Posts Tagged ‘light’

for MS

She gave me an hour.
Since then, every minute
has grown from the soil
of that time.
She gave me silence.
It was the wisest teaching.
She did not know me.
She deeply understood my heart.
There was a time
when she, too,
was met with unthinkable loss.
Now she knows
to say the name
of the one who is gone.
She knows not to fix.
She knows the gift
of being seen.
She asked for nothing
in return.
Over a year later,
I remember how she listened
with her eyes.
I remember the generosity
of her gaze.
She lit a candle for my child,
a golden light
on a bed of amethyst.
With that flame,
she has lit hundreds more
through my hand.
Sometimes I wonder
where her flame began,
I think of all the hands
lighting all the candles.
How beautiful that light.
How far we have come
from the dark we have known.

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for R.S.

I feel it. I feel in my fingers
something of starlight.
I feel in my breath something
like dawn. I feel in my inner caverns
something akin to the radiance
of glow worms. As if just knowing
that someone is holding me in light
has made the moment brighter.
It occurs to me I can do this, too,
and I begin to imagine others
gathered by sunset, carried
by candlelight, infused
with the soft warmth  
of a low campfire.
I picture the light
as it spreads across the world,
as it seeks out hearts
and lives I will never know.
What must it look like from space
as it spreads, as it grows,
as it blooms through this darkness
where we all live together.

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The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.            
—Shakti Gawain  

And it was in the darkest time
when she was most lost,
before she even knew to ask for help,
it was then the light arrived—
as a firefly, it so happens,
a radiance so tiny
she might have missed it
had it not lit up right in front of her face
at the very moment her friend spoke of love.

Perhaps she would have resisted it
if she’d had energy for resistance.
Even the smallest brilliance can be terrifying
when it asks us to see life as it really is
instead of the way we wish it would be.

As it is, the love light entered her,
humble as a beetle, significant as a star.
It glowed so brightly others could see it.
It responded to her trust.
It met her in silent rooms and lonely days.
It shined into deep uncertainty,
It offered her no answers.
It suggested a thousand right paths.
We could say the light didn’t change a thing.
We could say the light changed everything.

Who was she to receive a miracle?
Let’s not call it miracle, then.
Call it wonder. Call it unlikely luck.
But there is no way to pretend
it didn’t happen.
Even now, she tends that light,
marvels at how it glows even brighter
the more she gives it away.


Oh friends, this was a difficult poem to write. I am reminded of the quote from Marianne Williamson, Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. So I wrote the poem in third-person past tense–which helped. 

I wrote it in preparation to co-lead an online exploration of epiphany. Perhaps you will join me on Friday, January 6 to wrestle with your own story of being led/wanting to be led/not wanting to be led by light, of being lit from within, of sharing your gifts. 

Epiphany: Stories Written in the Stars
Friday,January 6, 10:30 am -Noon PST
Mythologist Kayleen Asbo, poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, artist Johanna Baruch and archetypal counselor Ingrid Hoffman explore how we can follow our inner star to bring light to the world in a celebration of Epiphany from Dionysus to Jesus and the Magi through art, story, poetry, music and creative writing practices that liberate our inner gifts.

And here is the link for registration:


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Sometimes another person knows our heart
so well they offer us a song that becomes,
at least for a moment, our anthem.
In that moment, listening to lyric and melody,
the entire body re-attunes to life,
each cell turning not only toward the music
but also toward the giver,
and we are led deeper into that strange
and beautiful grotto of our heart
with its mosses and echoes,
a place at once strange and familiar,
and the song becomes a shining remover
of darkness, its light bouncing on our inner walls
until we relearn who we are—
the light of a million suns.

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for Sherry
All it takes is one moonless night
to realize how grateful I am
for those who bring light to the world—
I am thinking of my friend
who travels with lanterns
and hangs them from doorways
wherever she stays.
How she brings long strands of fairy lights
powered by tiny batteries
and then passes them out like party favors
so people might wrap themselves in the glow
and know themselves as carriers of light.   
How today she mailed me a photo
of me and a friend doubled over laughing
with a bright pink stickie note flashing “favorite!”
so that even the mail luminesces.
How, even in the darkest of hours,
she brings her gift for seeing good in others,
and she beacons, she candles, she moons, she stars.

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for an hour we danced
in the tiny kitchen
and sang with Dolly,
our voices braided
like eager vines,
and for that hour
I smiled and swayed
and I felt such spaciousness—
like a lost girl in a fairy tale
who has walked through dark woods
and arrived in a glade
with sunlight streaming
and flowers and bird song,
and though she’s still lost,
for this moment she’s safe,
not only safe, but happy,
truly deeply happy,
and when she reenters
the cold, dark woods,
as she must,
a bit of the shine
has twined into her.
Even now, I feel it,
the radiance,
how it shimmies
just like we did
beside the old oak cupboards,
how it glitters in the dark,
how it moves.

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For a Moment

It’s the kind of night I wish for a firefly.
The fact that they don’t live here
doesn’t stop me from wishing.
Is it so wrong to want some small proof
of light in the darkness?

What I really want? Proof of miracles.
Proof of life beyond life.
Oh world, you’ve given me proof.
And I want more.

Perhaps it would be more poetic
if I could find my own bioluminescence—
even a metaphoric inner light.
Instead, I find my own wanting.
Hello wanting.
Hello wishing for something that isn’t here.

Because there are no fireflies,
I conjure the memory of fireflies.
Because there are no fireflies,
I sit in the darkness—how vast it is.
How full of dignity. How humbling.

I sit in the darkness until the darkness
scrubs me of me, until the darkness
feels like a proof for miracles,
until infinite space rushes in,
until for a moment
I forget how to wish for anything but what is.

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There is a light inside the light,
   a light that ever burns.
     It’s easy not to notice it
when it’s surrounded with other light,
   but it is there, shining.
     It is, perhaps, like a candle
lit at noon in a sun-bright room—
   almost imperceptible, and yet
     to the one who lit the candle,
the light it offers
   is so much more than photons.
     It requires trust to receive
the light no one else can see,
   this light that weaves through
     the light of the world to reach you,
this light that shines for you.

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September Night

The mountain air forgets to be cold,
and my daughter and I walk in the dark
beside the river. I almost can’t see,
yet thanks to starlight,
we step over roots, over rocks.
There are moments,
even whole chapters of our lives,
when we understand how the smallest
bit of light makes a difference.  
Tonight, we are laughing,
singing as we go.
Trust, too, is a kind of light.
In this dark moment, it is all I see.

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I find myself storing up on light
   the way picas store summer grass—
     leaving it out to dry
       in front of their rocky homes.

I store light in poems,
   in photographs. I stand
     bare skinned in the sun
       and store it in memories.

There will be a day five months from now
   when I will desperately want to remember
     how it feels to stand naked
       in the field, held by the warmth

of the sun. So I stand naked in the field,
   and if I were a pica, there would be
     in front of my door a stack
       of golden rays and a dozen

long and sun-drenched days
   and the scent of an almost rain.
     I know the winter is long. I remember.
       I gather more light, more light.

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