Tag Archives: suffering

leaving it all

leaving it all

note to self

Here is a villanelle, a French form established in the sixteenth century
that uses meter, rhyme, and a specific pattern of repeated lines.
This, my first attempt ever, is written in pentameter.

sometimes I long to simply take high flight
to leave this crooked world behind, alone
and reach in deep for purest, clearest light

it’s madness here—the mean and righteous fight
they grab and push and nab the richest bone
sometimes I long to simply take high flight

and flee this place at dawn or plushest night
seek peace elsewhere, a place that is unknown
and reach in deep for purest, clearest light

to watch all suffering souls, their dreadful plight
it hurts my heart and makes me feel like stone
sometimes I long to simply take high flight

to soar, and bank, to find the broadest sight
and then unearth the place that’s my true home
and reach in deep for purest, clearest light

how will I find the strength for loft and height
so courage, love, and beauty may atone?
sometimes I long to simply take high flight
and reach in deep for purest, clearest light

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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predicament of being alive

predicament of being alive

note to self

it isn’t easy on planet earth.
losses carve our hearts
staggering low-back pain
your family business fails
a parent’s sudden demise
empty craters of loss

a monarch flickers by
the mockingbird’s serenade
a dog’s cold nose in greeting
jasmine scents the air
chocolate melts on your tongue
the scent of a baby’s neck
enough joy to keep us here. just.

the predicament is this:
how to welcome paradox:
are you vast enough?
open? willing?
can your heart spread wide?
that is what is asked for
the courage to breathe it all

thank you to Margaret Rooney for the title phrase

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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way of the heart

way of the heart
note to self

the way of the heart
is sacred ground
tread with love, tend
with regard
with kindness
with care

dismissed from work,
life-threatening diagnosis,
loss of a friend or child or mate,
the way is the light that
perforates desolation
forgo the urge to bolt
distress is not infectious
this blaze of the heart
is meant to be shared

foremost, listen.
just that.
anguish cannot be “fixed”
heed the plight
of your companion
or your very own self.
your words aren’t needed
attendance is required to
honeycomb grief and
make openings for light
spacious
aware
clear

with thanks to Margaret Rooney for the phrase “ the light that perforates”

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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off my wrist they sailed

off my wrist they sailed

note to self 1993

olive wood, worn pecan and
buttery from my touch—
fingering love, gratitude, peace,
and prayers upon prayers upon prayers

ninety-nine beads, each an aroma
of the beloved, plus two carved ones
that divide each thirty-three
a gift from my Sufi teacher—
bestowed from his murshid to him
the indelible chain of hearts

three wraps around my wrist,
always there. for thirty years,
I’d passed the tasbih beads
through thumb and forefinger
marking a sacred word or phrase

precious, old friends.

on a ten-day island retreat
I found a cockle 500 feet
above the sea—a shell, up here?
Did the land upheave
three-hundred-million years ago?

my intention: throw it back
from whence it came,
return it home to the Maui gods.
I made the cast and the shell took flight

as though in pursuit,
my treasured beads sailed off my wrist
aghast, I watched them fly
a long, asymmetrical
arc toward the woods

a chilla, a test, so very clear.
suspended, frozen,
my heart lurched at the loss
they’re well and truly gone

let them go!

did I pinpoint their likely
grave in forest duff, spongy
and deep? oh, I searched!
frantic, desperate, digging, pawing
they must be there.
why had I not replaced aging string?

never found.

cross-legged on my bed,
sick at heart that I hadn’t
released my claim on them
I pondered the test I’d failed—
how will it come again?

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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Filed under Awakening, chilla/test, Daily reminders, loss, memoir, Musings, Non-duality, nonduality, notes to self, Poetry, spirituality, suffering, Surrender, Truth

this, too

this, too

note to self

so tired.
tired of infighting and
hatred. tired of lies.
what is this human
aversion to truth?
we’ve slipped
off the diving board.
let’s cherish the bowl
of our fragile home.
wholeness is no longer
possible in the manifested
world. Kintsugi calls.
we can mend ourselves
with rivulets of goodness.
it takes more juice
to frown than smile.
choose gold.
gold lacquer and rice flour,
a delicate harmony.

start.
sit in silence.
parse what is.
right now. all of it. the lush
air at sunup’s first blush.
hawk nabs gopher.
gunfire.
parents beg.
even DNA required.
weeping, they
comfort each other.
this, too.
with a slender brush,
smooth liquid gold
into the seams.
kindness.
peace.
care.
love.

