Poems inspire, encourage and comfort me as I navigate this being human. May you find shelter, warmth and connection in the brilliant bones of these poems.
Blessings for a New Beginning by John O'Donohue
In out of the way places of the heartWhere your thoughts never think to wanderThis beginning has been quietly formingWaiting until you were ready to emerge.For a long time it has watched your desireFeeling the emptiness grow inside youNoticing how you willed yourself onStill unable to leave what you had outgrown.It watched you play with the seduction of safetyAnd the grey promises that sameness whisperedHeard the waves of turmoil rise and relentWondered would you always live like this.Then the delight, when your courage kindled,And out you stepped onto new ground,Your eyes young again with energy and dreamA path of plenitude opening before you.Though your destination is not clearYou can trust the promise of this opening;Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginningThat is one with your life’s desire.Awaken your spirit to adventureHold nothing back, learn to find ease in riskSoon you will be home in a new rhythmFor your soul senses the world that awaits you.
Photograph by Muhammad Asad
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Photograph by Reymark Franke
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”―
Photograph by Lee Miller
Fire by Joy Harjo
Each life is like a fire.
We must take care of that light.
Do not let passions for anything we find delight in
Rage and consume us
In any small or large manner
Or we will dim the fire.
It is made of the love of our parents
It is lit by the Divine within everyone.
We must take care of it.
We each carry light into the world,
Every small and large being.
We share the light with every
Small and large act of compassion.
Laughter and joy make it dance
What will we leave the day as a gift
Of remembrance and thankfulness?
c Joy Harjo November 6, 2013 Grand Rapids, MI dark and rainy
Photograph by Pavan Trikutam
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Photo by Carina Ardeleanu