Sunday, December 30, 2012

Become Love

Christmas is just a few days past, as are the lives of 20 innocents in a small town in Connecticut.
As unimaginable as that crime is~~and let's all pause now and once more pour love toward those who've lost so much~~we know that senseless deaths are not uncommon in this world. 16,000 children, for example, die daily of hunger~related causes. That’s a child every five seconds, at least two since you began reading this essay.
The outpouring of grief over this thoroughly preventable statistic, though, isn’t the same. It’s as if, to the human mind, death from violence is somehow worse than death from indifference, or death here is worse than death over there.
I don’t imagine the Christ whose birth many of us recently celebrated would see it this way. I suspect, too, that he wouldn’t agree that the proper response to the Newtown shooting is more guns, any more than he’d say the cure for world hunger is increased disregard. No, his teachings would lead us in a different direction entirely. He would move us away from fear, ill will and apathy, and toward love and a felt connection with one another.           
But how do we do this? How do we operationalize Christ’s call to love one another?

Obviously, it is essential that love guide our every action, love that is not a mere concept, a should, the simple doing of what seems right. Love is defined as “profoundly tender, passionate affection.” If such a quality permeates our actions in the world, we will live true to Christ’s teachings.
But to do this requires another step. To refine our external actions, we must transform our interiors. We must become love.
While the prophecies surrounding the end of the Mayan calendar did predict a time of adversity and cataclysmic earth changes, these were seen as a necessary purification for the dawn of the next world age. 

This transition has begun. We are all part of it, and we get to choose how to cast ourselves in this grand happening. In each moment, we decide. We can nurture fear and self~interest, fully anchoring ourselves in a way of being that, having outgrown its usefulness, is now falling away.
Or we can further develop our capacity for love and connection, our Christ awareness, our own Christ Consciousness. With our thoughts and our actions, we can craft in each moment a new world, harmonious and vibrant.           

Across this sweet Earth of ours, so many of us are choosing the latter. Let's choose it again~~and in earnest~~right now....

I see you, precious reader, pausing for a few moments and, with heart overflowing, envisioning a world where love guides us all. And I see you doing so throughout this day and in all the days to come.

And I see us all, together and in each individual moment, making it so. Amen.

A joyous and peaceful new year to us all!

Blessed Are!

Loanne Marie

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Let Joy Be Unconfined

Our gathering began with a poem from the Persian mystic Hafiz. "How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all of its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being. Otherwise we all remain too frightened." We proceeded, then, to immerse ourselves in that light…and to dance!
Dance has long been a path of worship, remembrance and communion. The Dances of Universal Peace are a particularly lovely way to dance the sacred. The Dances are described on the DUP website as “spiritual practice in motion. Drawing on sacred phrases, scripture and poetry of the many spiritual traditions,” chant, music and movement blend to create, “a living experience of unity, peace and integration.”
For this dance, Kalima led us through a series of dances, each a prayer engaging our whole beings~~body, mind, heart and soul. True to the DUP philosophy, our words sprang from various spiritual traditions, including Christian, Native American, Jewish, and Buddhist. Some dances were energetic, others serene. All were beautiful.
One particular dance stays with me...
Standing in a circle, we hold hands and begin a slow weave step to the left. Twice, in rhythmic melody, we chant, “The ocean refuses no river, no river.” We then drop hands and, raising arms and eyes to the heavens, turn in place, singing twice a soaring Arabic chant, “Ishq Allah mabood lillah. Il Allah,” which poetically translates as “God is Love, Lover and Beloved. Only God exists.” Perhaps it is the power of that spinning movement~~arms exalting, gaze turned upward~~or maybe it is the power within the words themselves~~God is Love, all and everywhere. Whatever the cause, as this two~part dance continues, energy building as group and solitary circles turn and turn and turn again, I am transported…transported back home to what is: God, by whatever name, song, or step.
The dancers in our circle ranged in age from 13 to 67 and arrived with life experiences as varied as those ages. As we danced, though, differences melted away. As in the opening poem, we felt the encouragement of light on our being, and fear~~in the form of shyness, skepticism, personality differences, individual woes~~loosened its hold on us. As the rose, our hearts opened. We received beauty and freely give it back to the world.
In this moving meditation, our whole~being prayer, we experience and expressed he sentiment of the brilliant dancer, Isadora Duncan. "The Dance is love, it is only love...and that is enough."

