Bennacht: A Blessing for the New Year
by John O'Donohue
On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.
And when your eyes
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.
The light will return poem by Emma Stow
The light is there
Even as a distant flame
It waxes and wanes
Like the Sun and the Moon
It waxes and wanes within and through you
Even light is tidal
It’s flux is so you will know it better
And trust it’s timing
Like you trust the Sun and the Earth to turn.
We are fed by stars
That sing us back to ourselves
“The light will return!"
The light will return
It’s a matter of time
The time it takes to reel
From the hard knocks, in the dark
Until we feel
That we are already free from them
We just forgot
And in the mid winter of forgetting
we are reborn.
I dwell in Possibility by
I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –
To Know the Dark
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
- Wendell Berry
The Winter of Listening by David Whyte
No one but me by the fire, my hands burning red in the palms while the night wind carries
everything away outside.
All this petty worry while
the great cloak of the sky
grows dark and intense round every living thing.
What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.
What we strive for in perfection is not what turns us
into the lit angel we desire, what disturbs and then nourishes has everything we need.
What we hate in ourselves is what we cannot know
in ourselves but what is true to the pattern does not need to be explained. Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy waiting to be born.
Even with the summer so far off I feel it grown in me
now and ready to arrive in the world.
All those years listening to those who had nothing to say.
All those years forgetting how everything has its own voice to make itself heard.
All those years forgetting how easily you can belong
to everything simply by listening.
And the slow difficulty of remembering how everything is born from an opposite and miraculous
Silence and winter has led me to that otherness.So let this winter of listening be enough for the new life
I must call my own.
Awake my dear
Be kind to your sleeping heart
Take it out
Into the vast fields of light
And let it breathe.
What in Your Life is Calling You?
What in your life is calling you,
when all the meetings are adjourned...
the lists laid aside,
and the wild Iris blooms itself
in the dark forest?
What still pulls on your soul?
For a New Year by Holly Wren Spaulding
Let plain things please you again
and every ordinary Monday.
Bean soup in a white bowl,
firewood in your arms.
The weight of longing.
That you have survived is evidence
that nothing is assured
but you are lucky.
Looking up from this page
let all of it surprise you—
piled mail, other people, the air.
After Work by Jane Hirshfield
I stop the car along the pasture edge,
gather up bags of corncobs from the back,
and get out.
Two whistles, one for each,
and familiar sounds draw close in darkness—
cadence of hoof on hardened bottomland,
twinned blowing of air through nostrils curious, flared.
They come deepened and muscular movements
conjured out of sleep: each small noise and scent
heavy with earth, simple beyond communion,
beyond the stretched-out hand from which they calmly
take corncobs, pulling away as I hold
until the mid-points snap.
They are careful of my fingers,
offering that animal-knowledge,
the respect which is due to strangers;
and in the night, their mares' eyes shine, reflecting stars,
the entire, outer light of the world here.
A Blessing - The Terma Collective
May our eyes remain open even in the face of tragedy.
May we not become disheartened.
May we find in the dissolution
of our apathy and denial,
the cup of the broken heart.
May we discover the gift of the fire burning
in the inner chamber of our being –
burning great and bright enough
to transform any poison.
May we offer the power of our sorrow to the service
of something greater than ourselves.
May our guilt not rise up to form
yet another defensive wall.
May the suffering purify and not paralyze us.
May we realize the greatness of our sorrow
and not run from its touch or flame.
May clarity be our ally and wisdom our support.
May our wrath be cleansing, cutting through
the confusion of denial and greed.
May we not be afraid to see or speak our truth.
May the bleakness of the wasteland be dispelled.
May the soul’s journey be revealed
and the true hunger fed.
May we be forgiven for what we have forgotten
and blessed with the remembrance
of who we really are.
In the Midst of Winter.....Albert Camus
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that… In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
Interlude by Linda Pastan
We are waiting for snow
the way we might wait for a train
to arrive with its cold cargo—
it is late already, but surely
it will come.
We are waiting for snow
the way we might wait
to breathe again.
For only the snow
will release us, only the snow
will be a letting go, a blind falling
towards the body of earth
and towards each other.
And while we wait at this window
whose sheer transparency
is clouded already
with our mutual breath,
it is as if our whole lives depended
on the freezing color
of the sky, on the white
soon to be fractured
gaze of winter.
Snow Fall by May Sarton
With no wind blowing
It sifts gently down,
Enclosing my world in
A cool white down,
A tenderness of snowing.
It falls and falls like sleep
Till wakeful eyes can close
On all the waste and loss
As peace comes in and flows,
Snow-dreaming what I keep.
Silence assumes the air
And the five senses all
Are wafted on the fall
To somewhere magical
Beyond hope and despair.
There is nothing to do
But drift now, more or less
On some great lovingness,
On something that does bless,
The silent, tender snow.
Shoveling Snow with Buddha by Billy Collins
In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.
Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.
Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?
But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.
This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.
He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.
All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.
After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?
Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
by W.B. Yeats
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
You Darkness by Rainer Maria Rilke
You, darkness, that I come from
I love you more than all the fires
that fence the world,
for all the fire makes a circle of light for everyone
and then no one outside learns of you.
But the darkness pulls in everything -
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! -
powers and people -
and it is possible a great presence is moving near me.
I have faith in nights.
Eagle Poem by Joy Harjo
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
We pray that it will be done