NEW BOOK AND FUNDRAISER!!

peace 3 copy

What a time this has been… In the very early days of the pandemic, I felt a strong pull to put together a book of poems themed around peace and hope. I envisioned sprinkling doses of these more magical aspects of the human experience as far and wide as I could. Things were bleak. We were scared, lonely, confused, and clarity did not seem forthcoming. I started looking over my streams and streams of poems, and there it was, so plain to see (though the path from first epiphany to final editing/layout is a veerrrrrryyy long and winding one!): my poems, which always help me learn about what is in my heart, show me I’ve been preoccupied with our warring inner selves, the state of our disconnected world, and with the human longings for peace, for ages!

It felt like the time to distill from all the poems a selection that would be both relatable and, hopefully, a solace. It took time; something wasn’t quite gelling. I hemmed and hawed. I rewrote, edited, had my amazing mother read it for typos. Then I rewrote some more.

Then the world fell apart again, with the murder of George Floyd. Confusion, sadness, despair, again. Also, a new resolve. The time for this book feels like NOW. Everything started falling into place. I have packaged the book as a PDF – not only the quickest way to do it and get it into people’s hands, but also in an eco-friendly way. I tried my best to format it so that it is easy on the eyes (and hopefully on the heart). I might make hard copies eventually, but I’m hoping to get the book out there to anyone who might be interested and in need of a caring package of love and connection.

I’m offering the book on a donation basis, and half of the proceeds will go to a beautiful foundation called The Loveland Foundation. (www.thelovelandfoundation.org) From their page: The Loveland Foundation is committed to showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways, with a particular focus on Black women and girls. Our resources and initiatives are collaborative and they prioritize opportunity, access, validation, and healing. We are becoming the ones we’ve been waiting for.

I can receive PayPal and e-Transfer at tammystone4444@gmail.com. Just send me your e-mail and I will send you the book. Please share and spread the word, if you can. Suggested donation is $20, and anything you have to offer would be so greatly appreciated. If you would like the book but are unable to make a donation, please contact me and I’ll happily share it with you.

It is my great hope that we will all overcome this time of crisis together. I am so grateful for your support, for this foundation, and also for my art. Love and peace to all.

 

By the Window – A Poem of Hope in the time of Coronavirus.

By the Window

By the window,
It looks like any other day,
a particularly beautiful one,
sun shining, clear blue sky,
the snow and ice succumbing
to winter’s end.
It is quiet,
a silence heralding, to me,
a feeling of peace
that is hard to ignore,
or to thwart with logic,
with what I now know.
By the window,
it is just I, the observer
of life being itself,
of steady spruces offering comfort,
of geese flying home,
of hand built wooden furniture
meant to weather
the seasons and the years.
Then the thoughts trickle in,
and the freedom of this moment,
this clear moment of witness
of all that his holy and right
with this world,
threatens to become
a cage for fears and doubt,
which, like the fertile earth
one window away from me,
know well how to grow.
Before this can happen,
I turn to look at the flowers
we have been nurturing inside
these coldest months of the year,
at the scarlet petals blushing with life
that do not sway with the times,
and settle on finding eternity here,
so that I can turn my gaze outside,
and see that eternity cannot depart.
The geese know it,
in their homeward movement,
and if we can sit within the stillness
of a new day beginning,
despite, and even though,
and gather every last beating heart
into our own,
we too can become the world,
and in it find we are home.

– Tammy Stone Takahashi

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

 

When You Are Tired

tree

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

A Prayer, A Soft Place to Land

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Our prayers are not for we and they;
We pray because we want to know,
Finally, that the soft and loving places
Where prayers land know no division.
There are places all over the world,
Across the entirety of the map of one heart,
Where we can travel to, wayward at first,
But with increasing sense of purpose,
That will greet us like the loved ones
We now, after ages, know that we are.
They are shrines large and small
Decorating the most modest of habitats,
Honouring the dead and reminding us
That we have never walked alone;
They are the colours, sounds and textures
We can finally recognize for what they are,
Unique as the moon to our stargazing hearts
To our experience of being human,
So that we will never overlook them again.
We close our eyes, join hands together,
We stand where we are, in silent tears,
And know the prayer has brought us here,
The prayer is all around us, ancient, wise,
That it created the conditions of our lives.

