The House of the World

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What do you find in your house?
Does everything you’ve put there
have its hallowed, rightful place?
Can you move freely and softly?
Does everything serve a purpose,
does it reach for the highest good?
Are the foundations humble,
and also unshakably strong?
Do you feel as though you live
As a mountain creature might,
So closely connected to earth,
While living a skyward journey?
Is everything that you have here
Also something you are offering,
And to whom, and to what end?
Do you look around you and see
that your house is your body
and the body of everything that is?
Will you let the life-giving air in,
and will you let your house breathe,
and make room for the new,
and can we care for the house,
and share the house of the world?

– Tammy Takahashi

The Song of Us

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And the song of the wind

That happy but serious whistle

That permeates all borders,

Mingling with the chant

Of the rumbling mountains,

The tinkling whisper

Of the buttercup

Coming into first bloom,

The low and steady hum

Of moss carpeting the ground

In the forests of the world.

There is not one song

That sings louder,

Or tries to override

Or outlive the other.

They are our blood,

The veins that carry it,

An extraordinary number of parts

Working in the name of

Our continuance.

Do we hear any of them at all?

But then, a moment so crushing

That we fall to our knees,

Come to what is maybe

The first silence

In the legend of our lives.

A note appears, a harmony,

Difficult to locate at first,

But it’s not long before

The songs of all the elements

Reach our ears,

And it can only be so,

In the precise way

Our hearts need them to,

So that we are all hearing

Different music, the song of us,

Made of the exact same sounds.

And this is how we are all one.

And this is how we are all love.

Into Nature

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The gift of the outside,

Those parts we have never

Figured out how to take

In their totality,

For our own ends,

The flowers that are not

Sitting in water in a shop

Waiting to greet a loved one,

Someone saddened

Or in anger,

The trees that have not

Been torn down for

Our furniture, our journals,

And who has ever

Even dared to bring

A mountain home?

This is what we must seek.

We must leave our world

Of taking, using,

And throwing away,

And must move

Into the spaces

That have no need for us

Though their love for us

Is pure and unending.

We must bury our noses

in that aromatic space

between rock and soil,

where rain gives life

all of its memories.

We must return home,

Taking nothing with us,

But our wild, forever hope.

I Want For Us

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I want to bring myself to you

The way the dipping sun

Melds into the horizon,

The way the great rocks

Sink into our precious earth,

The way a river seamlessly

Becomes her ocean and sea.

I want to know no inhibition,

But stand naked before you,

All that I am and have been

Written in a beautiful language

That has never yet been seen,

But which you, you can read.

I want you to take the totality of me,

And leave nothing at all behind,

And offer me the same of you.

I want for us both to devour

What is succulent in our grasp

And for us to love every part

We fear the most, trembling,

Now unsure, because these, too,

Are part of our invitation to love.

I want for us to walk our fears

Up the great and holy mountain,

On a trail we are carving ourselves

With our worn and journeyed feet,

And stand where no flag has been,

And fill our lungs with sweet air,

And shout as loud as we can

Not for salvation, not for each other,

But because we are standing

With our mothers, our fathers,

All of our ancestors, who live

Here, in this mountain we’ve found,

So we could be closer to the sky,

Without ever leaving our time

To be alive, to become less afraid,

To live in each moment of love.

The Hollows

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In the hollows

Of the mountain range,

Of your sloping back,

Where we want to rest

And the hints are gentle,

Of the magnitude

In our midst, everywhere,

Finally, the delight

In recognizing

The negative spaces

That cast life’s glories

Its turbulent stories

Into the glow of relief,

So that we are,

Again, ready,

Knowing now, again,

Why we are here,

This pause our moment

Seized, to bring back

All the parts of ourselves

We have left behind,

The trails of our

Sacred flight,

To breathe in, out,

Grab hold of the heart

Our compass,

And set out again,

And again,

Until the shadows

No longer scare us,

And the horizon

Is our doorway home.

