from Gayle… a reflection and a poem…

Feeling lucky.  There’s a lot of poetry showing up in my life these days.  One way is a class I joined a couple of months ago at the Bernal Heights Public Library, called OWL, for Older Writers Laboratory.  I mentioned this group in my Nov. 30th response to Lorene.    My friend Anita’s been going for awhile and told me about it.  I’m really glad I started going.  Though more people are involved, approximately 12-22  show up on any given Monday afternoon. A couple of men, the rest women, mostly in their 60s and 70s. For the first hour, a handful of people – who wish to – read their poems and get feedback.  The second hour is devoted to creating new or revising old poems with a variety of skillful “prompts” from the teacher.

The poem I’m sharing with you today I wrote a couple of weeks ago after one of these classes.  Last Monday was a “revision” day, so I worked on the poem further.  Is it ready to be “born” into the light of day (read — cyberday)?  I don’t know.  I have qualms, judgements, comparing mind.  I do have a perfectionist streak in me that goes along quite nicely with a judging mind.  I want to advise against it.  If you have a choice.

In the meantime, I get to keep practicing kindness and compassion, and being in community.  I hope you’ll consider participating in our Dharma Road community with a poem of your own and/or some responses to others’.

Here is my poem:

On Listening to  Good Poems

Though a clever turn of phrase can spark my admiration,

cleverness is not what I long for…

Rather…     deeper listening,

a certain naked defenselessness, vulnerable, powerful

Simply this…

a single blade of grass pushing through cement

Aware… of its place in this universe without remorse or

need for greater significance

On comparing… the blade of grass…  small,

though larger than viruses, bacteria, or protozoa

vibrant green, spiked with definitive borders

On reflection…  a life span of…   what?       hours?        days?

Declaring itself arrived no matter the boot heel about to land.

What are the odds of any of it?

A tiny blade of grass pushing through cement

wondrous, no less, perhaps more than the cleverest king, or poet

And yet… when a person speaks or writes words that pierce

the protective shield of our everyday armor

and moves our heart/mind into a shared appreciation of the tiniest —



The mind quiets

The heart opens

Longing for some thing else ceases

And…    joy ascends

♥   Gayle


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