Balance

[Image description: abstract photo with bright center]

Masculine.
Feminine.

Words now defined as opposites,
created prior to words
as harmony
among and within.

Interior balance of energy,
each tantamount
to the other,
wholeness
incarnate.

Diverse,
yet coequal,
until
property,
commodity,
misogyny,
took hold.

Multiple expressions
of the feminine
suppressed,
confined,
subdued,
relegated to certain tasks
and certain people.

God, divided.

We can call God
Father,
and he,
and him,
and Lord,
and warrior,
but not
Mother,
and she,
and her,
or even corresponding words
that don’t exist
because the default
is always
man.

I want the feminine side of God
in all her forms.

Not to
objectify God by
claiming God a woman,
the way women
are objectified,
claimed
as God’s gift.

I want the wholeness,
the fullness,
the perfect entirety—
without exclusion—
of my own being.
And God’s.
And yours.

I want
symmetry
and reciprocity.
The function and the beauty.
The light and the shadow.
The aspiration and the groundedness.
The logic and the mystery.
As it was.
As it could be.
If we didn’t split it all
in two.

Seeds

[Image description: five apple seeds on a bamboo cutting board.]

Standing,
slicing,
contemplating
how this crisp apple
doesn’t resemble apple blossoms,
or apple trees,
or even last year’s windfallen fruit rotting underneath,
yet the potential for these
are right there
in the seeds scattered
on a kitchen cutting board.

Scraping, haphazard,
into the compost bowl,
mindful of gaps that surface
between the ways
I want to be,
but am.

The way my irritation
over a stranger’s rudeness at the supermarket
bears no resemblance
to my aspirations of love and tenderness for the world.

The way my patience wears thin with others
when I’ve procrastinated and now need them to rush,
my uncharitable reactions to other drivers
on long commutes in traffic,
my lack of curiosity when presented with
an opposing view,
all falling short of
the poetry
my soul sings in the woods.

My own contradictions and hypocrisy
on display,
so unlike
the beautiful way of being
I wish to embody.

It bears considering
what potential I’m cultivating,
allowing to germinate,
and grow.

Rain

[Image Description: Rainclouds over farmland]

God is a man, male, maleness,
and therefore, men are more like God.
Women are just a rib,
a support,
a helper
to prop up the weight of patriarchy.

It’s there in pages
and creeds,
who are you to argue?
Ignore evidence that contradicts
so all you see is
a man’s faith,
a man’s world
a man god.

Kneel there and look pretty while we
manufacture scarcity from abundance,
violence from connection,
commodity from gift.

How I long to clear away these accumulated lies
the way one clears tracked-in fragments from the hall rug.

Quick snaps from the wrist,
shaking clean over the back-porch rail,
leaving the dross scattered in the yard
to be washed clean
away by the rain on the horizon.

Because the male god they made wasn’t male at all,
just a distortion of power,
maleness misconstrued.

Wholeness was the gift
and we fractured it,
splitting the beautiful spectrum of human
into two opposites,
one dominant.

Changing all/and
into either/or,
erecting boxes.

One for him.
One for her.
A facade for each

to stifle the complex beauty
that allows us to be
And.
All.
Whole.

The male god distortion
crushes even men,
separating us from each other
and ourselves.

If we sweep away these constructs,
confines,
cons,
we see God is male and not male,
female and not female,
being itself,
not to be constricted by our narrow minds.

Out here in the vast expanse
after the rain
washes away the nonsense,

what we know is how
wide and long and high and deep
is being,
is wholeness,
is love.

Waves

[Image description: large wave crashing over a rocky, Maine shoreline]

At the mirror
brushing teeth,
thoughts crashing in waves,
transferring energy
one to the next,
swelling and rippling back,
until a single phrase surfaces:

You’ve always been this way.

Eyes search mirrored eyes,
walking tidelines
back to source.

Of course.

Of course.

Of course.

What seemed like newness
was a return.

The fire in belly and bone
over pain of another
inflicted by power,
illegitimate.

The having to say
something—
anything—
to voice dissent
even when voicing
brought swift
punishment from a wooden spoon,
or the rebuke of an elder,
or distance from friends.

Stifled, veneered,
yet never completely cowed.

‘You’ve always been this way’
echoing
until the waves still
and there is only
the calm
of truth
coming home.

In the Light: A Lament

[Image description: Bare branches in front of a bright, cloudy sky]

‘In the Light: A Lament’

In the light of mourning,
clarity.
Sorting out which mundane things matter infinitely,

and which matters of past importance to set aside forever
as time stretches out for some,
past another’s time,
cut short.

The unfairness pierces,
piercing,
pierced.                                                 

Different realities
crafted to drive a wedge.

Some of us believing
nurses and clinicians,
experts and those bereaved,
imperfectly trying to do our part.
Some of us unmask
our refusal to be inconvenienced
for the sake of others,
spreading falsehoods that kill.

Who gains when only some mourn the dead                               
and see the weary eyes of those providing care
for wave after wave after wave?

