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
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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

 

Life Doesn’t Stop While You Sleep

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They are not arms, no,
But they reach, from a center
Almost impossible to see,
The home and seat of such
Persistence, this invisible
Drive toward life, and living,
The birth of all creation.
They grow long, wide and tall,
Tapering to a thin point
As if to ready the leaf
For its journey beyond itself.
Look closely, at each detail,
The marks it has accrued
By being exposed
To the elements that
Come to mark its existence,
The way they give
Each raindrop the only
Home they have known.
Look at the synergy
Of life on life,
On a concrete stoop
Of a house built
In the shadow of a mountain.
What if we pause to reflect
On the smallest things
That make and save a life?

– Tammy Takahashi

For the Living

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For life and for the living,
for the choices we make
on the side of life
that keep us cushioned
in earth’s warm embrace,
breath springing from breath,
heaving, mounting, rising,
majestic being coursing through us
when we feel it, and when we don’t,
and all we have to do
is know this to be true,
to bring our feet softly to ground,
feel life playing with our skin,
and we are gazing ever upward,
taking in with curious eyes
what the heart already knows,
as we begin our journey there.
 
– tammy takahashi

Petals Fallen in Spring

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Petals fall lush to ground,
not yet dried or decayed,
unsullied by wind, sun, rain,
handfuls of spring snow
tethered still to this life,
where we train our eyes
on what comes before
the last, the spectre of this
dancing alongside our joy.
Beauty gathers everywhere
before we have a chance
to discriminate and fear,
pierces though every want
we might begin to have
for things to be different.
Imbibe before pleasure
divides into pain.
It is here in this space
that miracles are born,
that the ways of seeing,
ways of our sacred being,
outnumber anything
we could possibly know.