Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

– Naomi Shihab Nye, Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation

A Blessing

May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently through the world and know it’s beauty all the days of your life.

- Apache blessing

Catechism for a Witch’s Child

When they ask to see your gods
your book of prayers
show them lines
drawn delicately with veins
on the underside of a bird’s wing
tell them you believe
in giant sycamores mottled
and stark against a winter sky
and in nights so frozen
stars crack open spilling
streams of molten ice to earth
and tell them how you drink
a holy wine of honeysuckle
on a warm spring day
and of the softness
of your mother who never taught you
death was life’s reward
but who believed in the earth
and the sun
and a million, million light years
of being.

– J.L.Stanley

A Walking Song

To sing to a tune “old as the hills“:

Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still around the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!

Still around the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run,
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
Apple, thorn and nut and sloe
Let them go! Let them go!
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!

Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We’ll wander back to home and bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
And to bed! And then to bed!

- JRR Tolkien

Flecker

Go as a pilgrim and seek out danger
Far from the well lit avenues of life.
Pit your soul against the very unknown,
And seek stimulation in the company of the brave.

Experience cold and hunger, heat and thirst,
And survive to see another challenge and another dawn.
Only then will you be at peace with yourself
And be able to know – and to say:

“I looked down on the farthest side of the mountain,
And fulfilled and understanding all, and truly content
That I lived a life that was my own choice.”

James Elroy Flecker

Winter Solstice poem

First you need to shed all you know
or can name
then you need to step out of
your shoes, your shadow, your own
light, and your home. Strip
naked as the four winds
and forget being upright
unless you want to dance, and then
dance the stone row to the stone circle
and allow the sky to take your voice.
This is the season of yew and periwinkle
of Persephone’s descent
to the winter god.
Watch for the barn owl
and Hecate at the crossroads
and prepare to hang from the World Tree
until you are sobered by silence
and stillness, and the great
white unending song of the spheres.
Kneel on the earth until
you become a reed, a snail, a fox,
another word for truth.
Be the berry in the dark stream
that the water bears away.
Transformed into all
you may be, step forward and cross
the threshold, gateway to gods
and ancestors, to what will endure
beyond all that you can imagine
of the play of particle, of wave –
take the hand that’s offered, step through
this gateway to the light that burns within
which now you’ll never lose again.

Roselle Angwin – (click here to see her other work)

A Blessing

May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great oaken fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.

And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.

And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of the heavens shine,
and sometimes a star.

And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to the gods.

– Unknown – slightly reworded by me

A Statement of Dedication

Yew branch drawing with single berry by Nick Griffiths-Haynes

Bear witness.

I envision a world that revolves around gratitude, well-being, and love where time, creativity, and relationship are what matter the most.  To that end I will take actions every day to make a positive impact upon the world:

  • I will live according to my ethics, values, and beliefs and I will strive to align my actions with what is honourable.
  • I will listen always, learn when I can, and seek inspiration and understanding wherever they can be found.
  • I will sacrifice my time, energy, and money to causes, ideas, and goods that inspire.
  • I will strive to live life frugally because I support a conscientious way of life not dominated by the love of money and the drug of consumerism.
  • I will lead by example with patience and good humour and respectful relationship.

– Chris Funderburg

Yew branch drawing with single berry by Nick Griffiths-Haynes

The Ride of the Rohirrim

… as the darkness closed again there came rolling over the fields a great boom.

At that sound the bent shape of the king sprang suddenly erect. Tall and proud he seemed again; and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had ever heard a mortal man achieve before:

‘Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!’

With that he seized a great horn from Guthláf his banner-bearer, and he blew such a blast upon it that it burst asunder. And straightway all the horns in the host were lifted up in music, and the blowing of the horns of Rohan in that hour was like a storm upon the plain and a thunder in the mountains.

‘Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!’

Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away. Behind him his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it. After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them. Éomer rode there, the white horsetail on his helm floating in his speed, and the front of the first éored roared like a breaker foaming to the shore, but Théoden could not be overtaken. Fey he seemed, or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new tire in his veins, and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Oromë the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young. His golden shield was uncovered, and lo! it shone like an image of the Sun, and the grass flamed into green about the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and the darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them. And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.

– JRR Tolkien : The Return of the King

Poetry – Creed – Prose – Quotes – Manifesto