So, dear ones, dance...and may your steps be joyful!


Loanne Marie

PS. The title of this column comes from Lord Byron. The full line is, "On with the dance! let joy be unconfined." Yes!

PPS. And here's a link to a page from the DUP website that contains two lovely videos of folks dancing.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Biker Wisdom

Motorcyclists are cautioned about a phenomenon known as target fixation. When confronted by a potential hazard~~a dead skunk in the roadway or a rock wall rising beside an unusually sharp curve~~the tendency is to focus directly on the obstacle. In his book Total Control, riding instructor Lee Parks explains that, since “where you look is where you go,” this natural tendency has often caused riders “to run right into whatever it was they were looking at.”
The same is true in life. As I fixate on a perceived slight or major worry, that focus claims me. My energy flows toward whatever I give awareness to.
Does this mean we ignore all disturbances and blithely travel down the roadways of our lives? Of course not. After a quick burst of what Parks calls spotlight vision  to determine our best response, he urges us to expand our view to a floodlight vision which “illuminates a larger area with less intensity,” and returns us to a fuller perspective.
If I fixate on financial difficulties, for example, my vision narrows. I not only lose touch with the many joys that abound, but my upset can blind me to alternative avenues for improving my position. A flexible approach is wiser. Taking clear stock of my situation, I then focus, not on the problem itself, but on the path around the problem. As I do what’s mine to do~~no more, no less~~I am freed to return to floodlight vision, thus remembering myself into a larger context.
Zeroing in on difficulties removes me from a felt experience of life in its fullness. The blue of the sky is lost and the simple perfection of a given moment passes without my conscious awareness and participation. Parks asserts that, “the farther ahead you look in a turn, the better off you will be.” Translated into our terms, this encourages us to respond appropriately while keeping ourselves attuned to that which is eternal and unchanging. It’s not that we don’t focus. It’s that we focus wisely and flexibly.
On a related note, the movie I Am shares some of the latest research on democratic decision~making among grazing animals in the wild. The choice of which watering hole to visit and when is not always made by the alphas of the herd, as was originally assumed. As thirst grows, animals gradually stop grazing and begin pointing their noses in the direction of their preferred pool. The location with the most “votes” wins.
An interesting phenomenon to consider at election time. We can allow our focus to be consumed by hate and fear mongering~~skunks in the roadway for sure~~or we can hold to a truer vision. Spiritual teachings assert that we are intricately connected, and urge us to nurture our capacity for love while tempering our tendency toward self~interest.

During this election, let’s point our noses in the direction of interconnection and shared responsibility for our children, one another and the earth itself. As we hold to this larger vision, whether in politics or our personal lives, we’ll be less likely to hit dead skunks head~on or run off the road entirely.

Joyous riding, ya'll!

Loanne Marie

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shakin' Out The Nonsense

Ten years ago, my husband suffered a colossal heart attack. As  he drifted further and further away from me during the 40 minutes it took the EMTs to arrive at our home, I had no idea a gift was being offered.

While the particulars vary, most of us experience moments when everything crumbles. Marriages end, jobs are lost, houses burn, people die. Our lives suddenly seem unrecognizable. The outer structure has shattered and our identities hang in tatters.
Thankfully, change is usually more gradual. However, sometimes it is a tsunami that washes us clean of all we thought we were. Destruction is as much a part of life as creation. We may prefer light over darkness and birth over death, but that’s rather irrelevant. Destruction happens. As Paul Simon sang it, “Everything put together sooner or later falls apart.” Everything.
Of course, we are not powerless in that process. Our response is ours, and it can make all the difference. Rather than acting the passive victim, we can seek the gift within the loss. Instead of being broken, we can allow ourselves to be broken open.           
The intense physical pain brought my husband into the moment like nothing else could. And watching him navigate his way along the threshold of death was, for me, a meditation like no other.

This heightened awareness continued through the ICU and the Cath Lab, during that first tentative walk around the block, over the months when the risk of sudden death remained high. Each moment and every breath was precious. And with my husband’s regained vitality, the tutorial continues. This heart attack has become our forever teacher.
In When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron writes “…the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
My husband and I have more room for all these things now. We live more deeply, think more kindly, feel gratitude and joy more fully.
Humans often need a nudge, and life obliges. As the mystic Rumi put it, “Many demolitions are actually renovations.” At least, if we’re smart. In Tired of Speaking Sweetly, 14th century poet Hafiz put it this way, “The Beloved sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.”
Believe me, there’s no shortage of nonsense remaining. We have, though, let some of it go. And our life is all the richer because of it.
Happy re-birth day, my sweet man. And for the rest of us...let's not wait for a near~death experience to shake ourselves free of a little nonsense. 

