Paradise Lost

 

 

grayscale photo of baby feet with father and mother hands in heart signs
Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on Pexels.com

I am kiwi born, the massacre of families in a Christchurch Mosque reached deep into my childSelf  that still retains vestiges of innocence.  I thought about the freedoms I was privy to, wandering the streets on foot and bike, disappearing for hours with mates ,challenging our bodies and the neighbourhood.  The only significant tragic event I could recall was the sinking of the Interisland ferry Wahine in Wellington Harbour in 1968 . A doosy of a storm that sent us home from school before it even started , of power cuts, ferocious winds and lashing rains.  A tree crashed onto my bedroom window bringing the fence down with it but not breaking the glass. Dad clung to a ladder with hammer and nails in an attempt to keep the roof on the carport.  Mum and I huddled together under blankets with my little transistor radio listening … many things went wrong for the Wahine that day when it met Cyclone Giselle and another stormfront at the entrance to Wellington harbour. The radar was disabled, it hit Barrett Reef, the starboard propeller broke, the hull got a hole, the port engine stopped and not all life boats could be utilised- 51 people died as a result. 

The sweet time of innocence and the brutality of the world I live in today, this I am grappling with – Paradise lost . In March of this year at two mosques in Christchurch as a result of  human hatred and blame 51 people have died.  Our poetry group held a vigil at Well Thumbed Bookshop, Cobargo and these two poems are my attempt ……

We are the same

Who claims to not know hatred?

to be all love and light,

who does not know the taste of hates dark arrows

or felt the spiked tongue of revenge.

Our confusion is many layered,

we cannot comprehend this heinous act

this violent crime,

shocked beyond comfort

silenced by despair

families are murdered

while in sacred prayer.

 

We struggle to understand

thrash around for probable cause

seeking blame and explanation

reviewing history policy and laws.

 

We are the same

you and I

you with your black face

your squint eye

your head scarf

your tats and piercings

your gender changes,

you with your faith

pagan catholic

jewish muslim

pentecostal faithless

you, all of you

we are same same .

 

Blood flows thru my veins as yours

we are born of Earth and return to Earth,

we breathe the same air,

we had mothers, fathers and cousins

milk teeth and porridge,

the same Sun looks down upon you as me

the same Stars light up our night sky and

the Wind comes for everybody.

But you,

you that has fostered hostility in your heart

cultivated malice in your mind,

you that dared to use your god given hands

to tear apart precious lives

you cannot be the same.

Mercy is not for you

we have much in common

this is true

except this

this vicious deed.

You are dead to us now

you extinguished your light

discarded your humanity

your kinship to us.

We turn our backs on you

open our hearts

to a community in mourning,

for all the lives ripped apart

we offer comfort and healing love.

there is no solace for you

because while hatred may visit we choose to desist,

we choose to care, to love and to hope,

we choose to Not Act with malicious intent

to not ever forget

that we are all kindness and all love.

amen

 

A stone thrown

One beautiful Friday

in a summer season beside the river Avon

when heads are bowed in devotion

and children dressed in their Sunday best

an evil appears and lives are taken.

Inside the mosque, a holy place

the community has come to pray

a walking nightmare holding a gun

shoots again again and again

blood, broken bodies and screams fracture the sacred day.

A stone thrown casts ripples in the pond

forcing us to confront the baseline of our kind,

the vindictive beast of hatred

festering in hearts carved with malevolent intent,

a long dark shadow spreads over Aotearoa and beyond.

Is forgiveness even possible?

this act paralysed our compassion

cast doubt upon empathy

cracked our hearts

eroded peace of mind

interfered with understanding

and uncomfortably reminded us

that some people

do not care for the children as we do.

The stone thrown casts ripples

this atrocity repeated

in many lands by evil hands

and we wonder how we can make this better?

And so we pray,

we pray that all people return to Honour and Respect

to Loving Kindness and Good Intentions.

we pray

we reclaim our humanity

reforge our Love

and rekindle the Flame of Divine Light within us all.

 

amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

…to make whole again

Consider the loaded dice aka climate change – which translated means too Many trees cut down, too Many rivers robbed, too Much poisons sprayed, too Many species dying, too Many angry people, too Much greed and lack of care, too Many mines, too Much wasteful irresponsible human activity. And so when we consider this, add in all the dire warnings from scientists then perhaps we could feel despair, disempowered, hopeless and sad.

