Tanka Peace

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The Place Where I Stand, acrylic, 40″ X 30″, Lex Leonard Artist

 

PEACE  POETRY POSTCARD MONTH
World Peace Poets

For three years I’ve  participated in the World Peace Poets’ annual February Peace Poetry Postcard Month where you sign up and receive the names and addresses of 28 or so poets from around the world who have also opted in. Each day you write a poem about peace on a postcard and send it to the next person on the list.

Last year I decided to do haikus because they fit easily onto the back of the postcards. 

This quote below from Michael Mead popped into my Facebook feed and that was my invitation.

“The ancient Irish had a saying: ‘You don’t give a man a weapon until you’ve taught him how to dance.’ In other words, a different kind of learning is required before someone can be truly trusted with social power and potent things like weapons. If a man does not know the wounds of his own soul, he can deny not just his own pain, but also be unmoved by the suffering of other people. More than that, he will tend to put his wound onto others. He may only be able to see the wound that secretly troubles him when he forcefully projects it into someone else, in forms of abuse or violence.

So in the old culture-making idea, in order to properly bear arms a person must first become disarmed, as in becoming vulnerable and connected to something meaningful and supportive of life. The idea of forging the temperament of young men took precedence over the idea of simply giving them weapons at a certain age. The tempering of the souls involved discovering what kind of anger each might carry and learning about the inner line where anger turned into blind rage. Becoming tempered also meant immersing in the sorrow of one’s life and thereby being in touch with the grief of the world.”

– Michael Meade

This month my tankas built off of this quote. It was a deep dive – a lectio divina of sorts – on this passage. There turned out to be an adjustment in participants. Sone left. Some arrived. I just kept all on my list, so there are 32 for this month of February.

And sometimes life calls for breaking from the form. The tankas are not “correct” and I finished the month early. I’m such a little rebel.

Tanka Peace 

 

“The ancient Irish had a saying: ‘You don’t give a man a weapon until you’ve taught him how to dance…”

Tanka #1

Each new day I will
Listen for morning birdsong
Move my stiff old legs

To hear my dreams from night past
To know my imperfections 

……….

Tanka #2

Prayer, a practice
Of my body where God stands
Perfect emptiness

Disarm myself, opening
To you, a balm for old wounds

……….

Tanka #3

Hospitality
Of poetry, a canvas
Blank, a dance of risk 

Tempering my soul with words
Painting peace in color and form

……….

Tanka #4

I don’t see beyond
The barrier of my soul
I stay within now

I clear my clutter of wrongs
I open to possibility

……….

Tanka #5

Grandfather’s clock ticks
Snow dances in its own song
This winter peace, peace

In peace of silent twirling
I hear you, Holy Presence.

……….

Tanka #6

Steam rising into form
She at her laundry duty
Her benediction

There is peace in winter’s breath.
In all we do, our soul sings.

……….

Tanka #7

He doesn’t know how
He has no room for wonder
He has never danced

Take me by my hand in peace
Feel what love offers all

……….

Tanka #8

I must make the room
Dancing requires much spaceThere is peace to know

I move the furniture back
Roll up the rug, clear the way

………

Tanka #9

I’ll listen later
To the closers of the day
Sun down and moon up

I walk opening my heart
Dancing in the peace of night

………..

Tanka #10

No, they didn’t, know
They didn’t know how easy
To see what was gone

Deep within a silent pool
To draw into life’s sound

……………

Tanka #11

They’re in my pocket
Small and insignificant
Unless you know them

I reach in and find their rough,
Their smooth, their being, their peace

……………..

Tanka #12

Always good to see
You, pal. Your light. Your space. You
draw me into soft.

That place of peace requiring
room, attention, ya, ya, ya.

…………..

Tanka #13

She said she would call
You, who knows all the answers
You, Wisdom Keeper

She hears you, gives into You
The sacred space of your peace

…………………

Tanka #14 

Swam some laps last night
Under moon showing a way
Silkflow over me

Moon guiding me in the peace
of you, Moon’s eternal grace

…………………

Tanka #15

Did she forgot how
to dance, or was it that she
was playing old games

Lines and strokes, pauses and loss,
Compassion calls for patience

…………………

Tanka #16

It’s not a fault when
Steps are no longer there to
Be remembered

With light hand offering
A lead, one can dance once more.

