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Mindful Poetry Virtual Gathering #4

Posted April 22, 2020 in News Articles

This week we listen and contemplated Naomi Shihab Nye's poem "Alive". We were joined by author and physicist Alan Lightman, who opened our gathering with a meditation and drumming. The Well Founder and Director, Stacy Sims, facilitated the poem reading and response.

Please join us for our last virtual gathering, April 29. We will listen, contemplate and respond to “What You Missed That Day You Were Absent From Fourth Grade" by Brad Aaron Modlin. (To access our daily Mindful Poetry content, simple fill out this brief form and look for a
Welcome email from The Well.)


Response Poems

untitled
By: Robert Burack

Dear past, if you get this message,
do you ever get tired of us dwelling on you?
Would you like room to breathe, or even grow, into something new?
Dear present, hiding in the other room, or up the stairs, or under my feet -
could you come out and play? My letters to Dear Future remain
unanswered, and I know that you’ll have something to say: stand, sit, now
stand again, lumbering body eased against the windowsill, fingers dancing
in midday light, something wild simmering on the stove. Dear Past, when
does this become a part of you? Is it instant, or do I have to care enough to write?


Minds Eye
By Holly Brians Ragusa
Moments of your life fill a mind I cannot know
but long to know
The caress of your Grandmother's hand after baking
your brother's laugh on a summer lawn
Silence that saved a space for you at the end of a day
Taste savored sipped for a second time
Sounds that make me woozy in a deep place
may not sing to you
Scented reminders of you of home of love of us
Warms the tea in your cup warming hands I may hold
without the cares they carry
Lightning through a dark sky excites fears within
planted time in pots of clay sees your seeds grown
Light filters through a clear window streaked with your own view
seeing shades I'll never see but have felt in my own depths
I see you
in everything I cannot see in you
In all I know of us


Precedent
By: Hannah J. Conti

The moment
before I gasp,
thought preceding action,
encapsulated in the widening of eyes,
punctuated by questions
Who now?
When?
Which hospital?
Again and again
like the refrain of an earworm
I can’t shake out of my mind.
My head shakes
the tears from my eyes.
My eyes are gasping
from lack of control
so I teter
On a gasp.


Untitled
By: Troy Bronsink, April 2020
Dear internet, Do you hear us all in at once, or in slices?
Can you see the lilac behind the fence pickets, or only a length of pixels to be puzzled over
Does your sense of time even allow you to access our overtones?
Is any living note of our cosmic song ever long enough for you to savor,
or are you trying to match up the billions upon billions of notes
like a child learning to shuffle cards, or Lucy packing chocolates from the conveyor belt

Aren’t you ready for a nap?

Do you know even know
what this background symphony of birds
sixteenth-to-whole notes,
staccato,
echos and
interrupted conversations
can sound like—
the bliss of being met by all this at once?


Dear mind
By: Mahib Rathore

Dear mind,
Let me be free, let me write in flow,
Let me just go!
Creativity feels dead, distraction so easy,
How can I be present, how can I be in this moment?

Sounds may come and pass away,

But absence of sound is always here.
Time may begin, and get over,
But absence of time is always near.
Thoughts may pop up and get crazy,
But emptiness of mind is my true nature.
Clouds may be dense, and full of thunder,
But the sky is right there, the moment you surrender.


Underneath, after Naomi Shihab Nye
By Lauren Sharpe

Dear Garden, I would like you to happen now, please.
It’s too hard from me to wait
for things to get warmer when
it already feels warm enough.
Danger still lies in wait.
Maybe I need to wash the outside of my windows first.
They are occupied
by paper rainbows that tear
every time I try to open them.
The pitchfork’s wooden handle
fell off into my hand, so I added it to the pile of junk I’d found in your soil.
After I ripped out the superficial roots
with my bare hands, I remembered
there were gardening gloves right there in the tote.
Dear Garden, I am ready.
I am ready to go rhizomatic.
We are already under it all
why not go deeper?
And horizontal!
And we’ll creep below your still-cool,
now-turned earth, meeting and meeting again,

in secret.

in preparation.


Memory
By: Kaley Casenhiser

Dear inner child, do you
Remember the song of
The mossy grassy, the
Squish of its wildness
Between your five toes
And the way you used to
Lie back in it, a blanket
Knit by relationships
Of micro-organisms, and
Drift into the whispers
Of its movement, unafraid
Of what may be born in the
Forest of your dreams?

