I Want for my Words …

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I want to write

With absolute clarity.

I want each word

To be a raven

Cutting a stark

And perfect cosmology

In a cloudless sky

As it comes and goes

For reasons it always knows,

Not a movement to waste.

I want the words

To do the impossible

And show you

Directly and infinitely,

Who I am

Who is writing them,

Along with every version

Of me I’ve come to know

In the strange and intimate

Act of remembering.

Finally, I would like

For the words

To have the fortitude

Of a vessel that

Can bear the weight

Of the thousand

Ways we need to travel

In order to heal

The world, so that we,

With our words

And without them, too,

Can once again play

In a sacred lightness of being.

 

– Tammy Takahashi

The Garden of Your Life

This is the garden of your life.
It has in its cozy underground
the seeds of all the very things
you have ever been seeking.
Some have begun to sprout;
some are thriving in your midst,
while others are still buried deep,
waiting for the conditions to grow.
Isn’t this the nature of a garden,
to contain all the rhythms,
all of the dances in creation?
And isn’t it the nature of a life,
to harbor all of the possibilities,
all the potential, alongside
what has already bloomed,
and is there such a thing as time,
or progress, or a sequence of things?
What is yet to bud, what’s overgrown,
what has dried up, fallen to ground,
what is perfectly ripe to touch,
these are the storied seasons
running now through your blood,
and each is to be delicately held,
observed with great care,
attended to as each one needs,
and there is always room
in this great garden of your life
to invite the riches in,
the powers of sun and moon,
the wisdom of rocks and trees,
and the perfect communion
we find with our fellow humans,
invited into our garden’s heart
as we practice perfect love.

– Tammy Takahashi

Light and Shadow

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Can you see them at once?
The light: diffuse, golden,
the sun’s gift of a lifetime,
the juice, the vitality,
the possibility of every colour
to play, in all the combinations,
and to stand in the light
is to know of your own potential
to stand, to move in truth,
and your eyes may close,
but light is still there, flickering,
fluttering, reminding, loving you.
The shadow: was it always there,
in those light-filled moments
that had you laughing until dawn,
arms around your best friend,
climbing up the hill
to be closer to the sun?
The day comes
when shadow asks to be seen,
and in your courage,
you will see it. It will see you,
and love you no less,
and it may feel like walking blind,
but this is where you, groping,
find the heart that guides you.
Between light and shadow:
the gorgeous, gigantic space
of your life, infinite, minute,
harrowing, sublime,
ablaze with the fire of your aspirations
that can never lead you astray.

– Tammy Takahashi

To Live While Living

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A moment comes
when what is trailing by
slowly, drifting,
stops time, this
is its secret power
in the world of humans,
who live in time’s domain.
There is a rupture,
like watching a leaf
float in a still lake,
a remnant of life
in that which breathes
ceaselessly, according
to Nature’s way.
What has been
swims in the pool
of immanence: here
we imagine any number
of possible futures
refracted in shimmering
surfaces, until we
are reminded of the end,
ever-present, the death
that accompanies us
our whole journey long,
at every moment
a siren call, piercing,
asking that we listen
without being overcome.
Make me your friend,
death wants to say,
so that you greet me
happily where the road divides,
so that you will know
nothing but pure joy
on your way there,
from the gifts like diamonds
living in the light
of your precious time here.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

To Be Life

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It is not just you and I,

And everyone we know

Who say, I want to live,

Who are so afraid

Of what not being alive

Would mean,

This is in the nature

Of our precious humanity.

But it is not just us,

Wanting so badly

To reap the benefits

Of being on this earth,

The reason for our

Pursual of this life is clear,

As it is life itself

That wants to live,

It is the very nature of life

To keep in living,

To enact a creation

So monumental

That it shakes us

To our very foundation,

Every time we notice it,

The leaves that return,

Year after year,

According to the laws

Of our Great Mother,

The cycles, the returns,

The seasons that, unending,

Give us their grace.

We are what nature made,

And like life itself,

We are the breath

The universe takes,

Its unceasing flow,

We are the great tribute

To all that has been.

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