Tag Archives: seeds

Spring Equinox

The old falls away
Shattering the silence
Knots woven too tightly
And suddenly

Light bursts
Sparks up from everywhere
Incendiary, glowing web
Crisscrosses the places

Turned too long
Torn from the gaze of the sun
And from them
Newly born prisms

Tiny fragments of becoming
Flicker in open hands
Like luminescent seeds
Yearning, reaching up

Ever toward that searing
Soaring source
Of bright belonging
Who we are

Song of being
Arising, trembling
Small and shivering
Thin strong threads shimmering

All we have
Within us, given to
This fervent,
Fragile life.

Humming Bird: For Everywoman

Humming bird says no words
She just whirrs around the world
But have you ever stopped and heard
Her song for very long?
With a flutter you can soar
Beyond the things you’re looking for
So hover close once more before she’s gone.

What kind of flower do you dip your hours into?
Do you, too, long for a lean-to you can lean your burdens on?
Are we just the creatures that grace your sky with music,
Or do you cherish all the seeds we’ve sewn?
Do you cherish all the seeds we’ve sewn?

Be seen, don’t be heard.
It’s a child’s rhyme she’s memorized
But have you ever listened to the voice she could not share?
And now she sits at the table
Holding hands with men around a circle.
No longer spins their clothes in circles,
Wash clean like a prayer.

What kind of flower do you dip your hours into?
Do you, too, long for a lean-to you can lean your burdens on?
Are we just the creatures who grace your sky with music,
Or do you cherish all the seeds we’ve sewn?
Do you cherish all the seeds we’ve sewn?

She’s a creator, a conceiver,
She’s a mother,
A believer in what’s right and wrong,
A woman who’s seen strength take on her name.

She was a humming bird,
She sang, and once her voice was heard,
Well there were always those
To second guess the way she sees her world.

She’s not the same as you,
There’s something different.
She can’t build the world like you,
There is something different.
She’s got a different point of view,
She’s got cycles you don’t share
And it’s not nearly the same, the same at all.

So humming bird, says no words
She just whirrs around the world
Oh have you ever stopped and heard
Her song for very long?
With a flutter you can soar
Beyond the things you’re looking for:
How will you know the thing you’re looking for when you never could be sure?

What kind of flower do you dip your hours into?
Do you, too, long for a lean-to you can lay your burdens down?
And are we still the creatures who grace your sky with music,
Or have you noticed all the seeds we’ve sewn
Have you noticed all the seeds we’ve sewn?

Where were you today when she
Whirred her children gone, when she
Took back all of the colors of her own?
You were out discovering that
You, too are a hummingbird
And just as fragile, small, and hard to see as her.

You picked a flower to dip your hours into,
To make sense of the burdens buried in your down.
You wished, just for this once, that you could bear her children,
That there were just some things you could leave out.
But, there are just some things you can’t leave out.

So humming bird say no words,
You’re just a wing-span from our world
And have you ever stopped and heard
How strong we sing our song?

We are the same as you
There’s nothing different.
We both have to gather food,
There is nothing different.
Watch the fledglings fly away
Of both our colors they are made,
And the nests are strained with change today.
We’ll be the same after all.

So humming bird says no words
Oh humming bird says no words
Humming bird, she whirrs and whirrs
Oh she’ll be heard.
Have you ever stopped and heard
How strong she sings her song?

Strong we are and strong we whirr,
How strong we sing our song.
Strong we are, and strong we were,
How strong we sing our song.

***
You can listen to a recording of this song on my blog’s soundtrack page. Enjoy!

Break open and unfold

The seed sewn at the center
Waits to grow
Is always yours to hold.

As if dissolved in a cocoon,
I prepare to emerge changed
Into what I have always been.

My mind doesn’t know it yet,
And yet, I dream
Of unchecked skies and new found wings, I dream.

The metal box overflowing with my fears
Is too heavy to keep
Carrying on this journey,

So I’ll leave it on the bottom shelf
Behind the self help
Books promising “a better you.”

I am enough,
I scream at their winking gold titles.
Because even though I am

Cracked and chipped and damaged,
Dropped by accident too many times,
In turmoil with the mending of old wounds,

Still I take off again into the blue,
No longer meant to hide, or forced to crawl.
I tell the one who fights transforming at all:

Wordless love waits for whomever can
Commend themselves into the hands
Large enough to contain each

Of our sharp and jagged pieces.
Still enough,
To hold each imperfect moment, without comment.

None will hand me back such trying
Marked up red for correcting
Along with, “it would be better had you been done differently.”

So tomorrow, letting go, I’ll break down
The sealed doors to secret rooms
Behind which occupants bide their time, unwelcome.

Even if, to evict them I dissolve shaking
Into a dark shelter beyond
Which nothing is certain.

Hidden there are the keys for the freedom
To reign in my own home,
A butterfly monarch sustained by wildflowers.

Hidden there, myself unchanged.
And because there is nothing to do or be differently,
I’ll be wholly different from before.

I’ll remember what wings are, never forgetting who carries me,
The wind across this expansive, unsung sky,
And above the clouds, I’ll soar.

