of my victimhood, peeling, shedding
noticed by no one but myself,
There is still pain, oh yes
there is still grief and despair
there is still a cracked and broken heart
but that old skin
And as I wake in the darkest hour of the night
my heart pounding
I sob and moan
slip back into the old crumpled skin.
I run my fingers tenderly over my new home:
skin so raw and alive and so unknown.
I marvel over its glistening beauty
that feels everything so acutely
yet differently than anything it felt in the old skin.
I touch myself in all my places
hello new skin
hello new colour
hello new texture
hello new smell.
And when I finally find my heart
I hold its exquisite beauty
in my hands all night long until the first light of dawn
and one at a time
I fill its cracks
Notes from the Ancients by Eva Weaver
Nothing new comes from the old hurt
the old stump
the old resentment.
take your broom and sweep your heart
sweep the soot of your fruitless fires
the struggles that came to nothing but ash.
Sweep your heart,
clean it with the water of your tears
with the breath of your dreams
the air of your visions-
nothing can withstand the power of your vision.
Like an arrow, sharp and decided
it must find its goal
it cannot fail.
You are your own flight.
So sharpen your intent and cleanse your heart
pull up the fish bone stuck in your throat
and speak your truth!
Speak it without fear or shame
without cringing, without pathos
speak your truth and let yourself be
Throw yourself out into the ocean of life like a long line
a big net-
there is much to catch.
And when a skeleton is caught in the line
pull it up and greet it- you know what to do.
Do not to shrink from it, but see it for what it is:
bones that need tending to
like your garden
that need loving, singing over, dreaming over.
The bones of your dreams will take you far.
And always keep moving:
your every thought, your every breath
carries you forward
unfolding a perfect path before you.
Do not rest in any one form
as like a dress or a suit it can be stripped from you
suddenly ripped off in a fire, an assault of illness
a whim of life, a death.
Open your lungs wide, even if it hurts
that way life can take you to a place of wonderment.
And yes, we are all artists
but we have to choose to live this flame
there is nothing grandiose about it
the flesh and bones of the artist
are as delicate as those of the city player.
There are no guarantees.
So choose wisely, choose every day
and when your bones hurt
embrace the night and the starlight
that is older than any sun.
keep shaping your world
and know that nothing
every really goes away.
We die and we live
and we die
and we keep dancing.
For nothing that once was will ever be again
dancing, whirling, shifting
We are all made from stardust.
So shake your limbs until your bones rattle
shake them like a feather bed-you will lie better in it.Shake,
shake your limbs
give yourself in red abandon
let your blood run fast
shatter your breath
Whispers by Eva Weaver
I hear her whisper when I finally cry,
look out of the window towards the wonder
of magpies and wood pigeons
dancing and resting in your tree
and the crows
whirling, despite the fog and rain
all the birds gathering twigs
following the pulse of the impending spring
old as time.
But, what is my work now in these times, I say?
.Ah, she says,
let go of the frantic planning and thinking
you will adapt quickly enough to the new landscap
but not before you let your fists relax.
Let them open
let you palms be upturned towards the wide sky
open to the new design that will settle there in time.
It cannot be forced
but I promise
it will fall like snowflakes into your palms:
a new pattern of ideas and purpose
and a deep knowing of your own unique medicine
for you to share.
But, what about the leaden fear in my chest, I say?
Dear one, she says,
please stop and rest, at least for a while
and let your fear of isolation be what it is:
Nor more, nor less.
And know this is not the deeper truth
not yours, nor anyones
for you are held always in the web of life
and all this is still here:
the rushing of your blood
But what about the loneliness, I say?
Come, she says,
soften into that tender place underneath your breastbone
and lean back
lean against a cushion
lean into the ground
lean into grace
and into the helpers invisible to the eyes:
those from different realms
who are waiting for your invitation
to come closer
to support you
to wrap you in their warmth
(for they are masters of consent and will not trespass
your boundaries, but patiently await your prayers)
feel the long line of your ancestors
at your back
the stream of warmth and light
flowing towards you.
Ah, but what about the lonely nights?
Beloved, she says,
just hear the terrors out
let them have their voice but don’t let them swallow you.
Grieve and wail and stomp if you must
do what you need to do
but then turn your back and step away
and let them be.
For terror is only that:
a shadow mirage and fear-mongerer,
not a truth sayer.
Beloved, she says,
walk and dance, open your window and breathe
sing across the streets
and reach out to those who welcome both your shine and your fears
who can sit with you in the dark
and lift your spirit
those who are as naked as you are.
Hold and let yourself be held more deeply than ever
if not in embraces
but still enveloped in words and looks and smiles.
Fall into your own depth
the core and centre of your being
reach out wide
and weave yourself into the fabric of life
and feel yourself a unique part of the weaving.
Know yourself well
In these times
is no luxury
but a necessity
not to slither down that slippery slope,
that rabbit hole of fear.
And look, she says, the ancient,
each day is still a blessing
despite the ever shifting ground:
there’s a concert of gulls just outside your window
young and old ones mingling
as they catch the thermo under their wings
cutting the air, gliding effortlessly
And the sycamore
speckled with magpies, ten of them,
bobbing on branches, their tails dancing
chattering, working something out.
And the wood pigeon
balanced on the top of the elder
nibbles at the first buds
and the horses, frisky and alert
pound the hills with bursts of galloping
before they graze again
demolishing with gusto the new shoots
as they always have,
each and every spring.
