After the Storm

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When the storm hits

Where is the refuge?

Is it in the storm itself,

Because we have accepted it,

Surrendered to the flying bits,

The scattered parts,

The howling raging winds,

The spitfires, the lava heaving?

Do we fling ourselves

Into the storm, as if to say,

Take me where you will,

I can’t bear the alternative,

Of riding you out, hoping

You will not take everything

I have loved so dearly?

Is the refuge in you,

Who will, like me,

Cling to your fragile body,

Knowing how small it is

Next to the gargantuan storm,

The waves thrashing

In each of the directions,

The currents that will

Take us all? Do I hold you

As you fall, take refuge

In a life I won’t have to live

Without you, my love?

Do I have what it takes

To take refuge, finally,

In myself, which is of course

A sacred body filled

With all our bodies,

Suffering, clinging madly,

Holding out our hands?

Do I do the very best I can

Not to be idle, but to prepare

My house for the storm,

Lean on others doing the same,

Knowing that what begins,

Ends, that we will never

Be the same, that in the wake

Of fire, flood and hail

There is the awesome stillness

From which it all began?

– Tammy Takahashi

 

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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