Loanne Marie

Here's a link to Hafiz's poem Tired of Speaking Sweetly. I highly recommend it~~so much so that I decided to put it right here!

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.
If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.
Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth
That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,
Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.
God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.
The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:
Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.
But when we hear
He is in such a “playful drunken mood”
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.
~ Hafiz ~
(The Gift – versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

Sunday, September 2, 2012


As I drove up the winding, washboard of a road this morning, pieces of me dropped away like yesterday’s clothing. My therapist self~~whish! Married woman, friend~~gone! Busy, competent someone~~no more. Writer~~only in snippets to be woven into coherence later.

I’ve come for a solo stay in the national forest to touch more fully the current that runs beneath and through the particulars of my life. My campsite is lovely, secluded among trees running along a shallow creek. Water dancing over river rock is the only sound I hear.

Stillness returns. Or rather, this space welcomes me back into a stillness that exists always. I settle in, just another rock in the streambed. Here, I know myself as a temporary collection of borrowed components, held together by the thinnest of gossamer threads.
Religions distinguish themselves by belief and practice. As I move through my own spiritual life, though, what folks believe and specific rites are not so important to me. What interests me is if someone can stand in awe, and if that person can risk dissolving into the vast flow, even for a brief moment. If so, we are kindred spirits, no matter our beliefs.
Night comes and goes. Just after sunrise, I hike to the ridge line and sit at 11,000 feet. The land falls away before me only to rise again, undulating to a 14,000 foot crescendo. If someone feels a quickening at such a sight, if a person can appreciate what this immensity means for one small human’s plans, if one can live from that felt awareness, then I care little what story is told to explain it.           
Individual lives are like houses. Some are spacious with a nice floor plan, some cramped and in bad neighborhoods. All, however, are containers for a soul. The essence that we are, and are yet to become, can make use of any dwelling. But with access to that which moves beyond, a soul blossoms.
These houses of ours come with many doors and windows, portals to vastness. Whether wide~opened or shuttered, these openings urge us not to confuse the structure of our lives with life itself. And they offer a pathway into that which endures. 

When we move into that endless field and breathe deeply what is found there, we are nourished. From that vantage point, the houses of our lives seem a bit like movie sets. We may like the movie or not, but the particular plot line is a bit less compelling.
I’ve returned now to a life that waited patiently during my excursion into nature. My pieces came together again as easily as they were shed. Refreshed, enlivened, with eyes clear and heart open, I resume my activities, touching within them what truly matters.


Loanne Marie

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wee Teacher, Big Lesson

The sound met me as I rounded the corner~~a frantic thrumming punctuated by sharp whacks to the glass. A male rufous hummingbird had flown into our partially enclosed porch and was now desperately seeking escape by repeatedly hurling his small self against a south~facing window. 

I quickly swept the plastic plant~watering bottles off the shelf directly below him as I calculated how best to assist. I didn’t want to hurt those fiercely beating wings with an inept human response.
Again and again and yet again, he flung himself forward, trying to break through the pane of glass with tiny beak and flurry of wing. I knew I needed to do something. As I tried to wrap my hands around him, though, those spirited little wings resisted, beating all the faster.
Until they didn’t. The rufous slowly slid down the window and lay on the shelf absolutely still. The alarming angle of neck against glass made me think he might have beaten himself to death. But no, it was sheer exhaustion I witnessed. Or perhaps, finally, surrender.
I gently wrapped my fingers around his tiny body, less than 3 inches in length, and could feel the life pulsing through him, though he moved not at all. One sideways step and we were in the open doorway. I extended my arms, opened my hands…and he was gone.
For several seconds I could hear the more characteristic hummingbird trill as those powerful wings pumped air. Then silence~~and the memory of frantic battle giving way at last to whatever was to be.
We often struggle as the rufous did. Our battle may be with another person, but it is more frequently an emotion we resist~~sorrow or fear, perhaps~~or a situation not to our liking. We throw ourselves against our imagined foe, believing if we just fight hard enough, we will force a change and be released into freedom.
Usually, though, our struggle merely exhausts us. Perhaps we even harm ourselves a bit in the process. And as with the rufous, in our desperation we are often blinded to a solution lying just around the corner.
So what are we to do? Stop our senseless flailing. At the very least, such a pause will allow us to take stock of the situation and consider our options.

