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Poetry: Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

by –
Joy Harjo, “Eagle Poem” from In Mad Love and War (Wesleyan University Press, 1990). At: <;

Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo, June 6, 2019. Harjo is the first Native American to serve as poet laureate and is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress. from: Wikipedia

Enjoy. Aloha, Renée

Banner Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash

Poetry: "You Can't Have It All"

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.

by Barbara Ras, from her exquisite 1998 poetry collection Bite Every Sorrow (published by Louisiana State University Press, 1998. Copyright © 1997) <>.

Barbara Ras – from

Banner photo: from my deck – RR

Poetry: "Praise the Rain"


Praise the rain; the seagull dive
The curl of plant, the raven talk—
Praise the hurt, the house slack
The stand of trees, the dignity—
Praise the dark, the moon cradle
The sky fall, the bear sleep—
Praise the mist, the warrior name
The earth eclipse, the fired leap—
Praise the backwards, upward sky
The baby cry, the spirit food—
Praise canoe, the fish rush
The hole for frog, the upside-down—
Praise the day, the cloud cup
The mind flat, forget it all—

Praise crazy. Praise sad.
Praise the path on which we’re led.
Praise the roads on earth and water.
Praise the eater and the eaten.
Praise beginnings; praise the end.
Praise the song and praise the singer.

Praise the rain; it brings more rain.
Praise the rain; it brings more rain.

From: from Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.  Copyright © 2015 by Joy Harjo. 

Joy Harjo, poet, musician, singer, artist, author and in 2019, she was named the United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to win the award!

Harjo is from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation based in Oklahoma now – originally from the Creek Confederacy, indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands – Source: Wikipedia

Praise it all. Aloha, Renée

Banner Photo by michael podger on Unsplash

Poetry: "What You Missed. ."

“What You Missed that Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade” by Brad Aaron Modlin

Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen

to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,

how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took questions on how not to feel lost in the dark.

After lunch she distributed worksheets

that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s

voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep

without feeling you had forgotten to do something else—

something important—and how to believe

the house you wake in is your home. This prompted

Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing

how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,

and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts

are all you hear; also, that you have enough.

The English lesson was that I am

is a complete sentence.

And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,

and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking

for whatever it was you lost, and one person

add up to something.


From: Modlin’s book:

  • Winner of the Cowles Poetry Prize
  • Southeast Missouri State University Press 

Go to “Poetry Unbound” from the On Being Studios to hear Irishman poet Pádraig Ó Tuama read and explicate from his own viewpoint “What You Missed that Day You Were Absent from the 4th Grade.”

Brad Aaron Modlin

Enjoy. Aloha, Renée

Banner Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

Poetry: "Continue" by Maya Angelou


On the day of your birth

The Creator filled countless storehouses and


With rich ointments

Luscious tapestries

And antique coins of incredible value

Jewels worthy of a queen’s dowry

They were set aside for your use


Armed with faith and hope

And without knowing of the wealth which awaited

You broke through dense walls

of poverty

And loosed the chains of ignorance which

threatened to cripple you so that you

could walk

A Free Woman

Into a world which needed you

My wish for you

Is that you continue


To be who and how you are

To astonish a mean world

With your acts of kindness


To allow humor to lighten the burden

of your tender heart


In a society dark with cruelty

To let the people hear the grandeur

Of God in the peals of your laughter


To let your eloquence

Elevate the people to heights

They had only imagined


To remind the people that

Each is as good as the other

And that no one is beneath

Nor above you


To remember your own young years

And look with favor upon the lost

And the least and the lonely


To put the mantel of your protection

Around the bodies of

The young and defenseless


To take the hand of the despised

And diseased and walk proudly with them

In the high street

Some might see you and

Be encouraged to do likewise


To plant a public kiss of concern

On the cheek of the sick

And the aged and infirm

And count that as a

Natural action to be expected


To let gratitude be the pillow

Upon which you kneel to

Say your nightly prayer

And let faith be the bridge

You build to overcome evil

And welcome good


To ignore no vision

Which comes to enlarge your range

And increase your spirit


To dare to love deeply

And risk everything

For the good thing


To float

Happily in the sea of infinite substance

Which set aside riches for you

Before you had a name


And by doing so

You and your work

Will be able to continue


(originally written as a birthday gift to Oprah Winfrey)

But these words also apply equally – to you.

