The Wonder.

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The wonder of
red on green
dark on light
heart on mind,
the wonder of
contrast
that teaches
distinction
and color
that gives
us our
dream-
scape.

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The Way of Us.

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There is a temple
surrounding us
on a path that is
wayward and sincere,
a garden that has
never had need of
waiting,
a tree that does not
stoop in defeat.
A time will come
when we understand
these qualities
as our own
and we will bow
to what lies before us
and to what lies
within.

Lotus Song

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Through the terror
of endless nights
that have erased
morning from memory,
when shadows widen
from cracks to the
shape of the universe,
and the smallest noises
taunt with lifetimes
of our engorged madness,
there is this.
There is softness,
There is us inside
the cavern of our being,
tiny as we may feel,
fluttering around
our own hearts,
as we turn to quiet song
and hug them with
tentative, hopeful
hands. – TS

Who Am I? (Poem)

Tammy T. Stone in Kyoto.

Tammy T. Stone in Kyoto.

This poem is inspired by the famous meditation technique practiced by the great Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi…

He practiced sitting in contemplation, asking the question over and over: Who am I?

In asking this question repeatedly, we start to understand what we are not – we are not our bodies, we are not our minds, we are not the fleeting and transient identities we form, and re-constitute, over time. The more we are capable of shedding the layers of these comfortable senses of self (by looking at them directly, and rendering them strange), the more gracefully we can approach what is most true: that we exist in our hearts, from our hearts, and in a world arising in universal love.

With this poem, I immerse myself in a line of questioning that speaks to a state of confusion and longing, one of the many storms traversed in a life on the way to the horizon of love that permeates us …

*

Who Am I?

by Tammy T. Stone

Who wakes to the mountain morning

Bowing before the day’s first sun?

Who hears the crackle of twigs underfoot

And who is the one listening?

Who is praying for a softer heart,

Who hears the cage-rattling fear?

Who has combed the ocean floor

Exploring its warmest blue echoes

And who wades through the sand

Dreaming in the mermaids’ mist?

Who hides in life’s sweet interruptions

Yearning to be jolted awake?

Who smothers the love

That has come along to find her?

Who hears the long lost chant of sisterhood

Wailing through the sea of Time,

And who smiles in long lost memory?

Who venerates in Indian ink

Exalting in mystic lullabies?

Who inhales the wind?

Who are we who have found each other,

Finally, on Earth’s orchard grounds?

Who am I who floods the world

With hopes till faraway’s end?

A Year of Writing – and Publishing!

Hello Everyone!

As dawn crept in on my 40th year, I shivered with excitement – and trepidation, and oddly, a feeling of peace.

I’d already created a card from a photo of mine, so I could send my sincerest gratitude to so many people I love and hold dear. In this age of Internet, living as far away as Japan still feels, well … far, but I’m also able to stay connected in so many ways that fill my heart.

Less than two months after my birthday, I heard from Prolific Press that they were interested in publishing my travel-based poems that became my very first published collection, “Formation: Along the Ganges and Back Again.” I was flummoxed, elated, terrified, bedazzled, and mostly, filled with wonder.

Over the coming months, as I hunkered down daily to work on a new novel I’d started, Prolific Press and I selected, revised, formatted, compiled some more, and eventually, came up with the title and beautiful cover image for the book!

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As this was going on, the words and the poems continued to flow, and by the happiest of serendipitous encounters, I discovered Women’s Spiritual Poetry, a beautiful blog and project that serves as a platform for women’s poetry from all over the world. I submitted my first poem there, and had such a warm, lovely experience that I haven’t looked back! Catherine Ghosh, WSP’s courageous, generous, brilliant and gifted leader, provides such a warm and protective space for her writers, that becoming part of this community has been a truly remarkable gift – yet another in my 40th year!

They say 40 is magical, powerful, special, and I believe this to be true.

A few months ago, Catherine invited us women to become part of a collaborative effort: her second anthology of poetry consisting if poems coming from the blog. I leaped at the chance! I ended up getting involved in the selection process, have five poems included in the book, and I also did a little bit of proofreading, and wrote an introduction for one of the chapters: Voicing Soul Secrets.

There was actually another little serendipity involved here. I live in Japan, as you know, so much of the work that goes on in my co-writers/poets’ lives happens while I’m in the throes of dreamland. I’d noticed late at night (for me), before going to bed, that 13 writers would be needed for chapter introductions. My eye fell immediately to Soul Secrets, but I didn’t want to be pushy – I was fairly new to the group, and didn’t want to overstep, and I for sure didn’t want to take some work that another poetess was dreaming of doing! I told myself that if it was still available in the morning, I’d offer to write it.

When I woke up … it was the only one left!

Being intimately involved in the production process of this book was a privilege and a huge learning experience. I got to watch as one of our poetesses, Shailie Dubois, offered a painting she’d done that was so stunning it ended up on the cover of the book – she also did another for the back cover, and did one of the book’s two trailers (Catherine, a masterful video creator), did the other).

And now, just after my 41st birthday, I am gifted again … with the release of the book! On the day of its release, our new poetry book “Where Journeys Meet: The Voice of Women’s Poetry” made it to the #1 spot on Amazon’s Bestselling New Releases in Poetry by Women *and* to the #2 spot in Bestselling Poetry by Women (in general) right next to MARY OLIVER, one of my heroines!

where journeys meet

What a year, and bookended (!), no less, by two books. For a human like me, who has been dreaming and breathing words her whole life, this is a moment I want to fully dive into with my full appreciation and gratitude.

The work never stops, the words continue to flow, emotions run in every which way … but for now, we are here, and there is a lot of celebrating to do.

Thank YOU for being here to celebrate with me. May we share words and hearts for a long time to come!

Tammy xo