Past Now Love

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There is no part of our land
that has been left untouched
by the ravages of our violence
and the blessing of our prayers,
existing together, all at once;
it can be the work of a lifetime
to sit with everything we know.
There is no life without history,
and no body without memory.
To walk is to walk with ghosts,
to breathe is breathe the story
we’ve brought to waking dreams.
Fear drives dark excavations,
Wonder brings back the light.
What’s dissolved, what remains,
what brought tears, our hope,
the fluid emblems of our lives.
May we find the love within us
to seek all those sacred spaces
marked with all of experience;
the silken threads and wisps
singing to us our past laments
as we find in them everything
we need to remember about us,
and our will to make it better.
 
– Tammy Takahashi
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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

Fight For Your Freedom

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Don’t ever let anyone tell you
There is only one path to freedom.
You know, as you look within,
That your stories are wholly yours,
The way they circulate with your blood,
And form the very mass of your bones.
If as they say you are stardust,
Then you know from looking up,
Through the cloud of your doubts
Into the clearest sky at midnight,
That the stars are infinite,
That each one has something
Different to tell you, from near or far,
That one is winking, while another cries.
We don’t have to be told
That we are made of our ancestors,
Each a snowflake, a grain of sand
Gleaming on the landscape of time,
An entire universe crystallized
Just like this, in one exact moment
That can and will never be repeated.
The beauty of the thread of love
That unites us and allows us our love
Honours each of our differences,
Without which a hole the size of the world
And our profound losses could never be filled.
But we are here – we are all here,
Arrived with a special capacity to grow,
And find ever new ways of growing,
That will always start with who you are,
And how much you are willing
To love yourself enough to begin,
No matter what the forces saying no,
In the light of all the love saying yes.

– Tammy Takahashi

A Poem for Notre Dame

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In every great plumed tree
lies the coming, naked winter,
each beam of starlight
tells of a past no more.
The stately art of an era
bears out our name, rounds out
the body of our experience,
the effigies stand time still
while leaving us desperate
to climb into the world
where memories come to life.
When a great building dies
it pours madly into the world,
scattered in all the directions,
remnants of a collective dream,
of a the sacred space where
the history of emotion lived,
with all the hushed whispers
and reverential quietude,
the rapture of encountering,
face-to-face, the ripened fruit
of our grandest human hopes
and greatest earned potential.
Every single thing that exists
contains the code of its demise
and we do not know know when,
or how, or by what means
this destruction born of creation
comes to journey’s end,
only that we can bear witness
to all this life in its passing.
 
– 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

Life and Death

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We die and are born
a thousand times a day
without our noticing.
Every conscious breath
brings us back to our self
the only way it can,
quietly, patiently, persistently,
knowing the time will come
when life’s games have ceased
to have their hold on us,
and, not knowing what else to,
we will turn to the heaven inside us,
to assure ourselves
of our own survival in the face
of everything we’ve come to believe,
to bring Life into closer view
as the world crumbles around us.
We will be soothed, rocked gently
in our own bodies on wailing seas
of our times, now in great despair.
Our breath will remind us
that the great drama of living
is both short and endless,
that there can be no limit
to the good we can invite within,
to the unwanted we can expel.
The two moments of the day
when the sun arrives and departs
are startling, awe-filled reminders
of the possibility of starting in endings,
of what departs in each beginning,
of our need to allow each moment
to be the rebirth of us all.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

I am Human

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I am the wind, storming through,
I am the tree, badly shaken.
I am the sky, clear and hopeful,
I am the clouds, grey and obtuse.
But the tree, it doesn’t break,
And the clouds, they dissipate.
I am the background, I am listening,
I am the foreground, I am acting.
I am the mountain, I am brooding,
I am the forest bed, I am inviting.
I am the wild animals, I am starving,
I am the Earth’s wild green, I am providing.
I am trying hard to be everything,
As I harbor the fear that I am nothing.
I am the world, and I am broken,
I am the world, and I am healing.
I am the cosmos, running on love,
I am a person, and I am learning.

– Tammy Takahashi