The Magical Heart

atisha2When my heart is full of pain

and fear and righteous anger,

it can be overwhelming.

It can feel like I’m drowning.

If I am feeling wise that day,

I will remember

Atisha’s transformation meditation

 

When the world is full of pain

war, hunger, prejudice and sorrow,

it can be overwhelming.

It can feel like I’m drowning.

Atisha’s transformation meditation

is the key

 

When my heart feels all alone

full of resentment, failure and regret,

it can be overwhelming.

Instead of drowning,

I try to remember

Atisha’s transformation meditation

 

Build compassion:

I breathe in – and with that air,

I breathe in all the hells, the miseries,

of all the creatures of the Earth,

including my own.

I breathe in all the darkness

into my aching heart

 

The heart is a magical crucible

heated with the heat, the light of love.

It con-fuses all things in the Universe,

distils life to its purest essence

 

Build compassion:

I breathe out – and with that air

I breathe out all the love, the bliss

the joy and benedictions

I can muster

to all the creatures of the Earth,

including myself.

From my magical heart

 

When we lose heart, lose love, compassion

that’s when we fail. We fail each other and ourselves

When we use heart

the eyes of love reveal another world

Every face a friend, every tree a sister, every bird a sign

And the air that I breathe in, so dark,

breathe out, so light,

surrounds me like a mother’s arms.

It can be overwhelming.

It can feel like I’m drowning

in love.

If I’m wise enough that day to remember

Atisha’s transformation meditation

 

https://kadampa.org/buddhism/atisha

Another Time, Another Place

Sometimes, at random times, odd times

And also in the month of May

I catch a glimpse, receive a transmission

From another dimension, where you saw life.

 

A bright-eyed baby with lots of hair

And golden skin.

Another time, you were six

Or thereabouts

You were drawing, quietly, absorbed

In a farmhouse kitchen.

Your long hair his light brown colour

And fineness, shaped by my curls.

 

From the age of twelve, his sense of adventure

And my defiance,

Your aunt’s determination and sense of right,

Made life turbulent for that other-dimensional me.

But, oh, my god, how stunning you were!

Your rage lit up my pride,

Your fearlessness my heart.

 

And now you are nineteen and off you go

On your travels, on your journey.

And other-dimensional me

Heaves a sigh of relief,

Cries a river of tears,

Misses you like an ache.

I can feel it all, across the gap.

 

So excited for what your life will be

As one of the freest women ever to stalk that Earth.

So sad that she will not be there beside you

To see everything that you do

To marvel at you, to protect you.

To hear the very startling things

That come out of your mouth.

 

And though the loss of you propelled me

On so many adventures of my own

Tonight I feel jealous of other-dimensional me

And the life she has with you in it,

Amazing you.

And I am glad that these other dimensions exist

And that, in one of them, at least,

You see life

Matriarch

nans'eyesHer eyes are robins, bustling and darting

They can stop a baby crying at fifty paces

Embarrass a handsome young man

At twice that distance

Her hands distorted lobster claws

From polishing up all her pride and joy

For so many years

Her handbag arms, so strong

In taking care of others

In taking charge of others

 

Her 1950s hair and posh ‘Toosdays’

In the right company

Turn into curlers and long-drawn ‘Ooooh!’s

The chink of spoon stirring cup

At home in her blue and gold

John Lewis splendour

Her heart broke when they made her

Step down from her high heels

 

She is outrageous draped curtains

Whiskey and gin, a clutter of objects

She is too much food

That wants to be eaten up

She is nosier than cats

Cheekier than squirrels

And pulling her skirt to just above the knee

To tell you her life stories

 

Softer than butter

Wrapped around a brick

And though the Pear’s soap

And the petal skin

Might fool you

She is a whirlwind

Confined to an armchair

A storm in a teapot

Always ready to pour me a cup

 

Thanks to the lovely Chris White for his workshop on metaphor where I began to write this poem. Please go and see Chris any time you get the chance, and don’t miss his amazing show Moist Moist Moist

On the Surface

fear

 

You are so much less than

The man you declared yourself to be

So loudly, so insistently

The anarchy symbol tattooed on your skin

Is a lie

When you think that you always know better

 

And although in the daylight

You’re almost convinced

By your own self-image

That fantastic creation

I know that deep in the dark

You feel the fear

You feel the lie

You know you’re falling

 

It hurts to feel the truth

Does it not?

To reveal to yourself through your actions

Not your words

That all your rebellion

Free-thinking

Environmentalism

 

Crumbles away in the face of

Shiny new things

Central heating

Domestication

And a woman who is so much more

Than she ever revealed to you

 

no labels

 

Summer Uprising

xr

Take to the streets

And dance for your lives

Sing the pollution

From your lungs

 

Take to the streets

And raise your voice in protest

Whose streets? Our streets!

Whose planet? Our planet!

 

Take to the streets

Talk to everyone you meet

Eat and sleep together

Share the hope and the love

 

Because it’s love

That brings us here

We do not want

To see you harmed

 

And so

 

Take to the streets

Sing, dance, raise your voice

Wave your flags

And bang your drums

 

Because we love you

We stand in your way

Because we love you

We take to the streets

 

We are standing on the precipice

And we are dancing

We are singing

To save humanity

Four Walls

painI don’t usually write about this sort of thing, but I decided to try. Perimenopause sucks a big one, but it is getting better as I get stronger and fitter and if I eat and drink and sleep enough. Love and good wishes to everyone going through this too, I hope you find ways of managing it that work for you.

 

 

I lay trapped in the tunnel of pain

The four walls

The box sets

The world is narrow

On a day like this

My body calls the shots

And shapes my whole reality

 

It doesn’t matter what I want

What I plan

Whatever my intentions

But I must lie

First one way, then another

Sometimes there’s no way

That doesn’t hurt

 

I eat I drink I take the tablets

And I try for the relief of sleep

Another sunny day gone by

While I lie

Trapped in the tunnel of pain

The four walls

The box sets

 

On other days grief overtakes me

Or hopelessness or rage

My whole psyche is so sensitive

I can’t bear even the gaze

Of another human being

 

I wish to be both far away

Alone on an island

In a storm-tossed sea

The blessedly cold salt spray

Caressing my hormone-hot skin

Or else wrapped up in total love and care

Someone to cook my eggs for me

And hold me

 

Inside the four walls

Migraine lays me low

Every joint and cartilage inflamed

Hot hot pain at the base of my skull

I press my knuckles hard, hard

Into my eye sockets, my temples

And pray for the pills to work

 

A hand has taken hold of my womb

And squeezes it, squeezes it

And I’m gasping, dumbfounded

There’s nothing to be done

But let it rush through me

Like the incoming tide

Is it better if I breathe?

Or if I don’t breathe?

 

I have to change position again

Sometimes there is no way

That doesn’t hurt

And I’m scared and alone

Trapped in the tunnel of pain

The four walls

The box sets

 

And all the pills and hot water bottles

In the world don’t help

Reassure me that one day

This will all be over

And I will be set free

To enjoy the sunny days

Outside of these four walls