But often something more is called for. Just as our hummer friend, we must surrender. We need to let go our frantic fight and accept what is. And when we do, we just might find ourselves scooped up by the hands of Grace and released into a clear, blue expanse of sky.

May you feel yourself held by loving hands, rather than hurtling against imagined foes. And may you then fly free!


Loanne Marie

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Water Is All

On early morning walks around the lake, I notice vegetation, so recently a vivid green, shifting now toward tan under the blaze of a searing sun. Acres burn nearby, weather patterns change, and the political arena heats up as well. And in our personal lives, relationships shift, fortune comes and goes, and loved ones weaken and die as new beings incarnate and begin their own too~brief travels through the world.
It’s enough to make a person melancholy, even a bit frightened. How do we move through the uncertainties of life with spirits intact?
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of two dimensions, the historical and the ultimate. His metaphor is the ocean, a lovely image for these hot days. Waves live in the historical dimension, as do all things that begin, end and change with time. When we touch the ultimate, however, we know that wave is only water and water is all.
When we focus on a particular wave~~the discomfort of sweltering temperatures, the rancor of the political arena, or some nagging problem~~our vision contracts. We zero in on a transitory occurrence, and the salty sea is lost to the waves.
It’s time, then, to consciously reorient. Nhat Hanh’s metaphor reminds us this needn’t be so very difficult. Water is right here. We simply shift our awareness. We cease our ruminations and outward busyness and awaken to the present moment, just as it is. For if the historical dimension exists in time, the ultimate is most directly experienced in the present. As the Indian yogi Prajnanapada put it, “If you are in the moment, you are in the Infinite.”
Most of us must cultivate an ability to perceive the enduring within the temporal. With practice, however, we learn to move between the two with greater ease, and even to hold both in the same moment.
On this morning’s walk, I again ached for the thirsty flora and fauna that call this place home. I hurt, too, for those affected by the fires. Then something shifted.

I still walked on parched earth, and flames had become no less deadly. Yet, everything was suddenly more alive. I had opened. I breathed into a vibrancy of which I had not been aware just seconds before. It wasn’t so much that the historical dimension gave way to the ultimate. It was that the ultimate rose up and was shimmering everywhere.

In Nhat Hanh’s image, I was no longer captivated by waves. The ocean was all, and it shone through each and every ripple. For a few moments, I was merely a molecule in a vast sea. And then another wave surged and swept me away.

No matter the waves any of us surf, we can open to the ocean. It may not change the height or intensity of the particular wave that holds us, but reorientating to that which is larger and imbuing us all~~waves and surfers alike~~can only help.

As one H2O molecule to another, namaste!

Loanne Marie

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I’ve always loved haiku, those delightful little poems that offer us a delicate moment in just a few words. Recently, though, I learned that haiku arose from a much older tradition, the dynamic, collaborative poetry known as renga. This is how it works.
Poets arrive at a gathering with a freshly written verse of three lines. One of these hokku is chosen as the poem’s opening stanza. Each poet then separately composes a possible second verse. One of these is selected. This process continues, poem flowing through some mysterious process of becoming as verse gives rise to verse. Finally, a completed poem emerges.
Andrew Shelling, in an article on renga in the magazine tricycle, describes this process as “poem responding to poem.” Each stand~alone verse links to the one that precedes it, yet also moves the poem into new and often surprising territory.
Just like life. A moment, beautifully rich and complete unto itself, softly or startlingly becomes the next. Each instant arises from and is inextricably linked to all that precedes it, yet adds its own nioi, a Japanese word meaning scent. And that scent carries us into the next moment.
Of course, in our busyness we often miss the fragrance entirely. And so we practice slowing down~~in meditation, in contemplative prayer, amid nature, and in the writing and reading of verse.
In haiku and renga, Shelling writes, stanzas are “too short for complicated ideas, fancy metaphors, intricate figures of speech…(and) leave small room for self~promotion…(or) philosophic reference.”

