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
To begin the gut-wrenching
dismantling of my life…

I am not afraid of death
As much as I am
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

Walk with me,
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)


(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

Stoking Divine Light

How powerful it is when together we harness divine light for the greatest good. In this tenuous time of political unrest and hounded by sickness and death, may we be intentional about gathering those sparks of light ignited in the fire of our suffering. May we not tire of stoking our light and dispersing its healing warmth.

May it be so.

(Ahh. Such holy words, yes? But just yesterday a man in our small elevator invited more folks in against my expressed request. What did I do? I yelled, “No!” Then I got out. That little light of mine was not shinning very brightly! Or was it? He wouldn’t listen and I took care of myself. A different spark of light, but illuminating, nonetheless? You be the judge!)

The Way Forward

“Duality, then, is informed by the oppositions that meet at this threshold. I would argue that an authentic life is a life that is aware of and willing to engage its own oppositions…. Sometimes, people who are very vociferous and moralistic are people who have erased the tug of opposition from their lives. They have little sense of the otherness that suffuses and surrounds them. Thus, they can allow themselves all kinds of moral platitudes and even moral judgments of others. It is lonely sometimes to hear them talk because, in their certainty, you can hear the hollow echo of a life only half-lived….One of the greatest duties of post-modern culture at the end of this millennium is to try to bring the personal and the communal, the individual and the universal, together.”

John O’Donohue in a talk delivered for “The Open Mind” published in Walking in Wonder by John Quinn and John O’Donohue

The eye with which God sees me
is the same eye with which I see God.
God’s eye and my eye are one eye.
One seeing, one knowing, one loving.”

Meister Eckhart

There is a space of potential presence where we can reside in peace with another even if we cannot be with them in any other place: in God’s eye. I think this space is akin to O’Donohue’s “threshold.”

Photo Credit: https://vi.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%E1%BA%ADp_tin:Yin_and_Yang_symbol.svg


Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

Every day since Saturday’s election in my nation a poem has pushed and pushed without seeing the light of day. I tried comparing my occasional and spontaneous flow of tears to the last leaf wafting from a November tree. Didn’t cut it. The word “release” stalked me so I played with all its etymological offerings. Nope. The vacillation between relief and release, elation and sorrow have confused and exhausted me.

Gradually I’ve realized that although I am happy and relieved, the release of four years of negativity and violence and hate will take time.. upon reading this line from Tana French I tabled the poem. She nails my experience:

“She looks like a long cruel tension
is leaching out of her, notch by notch,
leaving her whole body slack
to the point of helplessness”

Tana French The Searcher

Election Vigil Meditation

Divine Spirit moving through the universe
We call down your light on our nation.
May light surround us
Above below behind before
May light cauterize our wounded spirits
and illumine our way to peace.

May it be so.

Election 2020: Vigil Prayer

A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark

Go slow
if you can.
More slowly still.
Friendly dark
or fearsome,
this is no place
to break your neck
by rushing,
by running,
by crashing into
what you cannot see.

Then again,
it is true:
different darks
have different tasks,
and if you
have arrived here unawares,
if you have come
in peril
or in pain,
this might be no place
you should dawdle.

I do not know
what these shadows
ask of you,
what they might hold
that means you good
or ill.
It is not for me
to reckon
whether you should linger
or you should leave.

But this is what
I can ask for you:

That in the darkness
there be a blessing.
That in the shadows
there be a welcome.
That in the night
you be encompassed
by the Love that knows
your name.

—Jan Richardson

In Circle Of Grace: A Book Of Blessings For The Seasons