For the New Zealand Dead

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Today I long to seek

The comforting words

Of others,

The poems, hymns, elegies,

The pleas for peace,

And not just the pleas,

But the certitude

That we are living

In our one true

Paradise here, now,

That peace walks among us,

Threading the world’s

Rivers and skies

Like gold

That we are one

Living unit

Holding hands

With the living and dead,

The seen and unseen,

All of us together,

And we are not

Slaughtering our children,

We are not bludgeoning

The worshiping hopeful,

We are not scared,

No, we are not

Acting in fear.

We are not taking

From others

What we are terrified

In the night

Of losing ourselves,

We are not begrudging

Anyone, anything.

We are not ripping

The skin off others

To remove what tethers

Them to a chance

In this world.

No, we are filling up

The cells in our bodies

With light, and one

Will light the next,

And the light

Will spill over

To the very

Body of life

That we will know

Belongs to us all

In its entirety,

No more no less,

And in this light

The unspeakable

Darkness will have passed,

Or we will wade

Through it together.

– Tammy Takahashi

 

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One

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And we know, that we only have
the resources we are given,
And that is how we are made:
To see two where there is one.
But this is where we begin,
and we can go everywhere from here.
Look at how there are two,
The sloping diagonal of the hill
and the gentle rise of trees,
The verdant moss of life’s green,
The fiery reds of season’s end,
The skyward grace, the earthward pull,
The last breaths glowing bright,
The humble, slow rise to life.
I look at one, and see the other,
My gaze cannot rest on one alone,
Separately they can’t fill me.
One thing bleeds to the next
Until I realize that it is I
who have needed demarcations,
You as apart from myself.
I look now, to this body of mine,
That has failed me in less ways
Than it has abundantly granted me,
And stumble over the parts
I have rued for too long.
The inward breath – halting rise.
The outward breath – staggered fall.
Two of the infinite manifestations
Of how we come to live,
And I know it must come to this:
To bring the self to perfect stillness,
Where boundless beauty multiplies
Not in succession, not points in time,
Not through clashes, or with walls,
But this, only this, only now, all of it love.
 
– Tammy Takahashi