And despite this or because of this all over the planet people are coming together to Make a difference. While it appears that the monster is unstoppable and rampaging out of control the reality is, that every time we choose to act responsibly consciously happily we make it pause falter and blink in confusion.

Within our despair lies empowerment, within our grief lies hope, within is the potential, the capacity for change, to Make good, to Make beauty, to Make whole again.

The story doing the rounds is all about sequestering carbon, not letting it go up and when it is up bringing it back down.  Charles Massey, farmer and author crunched the numbers and discovered … “regenerative agriculture is the number one method drawing down carbon dioxide and putting it away in the soil.” A shift in paradigm is not only possible but the more responsible of options available to us. Banish doom and gloom forecasts by supporting Nature and our Earth.  Charles goes on to suggest that “The urban population should be invested ( in climate action)  for both reasons of self interest – to have a much healthier life by eating healthier food – and doing exciting stuff to save the planet.” Here it is; the connection, the link , the empowerment, the means by which we can take charge and ameliorate the climate situation.

Become a HumanBeing invested in your home Planet by planting. Big or little doesn’t matter, one fruit tree or an orchard. A few tomatoes or a vegetable garden. Plant in pots, on balconies, on patios, on steps, in deserted lots, in towns, nature strips, parks, backyards, front yards, schools, hospitals, on rooftops. Let us learn from the weeds who demonstrate a determination to thrive against all odds.  May this grant us the courage and strength to copy this behaviour And plant something… anything… today …now… for our future.

potatoes

 

 

Some people are already doing it.

Will you join them?

 

but the train has left the station

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I am Earth born

and steadily returning

dirt under my nails

dirt etched in wrinkles and seams

dirt leaf web in hair,

roots entwined with stringybark and kurrajong

limbs braced cradle nest feather egg

animated by wind and lightning,

a Song in my heart

a poem in my Soul.

 

danger is real, threats ever present

truth terrifying

scalding our hearts and minds.

 

islands of plastic expanding

soil leached of promise

artesian waters meet fracking

forests cut sliced into chips

women beaten children wronged

madness in place of common sense.

 

I am not alone

in this feral forest community

of feminine and masculine,

as children we arrived

now wisdom visits.

 

wallaby thinks not of place or belonging

comfortable in its own fur

claws perfect for scratching

picking lemons

pulling up artichokes

nurturing baby.

wallaby is not human

and I am animal

not animal enough to Know place

to belong

but animal enough to be Kin.

 

moon set

boobook poses the question

bandicoot squeals,

ants on the run

pobblebonk sings the rainSong.

 

change is upon us

denial is fruitless,

humans play catch up

but the train has left the station,

some do not hear the whistle

some lay down on the tracks

others nap head pressed against the glass.

 

no matter,

it is what it is

our Mother will decide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

abandon the estate

 

‘Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have. ” Margaret Mead cultural anthropologist 1901 -1978

We retire stuff all the time, shoes, cars, bicycles, kitchen appliances, homes, pets, jobs, friends, families, marriages, phones, conversations and stories. Some times because they are broken and fragile and sometimes because our needs change.

All the time we are in the process of discarding and adding.

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Willingly and unwillingly over the course of my life time I have had occasion to abandon all of the above and some, with the response varying between suffering and hurt to great relief.

Along the way the lessons placed in front of me served as the driver to let go of held beliefs propelling me into a deep inquiry of who what how where I am????]

Have you ever challenged your local council over garbage collection or public toilets, street lighting or medical centres, written letters to the editor, politicians, joined rallies, marched in the streets, protested outside parliament, taken part in strike action, signed petitions, filed submissions over any number of issues.

Quietly and hopefully we have participated in this idea of democracy with the held idea that the powers that be will listen and change course. And admittedly there have been occasions in history where this has been validated.

Injustice remains embedded as we in this country cast our votes within an adversarial system rooted in debate and discord. Fear spirals, suspicion reigns, conflict spills over and people/creatures/ Earth systems are suffering. The government /business model has power, money and measures in place to keep the people in checkmate.

Perhaps we are being asked to do less rather then more, perhaps it is time to disappear within our Selves and discover the truth of  Being.

Perhaps we could turn off the news cycle, unplug the device, spin around and look in the street, the park, the neighbours yard, the sky.

We could engage in the inner world courting our creative heart , encouraging family, community, making happy times, acting creatively, meditating, gardening cooking and eating together. Check out the waterfalls, rugged headlands and dangle feet in sweet rollocking rivers singing of love and gratitude. Seek out the stories of people making the world a better place.