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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let the wound lie open

let the wound lie open*

we think wounds
need to be stitched
but this wound,
countrywide trauma,
can’t be cleanly
sutured and left to heal
there nothing curative here
only grief-worn hearts

a minute of silence can’t
solve this, even prayers
won’t help, although
we certainly want them
our leaders need to take
a hard look—their hunger
for elected power over
the gritty work

how can they rest
at night? face their
own children? we are
sick and broken
no one wants to own up—
this is not what
our founders intended by
the second

I can’t speak the word
“amendment” it has the
word “mend” in the middle
our country’s slant has
no sense of remedy
or repair, only
self-serving conduct—
I call for CHANGE

use our words!
placards in the streets
marks on ballots
phone calls
letters to the editor
throw them out of office
surely, surely
we must do better than this

*thank you to Emily Gibson of the Barnstorming blog for the title

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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stone in a backpack of boulders

stone in a backpack of boulders

note to self

the backpack load
unbearable unwearable
too heavy
digs ruts in our shoulders
yet we must heft it
and now,
another stone
a huge one

a school we never heard of
filled with young children who
have lost buddies they played tag,
hung upside down on bars
and now are forever gone
they’ll face enduring night frights
stained with crimson—
how will they recover?

when will we ken
the fatal disease of
separation? without
the resonance of interbeing,
how linked we are,
every one of us, no exceptions,
this will happen again
and again and again

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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Filed under Awakening, children, Daily reminders, death, feelings, memoir, Musings, Non-duality, nonduality, notes to self, pain, parenting, Poetry, spirituality, suffering, Truth

the weight of impotence

the weight of impotence

note to self

stopped watching
TV world news
clicked off NPR
but on the iPad
catch myself roving
through BBC, CNN
and The Guardian
impelled to know

crushed by agony
in our world, I ponder
my own actions,
minuscule movements
of love, one in 7.9 billion
7.9 billion!
impotence weighs me down

and yet,
the eye of the heart flames—
see, over there,
the mare licks her foal
still amniotic wet
long, slow strokes to
ground him into life

with tender fierceness
watch the red-tailed hawk
feed snake to
squawking fluff balls
or the hospice nurse plump
pillows for the failing elder,
offering gentle words

oh please! dear self
faced with global turmoil
even though you
lie awake and quail,
remember—
thought is ineffectual
it holds no other sway

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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Filed under Awakening, Daily reminders, feelings, Kashmiri Shaivism, Love, memoir, mind, Musings, Non-duality, nonduality, notes to self, Poetry, spirituality, suffering, thoughts, Truth

broken and beautiful

broken and beautiful

note to self

oh my God, we are
broken and beautiful
every one of us
admit it or not
“we” includes
bright California poppies
filled with sunshine,
thief in broad daylight,
a knee-shaking kiss,
the rooster shagging
hens in the field,
incessant barking dog

how can it be like this?

how can it not?

our world is
kintsugi, broken—
an earthy bowl
lovingly repaired with
rivers of gold
again
again
and again

thank you Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for the title.

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the grace path

the grace path*

he suffers
I cannot turn away
but truly see him
just as he is
lying on the carpet
always aching
self-medicating
fragrance
tinging the air

he does not complain
tends to his pain
as best he can
smiles, shows me
puppy livecams
my heart yearns to
enfold him in
mother love
he’s almost forty-eight
it’s not my place anymore

instead
he offers me a toke
maybe I accept
soft music and waterfalls
play on YouTube
we talk quietly of the big field
and the atmosphere
of that conversation
soaks the room in, yes, love
it’s taken care of
we lean into the grace path

*thank you Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for the title.

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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Filed under Awakening, Daily reminders, feelings, Love, memoir, Musings, Non-duality, nonduality, Poetry, Silence, spirituality, suffering, Surrender, Truth