No, this is bare bones poetry, perfect for those who want to touch the bare bones essence of life, that indescribable something that streams beneath all human activity and contrivance. The Japanese term for this quality is yugen. In The Japanese Theatre, author Benito Ortolani describes yugen as, “a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe…and the sad beauty of human suffering.”
With its traditional emphasis on simplicity, impermanence, and the lessons embodied in the natural world, renga has long been associated with Buddhism. “Renga, like haiku,” Shelling writes, “is not just a poem but a state of consciousness." Quoting 17th century renga poet Matsuo Basho, Shelling tells us that for a person living in this awareness, “everything he sees becomes a flower, and everything he imagines turns into the moon.”
A finished renga is a necklace of individual haiku beads strung seemingly without effort. This is poetry as meditation, poetry as a doorway into the Eternal Now.
Our days are renga, too, sparkling strands of haiku moments. Let us string them with awareness, allowing each bead to awaken us more fully. And may we delight in being part of such a dazzling collaboration, for together, poem responding to poem, we create something precious and new.

Blessings on this haiku moment, the one right here as you read these words. May you welcome it and add your own sweet nioi before passing it on.

Wishing you flowers and moons,

Loanne Marie

Here’s a link to Shelling’s article Whirling Petals, Windblown Leaves in the winter 2007 issue of tricycle. It is worth reading, indeed!

And here’s a lovely little tutorial about the writing of tiny poems, How to Haiku.


Shelling’s article quotes Murasaki Shikibu, a writer of more than a thousand years ago, saying, “It was unthinkable that a poem should get no reply.” Shelling writes that to, “make no response, Murasaki believed, is to have no heart…to show oneself ‘uncooked’, a mere barbarian, with the shabbiest of table manners or bedroom etiquette.” Well, Murasaki certainly made her feelings clear on that one!

Traditionally, renga comes with some rather stringent rules. Though things have relaxed a bit with modernity and renga’s introduction to the west, custom continues to dictate some specifics. But as Shellling writes, “Maybe the elaborate rules devised in feudal Japan… have gotten less important than the simple human act of making poems together.”

So it is in this spirit that I offer you an opportunity to renga (yes, I’m makin’ that a verb!), right here on this blog. I’m not exactly sure how this will work, but I do know it could be great fun. If you’re interested in renga~ing, email me a note to By next weekend, when folks have had a chance to respond, we’ll start the process of figuring out together how to begin.

So, please, don’t be shy! As Shelling writes of his own renga experience, we can allow our renga “to compose itself, independent of our will” as we all write, “without a trace of self~centeredness…toward a single poem.” Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Hope to hear from you~~yes, you!

* * * * * *

Oooh, it looks to be great fun! If you'd like to follow our renga in process~~or even contribute yourself!~~you can do so here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Renga online!

Let me explain! At the end of the essay on renga, I offered folks an opportunity to try their hand at this lovely form of collaborative poetry. Five brave souls agreed to give it a whirl. While renga traditionally came with many rules and conventions, we decided on the following:
  1. Our finished renga will consist of the standard 36 verses.
  2. Verses of 3 lines will alternate with verses of 2 lines.
  3. There are no rules regarding syllable count. Verses will be kept short; it is suggested that they take no longer than 5 seconds when read aloud.
  4. One writer was to offer an opening 3 line verse, the hokku. As is traditional, this reflected the current season. (Incidentally, renga usually move around the seasons as the poem progresses, changing every few stanzas.)
  5. Subsequent verses are offered by whomever feels inspired. This way, no one feels on the hot seat or pressured to respond.
  6. Should two or more folks respond to the same verse, the original renga splits. We actually began with two renga, as two folks offered an initial hokku, but both have long ago split into two. We've since decided that we will stay with just these four renga, primarily due to logistics and space issues. If two folks respond to the same verse, the offering of the person who hasn't responded in a while will be chosen.
We also decided that we'd feel free to throw in some other conventions~~or make them up as we go along. For example, it was suggested for verse 5 below that, in keeping with convention, we mention the moon. Someone may also say something like, "Okay, let's have the next stanza refer to love...or let's change to the next season...etc." Or someone can offer something, like "The next verse must make reference to a shade of red, or to food."

I will be hosting this renga. Folks send their verse offerings to me by email to: and after some period of time, I post them here. We're making this up as we go along folks, so don't be shy.