And the sun is gathering strength
happy to lend us her joy
and the tide
has not stopped its coming and going
and the cats still hunt mice and lick their fur clean and shiny
and the air smells still of the sea.
Go with the wind, not against it,
she says, catch the thermo
trust the tide
nibble the spring shoots
and await the impending spring
with a joyous heart.
Most of all,
count your blessings, human,
count your blessings.
Eva Weaver , 26th of March 2020
Weaving in the dark
We weave in the dark
in these times.
The colours might be duller and muted
or even brighter
but we can’t see
we won’t know the patterns we are weaving
until some future
much further along.
But we can still dream it
we can still dream
of companionship and love
of sitting together around tables
sharing meals and feasts and holding hands
with new words
shaped in the dark
overflowing from our grateful mouths
in that future.
We can still dream
of rapture and abandon
of a new lover
a first kiss
a first dancing of tongues and fingers
a first swarm of butterflies taking flight in our belly’s cave
a first swelling and melting and gushing.
It will be a while
the horses are still frisky
galloping in small herds across the green hills
stirred by the wind
and by the whispers
of spring awakenings.
22nd of March 2020
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.
Break by Brooke McNamara
Let the weight you run from every day
now draw you down.
Later there will be time to tend
to everything left undone.
into your own bones
lying horizontal on this ground.
into your dark corners.
Come into this
under all the layers.
Come where all your losses
Be drawn deeper down
into the salt tide of tears.
Let grief wash you,
then drown you
beyond the name
you first were given,
when you reached to touch
your own mother’s face for the very first time,
and she smiled her light down into you
Now reach those same fingers
for the face of infinity —
so that, opening your eyes,
you will know
the one dreaming you
is pleased with you,
that everything seen
is your self,
and that now is the time
to rise wholehearted into the work
aching to be animated
by precisely you.
By John O’Donohue
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
Everything Is Waiting for You by David Whyte
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
Poetry for uncertain times- during the corona virus crisis
By Lynn Ungar
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.
Wash Your Hands by Dori Midnight
We are humans relearning to wash our hands.
Washing our hands is an act of love
Washing our hands is an act of care
Washing our hands is an act that puts the hypervigilant body at ease
Washing our hands helps us return to ourselves by washing away what
does not serve.
Wash your hands
like you are washing the only teacup left
that your great grandmother carried across the ocean,
like you are washing the hair of a beloved who is dying,
like you are washing the feet of Grace Lee Boggs, Beyonce, Jesus,
your auntie, Audre Lorde, Mary Oliver- you get the picture.
Like this water is poured from a jug your best friend
just carried for three miles from the spring
they had to climb a mountain to reach.
Like water is a precious resource made from time and miracle
Wash your hands and cough into your elbow, they say.
Rest more, stay home, drink water, have some soup, they say.
To which I would add: burn some plants your ancestors
burned when there was fear in the air,
Boil some aromatic leaves in a pot on your stove
until your windows steam up.
Open your windows
Eat a piece of garlic every day. Tie a clove around your neck.
My friends, it is always true, these things.
It has already been time.
It is always true that we should move with care and intention, asking
Do you want to bump elbows instead? with everyone we meet.
It is always true that people are living with one lung,
with immune systems that don’t work so well,
or perhaps work too hard, fighting against themselves.
It is already true that people are hoarding the things that the most vulnerable need.
It is already time that we might want to fly on airplanes
less and not go to work when we are sick.
It is already time that we might want to know
who in our neighborhood has cancer,
who has a new baby, who is old, with children in another state,
who has extra water, who has a root cellar,
who is a nurse, who has a garden full of elecampane and nettles.
It is already time that temporarily non-disabled people
think about people living with chronic illness and disabled folks,
that young people think about old people.
It is already time to stop using synthetic fragrances
to not smell like bodies, to pretend like we’re all not dying.
It is already time to remember that those scents make so many of us sick.
It is already time to not take it personally when someone doesn’t want to hug you.
It is already time to slow down and feel how scared we are.
We are already afraid, we are already living in the time of fires.
When fear arises,
and it will,
let it wash over your whole body instead of staying
curled up tight in your shoulders.
If your heart tightens,
science says: compassion strengthens the immune system
We already know that, but capitalism gives us amnesia
and tricks us into thinking it’s the thing that protect us
but it’s the way we hold the thing.
The way we do the thing.
Those of us who have forgotten amuletic traditions,
we turn to hoarding hand sanitizer and masks.
we find someone to blame.
we think that will help.
want to blame something?
Blame capitalism. Blame patriarchy. Blame white supremacy.
It is already time to remember to hang garlic on our doors
to dip our handkerchiefs in thyme tea
to rub salt on our feet
to pray the rosary, kiss the mezuzah, cleanse with an egg.
In the middle of the night,
when you wake up with terror in your belly,
it is time to think about stardust and geological time
redwoods and dance parties and mushrooms
remediating toxic soil.
it is time
to care for one another
to pray over water
to wash away fear
every time we wash our hands
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
from Richard Hendrick (Brother Richard) in Ireland
March 13th 2020
An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans – by Kristin Flyntz
Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt
We will stop
the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our
single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth
did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness,
listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Stop. Just stop.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you, if you listen.