On a Morning Almost Spring

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It is all for you,

That sweet smell

The rain-soaked cedar

Living out its last moments

Close to home,

The breathing earth-fire

Of the sacred mountain,

The new leaves budding,

The insects always

Finding their way,

Knowing where to rest,

And how to carry out

The meaning of their lives.

For you, that I drop

To my knees, to be close,

Too, to all that splendor

We forget to call home.

I bring hands to heart,

And the cave within

Becomes the whole horizon,

The sun, hidden before rain,

Still finds its way

Into the space between

Blood and bone,

Heart and mind,

And I don’t have to wait

Anymore, no, I find

That I am already here.

  • Tammy Takahashi

 

We Are Gold: A Poem

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our gilded days
and we are –
an imperfect yet holy
refraction
caught in our desires
that come down to this:
to be whole
to be loved,
and the mistakes we make
in the way we cannot
recognize
that we are not what is
left over, incomplete,
searching,
no, we are a reflection,
illumined and pure,
of the vastest space
we can imagine,
and I envision this,
as I my eye catches the spark
of the sun glinting off
gold leaf
on sacred temple grounds:
I don’t have to transport myself
anywhere
for my transmutation.
I am here
with everything that is,
and I will stay here,
until I understand that
love seeps through me
the way the moon
bleeds her light into the sky,
unhindered, abundant,
limitless, moving mountains and seas
with nothing but
inner light.
– TS

My Body My Land My Home

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I’ve crossed many lands,
and there are many more
my heart will guide me to
 
I will watch suns ascend
beyond great mountains,
feel the first blast of warmth,
gentle, hit my upturned face
and I’ll want to run toward
thousands more just like it
 
And the chanting I can hear
in the distance only affirms,
as I keep yearning, the
gem-like quality of this road
I have been taking
 
I will listen to the sounds
of a bustling new day still
tinged with the sweet sleep
of a community at peace,
 
I will long to be among them,
sweeping dusty roads,
performing ablutions, calling
out to neighbors, laughing,
putting the kettle to boil.
 
I will look for myself in it all,
the minarets in silhouette,
the sacred river going by,
the wizened face of a sage,
 
And I will know before I want to,
that the only land that can
sustain my earnest desire for
awakening is the land whose
borders mark the space
 
I take up in this world,
my body my land my home,
and I will finally
rest here too.
 
– TS

The Way of the Sun

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I see, in the miraculous way
the sun makes her sure descent,
 
my own place in this world.
The sun gives us this gift
 
In her sure movements, regal
and decisive, sweeping across
 
lands in constant invitation.
I stand and watch the sky
 
sigh plush and heavy at dusk,
heaving at the last letting go
 
in tufts of orange, grey and pink.
I, too, sigh, with the weight of
 
the undone, my heart hammering
in her caged dome, unlike the
 
sun before me, a fireball ablaze
with the potential for all that is,
 
offering me, even now, her golden
embrace. I stand before the mountain,
 
shaking at the wonder of all the ways
in which I am here, and not here, and
 
I take it. The sun’s persistent rotations
that allow my fluttering, fledgling
 
trajectories. Warning of the dark,
soothing, always again, with her light.
 
– TS

The Mountain Dreamer

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The Mountain Dreamer
 
The mountain dreamer
trembles in awe
at the majesty
laid out before her
in two dimensions
on a misty morning,
the gradations
of grey and pink,
the cloudless milky sky
keeping her tethered,
still, to the sticky and
tentacled dream world
she is not quite ready
to leave behind.
She, too, casts no shadow,
her feet rest
on dewy ground,
a cow grazes nearby.
As she watches,
the mountain emerges
from the haze,
her shape etches
bold and clear against
the sky of new day.
The mountain dreamer,
still caught between
the parts of yesterday
that cling to her bones,
and the many forked trails
of her tomorrows,
lifts her gaze to the
great heights before her,
contemplating the mountain,
risen from tumult
to tower over the ground,
under the unimaginable
depths of sky,
on top of the world,
but still at the very beginning
of it all.
 
– TS