One other point. Renga differs from our usual idea of poetry not only in being collaborative. The finished renga is not a unified whole in the same way most poetry is. Each verse is a stand~alone, but is linked to the one before it, though not to the ones that precede that one. So the completed poem likely won't have an overall point or theme. It is some wild and living thing that morphs and shifts, and where you find yourself in verse 23, for example, cannot be guessed from, and won't be immediately connected to, where you were in verse 12. Renga's beauty is in the action, in the flow and jump between verses. As each stanza is added, the other writers might even need a moment or two to get the connection, to recognize the link in the author's mind.

And if I might wax a bit philosophical, I've learned that renga is a lot like life. Something comes your way. You may like it or not, feel moved by it or not. Now, though, it's yours to decide how you'll turn it before passing it on. Renga is good practice for life, and quite fun. It's not what's handed to you that matters. It's what you do with it.

So enough of that! Here's what we have in process at this point~~

Renga 1:

Oh beloved Solstice~~
Never ending days taste of
Sweet summer fruit...

Ahhh...sun's daze
of vine and roses

tang explodes
on tongue~~
first tomato!

Red ripples down,
Oh...the lusciousness

of those layered clouds

in western sky,
slivered moon peeking

fuller in each night's sky

'til sun kisses moon full on lips waiting

Renga 1A                                                                                  Renga 1B

Waning and waxing,                                          Suddenly the breast beats hard
kissing and dissing,                                            As being longs for such a kiss
temperatures cool~~Harvest Moon!                                  light begins to dim and fade

Garden draped against the frost,                              Wildness whispers...tempting slyly
ghost children in the dark                                             fear befalls the frozen heart

knife slicing into tender skin                                  fear and wildness, enduring dance...
innards scooped, maniacal grin~~                            freeze and thaw, shrink and stretch,
flaming jack o'lantern!                                              hearts crack, open, bloom

Now we celebrate our departed~                          fruit and seed freely offered,
With sugar skulls and dancing bones...                     
wheel turns once more~~autumn

skeletal worshipers sway and bow,                                Earth's palette ablaze,
sun~drenched leaves release...                                           how palpable the gift...
aspens' hommage to Earth                                           returning always, all ways!

golden quilt seeping sunlight,                                      turning, turning, this becomes that,
warmth for dark days coming soon,                                      Light changing forms eternal

Sun and Earth drift apart,                                                           and shifts into darkness now,
coolness grows...fickle Sun                                                              sap draws down, hugs bone...
eyes another (hemi) sphere                                                               the hush of all living things

Yearning for Sun's barely remembered kiss,                     
Fanning long~banked passion to flame once again                                       

cooling now under mounded snow,
unrelenting sun a half~remembered dream

Renga 1 (joined again)

south and north
flow as one
season~spin unending

Renga 1A                                                                                             Renga 1B

life to death and back again,                                                                twirling sufi spins
Inside...outside...growing weary                                                       love eternal, Bismillah!

of short dark days                                                                          as a rose by any name

candlemas arrives                                                                                labels matter not
sun perks up                                                                                 God~smell tastes sweet

eyes grow wide                                                                              awareness stills, opens

anticipation tingles                                                                  God~speak fills with silence

lover's touch returns                                                                  still to fill, listen to nothing
thrills, warms                                                                          heart opens, thoughts loosen,
sleeping crocus stirs                                                                  boundaries blur...poof!

blessed senses!                                                                     like dandelion fuzz on a breeze
nothing goes unnoticed...                                                        notions of "I" scatter

or without response                                                                                thoughts on fire,
tho perhaps unseen                                                                              heat stifles silence
hidden bulb opens                                                                                          Samu awaits

shoot breaks surface,                                                                   bubbles sponge dish presence
green rising through April snow                                                 buddha baby in soapy water

Note: Rumi, our guest poet, offered these next two... 

the green ones have come...                                                              the Friend is here
tipsy like the breeze                                                               like water in the stream,
up to some new foolishness                                                       like a lotus on the water

tickling me awake                                                              air molecules to expanse of sky
vision clears...oh, my!                                                              Earthsong in the uni~verse

as reeds at water's edge                                                                   awakening at last
awaken with dawn,                                                         tender life breaks thru warming dirt
tingling toward a new day                                                                      spring again!