Dear grandmother, lover and
Alchemist of butter and noddles,
Author of cookbooks and fairytales
Thank you for your never
Quite clean nails, for singing
Me to sleep with fragments of
Hymns and for brushing my
Temples with flour from supper’s
Roux still crusted on your hands.
Dear daughter, seed I am
Saving for some future state
Of being, to name you
Eden Is my imagination’s offering:
To clothe you in a prophetic
Prayer that connects you
To your lineage, women
Of heart and vision, coming
To the well, each morning,}
To draw water from the
Depths of the desert.


"Dear G(g)od..."
by Isti Toq'ah

Dear G(g)od,
If Y(y)ou do really exist, why do Y(y)ou love to make us have bunches of whys?

Why do Y(y)ou let my lips spell the word "Help..." if Y(y)ou always see me,
see us?
Why do Y(y)ou like to hear us beg to Y(y)ou even when it's hard, so hard,
just to breathe?
Why do Y(y)ou make me say the word "Stop..." has been said by Elie Wiesel in his book "Night" when he begged to not be shot by Nazi in time
of Holocaust?


Why do Y(y)ou hesitate to knock the doors of those who selfly proclaim
themselves as gods and goddesses?
Why do Y(y)ou choose to punish each and every single of us including the
innocents, while the strong and selfish still can have limitless choices to
breathe, live, and hide peacefully?


Why G(g)od?


Do Y(y)ou actually listen to us?
And opt to not respond at all?
Do Y(y)ou teach us, educate us (as always) through Y(y)our silence,
Y(y)ou quietness?


They and we say "consent" is important.
Do Y(y)ou think so?
Yet, Y(y)ou give no consent for us to decide either we are willing to suffer
or not.


And
Connection
By: Stacy Sims

Dear Arelta, what should I write to give you a drop of hope?
Look! A nickel is on the ground, heads up.

Dear Katie, are you scared about working on a COVID floor?
Just in case, I suspended a sunbeam just above your smile.

Dear raincloud, dear mystery, dear grandpa
the birds are building a nest in the dead wreath on my deck,
floured hands tuck a child into bed,
roots embrace and entwine in
spongy knuckles
and connection.


TOUCH
by Dorothy Blake

Dear Katie: Are you scared of working on a COVID floor?
Hands in sheaths, face behind a mask and shield, body wrapped in a plastic layer to shutter you?
You TOUCH your patients with loving hands.
At lunch you grab a moment to FaceTime your children . . . playing, laughing . . . in the backyard of your parents.
Five weeks and counting. When can you TOUCH them again?


Alive
By Henry Tupelo-Schneck, age 10

In Spring, the parts become more meaningful than the whole
The animals and trees, all natural or man made
things as one but as parts.
When it becomes truly meaningful is when you notice
deep down everything is keeping everything alive
that is when the parts are truly most meaningful.

In winter, the whole becomes meaningful,
the snow, the bare trees.
You might say it is all one thing,
but is it really so different from spring?
nothing is gone, it is all there,
just blanketed under snow.
so are you really right to say that the whole is more meaningful?
Beyond just spring and winter, you might be right to say the whole is most
important.


A moment of feeling
By Lena Sclove

Can you hear me?
Can you see my longing
for a life of meaning
a cradle of rest
a moment of feeling
like I have done enough
I have enough
I am enough
Time for some play
for moments of silliness
in the great expanse of confusion and heaviness.
I am writing with a pen
from my semester studying abroad in Spain in 2012.
The ink dries out and I want to cry
remembering those days of independence
and freedom
and lightness.
I switch to another pen,
to keep the writing
going and flowing.
This one from my summer
as a hospice chaplain
this ink flows strong and bold.
It is a newer, sturdy pen.
what does this mean?

What pen shall I use next?
From what time in my life will I have collected it?
Will the ink flow freely
or will it withhold itself,
dried and reticent,
from the page?
And what will it say?
What decisions will it make,
as if on its own accord?

Can you hear me?
Can you see my longing
for a life of meaning
a cradle of rest
a moment of feeling…


National Park Week in the Time of COVID
By Anna Martinez-Amos

My backyard has become my national park.
I step outside and I am dazzled by its gifts.
The song of the mockingbird from atop the mesquite tree
The eruption of color from wildflowers in a sunny corner
The lizard sunning itself from the roof of an abandoned doghouse
The smell of my neighbor's freshly cut grass
The stillness of the live oak as it sends its roots deeply
The hope it gives me that this earth continues her wisdom despite my species' folly.