…………………

Tanka #17

Compassion requests
Ego to sit this one out,
To learn a new step

Open once more, yes, again
And welcome them into dance

…………………

Tanka #18

In broken heart I
See you now, clearly, absorbed
In old remembering

Break open, release your pride
Acquiesce all to the dance

…………………

Tanka #19

Maybe we forgot
how to dance without judgement,
without fear, without ego 

wanting us to be the best
we forget to make room 

…………………

Tanka #20

I asked my muse to
open my heart, free my soul,
a surrendering

A sacred place to waltz
In the whisper of her breath

…………………

Tanka #21

Snowflakes keep falling
Winters breath spins dancing sprites
Through her cold frost day

Play in her joy in the peace
Of February’s tango

…………………

Tanka #22

Dance as if you’re mad
Dance in rain, in snow, fall leaves
Dance until you can’t 

Then dance even more till dawn
Completely surrendered

…………………

Tanka #23

Come with me, tango
In step counting our heartbeats
As one with the moon

And we will breath in and out
Inviting all to the dance

…………………

Tanka #24

Teach me how to dance
One peaceful step at a time
Gentle  me to you

Let me gloam in your welcome
Let me measure you deeply

…………………

Tanka #25

Let me bring you to
the dance, fill your heart with
Song. no room for fear.

We will step as One in breath
One in joy, no room for hate.

…………………

Tanka #26

Let me bring you to
the dance, to empty your heart
Make room for deep peace

Night will turn to dawn and we
Will find each other in Grace

…………………

Tanka #27

Let me bring you to
The dance, let go of your hurt
I am with you

We are One in this place of
Joy, Make room, make room, make room

…………………

Tanka #28

Come with me in dance
And we will spin new ways of
Being making room

Hands held tight we twirl shaking
Off all that no longer serves.

…………………

Tanka #29

And if we dance till
Sun up and down we will have
Little time for fear

And peace will fill our days with
Joy, dance will be our province

…………………

Tanka #30

No time to fear in
Quickstep. No room for hate in
Tango. Let us dance.

Empty our hearts leave room for
Peace, just dance and dance and dance

…………………

Tanka #31

Don’t even pick up
The sword, don’t touch the cannon
A marvel awaits

See if you can find it, just
Take off your shoes and dance.

…………………

Tanka #32

Take off your shoes to
Feel her under your feet
Root down deep to her

And dance as One in her peace
Her arms are open, take hold

The Place Where I Stand

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The Place Where I Stand, acrylic, 40″ X 30″, Lex Leonard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other.
Pádraig Ó Tuama

They were siblings. He, an innocent bystander between the two.

His leg was sore. When he sat, the hindquarter opened. Not his usual strict attention on a “good” sit. A deep puncture quickly healed over. Just a day ago open. Today, as if nothing happened, today he runs. My Bean, Benny the name he carried to us. I call him Bean, My Bean. He is smart and joyful, pulls me into his world. Me in hesitant agreement.We walk twice a day. He eats, gnaws a chew stick, plays ball, all on his own terms, of course. 

Together, in amalgam, we wander.

 

She is here this morning. Sun behind us.
She, just past full, bright white against light blue veil
rising above houses, trees, soon to exit in Sun’s arrival,
She leads us.

Do you notice, the lights in the sky,
or is your nose tethered to the ground,
scents and sniffs guiding your being?

I walk both above and upon.
Moon rise, Sun set.
Crows and clouds.
Leaves and roots.
Snowflakes drifting and
ice slicked by melt
then frozen through night’s chill.

What do you know?
Who was here…who came and left.
Their essence. Invisible now. You know.

Do you hear ravens?
I know you hear airships.
Rumbling trucks take away
that which no longer serves.
Barks and howls, near and far.

Together we divine our world,
pace ourselves through days of
grizzled knee and tender hindquarter,
innocent bystanders…

mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne
You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.

 

. . . . .

Author’s Note:

There is magic in community. There is an understanding,  agreement not always necessary.

