the snips and burr
when she sheared
his mane, curls
wanting to dread,
he surfaced
from all that hair—
it lay in heaps
at his feet

staring at the piles
his teenage angst
washed away
he said to me,
I want the birds
to have it to keep
their babies warm

hung in clumps
on the fence, we
watched it bleach
from mahogany,
blaze red
to almost pink,
and wondered

four years later,
the corvid nest
tumbled from a fir—
the boy, now man
pointed, look!
threaded through
the sticks
lining the lair
his hair

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



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


note to self

you are bound
to this earth
no doubt, but
there is a way
to untether—
gain quiet insight
from dismantling
and unlearning
the strange way
you were taught
to frame reality

you were coached
and molded to
amplify beliefs and
stories on top of
what actually
how and why
instead of a
clearer what—

peel them off
return to vivid truth
what happened?
instead of inviting
drama, meet and
welcome the feelings
—nothing more

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

why oh why oh why?

windblown-leafWe can get hooked on needing to know why. It’s a part of the mind’s final stand, and thought just doesn’t want to let it go.

“But why,” we ask, “does awareness allow itself to be veiled?”

The mind wants to know, and can get lost in creating scenarios, such as “awareness wanted an other to experience love.”

It’s a nice story. If this satisfies something for you, that’s fine, too. It soothed something in me for decades.

“Why” questions have no answers, and engaging with these questions re-activates our already overactive minds. Allow the very thought of “why” to be the reminder to relax. Be happy feeling the “why”–no need to reject it. Allow the wind to sail it away.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit

oneness and multiplicity

OnenessLogoTonight, I took part in a reading at Sisters Consignment Couture in Sonoma, California. We read short sections of memoir about sisters, or people close enough that we consider them our sisters. David shared how his father turned malevolent when he drank, and thrashed his wife–frightening him and his three sisters. Catherine’s sister died five years ago of lung cancer, and she so clearly depicted walking with her sister towards her death, and the loss she still feels today. Joelle wrote about the night she was taken home abruptly from a slumber party because her sister, Wendy, had died in a car accident. Laura described unreasonable and thoughtless behavior of a Mother Superior when she and her sister were little. I read a short piece where my best friend and I spontaneously created a ceremony at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford Hospital to honorably dispose of my wedding ring from a previous marriage.

The common thread that expresses oneness amidst the seeming disparity of experience and stories was so obvious–our compassion and love for family and friends, the exquisite rawness of our shared human experience. The mind notices differences, a skill that we require for many activities. We can make use of the able mind and know it is not the largest truth. The deeper heart recognizes with undeniable clarity that life is not-two.

©Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
image credit

is it a barren nothing?

black eye galaxyIs it a barren nothing? So fun when deconstruction has to begin with the first five words: “It” is not an it, but we call it that in order to use words at all. Otherwise, it would be necessary to remain silent.

Both my husband and I went through a period we now call “the bardos.” In 2008, meaning in our lives fell away, and life felt very flat. Barren. Even unappealing. I no longer understood how to live, and was afraid that life would be boring, or uninteresting.

Ha! Not the case, and the bardos turned out to be a phase that lasted a couple of months. Life’s vitality returned–on its own terms! Now life lives–and it’s engaging, challenging–all that it was before, except it has no meaning, and I’m absolutely clear that I have no control at all. It’s all one big life unfolding–beautifully, horribly, confusingly, touchingly.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: NASA’s incredible archives

not enough

its_not_enough_buttonMost people live in a world of “not enough.” Not enough love, not enough money, not enough of the right kind of food, not enough time.

How many thoughts do I have a day wanting to change something in my life?

Honestly? Quite a few.

But I believe them less and less–because this moment, this moment right now, is precious, just as it is.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

the need to know

obsessing dog cartoonHave you ever been driven by the need to know?

I remember the days right after I met the man whom I’ve now been married to for almost twenty-four years.

The retreat was held about four hours from where I lived at the time, and we discovered that we lived only one-half hour from each other.

After I got home, I was overcome by the need to know if he was going to call or not. Frankly, it made me miserable. And he didn’t call right away–I think it took about ten days. Ten days of a kind of misery, obsessing and not sleeping much. This was a kind of ecstatic misery, but misery nonetheless. Wild scenarios flooded my mind–what I might have said or done that would have put him off, how I might have been more attractive to him. I have to chuckle now, because I was in quite a state.

Recently, we placed an offer on a home–in the exact neighborhood where we want to live. I couldn’t help but notice the difference: when the mind got busy, I shifted attention to notice what it was that was wondering–a far more fruitful, and less stressful way to sit in the unknown. We didn’t get the home, but I didn’t suffer in the interim–instead, I spent the time resting in curiosity.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: Charles Barsotti

going back to sleep

going back to sleepWhat is going back to sleep, really?

We ignore our own direct experience, available right now to every one of us, and buy back into the dream of–supposedly–how things are. It’s easier. It’s more comfortable, but only in the short term.

Believe me, I know; I repeatedly dozed off for decades. My nest was cozy, lined with down feathers, deliciously comfortable.

How could I call off the search? I had too much energy invested. How could I admit to myself–or anyone else–that I’d been focused in the wrong direction?

But there comes a time when denial no longer serves.

© Amrita Skye Blaine
photo credit

empty-minded and open-hearted

Iman's heart no sigI doubt if this busy mind will ever be empty; but then again, I don’t worry about it, because I have zero control over it. I don’t have to touch the mind’s rant, however, or get involved with it.

There was a time when I couldn’t imagine being able to leave the mind’s rant alone. But the more that I take note that the mind is always lagging behind the moment, is remarkably unreliable, and often downright mean–mostly to my own body-mind–the easier it becomes not to touch it. Why would I want to? Save it instead, for what it’s good at–practical life detail. Keeping a calendar. Paying bills. Writing. Cooking a nourishing dinner.

Still, I love the phrase empty-minded and open-hearted. When we leave the mind alone, the heart opens and becomes the more active center, and we can move from there. The heart–when it is not weighted down with story and the feelings that compound the story–doesn’t lag behind; it responds in the moment, appropriately.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: my son’s original art, about age 5