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
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For a Short Time

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For a few days,
the cherry blossom trees
come alive in bloom,
decorating the world like snow,
as if in joyous collaboration
with the winter just passed,
as if to remind us of the continuity
embedded in all this change.
For a few days,
the senses are heightened,
the sky has opened
to give space for all that grows,
and the moon grows large and quiet,
illuminating the beauty
that wants to be seen,
touched, most of all, felt.
For a few days,
the gates to our perception fly open,
maybe slowly, if we are afraid,
and we can start with one blossom,
her fragile pink petals
delicately announcing herself,
giving everything she has
before falling to soft sweet earth.

– tammy takahashi

Sacred Geometry

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We take what is holy
and make it again, and more,
lighting it with our recognition,
creating glory with the simple act
of seeing new, seeing again.
And it is not just what we see
that makes us laugh and dance,
but we who are seeing,
the untold, hundredfold ways
we have arrived here, now,
to notice magic with our own.
And so we weave, chant,
imbue the ever-changing world
with all the things we’ve learned
and have carried in our blood,
and it is more than we ever knew,
and we are finally ready, and bold,
and spin a new colour from gold,
to lay it like a wreath
on what is already felt complete
but will always sustain
our heartened and earnest more.

There is a Treasure

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There is a treasure
long and deep,
the way obscure,
and we are pushing past
a hundred different obstacles
webby, spindly things
scratching our faces,
and it is all we can do
to keep from crying out,
and we are tripping over
exposed roots and mossy stone,
slamming against rough surfaces
that don’t hesitate to take our weight,
and the heart pounds,
and we wish we were anywhere else.
But the treasure!
Eyes in a far off place,
maybe a clearing in the path,
maybe another place,
maybe tomorrow’s tomorrow.
The forest, then,
is no longer a forest
with its endless shades of green,
and sounds from ancient times,
from all the times and all creation.
Each tree is not a tree,
that pillar of wisdom,
joining heart to heart, root to root,
with the entire ground beneath us,
with the foot that touches down.
And what is the forest?
And who am I
in its thickets and dreams?

How About Kindness?

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How about, instead of asking
where I come from,
you ask me where I want to go,
and instead of offering your name,
you find self in a warm embrace?
How about a smile instead of a rebuttal,
an ear for listening instead of shouting?
How about looking at a rainbow,
and marveling at how few you’ve seen,
and are likely yet to see in this life,
and mark the day as a miracle?
How about making wondering,
wandering, too, your true vocation,
becoming a master in the art of awe?
How about looking around
and seeing it all for the first time,
inventing new shapes in the clouds
before they, too, disappear,
and how about inviting this change,
and finding beauty in what can’t be held?
How about finding a new perspective
instead of delighting in the already known;
how about finding and honoring
both the teacher and student in you?
How about taking your shoes off
and grounding in the earth,
and feeling this support through life?
How about talking to trees,
Finding songs in a breeze,
How about being still and
catching it all and remembering:
There is so much love where I am,
and I am here, and I am free.

I am Home.

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I am home, just woken.

I’ve done my morning ablutions,

and take my first sip

of steaming coffee.

I put off the vacuuming for

another day,

I wonder what to do with

all the fresh mint, how to cook

with sesame leaf.

There is indigo dye

to experiment with,

the grey sky is readying for rain.

Last weekend,

when we went to the mountains

in a mountainous prefecture,

it was another sky, cerulean,

allowing the dazzle of sun through

so that everything, including

ourselves, glittered

like jewels.

We came upon a pond,

on one side of which

a gaggle of retired men

with the longest camera lenses

I’ve seen were at attention, silent

and stealthy, waiting

for a kingfisher to appear.

On the far end of the pond

was a house in the traditional style,

large and cavernous, gaping holes

on the roof, and it was hard to

imagine, on this sunny day

how wet and cold it would be

would be most days of the year,

if it were still inhabited.

Today, the house was flanked by

trees of every kind and colour,

like the four seasons decided

to hold congress in the

fractal rays of this one afternoon,

so that we could delight in

this fold in time and its

embrace of all our bleeding

emotions and sun-drying experiences,

as if to give every single one of

us visitors the warmth and

liberty to say it loud:

I am home.

The Path to Spring

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These are restless, porous days,
when what has been dried out
and hollowed in the living of
our darkened, wintry existence
 
Gives way, as moon to sun, to
the watering of spring, the juicy
filling out of aching joints, the
shadows of heart awaiting light
 
The long ache of cracking through
of stepping out, of tentative steps
to sun-drenched emergence, finding
the will to enter our rightful place
 
Come to the tree, then; she has been
through this hundreds, thousands
of times, has seen cold, barren land
quiver, and then zealously come to life
 
Feel her wholeness, her towering
solidity, and feel also the light, the
upward trajectory, ground to sky
the roots of her ever generating.
 
Wrap your arms around her and
remember, because you always
knew, that when mind surrenders
to heart, the movement is true. – TS