Our Afternoon Writers met this morning. Our prompt from an On Being with Krista Tippett interview with Pádraig Ó Tuama, Belonging Creates and Undoes Us. In an attempt to widen our scope of what and how we write, I’ve been searching for new types of prompts to inspire us. Some of us, myself at the top of the list, kept falling into what we have always written – same style, same characters, same storylines. 

Change is difficult.

Today I brought a paragraph from Tippett’s interview:

Pádraig Ó Tuama: Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other. Maybe on some things, but, actually, when you look at some people who are lovers and friends, you go, actually, they might disagree really deeply on things, but they’re somehow — I like the phrase “the argument of being alive.” Or in Irish, when you talk about trust, there’s a beautiful phrase from West Kerry where you say, “mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne” — “You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.” That is soft and kind language, but it is so robust. That is what we can have with each other.

What surprised me is that several writers wanted the opening sentence. I was aiming for the quote on place.

It worked.

Our writing stretched us, gave us room to explore something new.

And if you are a poet or simply love poetry, here is a new podcast that will begin soon. Take a look. I’m excited. Poetry Unbound. And while you’re at it take a peek at Tuama’s Corrymeela Community.

Resurrection Fern

Resurrection Fern.jpg

Pleopeltis polypodioides (syn. Polypodium polypodioides),
also known as the resurrection fern, is a species of creeping,
coarse-textured fern native to Africa.

They braided seeds into their hair
not for show, but hidden,
not to be discovered,
bringing homeland with them
boarding ships they knew nothing of
crossing oceans never to return to their Africa.

Memories survive long periods
with just a little telling
to resurrect their life
to grow again through word spoken
to those who never knew

They arrived, some with star maps
from desert skies where once their feet
planted onto homeland
never to return, but remembered
through lines and dots, remembered
through scanning the night
for something familiar.

There is a wisdom,
a knowing in action
a way to preserve that which
would be lost, an honoring
for those to come connecting

those to the past.

I reach back to learn from where
my ancestors came, their
customs, their stories,
ritual, a part of my DNA
not realized

I know of
violas and sweet alyssum
bees tended and golden nectar
caravan travel spreading words to heal
salt thrown over a shoulder

My mother heard voices, saw ghosts
they said she was crazy
she didn’t know her homeland
she didn’t know her stories

I wish I could ask her now
I wish I could resurrect her
from the box
inside the marbled floor mausoleum
and our homeland

 

The resurrection fern gets its name because it can survive long
periods of drought…However, when just a little water is present,
the fern will uncurl and reopen, appearing to “resurrect.”

 

Author’s Note:

I am very honored to have my poem, Resurrection Fern, included in The 2019 Poetry Marathon Anthology. It is always a unique experience to write a poem an hour for 24 hours straight.

There are some lovely poems from poets around the world included in this year’s journal. Take a look and join us next year!

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Color of Woman

My journey into Intentional Creativity© began almost two years ago. It seems impossible that I will now become a Color of Woman certified teacher along with my certification as a Red Thread Guide.

Someone who never picked up a pencil to draw or a paintbrush to paint, I found a passion that combined with my new found self.

I liken my new self to sitting on a lovely, perfectly balanced little three legged stool. One leg grounding me in Passage Meditation. The second leg grounding me in shamanic practice. And now, the third leg opening portals on the canvas to move through intention, to weave a red thread to create, and connect.

Below are a few photos of my initiate book. Some friends expressed the wish to purchase it. So it is now set up to explore and purchase, if you are interested, from Blurb.

In the coming months you will see more of my poetry and painting. I will have the originals for sale as well as prints and a card line. I will be offering workshops to spread the beauty within through discernment and discovery using my three legged stool!

Many blessings and much gratitude,

Lexanne

COW Cover.jpg    COW BACK.jpg

 

 

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The Woods

The Woods

The Woods, image by Lex

She had perfect feet. Not too big. Not too small that she would totter. Her toes were long, long enough to grasp her pencil when it rolled off the table to escape as she set it down to take a sip of coffee. The kitchen table tilted ever so slightly missing one pad underneath one leg. That made just enough difference for her toes to be engaged in the process of writing her daily laundry list.