From: <;

Banner photo: <;

Aloha, Renée

Poetry: "With that Moon Language" by Hazif

With That Moon Language

Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to

them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise

someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us

to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full

moon in each eye that is always saying,

with that sweet moon language, what every other

eye in this world is dying to hear?

Poem by Hafiz, 14th century poet (1310–1390)


Heard on a Krista Tippett On Being interview with Father Greg Boyle, founder and director of Homeboy Industries,  the world’s largest gang-intervention and rehabilitation program.

Hazif translator David Ladinsky, says in a BBC interview, “ To be engaged by a true teacher like Hafiz is to have lasting ingredients put into your mind, that when cooked through contemplation help us lead a better life. Inherent in engaging someone’s interest is to make them present. And with so many suffering the tyranny of some past event or anxieties about the future, what a gift being in the moment can be, especially then if a jewel can be slipped into your pocket by some magi’s brush stroke, writings, sculpture, instrument, or ballet step. Hafiz helps us inherit a treasure that is already ours. . .

Ladinsky shares this story about Hazif:

Once a young woman came to Hafiz and said,
“What is the sign of someone knowing God?”

And Hafiz became very quiet, and stood in silence
for nearly a minute… lovingly looking deep into the
young woman’s eye, then softly spoke,

“My dear, they have dropped the knife. The person
who knows God has dropped the cruel knife most
so often use upon their tender self – and others.”

Daniel Ladinsky, a poet and interpreter of mystical poetry has written several books about Hafiz. His latest book Darling I Love You: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends is published by Penguin.

Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz (c. 1320-1389) is one of the most beloved poets of the Persians, and is considered by many – from different cultures – to be one of the seven literary wonders of the world. 

From:  Daniel Ladinsky  BBC Culture 9 January 2017.

Enjoy. Aloha, Renée

Banner: An illustration from a 19th-Century collection of Hafiz’s poems shows the poet offering his work to a patron (Credit: Wikipedia & BBC Culture)

Poetry: “The World’s Oldest Person”

The hands of a woman known to all in the village of Stilo, Italy, as Aunt Concetta. Photo by Raffaele Montepaone <>.

The World’s Oldest Person

has died. She attributed her longevity
to divorce and raw eggs,
which she ate daily.
A previous record holder
had no idea why she’d lived so long.
Another credited the Lord; still another
cited getting enough sleep. (They’re primarily
women.) Moisturizer, home cooking,
kindness. Hard work. Expensive lingerie.
A former world’s oldest man claimed
the secret was joy. Minding your own business.
Bowling, fishing, great-great-grandkids.
Many lived for decades alone.
One got her hair done on Tuesdays.
One took a job as a housekeeper at ninety.
Every night she set her table
before eating a plate of pasta.
She was buried with a photograph of her son,
who’d died in infancy. Some had the title
for hours, others for months
or years. They gave interviews, greeted fans.
One declared there was nothing left
to accomplish. Another lamented that
it had gone so fast. Their birth records
were hard to come by, if they even existed.
One wasn’t sure what day she was born,
but her marriage license confirmed the year.
They fought for women’s suffrage,
endured Jim Crow, lost count
of wars. Most passed quickly
and peacefully. The person who lived
to the greatest confirmed age thus far
was a chain-smoker
who quit when she could no longer see
well enough to light a cigarette.
She wanted to go to the moon.
She ate two pounds of chocolate each week.

