The Right Side of History

DSCF1147

I want to be on the right side of history.

We all do, of course, and we all have
our ideas of right and wrong, as though
every part of this were an open discussion.
We want to take the comfortable path
and be assured of our golden destination.
We don’t want obstacles along the way;
we don’t want the seamier side of the
fairy tale, only the ending, rainbow bright.

But there is a wrong side of history, we
know this. It is the side most of us won’t
be here to regret, mourn, or reconsider.
It is the side that bears witness to our
ugliest nature, that twists our own need
for comfort and security into a languishing
hole all those who are struggling will
easily fall into. It is the hole we will have
dug, depraved, with our own two hands.

I want to be on the side of history that
favours life, and that honours the sanctity
of the living. I want to be on the side
that remembers what it’s like to desire
the chance, no, all the chances we have
in us to imagine, for every last one of
us sentient beings, from beginningless
time until the never-ending. For all of us.

Here is how to recognize the right side
of history: it lives, it breathes, it includes,
it contemplates, it makes things better.
It never looks away. It never looks away.
It is full of hearts that can rest in the
knowledge that they beat the to soulful
rhythms of compassion-driven action.
It is full of people who hold hands, and
take every opportunity they can to listen
and bear witness. It is waking up to a day
free of bloodshed and the thoughts that
take us there, that can unfold and stretch
and open into all the infinite tomorrows.

– TT

Advertisements

Come Sit With Me

DSCF9858

Come
Sit with me
I want to say,
It’s been such a long time.
 
Maybe this place is unfamiliar to you,
I know – I am also, still, not so sure of it,
or even how I came to be here.
 
I’m not sure which of my histories
had to emerge, defiant and victorious,
from the rest, for today to take
the shape it has, or why,
 
Or how to contend with
my other stories, so stubborn and sure
(so much more certain than I am),
each cropping up, in turn,
to ask something of me.
 
Maybe it’s like that for you, too,
where you are?
I would like to meet you there
and hear your stories.
 
I would like for the act
of our communion, though,
to be our beginning,
to form the core of our existence,
both yours and mine,
 
and for the stories
to enlighten us without taking over.
 
Let us sit together,
and not scramble for meaning,
or dismiss the struggle either.
 
Let us take all of it,
hold it in the space between us,
and breathe and love and be,
you and me,
 
And start
the only place we can,
here, now, free.
 
– TT

Finding Joy

DSCF0817

Joy was there in the early morning,

Hoping we wouldn’t pass her by

In a world that always offers so much

To weary souls and striving minds

Living off the landscapes of our old stories,

Joy, that other most primal of emotions,

Waiting with a fierceness of strength,

Like the trees and mountains that

Fuse with our ancestral lines in evolution,

Yet with a love-laced gentility and grace,

Because she has weathered our histories,

She knows what we think we have needed

And what we can, when we try, come to know,

And she is there, on the other side of knowledge,

Her edges glinting in the new day’s sun,

Her borders diffusing at day’s fiery end,

And her capacity for play is infinite,

And her sparkle and reach will never wane,

And we can find her everywhere,

Everywhere.

 

– TS

I Belong

DSCF9692.jpg

Where does
the path begin
and where does it go?
Sometimes I feel
I’ve landed
right in the middle of
an ecosystem
with its very long history
I know nothing of,
and I fear
I’ll never catch up
or be able to
feel my way around,
that I don’t meet
the preconditions
for harmony.
I feel my senses
don’t serve me here,
do not point the way.
It is in the digging deep,
though, the excavating
of my own right
to a history,
that I will lay claim
to what must be
a simple, if profound feeling:
that I belong.
That I am here,
as you are here,
and we are each
finding our way
through the jungle of
our own ancestral histories,
reaching out
with hope and
good intentions,
with one essential,
sacred goal:
to be love.
 
