What to do in the Darkness by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre Go slowly Consent to it But don’t wallow in it Know it as a place of germination And growth Remember the light Take an outstretched hand if you find one Exercise unused senses Find the path by walking it Practice trust Watch for dawn
Soul lethargy is not Letting go. It is soul sloth. Like Sherlock asleep on his exercise wheel, I emerge from this pandemic afraid to get back on the wheel, curled up instead around my COVID fat feeling sorry for myself. Feeling pseudo-safe in a cocoon of my own making. A cocoon leading not to new life but to one doomed to die by soul sloth. Up! My soul opens like a morning glory starved for sunlight, waiting for grace to pull me up. Divine Spirit ever folding and unfolding, Show me the way out. In the asking, soul sloth becomes Letting-go. c. Rita H Kowats 5-30-21 * Apologies to my feline sleuth for so cavalierly exposing his soul and fat belly for all to see.
Soon we live again exuberant and relieved;
But now we do a strange Lindy Hop
In a marathon not of our making,
We drag our weary bodies and souls behind us
Waiting for the Big Band to play the last note,
Releasing us from our dis-ease.
We yearn to dance again with abandon;
But in the time between we endure,
Faithful to this dance here and now.
Learning the steps as we go
Leaning against one another,
Cheering on, crying with.
Tomorrow’s dance is for tomorrow.
c. Rita H Kowats 3/20/2021
“… the lead bird isn’t an alpha bird, he explained, it’s just the one that assumes temporary wind duty, and when it gets tired, it flies to the back of the pack, where it may straggle while regaining strength. “If you’re the guy in front, you can only stay there so long,” he said. “Recovery may take awhile.” In the meantime, a new bird moves in.
“The Goose that flies at the back of the pack is just getting some rest” by Mary Schmich
(On seeing geese fly in “V” formation)
Ahh. It’s my turn.
Not that I regret flying in the front;
There’s less to do now
More to be.
There’s less to say now
More to hear.
I relish the sacred energy of the “V”
That carries me now,
“wind duty” done.
Such is life and death
And life again.
c. Rita H Kowats 3/14/2021
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
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,
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
Finally. This post election poem has seen the light of day. May we heal. May we trust.
I am reminded of these earlier musings as I feast on the book, Walking in Wonder, a gathering of Johm O’Donohue’s poetry and philosophising by his friend John Quinn. It is O’Donohue’s discussion of Meister Eckhart that brought me to this place again.
I first coined the phrase “genes of our souls” in this poem I wrote in 1989 after experiencing the deaths of my parents. It brought me some comfort.
At 75 I am coming closer to understanding and accepting the import of the phrase. O’Donohue relates Meister Eckhart’s conviction that there is “a lonely edge to our lives” that can only be filled by God, and that if we want to come into God’s presence, we must let go of all images to make that journey. And it is the journey, the process that matters. For me the journey entails a stripping down to the very genes of my soul where Presence lives unfettered by the images I have created. In those moments of nothingness I experience fullness.
This has become my Advent meditation. My journey is less toward a babe in a manger and more toward an expansive divine presence gestating within my spirit. As I move along the path I throw out all the clutter that blocks my way. It comforts me to be companioned by you on this sacred camino de santiago.
I entered the YMCA swimming pool earlier than usual today, desperate to heal from the strident rancor that stalked me through the written word, spoken word, unspoken word, words, words, words. No escape here. As I sank into the comfort of the hot tub, the blaring voice of Thursday’s aerobics instructor reverberated through the space, shattering my renewal attempt. “Let it go,” I told myself, “In twenty minutes she’s out of here.” I began my hour’s swim and instead of leaving with her class, the instructor lingered through “my” hour, engaged in a non-stop decibel-enhanced monologue with a captivated swimmer.
Workout ended and instructor gone, I sank back into the comfort of the hot tub, silence ensuing throughout the pool. Two deaf women joined me, signing sparingly, enjoying their time. Blissful silence wrapped around me like a child’s blankie warding off a nightmare.
A familiar thought pushed its way into consciousness. “I wish I were deaf. I hardly hear as it is, yet some sounds are physically painful…might as well take it all.” If my deaf companions could have read my thoughts I can guess their response. “It’s a privilege to be here,” they would say. “Its a privilege to be here as we are. It’s a privilege for you to be here just as you are.” Savor what you have. Savor who you are.”
I wrap a blanket of silence
around my battered psyche,
snuggling into its warm comfort
where I conjure the resilience
to surface in the world
© Rita Hemmer Kowats 10-4-2019