A Travel Poem

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What is the promise of a new journey
if not an awakening of soul’s stirring,
an expansion of the privileges of new dawn,
and the singular experience of renewal
as we search for the morning sun
after night’s dark and restless charms,
and bathe ourselves in the soft heat
that has been all the way around the world
and has so many stories to tell us?
How is it possible not to seek communion
with each of the places the sun has been
that has painted us with all this life?

– Tammy Takahashi

I Want to Be

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I want to be like the sun,
using my incredible power
to light up the world.
 
I want to give like the tree
that stands the test of time
to give us our chance at life.
 
I want to sing like the birds
who create peace and beauty
every time they make a sound.
 
I want to know like the sky
that looks without limitation
and inspires all imagination
 
I want to feel like the moon
allowing all emotions safe harbor
with an open eye and heart
 
I want to bud like a flower
with not even a slight doubt
about my inherent perfection
 
I want to aim like the wind
happy with all the directions
travelling so far and so light
 
I want to roar like the ocean
with her wild, untamed strength
that comes from her fluidity
 
I want to love like Time,
which cannot exist without us,
and extends to all without end.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

Love Stories Everywhere

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There are love stories everywhere,
in the butterflies of first caresses,
in the clouds shaped like hearts.
Love can be found in the flowers
opening each morning to feed the bees,
in a mother’s warm, soothing embrace.
There is love in interlocking treetops,
in their roots intertwined underground
to help each other, and feed the world.
Love builds a mama bird’s nest
for her babies’ fledgling first days,
and makes a rainbow from rain.
Love arches the sun up toward the moon,
and the moon across the breadth of sky,
and love makes all the oceans swell.
Love lets us forgive our gravest mistakes,
and come to believe in new beginnings,
And love lets me reach deep inside,
where I sometimes forget love resides,
and turn all of the darkest places to light,
until I know: love stays, love abides.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

Your Small Gestures Matter

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Sometimes I think that if we had even
the smallest notion in our wily minds
that keep spinning the same old stories
for us day after day, year after year,
of how many other ways it can always be,
we would immediately look for this door.
We would stop thinking we have to make
the greatest journeys and grand gestures
to make the profound changes we seek.
Have you ever tried to smile through tears?
It feels at first like an alien invasion, strange,
unwanted, until the body responds in kind,
ignites from deep within, bearing lightness.
The smallest hand gesture, brilliantly new,
and suddenly we are carrying ourselves
as a different person, with a purpose,
perhaps, we didn’t know had been calling.
Have you ever seen cherry blossoms bloom?
Without ever leaving its one sacred place
In the world of cycles, seasons and Time,
it does the only thing it knows how to do,
but does it with all the effort of its being,
which is not effort at all, but fulfillment,
and for the briefest moment in our history,
because every single blossom did the same,
we have a tree that moments ago was bare,
and is now grander than any work of art,
and the blossoms have not arrived to stay,
but to live out their short symphony with grace,
and leave the tree stronger for their presence,
and leave a world that will never be the same.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

When You Are Tired

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When it is difficult

To find the right view,

The one you have been seeking

And know makes everything sing,

And you cast your gaze wide,

And are filled with detritus:

Yesterday’s thoughts and creations

Turned grey, tired, the living legacy

Of mistakes ongoing,

When this is the challenge of today,

Start by narrowing the view.

Find the flower growing, miraculously,

Out of a pile of storied rubble,

The vines climbing the electric fence.

See the art succeeding to lift

A sad neighbourhood up,

The way the sun beams for everyone.

Take yourself off the road

In the direction of the horizon,

And look down, and your shoes

Are already off by now,

So that your feet are sinking

Into the grasses, fields, forests,

And the prickling sensation

Is your reminder of the struggle

That brought you here,

And there is always the promise

Of moss on stone.

Reach the mountain. Climb it.

Or maybe you have a potted plant

On your windowsill that wants you

To talk to it. Do better. Sing.

Tell it your deepest wounds

As you caress it to health.

When you have been filled

With everything that nurtures,

Widen your gaze again,

And bring your vibrant beauty

To our hopeful, waiting world.

– Tammy Takahashi

Why Do We Dream of Home?

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Why do we dream of home?

Why do we long to return,

Somewhere both near and far,

Somewhere on the path ahead,

Leading us from behind,

Where the images have

Faded to wisps, to dark?

Why do we dream of home

Like we are in need of saving,

Like there is a nest, a shelter,

Loving arms to harbor us

When we’ve become strangers

To the deepest parts of self?

Where can home possibly be,

After we have searched

The corners of the world

Looking for a place to rest,

Having combed every part

Of the recesses of mind,

To discover what is true,

And what can be good?

When we will know, finally,

That home is the deep breath

Of all the oceans heaving,

A breathing in and breathing out

That allays the fear

Of having lost ourselves,

Because there is no way,

Any longer, to deny

The four walls, floor and roof

Of the home we have lived in

From the moment of our birth,

And that will carry us,

And let us live and pray,

Lose and find, come and go

As many times as we need to,

And will welcome us back

To ourselves without hesitation:

This body, our aspirations,

The joy of our embodied now.

– Tammy Takahashi

 

On a Morning Almost Spring

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It is all for you,

That sweet smell

The rain-soaked cedar

Living out its last moments

Close to home,

The breathing earth-fire

Of the sacred mountain,

The new leaves budding,

The insects always

Finding their way,

Knowing where to rest,

And how to carry out

The meaning of their lives.

For you, that I drop

To my knees, to be close,

Too, to all that splendor

We forget to call home.

I bring hands to heart,

And the cave within

Becomes the whole horizon,

The sun, hidden before rain,

Still finds its way

Into the space between

Blood and bone,

Heart and mind,

And I don’t have to wait

Anymore, no, I find

That I am already here.

  • Tammy Takahashi