Monday, November 15, 2010

Not This, Not That

Not anything,
Not the eastern wind whose other name
Is rain,
Nor the burning heats of the dunes
At the crown of summer,
Nor the ticks, that new, ferocious populace,

Not the President who loves blood,
Nor the governmental agencies that love money,

Will alter

My love for you, my friends and my beloved,
Or for you, oh ghosts of Emerson and Whitman,

Or for you, oh blue sky of a summer morning,
That makes me roll in a barrel of gratitude
Down hills,

Or for you, oldest of friends: hope
Or for you, newest of friends: faith;

Or for you, silliest and dearest of surprises, my
Own life.

I see a turning outwards of Mary in this later run of poems.  She speaks of power, politics, environmental and species lost and suffering, and what we humans might do in response.  Today she tells me that though the world seems to suck the life from us as ticks in the summer, we still have the ability to love, to be grateful, and to have hope, faith, and perspective on the insignificance of our own lives.

Okay, let’s see if this list of responses is at all possible.   Last night I led a count of Yellow-naped Amazons at a roost site in the south coast of Guatemala.  Fifteen years ago there were during this time of year about 250 parrots that spent the night there.  Last night we counted only 8.  Decades of poaching chicks from the nests and habitat loss have taken their toll.  Though  the birds are becoming as flying ghosts over the desert of sugar cane crops, I love them still.  Gratitude is a bit harder to touch this morning, yet, I am glad that I can still know love,  In that love I have hope that the beauty of birds and our world will win out, perhaps ending in extinction, yet, also giving rise to something newly created that will give birth a  different beauty.  I don’t have faith that we will save this land, but I pray and meditate so that I may grow my faith that I am not separate from any being. 

May that faith help me see my  own life with humor, curiosity, and precious acceptance – which fills me with gratitude.  The circus of my own life brings me full circle.

I end with a poem that my spouse sent to me that captures the gratitude in the midst of so much loss.

Thanks - W.S. Merwin
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

What helps you have perspective in your life, and gratitude?

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