NEW BOOK AND FUNDRAISER!!

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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.

 

We Need Warriors (of Peace)

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A warrior never gives up hope.
A warrior chooses to forget
What stands in the way of the good,
And never forgets to check with themselves
That their intentions are pure.
A warrior spends a lifetime seeking truth,
And is not easily swayed
By a world of competing voices.
A warrior knows the madness is temporary,
And that sanity is temporary too,
As long as we depend up on others
To define what madness and sanity are.
A warrior never gives up hope.
A warrior can see in the dark,
But is always fighting for the light.
A warrior does not just want to survive,
But for us all to find meaning in survival.
A warrior stays true to the path
No matter how many people
Try to obscure it, divert it, destroy it.
A warrior knows that to give up hope
Is to see a world beyond salvation,
A world that has already died.
A warrior lays down their arms
When it is time to depart,
But uses every last breath
To deepen the experience of life,
And fight for the wounded, the weakened,
For the injustices that abound,
Knowing they are fighting for us all.
And when it seems like every last warrior
Has fallen into the arms of history,
The warriors will appear, and rise
And say, never again, will we succumb
To a world that is not striving.

– Tammy Takahashi

What We Need is a Song of Peace

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What we need
is a song of peace
that begins
in the deepest recesses
of the heart
and does end until
every single heart
has heard the call
and come forward,
until the rhythm
of one is impossible
without the rhythm
of all the rest,
until there is tolerance
for dissonance
and a growing love
for the sounds
of highest unity.
It is a song
that goes back
farther than any of us
can remember,
and it does not end,
and we can bring
our voice to it any time.
The heart can expand
to take in the sounds,
the beats, the feeling
and the healing
in one instant
that has the flavor
of all eternity.
This is the song
that we are,
the song that we share.
With the biggest
kind of love.

– Tammy Takahashi

The Earth is Crying, But We are Still Here

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People are falling.
The world is burning.
Mountains are exploding
and trees are disappearing
and children are being wrested
from their parents and still,
somehow, we carry on
and forget to buy milk
and fall in and out of love,
and the ashes of a civilization
about to drown are seeping
into our art, our dreams, our poems.
Sometimes it seems as though
we have chosen to forget
what tethers us to each other,
and to this great expanse of world,
so consumed are we
by our need to protect what is ours.
But what we think we know
does not always align
with the wisdom of this universe
through which we live, breathe,
love, make mistakes,
and where it does, will we
find the courage to live
and die on an axis of this wisdom?
Can we stop for a moment,
and let what is wrong
fill our consciousness,
so that we see, and know,
and can we open our eyes,
and look for the everyday miracles
telling us that growth, and regeneration
are the legacy of Mother Nature,
of which we are a beautiful part,
can we find the buds of green
sprouting through the dried out concrete,
and vow to put the same happiness
into all the sad, miserable hiding places
until we can all sing the same sounds
from the same clean air
and from the same place of freedom?

– Tammy Takahashi

For Sri Lanka

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Sometimes I imagine
that if i try hard enough,
I can bring myself
to every place of suffering,
be in all the places at once
where unfathomable
pain and confusion dwell,
where growth has ceded
to the tides of destruction
and love is smothered
by dark fear and rage,
and do everything
that is within my power,
and in my imagination,
my power is great,
to take all this misery
upon myself, so that,
for just long enough,
there will be a clearing,
and in this open space
we will see so clearly
that this sheen of splendor,
it is for all of us,
and that if we can’t share
in the ready abundance,
and bow before the other
as we cling steadfast to ourselves,
we will lose all of it, together,
and that to choose wisely,
would be to go the other way,
and share, and love,
and mourn and grieve together,
and rebuild slowly, as one.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

Heed the Call

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The direction is not always clear,
obscured as it can remain from us,
as long as we march ahead, thick as fire,
on the same path that brought us here.
Here, with confusions, mumblings why,
various shades of unease, their shadows.
How much do we end up leaving behind
in our seething convictions of where
we must go? How much of the unseen
remains just outside the realm of our
possibilities? Let us fight for our choices,
Dare to expand the view, heeding the call
of the inner voice that tells us, there is
a symphony of voices needing to be heard,
for our very lives, for my need to hear you,
for you to hear me. To honour both. To
cherish all. To find our mothers and fathers,
brothers and sisters, in every single thing
that breathes, as they step into the seen,
and we find each other, and we take
the steps that feed our very creation.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

To Breathe is to Create is to Live

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As long as we create,
We have the capacity
To be free
(I know how far
we need to come
before we can create
a world in which
everyone can choose
their freedoms,
before the songs we create
are not only our chains,
our suffering, released).
It cannot stop here,
In calamity.
We must examine
The tools we have.
We live. We breathe.
As long as we have breath,
We have the capacity
To create.
How many breaths
Have we missed
With our inattention?
Take a deep inhale.
Is your breath not like
a growing tree
rooted in the very depths
of you, grounding you
to this plane,
as it arcs upwards and out,
filling every part of you,
from spine to limbs
to fingertips, and the top
of your head, and beyond?
Are you not making yourself
anew each time you fill
Your body with the force of life,
With whatever you’ll allow in?
And the outbreath,
A psalm of celebration
Of what you have made,
Of allowing it to set,
Of releasing what no longer serves,
In the name of beginning
Again, and again, and again,
And each time, don’t you know,
Can change everything.
 
– Tammy Takahahshi

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

 

One

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And we know, that we only have
the resources we are given,
And that is how we are made:
To see two where there is one.
But this is where we begin,
and we can go everywhere from here.
Look at how there are two,
The sloping diagonal of the hill
and the gentle rise of trees,
The verdant moss of life’s green,
The fiery reds of season’s end,
The skyward grace, the earthward pull,
The last breaths glowing bright,
The humble, slow rise to life.
I look at one, and see the other,
My gaze cannot rest on one alone,
Separately they can’t fill me.
One thing bleeds to the next
Until I realize that it is I
who have needed demarcations,
You as apart from myself.
I look now, to this body of mine,
That has failed me in less ways
Than it has abundantly granted me,
And stumble over the parts
I have rued for too long.
The inward breath – halting rise.
The outward breath – staggered fall.
Two of the infinite manifestations
Of how we come to live,
And I know it must come to this:
To bring the self to perfect stillness,
Where boundless beauty multiplies
Not in succession, not points in time,
Not through clashes, or with walls,
But this, only this, only now, all of it love.
 
– 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