The first thing on her list called for a bus ride. This was easier said than done.

She lived past the far edge of town. Not all the way to the woods, but almost. She always wanted to live in the woods. She asked her mom if they could and her mom always answered no. It wasn’t an angry no. Just a simple no to end the discussion.

But what if mom said YES?

Many a night she would lay out near the edge of the woods looking up at the sky drawing pictures in her mind of what it would be like living the woods. Gossamer clouds erased each adventure to create a blank slate for new ones to be imagined.

But that was long ago and wasn’t for right now.

She was older now, much older, and she was so far from anywhere that she would have to take a bus to catch the bus to get to her appointment.

Now she carried a responsibility bigger than she was. She knew she had to be on time, if not early. She had to be ready.

She counted her coins to be certain there were enough for a round trip just in case there was no one to bring her home. She was wrapped in her warm scarf and coat, held an umbrella in case it did rain as was promised, packed an apple to eat on the second bus, and slipped her perfect feet into her perfect comfortable shoes.

The box was prepared earlier in the day. She didn’t want to forget anything. And even though the box held all she needed for the meeting, it seemed weightless. When something is important – no vital – it could almost float by itself. Which she was sure it did at times, but she never told anyone of this.

“Alright, then!”

She said to no one in particular, but to anyone who happened to be listening.

“I think I’m ready.”

She listened for an objection. None was had. All was magnanimous. She was ready and that was that.

She arrived at the exact second the first bus did and was promptly whisked away.

Maybe it was the wind coming through the crack of open window where she sat in the last seat of the bus, but she thought she heard a great sigh of someone or something bidding her a farewell.

She smiled.

She, too, loved her house near the woods and felt a bit of a loss each time she left to town. But she was needed this eve along with the all the other wise ones. It was her time to be there.

And she could hear her mother’s words that were the words she heard from her mother who heard them from her mother and so on and so on and so on…

What the elders see sitting, others can’t see while standing on their toes.

Author’s Note:

Our lovely Afternoon Writers met this past Tuesday. We missed a few dear friends this month. Much love and many hugs to them.

We now each bring a sentence and a word as our prompts. We choose how we use them, or even not use them at all. We write for a half an hour. Then we share. What a wonderful time of community we have here listening to each others voices come through words that enchant and humor us and bring a tear.

I am gathering small shots of place and character and events to work into a larger piece of work. I love this process. Someday…
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Here are our prompts for the afternoon. Joins us! We would love to read what you wrote.

What the elders see sitting, others can’t see while standing on their toes.

The town of Gros Ventre was so far from anywhere that you had to take a bus to catch the bus. I carried a responsibility bigger than I was. From Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

They arrive over the wise distances on perfect feet. From If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie

What if mom said, “Yes?”

Gossamer
Escape
Magnanimous
Weightless

Rules

I watch snow begin its fall,bunnyprintsinsnow
lay down this day of chill
on crisp golden locust leaves,
it clutters my path. I know
the price I will pay if
I don’t follow the rules.

I surely must move those
leaves to their proper rest
before flakes, surely not allow
them to stay where footsteps
will grind together snow and
leaves to become a musty cake
making an impossible run.

There are rules I must follow
to keep my path clear, ready
for its pilgrim to walk safe
and true.

Yet, I ask if rules are a good
matter to seek my attention,
give over my time. Rules beget
more rules until rules are all
that cover what was once a
simple way, now made less clear.

Instead I listen, start inside
with a whisper, learn who I am
from the Source. And I see a path,
simple and true, still covered with
leaves and snow. Only then
can my hand stretch to yours.
Together we will divine our way.

.

.

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Author’s note:

If you would like more on this poem, please visit my page Journey/lex.

 

This week I thank Ryan Taylor of Access Denver for his reflection, in Street Psalms’ Word From Below, on the reading from The Revised Common Lectionary. And a sincere thanks to Fr. Scott Jenkins from a Church of the Holy Family for his prayers and the Beatitudes that will be read in the Celtic Celebration of All Saints this coming Saturday. All are welcome to join us in our celebration.