– TS

The Day that Changed the World

DSCF1130

Today, something a little bit different. I wanted to share with you a stream-of-consciousness poem I wrote while waiting for the US election results to come in last November. As emotions surged that I didn’t know what to do with, I turned to the page (to the computer, to be honest!) and poured everything inside of me onto the page (screen). This has not been polished or edited in any way, and it is not pretty and it was not made with an audience in mind. It was a piece of me in that moment, unfettered. That day brought a lot of fear to me; it was not by any means my first time experiencing fear, and it will not be the last, but it was a big day, and this is me, and it is my hope that sharing this messy poem can bring us together in all our our glorious ups-and-downs …

ELECTION DAY
In a grey world, we can only
See colour through a fog.
We don’t know about saturation
So much as remember it,
Hear the vague impressions
That were once shouts: Red! Blue!
Home and ground sunk below
Where gravity never took hold
So we fly down. But we can always
Go the way of flight.
It only takes a single moment,
As an object of fear concretizes
And a lifetime of peace
Sinks into apparent illusion,
As memories have always
Made of our lives.
The world is not ours to claim,
But our hearts are. Our domain.
What better time to remember now,
Or to try to understand?
What will I do next?
I’ll prepare a soup lunch
In a changed world that
Remains as abstract to me
As the former one always was.
I’d rather come together in joy,
As many times as I’ve forgotten how,
But I’ll be happy to come together
In our sadness and shock,
And create a new, blessed warmth
To fuel the world.
Madness reigns only so long
As we feed it and let it in,
As long as we see the actual
For the true.
Still, the heart pounds,
Face flushes swooshes
Through the head causing
Pain and the kind of terror
I had once when I lost
My father’s grip in the ocean
And the universe started
Sucking me in, away from
The only world I’d known.
This never felt like an invitation,
No, it was a violation of my child me.
I want to scream STOP now as then,
Knowing it cannot and that
I am not at the center of this
Chaotic revolution.
People have been screaming stop
My whole existence and
Back to the very beginning and
It never filtered in, not like this.
Here, the selfish can be transformed
Into compassion. This is
Our necessity, the new
Life’s work.
It doesn’t matter what my head knows,
It never did.
The body soldiers on, fingers shaking
Head afire, heart quivering.
The mind is back there, in the grey fog,
With the sinking homes and
Vanishing holdings-on.
We need to grow the heart
From the ground up
Through the muck and the
Night terrors to come,
And go to where it’s green
And where delusions shatter
Into the laughing sky
And our emergent laughing souls.
Where is Jack Kerouac’s America,
That invited him in through the cracks
So that he may keep all our dreams whole,
Where did I go, who fell into his
Journeys of the road, spoke to his hobos
And saluted the sacred in our ruptures?
Where will I go, as I scramble to
Piece together a version of myself
That was for so short of time?
Who will I be as I try to do more
Than just wander through new climes?
It is a sad, mad, frantic time,
Our neighbours are not our friends
We have all become the enemy
Of peace and sensibility.
This has all happened before,
Our woes leap across time
So we can turn them into a circle,
And hold hands around it,
And weep,
And carry on.
And then WHAT?
Because even though the body is not lying
The mind is not believing.
It can’t be happening (to us).
It would never happen.
History teaches us (the right) lessons.
Even more selfish:
I and we must be the exceptions,
Immune from political and natural
Cycles and diseases.
No, it’s time to stop and dive in.
Let’s look at what we’ve made
And where we find ourselves.
Let’s get dirty with the mess of it all
And wash each other clean
Until we are shining with
Brand new memories,
If that is what we continue
To look for.
And still the blue sky is blue
And the red blood is ours
And the trees and children everywhere
And the mothers and fathers
Sisters and brothers
wait for our attention.
And still the wind only sometimes
Changes where it goes.
Love never turned its back on us.
Love cannot do that
Any more than it would.
It is ours to claim.
Yes, it is ours to claim.

  • TS

Perfect Now

DSCF1596 - Copy

Eyes shut until
you’re up close
and can smell
the musky fragrance
 
Of life that has
been through life,
that has breathed
in the shadows
 
And gasped for air
and also sung
from the tops
of mountains and
 
Remembered to
praise the sun
that washes it all
with fluid joy
 
Eyes open to
find it all, the history
and the smallest bits
full of perfect now. -TS

Song of Body and World

DSCF2143

There are
parts of us
so soft,
so sincere,
so true,
an ache
that comes
and goes
in the night,
an ocean
a lifetime
a legend
for the ages
in the flutter
of a single
heartbeat,
the secrets
carried
on the wings
of our cells
as they
work to
generate
the matter
of our
humble
and glorious
existence.
Listen for
the whisper
carried
in the blood,
lingering
on the skin,
preparing
itself
to come
through us
in song.
This is
the song
of our
one world
and our
one place
in it. – TS