Seeds nestle into fresh~hoed soil                                       days stretch, perfectly filling
itchin' to root and to shoot                                                  space left by receding dark

Renga 1 (joined again!)

perennials roused from sleep,

we lengthen and deepen, too~~
eternal dance 

skyward calls...

sandhill cranes heading to the Bosque

auditory reminders
to seek our own far shore
no matter the distance

ripples move shore to shore

connecting near with far

pollen flows
sneeze explodes
June thru open window

Thoughts caught off guard,
Visions of seasons long ago

And coming soon and again

as spinning we move
ever 'round the Circle, enchanted

Longing to become
Who we already are....

beneath snow and soil
seed stirs 
consciousness dawns

Life everlasting....

Renga 2:

Not yet officially summer, heat rises as
The granite dome sizzles and bids me come
Offering gifts of love and solace.

The rose and iris have run their course
but oh, the hollyhocks

Now proclaim
the garden theirs!
As they pierce the summer sky.

Yearning toward red-tails,
swept beyond on heat rising currents

hawkache for thermals

rising forever into night, better to kiss
the wise sweet face of moon...

Hawkache, heartache,

the longing of all things for magic

Currents, thermals, swirling 'round...

above, below, within soul cries
searching, searching...but for what

freedom from the illusion
that it is separate from all that is

Is all that seems significant

but lost to all that Being is?
Awareness beckons...sing songs of Truth.

Scarlet maples, flaming true

touch, listen, breathe...

Earth's breath building, blowing,

keening through branches,
leaves swirl, clouds darken, snowflakes fly

Renga 2A                                                                                  Renga 2B

young eyes watch white mounds form                    And blanket the earth in silent warmth
as father slaps and mother screams                          to rest and incubate Spring's newness

mittened hands scoop and pack,                                   down below, who knows what goes,
snowy igloo forms...                                                        roots live, perchance, a wild life~~ 
cool haven from parents' heat                                            mingling, coupling with abandon,

Decades pass, girl grows up,                                           Ah, the shenanigans occurring
heart slowly dares to thaw                                                beneath all proper, placid soil 

 january sun                                                                             soil and cleanse
icicle stretches                                                                           heat and cold
toward home                                                                        this and that unfolding

icy finger, frozen heart                                                       wind whips still~wet sheets
form seeking movement                                                       earthbound sails unfurl

memories awaken,                                                                  black against blue
melting amidst fear                                                            crow circles, slows, aims...
that clings to hope                                                             splat! raucous laughter

terrifying promise                                                                            pealing glee
life spins on                                                                                   bells!

warp and weft entwine                                                                          days of young...
life emerges, evolves                                                                           float on wave
unseen artist smiles                                                                           crashing wildly

thread's perspective:                                                           droplets arc and come home
pull twist tug ouch!                                                        rainbow smiles flash, topsy turvy

Released from bindings,                                                               a perfect greeting
hearts play on,                                                                            upon returning home~~
lifting, lilting over time.                                                      water releases to ocean

and space, here there now then,                                                     breath lets go to air

ever~evolving tapestry extends                                                    I dissolve into you

Note: Rumi, that guest poet extraordinaire, offered these next two... 

when the soul lies down                                                             after a day or two

in that grass                                                                             lilies sprout,
the world is too full to talk about                                                the shape of my tongue

Lingering music of crescendo days,                                         perfect for praising

Playing forward to renewed growth                                            bloom of flower

trees move from bud to leaf                                                 words drop from these lips
listen now with your other ear                                            thudding rocks ill~equipped
tra~la, tra~la, tra~la~la~la!                                                           to hold such Light

still we offer well~chosen stones
homage to abundant magic

verse follows verse

individual rocks gently placed
renga cairns marking our trail

Renga 2 (joined again!)

song, word, leaf, bloom
praises all!

illness, violence, pain...

roughened songs of joy 
trill all the sweeter

as ripe red berry sings
summer's arrival to the tongue

following a pinon path
rinzai in nature
echos of eternity

cricket whirs, fan whirls
cool sheets, warm darkness covering

dreams enfold, unfold
shapes shift and morph
wide~awake edges blur

sunrise to sunset, light to dark,
    sacred space between

Awakening the spirit,
Rising to awareness,
Rejecting the past.

The sky is speaking.


Aaaahhhh....we are now complete!

A heart~felt thank you to everyone who participated, in whatever way and however often. You each are part of these renga, 6 months in the making. Glad to have you!

Cyberhugs and blessings to you all!

Loanne Marie