Gather with community, make a dream come true ,a skate park, gardens of food, regenerate the banks of a creek or paint murals in dreary grey places.

Grass roots activism is a valid and powerful reply to a world we find disturbing. It is radical, subversive, creative and begins when we quit looking for answers from government.

Abandon conflict and fear by not looking for an enemy.

Renounce hopelessness and despair by connecting and building loving relationships.

Stop complaining .

Abandoning the estate can create a space in which we look around, take notice and allow deep appreciation to dominate our thoughts. A crow sitting on the wire, a bee disappears inside a flower, a tree waves, a cloud looks like a whale, a tiny mushroom pokes up on the side of the pavement, a smile beams across the counter at you.

 

Make this the real narrative – immersing fully intentionally completely in nature and there we will learn how to be here, how to live, how to love, how to hope and how to give.

Letting the old story go awakens something dormant within allowing a vital energy to bubble forth, a deep sense of kinship reignited in which the love of life, of earth of each other , in which the whole crazy zany quirky rumbling tumbling leaping dancing skittering twittering of Life Being Lived is felt.

Will this change the world? It changed mine, it is transforming mine, it can transform our past and our future.

It is warm and funny on the other side of the estate, peaceful and creative, timeless and welcome, inclusive and encouraging. Only a breath away to your inner Being, where we find our Selves at Home.

As simple as that.                  Yes and No.

It does require sacrifice, courage and resilience.

Honestly what else have you got going on today that is more important then coming in tune with Your Spirit, planet Earth, and the Heart of the Universe.

Abandon the estate and sing yourSelf back into existence.

happy solstice dear mother Earth and all her Beings .

 

a seamless dance

dawn mist shifts reality

softens tall trees shrubberies,

plants of food and medicine.

autumn rain launches the ticks

no larger then a full stop.

 

sweet morning Songs

whip bird, kookaburra, lyrebird, magpie,

tuning the vibrations of Air Water Earth Sunshine

tweeting of love family and food

tiny notes of living.

 

a red belly black shares verandah Sun

as kindling is chopped,

we pass each other in the garden

no blinking, no poking tongue out,

a seamless dance.

 

a cuppa with friends

David points to my leg ‘what’s that?’

pulling the leech off ,

‘a gift’

I place it in their garden.

 

red necked wallaby soft eyes alert

grass stem poking from its mouth,

my heart listens and waits,

a tiny jelly wobble of the pouch

another addition to the tribe.

 

goanna clambers onto the verandah

tongue waggling toenails clicking,

through the open doorway

crash bump and bang

unable to find its way out.

 

in the room where I sleep a grandmother died

her body laid to rest

beyond the dam under the red gums.

babies are born, daughters wed,

placentas buried.

 

before menopause I bled on this land

red mark on my forehead,

earth heart meditation

a sacrament for the Mother,

honouring Her.

 

forest life is raw,

immediate

the forest IS without me,

a miracle I adore

a moment held within every breath I take .

 

 

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A littlebig story

helloo

singsongs the young voice.

hello I say

hello grandma

has mummy gone to bed?

past 7 o’clock I knew I was winging it

yes he tells me

ok well how is she?

she’s good, feeling much better.

that’s good I say

she did another yeti

terrific

so she had a neti and went to bed with Haydee

giggling over the line

as he got the yeti neti joke.

give her my love

ok, love you grandma

love you Kingston John.

a simple interaction

an easily forgettable moment.

the bedroom door is flung open

Haydee stands there head cocked on one side

all of 20 months

having a sleep over with her family.

the young kings sister is formidable

uh

hello sweetheart we croon

in bed with our cups of tea and sardines on toast.

a summers dawn

a chatter of birds

a magpie melody

kookaburras chuckling.

coming up then

uh

hoisted up by grandad

and wobbly crawling plants herself in the middle.

uh  uh   hand pointing

I pass her a piece of toast

we sit the three of us

wonga pigeon wanders across the verandah.

she babbles away

rarely saying words we recognise

at home in her own language

at home in her own skin.

a tall lad blinky eyed appears in the doorway

startled to find his spot usurped by the little sister

we bunch over to make room

the toast is shared again.

this is a moment of loving connection

a gift for the soul

a treasure for the heart

a gem to wear in less savoury moments.

again a simple interaction

an event not worth mentioning.

