Evening Poetry, November 29

Carrying Our Words

by Ofelia Zepeda

We travel carrying our words.

We arrive at the ocean.

With our words we are able to speak

of the sounds of thunderous waves.

We speak of how majestic it is,

of the ocean power that gifts us songs.

We sing of our respect

and call it our relative.

You can find this poem at poets.org.

Evening Poetry, November 28

A Haudenosaunee “Thanksgiving” Prayer.


Except for the words “Greetings to the Natural World,” the words in bold are not meant to be said.

Thanksgiving Address

GREETINGS TO THE NATURAL WORLD!

The People

Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People.

Now our minds are one.

The Earth Mother

We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Waters

We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms – waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of water.

Now our minds are one.

The Fish

We turn our minds to all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the Fish and send our greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Plants

Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.

Now our minds are one.

The Food Plants

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Medicine Herbs

Now we turn to all the Medicine herbs of the world. From the beginning, they were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines.

Now our minds are one.

The Animals

We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.

Now our minds are one.

The Trees

We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many peoples of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life.

Now our minds are one.

The Birds

We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds – from the smallest to the largest – we send our joyful greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Four Winds

We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.

Now our minds are one.

The Thunderers

Now we turn to the west where our Grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.

Now our minds are one.

The Sun

We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.

Now our minds are one.

Grandmother Moon

We put our minds together and give thanks to our oldest grandmother, the Moon, who lights the night-time sky. She is the leader of women all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.

Now our minds are one.

The Stars

We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to all the Stars.

Now our minds are one.

The Enlightened Teachers

We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring Teachers.

Now our minds are one.

The Creator

Now we turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.

Now our minds are one.

Closing Words

We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.

Now our minds are one.

You can find this prayer at Firstpeople.us.

Evening Poetry, November 27

Things

by Lisel Mueller

What happened is, we grew lonely

living among the things.

so we gave the clock a face,

the chair a back,

the table four stout legs

which will never suffer fatigue.

We fitted our shoes with tongues

as smooth as our own

and hung tongues inside bells

so we could listen

to their emotional language,

and because we loved graceful profiles

the pitcher received a lip,

the bottle a long, slender neck.

Even what was beyond us

was recast in our image;

we gave the country a heart,

the storm an eye,

the cave a mouth

so we could pass into safety.

You can find this poem in Alive Together.

Evening Poetry, November 26

Thanksgiving

By Tim Nolan

Thanks for the Italian chestnuts—with their
tough shells—the smooth chocolaty
skin of them—thanks for the boiling water—

itself a miracle and a mystery—
thanks for the seasoned sauce pan
and the old wooden spoon—and all

the neglected instruments in the drawer—
the garlic crusher—the bent paring knife—
the apple slicer that creates six

perfect wedges out of the crisp Haralson—
thanks for the humming radio—thanks
for the program on the radio

about the guy who was a cross-dresser—
but his wife forgave him—and he
ended up almost dying from leukemia—

(and you could tell his wife loved him
entirely—it was in her deliberate voice)—
thanks for the brined turkey—

the size of a big baby—thanks—
for the departed head of the turkey—
the present neck—the giblets

(whatever they are)—wrapped up as
small gifts inside the cavern of the ribs—
thanks—thanks—thanks—for the candles

lit on the table—the dried twigs—
the autumn leaves in the blue Chinese vase—
thanks—for the faces—our faces—in this low light.

You can find this poem in And Then.

Evening Poetry, November 24

Touching Bottom

by Freya Manfred

Are we frightened of the great, delicate spaces under the waters…? (James Wright, “A Visit to Earth”)

The list of things I no longer care about grows long,

though when I recall myself as a girl of twenty, swooning

in the springtime Shakespeare class of James Wright,

what mattered most to me then has not changed:

a good conversation with a man neither old nor young,

lost or found, only a poet, becoming, on a journey.

Can we manage that, without New York sarcasm creeping

into our voices, without bland Midwestern superiority,

or West Coast faith in one right path, like lemmings into the sea?

Can we let each other finish a story without interruption,

speak our greatest fears and hopes without a moral,

until we’re not unlike two friendly dogs on a wild romp,

with no plans except our muddy, barking acquiescence

to each other’s strange, rich, ancient, singing world?

You can find this poem in Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle.

Evening Poetry, November 23

Meeting Point

by Louis MacNeice

Time was away and somewhere else,
There were two glasses and two chairs
And two people with the one pulse
(Somebody stopped the moving stairs):
Time was away and somewhere else.

And they were neither up nor down;
The stream’s music did not stop
Flowing through heather, limpid brown,
Although they sat in a coffee shop
And they were neither up nor down.

The bell was silent in the air
Holding its inverted poise—
Between the clang and clang a flower,
A brazen calyx of no noise:
The bell was silent in the air.