By Elizabeth Onusko in The Sun, August 2018, p. 23
One of the last remaining residents of the village of Staiti, Caterina smokes more than three packs of cigarettes a day. Photo by Raffaele Montepaone
May your life be long and happy and full of love. 
(And don't smoke - but the chocolate could be a good idea).  
Aloha, Renée  
Poet Elizabeth Onusko Image from <>

Banner photo – Liberata, who lives in the Italian province of Vibo Valentia, holds a photo of herself as a young woman. Photo by Raffaele Montepaone. From: The Sun, “A Long Life” August 2018, p. 16-18.

Poetry: “I’d Like To See It That Way”


A compendium of words was stored here
Just underneath the chimney
I’d like to see it that way
Fortune won’t stand still for that
And pressure of the air flattens paper
I’d like to see it that way
One comes into the room groomed, a pleasure
There’s a patch of glitter in the glamor
I’d like to see it that way
Each moment opens up sudden as an umbrella
On a day storms gather like wool
A way I’d really like to see it
So you can’t assume a face again
Before the non-face puts in its appearance
Nor can you push at the door expecting satisfaction on the other side
I’d like to see it that way
Many’s the time and time for reflection
Truer than truth the subject’s interconnections
I’d like to see it that way
I was born on a day absolutely unique in world history
Birds grasp their path in air
I’d like to see it that way
It’s standard to pack half a dozen at a clip
Imagine the red thing yours alone at last
I’d like to see it that way
The image almost takes shape superimposed
As a mist on top of ordinary daily objects
I’d like to see it that way
Life goes on forever like a dusty road
Down which we peer as we drink a glass of water
I’d like to see it that way
We return again and again born into wombs
The shape of inverted ice cream cones
I’d like to see it that way
So I could relax, put on my enormous suit
And ring your doorbell holding my breath and flowers
I’d like to see it that way
In order to be able to end war but
Would war ever end or would my wanting
To end it ever end if nothing ever ended
I’d like to see it that way
Everything is standing up and falling down again
Constantly like hair in wind
I’d like to see it that way
For the good of the nation behind bars
For my own good bundled up into piles
I’d like to see it that way
I blow continuously on this thing the landscape
Crumples around me like a felt hat
I’d like to see it that way
But the problem is I put out my hand
And only clutch air wanting to understand
I’d like to see it some way
Any way so long as I could know it was there
And could pull back the covers at will
To reveal my heart’s desire and measure it
I’d like to see it that way

Norman Fischer, “I’d Like to See It” from Turn Left In Order to Go Right. Copyright © 1989 by Norman Fischer. Reprinted by permission of O Books.Source: Turn Left In Order to Go Right (O Books, 1989)

From: The Poetry Foundation

Enjoy – seeing it that way.

Aloha, Renée

Poetry: “Charity”

She is like a squat old machine,
Off-kilter but still chugging along
The uphill stretch of sidewalk
On Harrison Street, handbag slung
Crosswise and, I’m guessing, heavy.
And oh, the set of her face, her brow’s
Profound tracks, her mouth cinched,
Lips pressed flat. Watching her
Bend forward to tussle with gravity,
Watching the berth she allows each
Foot (as if one is not on civil
Terms with the other), watching
Her shoulders braced as if lashed
By step after step after step, and
Her eyes’ determination not to
Shift, or blink, or rise, I think:
I am you, one day out of five,
Tired, empty, hating what I carry
But afraid to lay it down, stingy,
Angry, doing violence to others
By the sheer freight of my gloom,
Halfway home, wanting to stop, to quit
But keeping going mostly out of spite.
By – Tracy K. Smith –  the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States
Banner photo by Aris Sfakianakis on
Aloha, Renée

Poetry: “Wait”


Wait, for now.
Distrust everything if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become interesting.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again;
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. The desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a little and listen:
music of hair,
music of pain,
music of looms weaving our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

by – Galway Kinnell



Galway Kinnell – 1927-2014

Aloha, Renée


Banner photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

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