In Defense of Imperfection _ Part 1

Whenever you wake up into your own skin and realize you are no longer less than, small, that you deserve to take up space, it is a very strange feeling.  It’s like realizing that though you once were just a seed, you are now a tree with fruits and flowers, part of the vast network of growing things.  When you were just a seed, you thought growing was impossible. If you were small and unsure like I was, you might stare at a tall oak with it’s rooted, thoughtful self confidence, and respond with: “I’ll be that?  Yeah right!”  But when you fully arrive at being here now, once growing has begun, there is room to meet change with joy along with the ever present fear of uncertainty that winds around the perimeter of the shape of our lives.  And it seems not the case that the fear is of failure to thrive and become and the joy is for succeeding at your dreams, but that both happen in response to the possibility of success.  This is because, I think, success and achievement are often thought to be the same as perfection.  On the contrary, I hope to show that, in important ways, the need to be perfect (whether as a person or at doing something) ultimately leads to failure.

 

Human growing is probably a lot more involved and painful than plant growing.  I imagine myself with a classroom full of students, my students, and feel like the seed or perhaps like a tiny plant that could be crushed at any moment.  I think, yeah right.  But what else is it to come into our own?  What else is it to be a powerful change in the world? 

 

I look at the book I’m reading for my dissertation, Alasdir McIntyre’s “Dependent Rational Animals.”  I’m overwhelmed by the amount of information swarming my head.  Questions like: is there a human nature?  Are there virtues that can serve humans in flourishing no matter their culture?  Is it really natural for us to form communities of giving and receiving?  Can we make sense of an Aquinian vision of pity (uggghhh, I prefer sympathy or identification) or compassion, in a new context, one that does not involve God (the Christian God especially) but involves our nature as such? 

 

Are we essentially good?  Is it possible or even a good idea for us to rid ourselves of our most primitive instincts in order to act with practical rationality and wisdom, or does wisdom need instinct, can it not survive without acknowledged desire, feeling, and well-directed passion?  I for one am not sure it can.  I doubt that practical rationality, even when coupled with emotional balance, if there is no awareness of and way to express basic human instincts, will ever be wise.  Many people think that we have perfected ourselves by not following or even acknowledging our instincts.  Yet if I am right, our imperfect instincts not only make us human but allow us to develop an honest assessment of ourselves which is essential to living virtuously.

 

What shapes who we are and how much?  I think about cultures, histories, identities, values and their justifications, empirical findings about human psychology, biological truths about the relation between us and other animals, our patterns that throughout time have proved nearly unbreakable.  I stare at the tangled mess of millennia of human action and behavior and it’s theoretical, moral, and then down the road practical impact and doubt I can do much of anything at all.  There are the arguments, and then there are the actual changes to be made. As long as I am confounded by the arguments and feel that whatever actions I might take to make a difference won’t be right, acceptable, the correct solution, I might do nothing at all. It seems that doing nothing is a much greater failure than is trying to make a difference without going about it perfectly.

 

I know it is one step at a time, but feeling so useless is terrifying.  Or perhaps realizing that I could be dangerously useful is terrifying.  Or perhaps the fact that I have not had the courage to stand alone with my thoughts and start to get involved with the question, with the answer, is terrifying. 

 

When you begin, you cannot go back.  You can keep a seed out of the ground, but put it in and once it sprouts, barring extenuating circumstances, there is no stopping it from becoming the plant or tree it is.  It stands there, with a lot of other living things in an ecosystem of which it is an integral part, and yet it forever stands alone. 

 

It is so firmly rooted.  What is more, it is exactly what it is and doesn’t lie.  Coming across an oak tree, you don’t stop and shake your head and wonder if you’re really looking at a redwood that was trying to pass as an oak tree, pretending to be something it wasn’t.  People would probably benefit greatly from taking a course on life from trees: how to stand, how to stay grounded, how to keep what is valuable at the center, how to bend in the wind, how to reach toward the light, how to be fully present, fully themselves, how to be honest, how to contribute what they can to a nest, how to shade others from the glaring sun, how to gain sustenance from light, how to let go of parts of themselves that are no longer useful in the fall, how to blossom. 

 

But in any case, whoever I am, there is no changing that now.  Not on grand scales anyway.  If I become an ethicist, a professor, a teacher, a creative writer, I’ll have to burst out of this shell and become something.  This means making a mark on the world.  This means of course responsibility.  Should I be held responsible for my good intentions and all their amazing and disastrous outcomes and be left standing, like the tree weathering storms? 

 

First, I suppose I have to be a little better at shouldering criticism.  Second, I need to be a little bit better at believing in myself.  But the irony of growing is that it doesn’t happen by rationally thinking it over until the right course comes along.  A plant doesn’t contemplate the pros and cons of growing one way rather than another and then act accordingly.  It is a process that it both creates and witnesses.  This is true for humans too, I think. 

 

We become confident, immune to misplaced criticism, graceful around well-deserved criticism, and able to believe in ourselves by living, by doing.  And so it is in the throwing roots down and growing which ever way we do that we grow into ourselves, that we gain the qualities and values we want.  It is not by contemplating the things we long for until we are perfectly certain that we have a fully fool-proof rational course to embark on, that we can finally walk the road of life. So perhaps if we instead try for a straight and narrow course we will in a sense fail, we will fail to grow at all because we are too afraid of making mistakes or not being good enough.  It is like the saying goes, sitting on the edge of the river afraid to jump in because you might be a terrible swimmer, or forget how to float, or get snagged on a log, or get stuck in an eddy, or never learn to let go. 

 

More imperfect arguments to come.