– Tammy Takahashi

A poem for hope on a very important day in history.

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Today is a new day.
There is a little less here today
than there was before,
and there is also a little more.
Everyday, the moon
grows to perfect expansion,
or contracts until we are
in our night of darkness.
Everyday, we reflect
on what no longer serves us,
and build the courage
to invite more of what we need:
for our growth,
for the betterment of a world
that doesn’t need us,
and needs us fully,
and welcomes us so dearly.
Everyday, as dawn breaks,
and we peel the glorious
wreckage of night from our skin,
and shake loose from the dreams
of shattered yesterdays
and broken tomorrows,
we take a moment too look
for what as arrived, again,
just the same, and a little different,
anticipating our full participation
that can alter it all,
the course of our future,
in one small instant.
Today is the day to begin.
One decision, and liberation is ours.
One breath in the name of love,
and love is forever ours.

– Tammy Takahashi

For Love, Always Love

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It is never a case
of the absence of love.
As long as there are eyes seeing,
there is the slow drift to beauty,
the sigh of relief of finding
our dearest hopes confirmed,
and this is love.
As long as there are voices singing,
there is an invisible, potent thread
connecting the very heart of the world
to the very heart of our selves,
and this can only be love.
As long as there are hearts breaking,
there knowing we are in the wake
of a full surrender to love,
and now, a day for new surrender,
nothing to do, everything to feel,
and this is full, complete,
sweet, never-ending love.
And love makes love.
In breath, each moment,
to the last.

– tammy takahashi

March for our Lives: A Poem

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What are we holding onto,
so tightly?
When we have our guns
and won’t let go,
what are we afraid to lose
that hasn’t already
been annihilated?
We are scared to death.
We are scared of death.
We are letting the living die,
we are not honouring the dead
when our actions are not
on the side of the living.
Let us march, all of us,
wherever we are,
however we can.
This march, for our lives,
is a plea, a cry, a rally
to the makers of change,
but let us not stand divided.
Let us remember our lives,
our unity, the one life
that threads through us all.
Let us honour every living being,
here and departed and not yet come,
with every single last
shred of hope within us.
Let us build on this honour
so that it grows to fill the world
with respect and reverence for all,
and for ever possibility.

– tammy takahashi

Spring, Our Beautiful Perfection

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On a diffuse grey morning,
late winter surveys the barren landscapes
of hardened essence and wisdom in retreat,
holding on, but loosening its arthritic grip,
allowing soft rain to gather, fall, in snow’s stead.
The buds have not sprouted,
but the plum blossoms, which thrive
in the dance between cold and warm,
herald the wonderland of life to come,
like a promise, like a dream,
like nothing other than the beauty of what it is.
What will the spring bring?
Will we emulate nature and come forth,
with no hesitation at all,
on the side of creation?
Will we be soft on our struggles,
tender with our pain,
and grow into our full and vibrant potential?
Will we reclaim the intuitions
buried golden and deep for millennia,
long submerged by our own wintry confusions,
and play with what nourishes us?
Will we laugh, touch the earth,
look each other deep in the eye?
Will we celebrate the new season
and the new beginnings it offers,
in the way of the quiet lands around us,
that call for silence, which is reverence,
and a stilling of our heart’s great stirrings,
as the perfection of life once again emerges?
Will we heed of the extraordinary peace
and cooperation it takes to rebuild the world?
 
– tt

Seeing Peace

mandala of love (from one of our wedding photos)

like pouring love
over an open field
 
or making hot tea
made of comfort
 
finding moss
made of patience
 
an elixir of innocence
in freshly-fallen snow
 
like the sun turning
flitting leaves to gold
 
like a hug that
changes the world
 
we make our way there
through here and now,
 
tinting what we find
with our aspirations,
 
inflecting these with
our every action,
 
so that we can see hope
so that we can touch peace. – TS