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

And It Was All A Dream…

castle

You see, I built all these great shiny castles

Out of air and fairytales and need

My need to love and be loved

I think you built some too

But I don’t know what they looked like

I was too busy piling up summer palaces

Full of flowers and sunshine

Laughter and starry nights beside the fire

We laugh as I chase the boy and dog

Around and round the garden

I turned my face away

From anything that didn’t fit

And hoped that the fairytale of love

Would work its magic on us

But I see now

I am looking now

Only we can work that magic

Love takes courage

You can’t build it out of hope

And air and fairytales and need

And it should not be locked away

In castles and palaces

You must love everything

From the ground up

You must join with everyone

Join the dance

I won’t turn my face away from you

Although your jagged edges

Hurt my eyes

Although your rough surfaces

Scratch my skin

Although I do not know how to make

The flowers bloom in our garden

What you can do if you fall

fall

If you fall down, what you can do

Is let the shock wake you up.

Feel the pain, breathe, shout it out

Or cry. Then, in your own time,

Get back up.

If a friendly helping hand

Extends towards you, take it.

Back on your feet, you may feel bruised

And trembly, unsure of your footing.

Take your time.

Breathe. Check out your bumps and scrapes.

Rub them better, give yourself a shake.

And hope that you have learned

How not to trip again, over the same old

Twisted roots.

Your first steps may be uncertain,

But one day soon you will be

Far along the path, striding happily.

And you will smile ruefully at the memory

Of falling.