Christmas Poem for Granny

A Haiku

Dedicated to Granny at The Village Granny blog.

Granny goes for walk,
the little hands safe in hers;
perfection of soul.

~ Kate

Healing Poems 218

The Guest House

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.

~ Rumi

Healing Poems 217

things to say to my future daughter

You never thought you’d make it out of high school,
but here you are, alive, two years later
with expired milk and ticket stubs scattered around the ruins
of your own apartment, a package of condoms tucked into
the side drawer ‘just in case.’
And there are going to be some days when you feel like
breaking every dish in the cupboard or smashing the mirror to pieces,
but honey, everybody has days like those, and that doesn’t mean
you’re a paper doll, something flimsy and tearable
and too easily thrown away.
I know Marissa has prettier hair than you, and Sierra is skinnier,
but no one’s got a heart like yours.
You could rip a man’s soul in half with a heart like that.
You’re gonna want to eat him whole.
But honey, always remember that werewolves only come out
at night when there’s a full moon.
and full moons are rare. There will be a night or two,
or maybe three or four, or even more than ten,
when the one candle you light in the house
isn’t going to be enough to drown out your dark.
But someday someone will hold your dark in their palms
like the bones of a bird, and they won’t be scared
one bit of what you’ll do with it.
I know Anne Frank died too young and Neil Armstrong
didn’t mention women when he landed on the moon,
but your body’s a gasoline spill on the pavement
and your hands are stronger than sledgehammers;
you can do so much
with a voice like that.

~ Meggie Royer

Healing Poems 216

The Sacrament of Love

Awhile back, my 16-year-old sunk herself bone deep in despair.

The piercingly lonely I-loath-myself kind of despair.

I came and I went from her room, picking my way around crumpled biology notes and piles of blue jeans, offering every technique I could think of: have a protein shake, take a nap, hug the dogs, watch one of those “It Gets Better” videos, how do you know everyone else has such an easy time with biology, those are just thoughts…

She was having none of it.

I came and I went, and she sunk deeper, clutching her teddy bear, mascara tears running down her beautiful face.

Here’s the nub of it: my girl’s suffering was killing me. I wanted to fix it. But the more I tried to fix it, the more I convinced her there was something wrong with her.

Oh darling, such a classic mistake. Big hugs to myself.

I’d love to tell you I remembered right then and there that fixing doesn’t work, but no. I came and I went a few more times, and only when things got ugly between us, did I remember: stop.

Stop fixing. Stop moving, Stop resisting the hurt.


Open to what is here, just as it is, right now.

Without the “If we had not got a divorce” and “If she had gone to a Waldorf high school” and blah blah blah.

Stop. Open. Drop the story. Breathe. No forcing, no holding back.

So we sat, amid the biology notes and gum wrappers and Victoria Secret push-up bras, and I opened to my despair and grief.

Without liking it, without making the screaming desire to fix the wrong, without denying the part of me that was pissed at her for not being more resilient, without hating the part of me that had thought that.

Breathing and hugging and it sucked but it sucked honestly, directly, without any secret “get over it” taint. Something shifted, we talked, and then turned out the light and slept curled together, a dog on each side.

So it goes with our relationship with ourselves – when we stop fixing, stop going in and out of the room, stop giving ourselves endless advice to change – that’s when the sacrament of love dissolves our hearts, and we touch the peace and self-acceptance we were yearning for.

So next time you find yourself in a similar moment, coming and going and fussing with yourself, won’t you remember (faster than I) to stop and open to whatever is present? Including your desire to not stop and open!

~ Jennifer Louden

Happy National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and I wanted to wish everyone a happy month of poetry. I’ve scheduled poems for the blog for all month. Some of them I have really enjoyed so much and I hope that yous do too.

Healing Poems 202

Spirit of Place: Great Blue Heron

Out of their loneliness for each other
two reeds, or maybe two shadows, lurch
forward and become suddenly a life
lifted from dawn or the rain. It is
the wilderness come back again, a lagoon
with our city reflected in its eye.
We live by faith in such presences.

It is a test for us, that thin
but real, undulating figure that promises,
“If you keep faith I will exist
at the edge, where your vision joins
the sunlight and the rain: head sin the light.
feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.”

~ William Stafford

Healing Poems 201

The Country Wife

She makes her way through the dark trees
Down to the lake to be alone.
Following their voices on the breeze,
She makes her way. Through the dark trees
The distant stars are all she sees.
They cannot light the way she’s gone.
She makes her way through the dark trees
Down to the lake to be alone.

The night reflected on the lake,
The fire of stars changed into water.
She cannot see the winds that break
The night reflected on the lake
But knows they motion for her sake.
These are the choices they have brought her:
The night reflected on the lake,
The fire of stars changed into water.

~ Dana Gioia

Healing Poems 200

Before Dark

From the porch at dusk I watched
a kingfisher wild in flight
he could only have made for joy.

He came down the river, splashing
against the water’s dimming face
like a skipped rock, passing

on down out of sight. And still
I could hear the splashes
farther and farther away

as it grew darker. He came back
the same way, dusky as his shadow,
sudden beyond the willows.

The splashes went on out of hearing.
It was dark then. Somewhere
the night had accommodated him

—at the place he was headed for
or where, led by his delight,
he came.

~ Wendell Berry

Healing Poems 199

From a Country Overlooked

There are no creatures you cannot love.
A frog calling at God
From the moon-filled ditch
As you stand on the country road in the June night.
The sound is enough to make the stars weep
With happiness.
In the morning the landscape green
Is lifted off the ground by the scent of grass.
The day is carried across its hours
Without any effort by the shining insects
That are living their secret lives.
The space between the prairie horizons
Makes us ache with its beauty.
Cottonwood leaves click in an ancient tongue
To the farthest cold dark in the universe.
The cottonwood also talks to you
Of breeze and speckled sunlight.
You are at home in these
great empty places
along with red-wing blackbirds and sloughs.
You are comfortable in this spot
so full of grace and being
that it sparkles like jewels
spilled on water.

~ Tom Hennen

Healing Poems 198

An Interruption

A boy had stopped his car
To save a turtle in the road;
I was not far
Behind, and slowed,
And stopped to watch as he began
To shoo it off into the undergrowth—

This wild reminder of an ancient past,
Lumbering to some Late Triassic bog,
Till it was just a rustle in the grass,
Till it was gone.

I hope I told him with a look
As I passed by,
How I was glad he’d stopped me there,
And what I felt for both
Of them, something I took
To be a kind of love,
And of a troubled thought
I had, for man,
Of how we ought
To let life go on where
And when it can.

~ Robert S. Foote