The camels crossed the miles of sand
That stretched around the cups and plates;
The desert was their own, they planned
To portion out the stars and dates:
The camels crossed the miles of sand.

Time was away and somewhere else.
The waiter did not come, the clock
Forgot them and the radio waltz
Came out like water from a rock:
Time was away and somewhere else.

Her fingers flicked away the ash
That bloomed again in tropic trees:
Not caring if the markets crash
When they had forests such as these,
Her fingers flicked away the ash.

God or whatever means the Good
Be praised that time can stop like this,
That what the heart has understood
Can verify in the body’s peace
God or whatever means the Good.

Time was away and she was here
And life no longer what it was,
The bell was silent in the air
And all the room one glow because
Time was away and she was here.

You can find this poem in Collected Poems: William MacNeice.

Evening Poetry, November 22

Mending Wall

By Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

You can find this poem in The Poetry of Robert Frost.

Book and Podcast Favorites

Yay! It’s finally Friday. (Did you know my favorite day is actually Thursday?) Anyhoo, I’ve got some favorites podcasts and books to share with you!

Podcasts:

My favorite new podcast: Wildly Aligned Podcast with Natalie Brite. Thanks to my friend Britt for sharing a post on Instagram with Natalie’s positive voice. I’ve listened to this episode twice and am going to listen a few times more.

Do you ever get into a funk (aka depression) and just need to renew your mind? Yeah I was in one for two solid weeks and was wondering if I was going to be able to pull myself out or if it finally was time for meds.

Then I listened to this podcast and it was like the clouds parted, angelic choirs sang overhead, and I saw the light. It was as if my whole being was saying a big “Yes!” to every word.

Beyond Aromatics Podcast by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy or NAHA (of which I am a member). On this episode, Tiffany Carole shared about AromaPoint Therapy, which she developed, in which different diluted essential oils are placed on specific energy points on the body. She shares three points where anyone can apply the recommended oils. I applied diluted Bergamot to the Shen Men point on my ears and actually felt a calm release about 10 minutes later. Don’t knock it till you try it!

Visual Marketing With Tailwind is a podcast mostly devoted to Pinterest. Until a few months ago, I was barely using Pinterest and hardly ever for business. Then I started a marketing course and the instructor drilled into us that Pinterest was more important than Facebook or Instagram, and indeed, reminded us that Pinterest wasn’t actually a social media platform–it’s a search engine.

So, I started using Tailwind, which is an app which lets you schedule pins for a month or two at a time. And my views went from 1K-31K in 3 months. You better believe I want to know all I can about how to use Pinterest to get traffic to my website and Etsy shop! This episode is one of many that will provide useful info for those who want to grow a following and get more traffic to their site/blog/shop.

Books:

It’s been too long! With all the other things I’m juggling (Ayurveda classes, aromatherapy classes, Etsy, website, blog, social, our music duo) I haven’t been keeping up with telling you what I’ve been reading and loving. But here are a few (I’m currently at 103 books read for the year, so I’m breaking a personal record.)

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbie Waxman was the most light-hearted book I read this year so far! If you like to read about people who love books, this one’s for you.

Nina is a quirky, introverted twentysomething who lives in L.A., works at a bookshop, discovers a family she never knew she had, and meets a very promising man.

The author’s way with words is clever and unusual–no cliches here. And there are parts that made me laugh out loud, which is not something that happens often. (Unless I’m reading David Sedaris.)

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is my top pick out of all the books I read this year. I listened to the audio version read by Juliet Stevenson and I absolutely recommend you read it this way.

The story: one cold Winter Solstice night, a man appears in the doorway of The Swan, an inn on the Thames. In his arms he holds a small girl and nobody knows where she came from.

Three different stories unfold that include a missing child. Which family does the girl belong to? Or is she someone else entirely? And what did happen to those other children? Exquisitely written, woven with mystery, magic, and myth, this book will enchant you. 

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware was the scariest book I read this year. Here are some of the scary bits: a nanny alone in a house with children who hate her, the house is in the Highlands of Scotland, the house is also a “smart” house so everything from lights, to the refrigerator, to music is controlled by an app and is under constant surveillance from the parents who are away on business. Oh, and there are malicious, ghostly happenings that are directed at the nanny, as they were at her predecessors.

OK, I’m a wimp and don’t read horror, but this came close. I had to read this during daylight hours with people around. So if you like thrillers, this one is for you!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Evening Poetry, November 21

Doors

by Carl Sandburg

An open door says, “Come in.”
A shut door says, “Who are you?”
Shadows and ghosts go through shut doors.
If a door is shut and you want it shut,
     why open it?
If a door is open and you want it open,
     why shut it?
Doors forget but only doors know what it is
     doors forget.

You can find this poem in Sandburg Range.

Evening Poetry, November 20

From The Essential Rumi

by Rumi

In your light I learn how to love.

In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest,

where no one sees you,

but sometimes I do,

and that sight becomes this art.

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.