Day and Night

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It looks like emergence,
a movement from dark to light,
from a midnight moon’s lush wiles
to the redemptive break of day,
and you are sitting on soft sand,
not having slept at all,
and the salt brought in
by each sonorous, soothing wave
has cleansed you so that
you are no longer haunted,
and the sun has appeared,
a revelation each time,
to penetrate you with promise,
glee, anticipation for this life.
And so it is – life after death
every single morning,
an emergence, but not a line.
For we live in cycles,
and the darkness will come again,
to be, always, followed by light.
Do not run screaming
against the doors of night,
or fear the end of day.
The lessons of each are harrowing,
but the cycles are also moving,
round and round, in the direction
of our greatest making.
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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

Every Sky

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Moments like this, when the rain falls
Without a sound, and turns to ice
Without notice, moments like this,
We know: everything we are trying
To understand falls in that place
Where joy and sorrow both come
For sweet harbor, and fall into
Each other’s arms, and share stories,
And love each other whole without
Trying to take a single thing away.
We understand that sadness thunders
Down like unrelenting rain that will
Flood and drown before it nourishes
And heals, and that if you look up
High enough, the rain is coming
From a place of no rain, that the sky
Is every sky, sincere, blue, grey, true.
– Tammy Takahashi
– 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

To Know a Tree

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It’s hard not to see
the sky as crying,
the trees as reaching
for things taught to them
in dreams, as whispers
in the interminable night,
not to see loneliness
in winter’s swift taking
of autumn’s leaves,
and hope when in spring,
buds sprout green and true.
Do the mountains
grumble with discontent
before they explode
their molten heat
on an unprepared city?
Do the rocks sigh
from the burden
of absorbing our pain
over the centuries?
I ask these questions,
and understand the work
I have to do, to sit
in silence with all beings,
until I know where
suffering really lies,
and where it is
we have our comfort,
our nourishing, our healing.

– Tammy Takahashi

My Offering To You

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For you, who are
an extension of me,
an offering of all
I’ve ever had to give,
though it only appears
to me now, a sun
blooming over the mountain
on a full moon dawn
like the warrior
of life and of light
that has been waiting
for me to turn toward it
every morning of my life.
I am here.
I stand before the mountain,
in awe of her perseverance,
patience, mammoth strength,
and the sun that emerges
to the sound of birds chirping
and distant cars rumbling
fills the other half
of the world.
Sun and mountain fill the frame,
one stately shape making room
for pure awe of the space
that surrounds it, pink,
pure and new,
and this is what I offer you,
my full, hopeful presence
that will never take away
from the vastness of yours.

 

GO SLOW

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GO SLOW

I rush for where
the thistles and moss
will absorb the sounds
of my racing mind
and where the thudding
of my heart
can run alongside
those of the others
escaping their enemies,
running toward survival,
until we are one organism,
moving madly, at first,
and then, as though
in spontaneous awareness
of an internal need,
we pause, and slow,
and it’s the greatest
silence we have ever known,
sonorous and pure,
and we can hear
the ladybug flap her wings,
though she decides to stay,
and the grass is heaving
its gratitude for the earth
sustaining it from below.
The birds slice through sky
to nestle in the treetops,
their every movement
conducing a forest symphony
for our delighted ears.
Our own heartbeats
are making sweet music,
calm, rhythmic now,
because we, too, have stayed,
one for the other,
under the watchful moon
and the playful sun.

– Tammy Takahashi