But for

the love that pulsates in the ethers

enveloping us within its force field

renewing connections of feel good neuron activity

supporting

nourishing

benefiting

unifying .

this is the realm of Little Big

a yin yang thing.

if you have read the third policeman it is the point of the needle

if you haven’t it is the time between breaths

the space between smiles

part and parcel of the eternal Presence of Now.

a hardly anything moment

like so much of life

and yet

we can if we choose

be Present

and milk it for all it is worth.

 

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the language of eartheart

 

political / economic language saturates our daily lives but it is our choice whether we speak it or not. It is a language of shares, investments, insurance, security, profit and loss leading to winners and losers. Words make stories in which everything is a commodity, measured in terms of productivity progress and usefulness. A language that denies Nature Feelings the Earth and Love.

The orchestra is playing. It began at dawn with great open bellied laughing, then slightly more  melodic tunes ,peeps whistles whips and trills until it is riotous in the sweetest possible way. The songs continue as I drink my pot of tea, eat toast, follow me as I meditate, dress, sweep the kitchen floor , brightly busily slowly, tuned in to the day they chirp cheep chatter and warble.

This symphony is full of purpose expressing vital news marking the patterns of their lives of the Forest around them; sunrise, egg hatching, a flowering, a seeding, storm alerts, approaching snake goanna human, matings, deaths, sunset, all is jotted in the Forest ledger, all a note played in the orchestra of Birdom. Everywhere wrens honeyeaters magpies thrushes pigeons tawny frogmouths, skinks wombats wallabies and bandicoots are communicating the Radiance of Life on Earth.

Thunder cracks open the swollen skies, runs away over to the Mountain and races back again. I am lying on the couch reading when the thunder and lightning Beings skip into the room whip crackling the air, chuck a bright flare of light and startle me.

Rain has a huge vocabulary, a vast repertoire of moods sounds and feelings . There is the song for splashing, for plopping fat drops, tapping on window panes, a pelting drumbeat on the iron roof, a windy slapping against the tree trunks and a gushing gurgling rushing flooding along creeks tracks and drains.

Some days it broods far above, squatting on the Mountain wearing  a grey beret. Cloud mist drifts around inviting the faintest speck of moisture on the cheek. Other days rain scarpers out to sea with barely a backward glance, where it visits Mother Ocean and shares a cuppa. In its own sweet time it returns to the valley rejuvenated committed to the business at hand and delivers a soft shower or a teeming heavy pelting drama.

Why would we think that Water is not cognizant, that Earth is not aware, that Air is not tuned in, that Fire does not know us? We are forged from the Elements , related to every drop, every breath, every molecule.Exif_JPEG_420

There is a Song for the ghost mushroom, the elder flower, pittosporum , titree, lavender  of scent and beauty , bee foraging , bioluminescence ,oils and medicine. I inhale , take them into my body – a draught of pure sun drenched essence Sings in me.

The dialect of frogs – croaks cricks stutters bonks hops and leaps in  communication with Earth and reed, Water and soft mud, hibernation dreaming, forecasters of rain and water quality.

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The ripe summer peach is a rich feltness in my mouth, dribbles along my fingers and chin singing of tree limb and bough, of bud blossoms leaves fruit and birds nests, sun, rain, wind and days measured in ripeness and angles of the sun and spiders that weave between branches , worms burrowing in the roots and squealing children that swing up on branches and chuck pips at each other .

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Hard working ants push up the soil – a drainage technique for them that informs me rain is coming.

Every Being has language, every Being shares their Story .

Stop !  listen and learn a language older than the stock market, older than open cut mines, older then human intervention.

This language of Nature, of Life is ancient, a lineage that holds Creation in its Song. One day we entered the story inventing our words / myths around the camp fire, Songs of respect and awe, humility and gratitude until we dug up the uranium, clearfelled the forests and greedy gobbled dry the rivers.

It was then we changed the words to deny Beauty . It was then we allowed fork tongue speak of rational logic to lock out the weeds and sunflowers that nod as you walk past, the cloud that stoops to peer in through the window, the dripping tap in the kitchen saying hey I am Water, we are Kin. It was then a Forest became a compartment and the share price of google was more important than the River the Platypus and the Child.

Now we are going forward determining outcomes while the Raven sits on the wire, keen eye piercing , aaahh aaahhh aaahhh.

Probably time to embrace the full embodied experience of connection, time to learn the language of the Heart that communicates with all Beings.

Time to come home.

Come back to Earth.

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