top of page
Winter Poetry

A Simple Prayer for Remembering the Motherlode
Clarissa Pinkola Estes from The Contemplari manuscript

We do not become healers.
We came as healers. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not become storytellers.
We came as carriers of the stories
we and our ancestors actually lived. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not become artists. We came as artists. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not become writers.. dancers.. musicians.. helpers.. peacemakers. We came as such. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not learn to love in this sense.
We came as Love. We are Love.
Some of us are still catching up to who we truly are.



as you are | you are the prayer
nayyirah waheed

‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘after…’ you answer.
‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘before…’ you answer.
‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘when…’ you answer.
‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘how…’ you answer.
‘as you are.’ says the universe.
‘why…’ you answer.
you are happening now.
right now.
right this moment
and your happening
is beautiful.
the thing that both keeps me alive
brings me to my knees.
you don’t even know how breathtaking you
as you are.’ says the universe through tears.


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

Freeze behind

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
That sing
“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

Emily Dickinson

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?



Image by Md. Golam Murshed

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


After Work

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


“My dear,

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.

Truly yours,

Albert Camus”


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

for permission

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.

Image by Kea Mowat

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

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.

bottom of page