By the Window – A Poem of Hope in the time of Coronavirus.

By the Window

By the window,
It looks like any other day,
a particularly beautiful one,
sun shining, clear blue sky,
the snow and ice succumbing
to winter’s end.
It is quiet,
a silence heralding, to me,
a feeling of peace
that is hard to ignore,
or to thwart with logic,
with what I now know.
By the window,
it is just I, the observer
of life being itself,
of steady spruces offering comfort,
of geese flying home,
of hand built wooden furniture
meant to weather
the seasons and the years.
Then the thoughts trickle in,
and the freedom of this moment,
this clear moment of witness
of all that his holy and right
with this world,
threatens to become
a cage for fears and doubt,
which, like the fertile earth
one window away from me,
know well how to grow.
Before this can happen,
I turn to look at the flowers
we have been nurturing inside
these coldest months of the year,
at the scarlet petals blushing with life
that do not sway with the times,
and settle on finding eternity here,
so that I can turn my gaze outside,
and see that eternity cannot depart.
The geese know it,
in their homeward movement,
and if we can sit within the stillness
of a new day beginning,
despite, and even though,
and gather every last beating heart
into our own,
we too can become the world,
and in it find we are home.

– Tammy Stone Takahashi

I Want for my Words …

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I want to write

With absolute clarity.

I want each word

To be a raven

Cutting a stark

And perfect cosmology

In a cloudless sky

As it comes and goes

For reasons it always knows,

Not a movement to waste.

I want the words

To do the impossible

And show you

Directly and infinitely,

Who I am

Who is writing them,

Along with every version

Of me I’ve come to know

In the strange and intimate

Act of remembering.

Finally, I would like

For the words

To have the fortitude

Of a vessel that

Can bear the weight

Of the thousand

Ways we need to travel

In order to heal

The world, so that we,

With our words

And without them, too,

Can once again play

In a sacred lightness of being.

 

– 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.

 

I May Never …

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It may never be enough,
what I am able to tell myself
about the beauty and purity
in this world.
I may never come to know
the ancient and eternal wisdom
of a sacred tree
in trust of the ground that holds it
and the sky that receives
its every last fluttering wing.
I may never know the grace
of a sun that sets
without fear it won’t rise again,
of a river that has never doubted
its path or destination.
But I will stay.
I will sit among the splendor,
and watch its holy manner,
and I will rest in awe,
of what my heart
may one day understand.

– Tammy Takahashi

I. You. Love

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I will take my gaze far,
but I will not lose sight of you,
I will not stop searching
for the source of your strength
as I climb into my own,
I will honour each of your breaths,
that takes and gives
and reminds me of the power
of perfect presence.
I will sense the expansion
that is possible in our union,
even if I forget for a time
and think that freedom
lies on distant shores.
I will always come back
and know what opens
in the infinite space between us,
in the space between
our foreheads touching,
eyes meeting,
hearts coming closer.
I will, like a great warrior,
fight each of my dizzying fears
to allow them to come closer,
and I will thank you for waiting,
as you have, as we will,
and so it goes, this well of love.

– Tammy Takahashi

The We of a Tree: A Story

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Often, when I do yoga here, at home, on the seventh floor of our building, I wish I was closer to the ground, so that I could feel the earth below me, rather than sort of hovering over it – grounding is so important for everyone, especially “airy, in-the-head” people like me! But today, after a particularly intense practice, I was lying on my back at the end, and suddenly a vivid image came to me, of the six “layers” of people below me, and we were sort of forming the trunk of a tree, so that the nourishment of the ground was coming straight up though this “tree of people”, supporting me, my life, my journey, and I was also receiving, from the sky, and this was flowing right back down through everyone back to the ground. We were a tree, the spine of a human body, connected, working together. I was such a beautiful lesson.

Remembering and Forgetting

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The art of remembering, and forgetting … like all binaries, it has to be all about balance. We don’t want to remember so much that our entire world becomes a recreation of a past that doesn’t exist anymore, so that we become incapable of living in the present moment. But we don’t want to forget so much that we lose the context for our being, the heart and bones of our ancestry that fills our vessel with so much of what makes us who we are. We don’t want to cling to what has caused us pain and give this too much potency, nor to an overwhelming nostalgia for a time we will never have back and that never quite existed. But we don’t have or want to condemn ourselves to being completely unmoored, either. We can allow ourselves to be rooted in the nurturing ground that gave rise to us without being indebted to every detail of our history. We can work toward finding freedom within the form or shell that is the life we came in to. We can work toward honouring the past and finding it it the many valuable and necessary lessons for a more hopeful future while working our hearts out to cultivate, forge, pioneer, and create the unimaginable gift of an open life for ourselves.

Finding Heart

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Maybe I’ve been looking
at the wrong things,
and for too long,
and in places not meant
for our communion.
Maybe there’s not
so far to go, to do things
like watch every flower grow,
the seasons come and go.
Maybe this is where
we find the time we fear
is running away from us,
while we’ve been fleeing, madly,
in every direction from here.
I want to watch every creature
take their first breath this world,
see the fledgling growth,
the wide-eyed wonder,
the absorption of everything
we will choose to give it.
I want to sit outside
and watch wind become rain,
and sun become life.
I want to feel with my fingers
how trees age with grace
and how the earth
harbors seed and root,
which provide so much.
I want to witness
the life cycle of a cicada,
and contemplate eternity
flowing in the breath of their
short-lived song,
and marvel at perspective.
I want to be so still
that I can hear
every heartbeat at once,
loving and doubting,
in honour and in strife,
from beginningless
to never-ending time,
giving everything,
needing only this.