Loving Kindness for February 8

“He was pinned to himself to die,
a royal tern with a black crest blown back
as if he flew in his own private wind.”

Gracious Goodness
by Marge Piercy

On the beach where we had been idly
telling the shell coins
cat’s paw, cross-barred Venus, china cockle,
we both saw at once the sea bird fall to the sand
and flap grotesquely.
He had taken a great barbed hook
out through the cheek and fixed
in the big wing.
He was pinned to himself to die,
a royal tern with a black crest blown back
as if he flew in his own private wind.
He felt good in my hands, not fragile
but muscular and glossy and strong,
the beak that could have split my hand
opening only to cry
as we yanked on the barbs.
We borrowed a clippers, cut and drew out the hook.
Then the royal tern took off, wavering,
lurched twice,
then acrobat returned to his element, dipped,
zoomed, and sailed out to dive for a fish.
Virtue:  what a sunrise in the belly.
Why is there nothing
I have ever done with anybody
that seems to me so obviously right?

___________________________________________________

I offer this poem once again because it speaks to the place many of us find ourselves in today, “pinned to ourselves to die,” and waiting for some one, some event, to unpin us. I have added new lines to my meta prayer:

May we be content with our own best selves.

May we be open to receive the help that we need.

May we recover those who are pinned.

May it be so.

“Why is there nothing
I have ever done with anybody
that seems to me so obviously right?”

Photo Credit: Media Tweets by Teresa Fernandez (@TeresaF35309694) on Twitter

Respite

My candle batteries are still lasting. They’ve brought me light since Wednesday, but this morning I need more. So I curled up in the embrace of the two gigantic angels who always stand at my back, have my back. More than one person who has eyes to see such beings has pointed them out to me. At first I kept asking them for their names but they never told me, so I called them “Frick and Frack.” It stuck. So this poem is for them.

Respite

Standing at our backs,
Your expansive wings enfold
These unfledged humans
Who recoil from the miasma of hate
That now pollutes each breath we take
In this land of the once free.

Recoil or cower,
Which is it?

We shelter within stalwart wings waiting
For healing and spirit-washed air
To fill our lungs.

Then
We repair the breach.

c. Rita H Kowats 1-9-21

Photo Credit: https://www.jing.fm/idown/iimxihw_clipart-chromatic-angel-wings-within-angel-wings-clipart/

Find Life. Celebrate it.

Crow Wisdom

Crow Wisdom
(An Irreverent Rumi-like Ramble)

The incontinent crow
Flying over my window
Bids adieu and screw you
To this year without cheer.
Crow wisdom:
Let go,
Let hope in,
Live.

2020/29/12
rita h kowats

Honor the Blooming

This poem by Wendell Berry, simple in the stark power it offers, has become the center piece in the Advent rituals of Seattle Mennonite Church (https://seattlemennonite.org). This season is offering me the opportunity to identify what is blooming in me now. Not what will bloom when covid passes. What booms now.

Berry’s poem invites us to fear not those ubiquitous travelers, dark feet and dark wings, for they are the essence of our humanity. They are the redeemed coals that smolder in the cauldrons of our souls, the sparks of light we bring into the dark and out of the dark.

Spiritual Practice

Breathing in I become the dark.
Breathing out I disperse light.

Breathing in I receive the bloom.
Breathing out I release despair.

Breathing in I am peace.
Breathing out I release anxiety.

May it be so.

Embracing the Dark

Sometimes the sanctity of our homes has felt instead like a jail cell in this pandemic. At times, we have collapsed into despair. Yet, other times we are embracing the dark creatively.

In addition to these thoughtful poems from Wendell Berry and Jan Richardson, I recommend Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.

Photo Credit: https://lmw.org/gods-light-shines-in-the-darkness/

A Pandemic Prod

whew! The birth of this poem has released me. Heads up: It’s about facing death. Take care of yourself.

Death Not Imminent

I am not afraid of death
as much as I am
Reluctant
To begin the gut-wrenching
dismantling of my life…

I am not afraid of death
As much as I am
Irritated
by the numbing details
surrounding it.

Who helps decide when it’s time to go,
Who takes care of the penny pittance sitting in Chase,
Who takes my body to which crematorium?
One issue resolved,
Another emerges.

Death Not Imminent

But…
Walk with me,
Reluctance.
Take phone in hand,
(the one loaded with a covid response app)
and begin the journey toward
that sweet soul-space left behind
when the unclenching is done.

The space of abundant emptiness.

c.Rita H Kowats November 27, 2020

Living The Now

“There’s no pre-pandemic button we can hit. This is our life now. We shouldn’t waste it.” Steven Petrow https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-36c93e6e94fb_story.html

In Steven Petrow’s essay he gives us a Buddhist-like road map to living our lives in this pandemic now, while it is still with us. After reading it, I took an audio walk in Gordon Hempton’s forest:

(Ear buds recommended for fuller experience)


https://music.amazon.com/albums/B000QZTD5W?ref=dm_sh_dIHqCvzt9tzx7onJuq6bC0ROs

(Also available on spotify)

You might also appreciate reading:

and this…

Photo Credit Hoh Rainforest: https://www.planetware.com/seattle/olympic-national-park-us-wa-onp.htm