Which day do we designate for a day of mourning
when thousands die every day
and only some of us believe it didn’t have to be this way?

Will we ever grieve collectively
the emptying seats
in pews,
cubicles,
classrooms,
break rooms,
nurses stations,
around dinner tables?

300,000 and counting.

When we fail to mourn together
the lives lost to global tragedy
because we can’t agree
it is a tragedy here,
the wound grows unchecked.

We need the searing light
of mourning,
need to allow it to shatter our hearts
for the grief-stricken,
the PPE-clothed witnesses,
the ones no longer here.

But instead of holding vigil,
we carry on like all is well
or we withdraw completely
or we deny
or blame
or fling outward an endless volley of hate.

None of which will heal
or soothe
or bring back a single person lost.
We must find it in our hearts to grieve
for the year,
for our children,
for ourselves,
and especially
for loved ones taken,
and those they were taken from.

In the light of mourning,
lament.
As we see, bear witness, pay tribute,
our hearts ache, open, and
compassion can break through.

Words

[Image description: Clouds with sunbeam streaming through onto mountains in the background, rock ledge and pine trees in the foreground]

The words we take to heart are telling.
Some of the best words end in a why.

Words that ask us to look deeper and see the hidden, intricate parts.
(Complexity)

Words that hint at promise and potential, holding hope of what could be.
(Possibility)

Words of what we feel in common, connecting us in experience and action.
(Mutuality)

Words that interweave, unifying people or sounds into a beautiful whole.
(Harmony)

Words to bless each other from our own gifts, exchanging what nourishes and completes.
(Reciprocity)

Words that engage the imagination
to birth new energy and beauty into the world.
(Creativity)

Spacious words that pose questions,
require nuance,
challenge current norms

They offer no easy answers,
rather life in abundance,
wild and expansive,
light shimmering through,
beckoning,
why wouldn’t you try?

But rule words, isims,
clamor loudly.
Dogmatism.
Colonialism.
Individualism.
Nationalism.
Capitalism.
Utilitarianism.

Those words hoard
power to a few,
leaving others
in shadow,
dehumanized,
no questions asked.

Clinging to absolutes,
to subordination,
exploitation,
indoctrination,
will harm,
destroy,
and separate,
but never be as powerful
as all the beautiful questions.

Why wouldn’t we try asking?

Untitled

Barren branches against
gray winter sky
betray no hint of Spring.

Shadowy starting-over time,
indistinguishable from death,
disorienting.

Summer’s shroud,
now decaying underfoot,
ever-present,
impossible to forget.

Droplets heavy in the air,
a veil obscuring anything new.

Freezing, frozen, longing for
clear skies and no longer comfortable
shifting only in increments.

All words could become poetry,
All sounds could become music,
All shapes could become art,
on the other side
of this dormant season.

Pressing on, searching for
more spacious words
than the ones
men gave me.

Wholeness more universal,
Beauty more real,
Care more tender,
Value more foundational
than their limited imaginations could see.

And when I find them,
they’re not just for me.

Credo

I believe in God the Mother,
Whose womb gives birth to mystery,
Who nurtures all that is,
Visible and invisible.

And in her strength, intuition, and softness
To cradle the inner child of my heart
Tenderly, soothing hurt.

I believe in the spirit of this mother
To fiercely protect,
Warding off attempts to wound my very nature
Love from love
Light from light
Seeing the true essence of my being.

Through her I know my connection to all else,
For me,
And with me,
In the feminine that is not a construct
But is the abundance of mutuality,
Receptivity,
And fecundity.

She, who is neither opposite nor opposition,
But a cosmic bringing-together
Where the new unfolds.
One aspect, often suppressed,
Never subsumed,
Always rematerializing.
Moon energy, renewing after waning.

I affirm the beauty of her infinite variety
Originating from the same source.

The mother presence from deep within
Binding up my woundedness,
Creating balance,
Bringing forth wholeness
as a gift to the world.

Amen

(Note: Heartfelt gratitude to Ryan Keebaugh for asking me to take on a new project that led me to these words. Looking forward to hearing how it all comes together!)

Waiting

[Image description: Two bare trees in a shopping center paring lot, a single branch from each reaching out to the other, touching in the space between.]

Heart full of poetry
and problems,
trying to bend without breaking
down completely.

Waiting without knowing
what will be its worth.

Will time tell
by giving birth to wholeness?
Or will shame,
separation,
sorrow,
fight it out forever?

Can poetry solve problems?
Will healing ever come?

Not sure it’s possible
to co-create
connection,
healing,
hope,
with nothing but this
severed cord
and glimmer of a different way.

Wondering if hidden in the waiting
for what some of us
experience as God
and some as fate
and some as no-god, nothing,
is the mystery where that
alchemy can happen.

What if the ends of healing
depend entirely on the means

and those means are
vulnerability,
grief,
seeing the other’s pain?

What if healing is an active waiting?
Help and rest.
Intention
Care.

Perhaps what we do with waiting
is the poem of the hour.