There’s an Ancient Tiny Place

April 1, 2013

I just found out that April is National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo for short) — an annual project encouraging poets to write one poem each day in April. What a cool idea, and why not give a try? Here’s a link to the NaPoWriMo web site for more info. If you’re inspired to join the project or are already part of it, please leave me a comment so I can follow your work! Here’s my 4/1 poem:

there’s an ancient tiny place

there’s an ancient tiny place
in the core of my heart
where the wind whistles low
and hollow are the walls
and the doorways

there’s an echo swirling round
but you cannot make it out
for its from another time and
something melancholy flies
beneath its shadow

I didn’t used to know
all this pain was waiting here
for I’d mastered how to live
and I’d learned a thousand ways
to do the numbing

I didn’t used to know
of the emptiness behind
all the patching and the pruning
and the silencing and smoothing
and the running

when I slow it all down
and stand and meet what’s there
the terror is just this: it will
engulf, control, abuse
obscure, delete, kill
survive and then forget me

but I sit anyway —
for there’s nothing left to do —
waiting for the stars to fall
and all the worlds to end
and I watch and I listen
to my heart

a little while goes
and on the very other side
I can feel more than see
an old sun shining bright and
something softens like a sigh and
for a time then I can hear
the choir singing

like I never did before
both the awakened and forlorn
hurling souls against the sky
that must gather all their voices
and shelter their illusions
in its bosom

so brazen with their screams
and so trusting with their keening
how I long to open wide
set my sorrow free to fly
and join their story

and then it’s there, exploding out
crashing round, smashing open
all the dead and dying walls
and the locks left over
from the brutal sad and barren
hiding times

and when the rising chorus kisses
on the cheek the olden sun
and melts back to my gaping heart
without a toll
without a threat
without a sound
I’ll be forgiven

The Light That Could Have Saved The World

December 21, 2012

I decided that the day the world is supposed to end is as fine a day as any to start the blog I’ve been meaning to start for several years. Hello, everyone. It’s good to see you here.

There are lots of theories floating around as to the significance of this day, 12/21/2012 — everything from Armageddon to Enlightenment. Clearly we are a species and planet on the brink of some transformation, but in which direction are the winds of change blowing?

Over the last century, acts of hatred and destruction seem to have grown exponentially. These events and their energy stick in our minds and terrify, paralyze and shame us so deeply we begin to believe we stand powerless in their wake. Apathy, cynicism, denial and the many and varied ways we have invented to numb ourselves often follow. We succumb to the dark side, for inaction in the face of violence is unarguably a form of violence itself.

But I believe in my heart that acts of compassion, wisdom and kindness have been increasing just as dramatically. There is a spiritual awakening occurring around the world — certainly in the hearts of individuals, and sometimes in communities and even nations. There is a “return to love”, as Marianne Williamson would say, like we have never seen — proof that something in us knows what to do.

We are very powerful, it turns out, and the planet reached its current state on our watch and as consequence of our choices. Yes, OURS. And because of the very real and imminent threats to our planet and all life due to climate change, cruelty and greed, we need to wake up NOW and use our immense strength and intention to turn the tides. We need to grow compassion and wisdom and kindness faster than all that other stuff. We need to love and work for peace in all its interpretations, just — as Pema Chodron has said — “as if our hair were on fire”. For it might as well be at this point.

So let this be the day, let this be the moment, that we begin the end of a world that values money over life, acquisition over benevolence, tyranny over collaboration, and fear over love. Let us believe that we are in charge, that we are powerful. And let us remember that there is no end to love, and only love is real. We can do this.

On that note, here is a poem for you, from my deepest heart. It is certainly a sad poem, for a sad time. But if you suspend disbelief, and invite in the magical idea that it’s never too late to shift things IN THIS MOMENT, never too late to make living amends, never too late to see what is right here in front of us, never too late to change, never too late for a miracle, and never, never too late to love, you might also hear a message of joy and hope, and maybe even some solutions (no matter how micro) for beginning to create a world worthy and reflective of our children, and of the basic human goodness deep inside everyone’s hearts.

Let me say it one more time: It is NEVER too late to love. I love you.


how are we to know upon
what shores the battle next will rage
surely all comes home the same
your shore is my shore, here or there

he loses a limb
you lose your job
she loses a child
they lose their source of clean water
a nation loses itself
we all lose our home
and our hearts break, and bleed

we have almost out-bred
even joy –
an evolutionary experiment
gone awry
and one which will appropriately
take care of itself
if allowed to continue

had we an accurate perspective on time
we might wink and nod
at the insignificance
of this error of biology
and how we could all be wiped away –
and the garden with us –
in a relative millisecond
the garden starting over
in one form or another
growing anew and mysterious and magnificent
and perhaps even learning something
from its mistakes

but we are in the meantime
and the garden waits, frozen
for us to make a choice

as in a dream
we begin to strain
with every muscle and heart fiber
a desperate devotion calling us
to turn this impossibly heavy ship
away from the sharp sudden edge
of our beloved earth

as in a dream
it feels too slow
and we cry and scream out our horror and grief
all the while pushing, breathing, believing
holding it miraculously all at once
for there are children on board
and we are the ones at the helm

we know we need to wake up
and do this in real time
and together

so please don’t stay away
come visit my shore
we’ll sob into each other’s exhausted arms
dance our love into the dirt
sing into the air that still feeds us
and bow down
to the waterfalls
to the mountains
to the clouds
to the double rainbows
to the shiny sun and sparkly stars
to every creature great and small
and to yet one more day spared for loving

but most of all to our children
for they shine with the light
that could have saved the world
and it is like a benediction
and a resolution of sorts
to see it still and always glowing warmly there
in their smiles
and in the simple movements of their arms and legs
and in the questions they ask
and even in the way they drape themselves
around their open hearts
while sleeping

because in this light
is contained the love of everything
and all things
and no thing
which, by definition, can never die

[poem copyright 2011-2012 Charity Kahn; that said, please share it]