altar of undoing

altar of undoing

brought or dragged
to my altar of undoing
the labor began

sacred endeavor

discern what’s true
and not personal

the rend of confusion
truth frightened me

unwind beliefs
and the stories
that sustained them
pools of misery
tears upon tears

finally! the light
of understanding

2023 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

how do I live?

how do I live?

Live with skillful nonchalance and ceaseless concern.
— Prajnaparamita Sutra

I awaken each morning
avoid the news
it ignites incessant concern
I’ll bear it later in the day

quiet, I sit with my latte
breathe
remind myself of the truth
we are one body perceived
as eight trillion things

the I that I am holds it all
and is also a mere pinprick
of light—oh, the mystery!

my assignment—
live with skillful nonchalance
to balance ceaseless concern
both are needed
both required

2023 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

friendliness

friendliness

care for
and befriend yourself
that way
you are never alone
life is hard enough

it took me most
of a lifetime
to learn this
and I relearn it
every day
listen to your
inner yammering
a frenzied parade
of thoughts
we’re so used to
that voice rattling on
an endless commentary
fine tune your ear—
is it a kind friend
or harsh judge?

if you find the judge
smile and just say

no.
no more

only goodwill here

2023 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

iceberg

iceberg

what’s frozen
in us, an echo
of human cruelty
or inattention—
as children, we
can’t process
don’t have the skill
innocent
we stuff it away

that jagged lump
we cannot see
shades everything
blinded, we stumble
react and don’t
know why

shine light
on that bulk
oh, it has stories!
unwind and love them
give them leeway
to thaw—when
welcomed and seen
they no longer alarm
the warmth we offer
melts and releases
they re-meld with
the ocean as one

2023 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

hard bumps – a pantoum

The pantoum is a poetic form originating in 15th century Malaysia that uses repetition. It’s a poem of any length composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The final stanza is often two lines from the first stanza.

hard bumpsa pantoum

life is a bumpy ride
a rumble strip of tests
we are left with one clear job
to hunt for the good in all

a rumble strip of bumps
can pitch you to the ground
search for opportunity
to soften painful blows

pitched onto the ground
push to standing again
look to soften those blows
with a change in point of view

push to standing again
don’t let blows lay you low
with a change in your mindset
you can reframe the losses

be resilient with blows
look for good inside trials
you can reframe the losses
and build a fresh way forward

poke around those hard trials
there’s lessons to be learned
they’ll show a fresh way forward
and point you toward new doors

life is a bumpy ride
we are left with one clear job

2023 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

threshing floor

threshing floor

my beliefs fell
away in an instant
I watched them
flutter
to the floor

four decades
of practice—
wasted?
how would life
work without my
card house?
how to navigate
the unknown
and wide-open
now?

no more praying
to something
outside
or chanting
for peace of mind
even meditation
is not separate
from being, doing
or breath

first rage erupted,
months passing
before angst dissolved
so much wasted time!
then the idea of time
fell away
useful for living
but clearly not true—
a flood of joy

2023 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

minefield

minefield

are you ready to come
out of the cave? have you
had enough of drowning?
the mind has claws,
ties your view into knots
drags you under
with the weight of stones

you know this mind
it perseverates,
steals sleep
tangles intention
revs apprehension

let it go—set it down
that gnarl will not undo—
then swim away
that’s right
use powerful strokes
minefield mind, a drag
on vigor and time

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

like gasoline

like gasoline

thoughts can ignite
like gasoline
caustic and explosive
drowned in thinking
mine used to flare
—no longer

why not gentle
your home
soften the people
you hang with
sit near oaks in
silence—listen
for their breathing

the patter
of chipmunks
the acorn that drops
by your side
their quiet will steal
and heal your heart

so take a breath
then another
slowing your steps
as you head back
toward busyness
that swamps the day

maybe even greet
checkers with a smile
open doors for an oldster
we are one family
this can tenderize
thoughts over time

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

the question

the question

age eleven

dark of the moon
chill air nipped
her bare neck
she lay on
new-mown grass
it’s familiar balm
enveloping her
as she stared at the
black sea of stars
flaming dots of
awakening that
stretched to
the end of time
what made this
intelligent wild
unexpected array?

not where she looked
maybe there were
no answers
which curled her gut
how can a tiny
dot understand
what it lives inside of?
she had to know—
didn’t understand
the search carried her
farther, away—
till an inward
turn and the solitary
walk toward home

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

refuge 2

refuge 2

sunlight catches drops
that cling to weeping
maple leaves—
is fire season gone?
is it ever?
she never used to note
the rise in moist air or
subtle dip in warmth
that signals safety
now it’s embedded—
maybe it’s time
to unpack the go-bag
that lives in the car
snug less-used clothes
back into drawers—
her central self
the deep core of knowing
senses eternal safety
but the body
is a whole other story
it hangs on to fear

sink deep inside, find
the thread of breath
that carries you
to your original refuge

This photo is from the Barnstorming Blog, which I’ve followed for
fifteen years. Thank you, Emily Gibson. https://barnstorming.blog/

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.