Our Sighs Ride the Ebb-tides of Eternity … in memory …

 IMG_20140525_110843673_HDROn May 28, our group for people with life-threatening illnesses celebrated the lives of those who have already passed on. I was unable to attend the memorial service due to bronchitis, but I celebrate them, two of my family, and this wonderful group here today.

Our group is comprised of people from several different religious traditions and is hosted by our local Insight Meditation Center. The group was founded and is run by a Buddhist chaplain who has been very kind and is a stalwart friend to each of us.

Though I still follow the progress of friends in the group and attend our quarterly potlucks, I no longer participate in meetings. By some surely unearned grace, I am now considered “chronic and stable” and I’ve grown to the point that the news of death no longer disturbs me. The major take-away for me from this experience is that the only difference between having a medically predicted expiration date and not knowing when our time will come is that with a diagnosis, we no longer fall into those moments of denial. That’s a huge gift. Huge! The result is that we become present in each moment.

Today is my loving celebration of: Ann, Deborah, Dick, Ernie, Hilda, Mary, Parvathy, Robert, Mary Kate, Steve, Victor and of family lost in recent years: my former husband, Kirby (the most decent man I’ve ever known), and my cousin, Christopher, with whom I grew-up and who was like a brother … 

Each moment and every person is precious and beautiful and the only thing that really matters is how much we have loved and been loved and that – as survivors – we continue to live in the service of our families and those in need. In the end it would seem that’s the best way to honor the family and friends whose memory we treasure .

Eternity flowed deftly through the last eight years
enfolding in her stream eleven with whom we
contemplated Knowledge and Mortality
Looking back, we ponder amazed at love among friends,
……….it blossoms fragrant, as gentle
……….as a dewy rose among thorns and thistles
We thrash and crawl and climb
……….puzzling
……….over the sea and fire that stalks us
Our hearts, cupped in one another’s hands
……….like castanets, beat in unison
Our measured moments grave lines in phantom fears,
……….they float like storm clouds above us
In words of jade, we speak elegies and encomiums
Our smiles mask our sorrows and yearning
Our laughter is love grown wild
We see each other in a thousand shapes and dreams
……….and in nameless names
Our sighs ride the ebb tides of Eternity
…..Another moment:
…..and even the sun will die
…..but our lotus song will echo on ….
……….We have lived! We have loved!

© 2014, words and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

there is this …

am i dreamer
or is dream dreaming me

does it matter after all, if i am or i am not

does sun feel the heat of day
does light see its image in the dark
during rain, do fish absorb more water
and would brown bear rather be horse

does it matter after all, the curiosities

when fish and water are one
when light and dark are indistinguishable
when brown bear is neither content nor discontent
when questions cease and ideologies melt
when there is no helping and no taking
. . . there is this

Enso

This is my poem offered for Victoria C. Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt today, ekphrasis, or a rhetorical response inspired by artwork.

The artwork here is an ensō, which in Zen Buddhism is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two unrestrained strokes. It is meant to express that moment when the mind is still, allowing for creation. It symbolizes enlightenment. I find it visually and spiritually elegant. I appreciate its spare message and the void it represents, called mu. Those of us from the Abrahamic traditions frequently misunderstand this concept and think it is negative and depressing. It’s not.

The ensō is done as a part of spiritual practice and it is a kind of meditation in the way that all creative efforts are meditation. It is a wonderful example of the Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi. In that spirit, I kept the poem simple and included white space in the layout.

Join us HERE at The Bardo Group blog for the details on today’s prompt and to include your own work. We’d love to see you and to have the opportunity to drop by your place and read your work.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Illustration ~ Ensõ , calligraphy by Kanjuro Shibata XX via Jordan Langeller under CC SA 3.0 unported

and then a new generation

10358082_10152372768442034_1234373728_n…and then a new generation …

a boy, an old soul
but a merry new story
fresh at bone and marrow
adhering to Conrad’s dictum
with little shocks and surprises
in every sentence of his book
his life, his metaphor . . .
wearing Truth as his dermis
seeking tears, not blood
and he, like all good art
changed me for the better

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes, Photograph courtesy of my cousin Dan, all rights reserved, from the family album, please be respecful

JUST A REMINDER: Tomorrow is “A Poem In Your Pocket Day”

533px-Smile_pocket_with_pipingAs part of our celebrations of interNational Poetry Month at The Bardo Group blog we are sponsoring an event in unofficial concert with the American Academy of Poets. The event, A Poem in Your Pocket Day, is all about sharing our love of poetry and the poems we love most and find most meaningful.

Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams) has come up with several charming ways to share poems and has also invited us to share our favorites online. Check out her post on The Bardo Group blog HERE tomorrow. Her post will publish at 12:01 a.m. PST. See you there …

483px-Emily_Dickinson_daguerreotypeMeanwhile, I think that many Emily Dickinson poems have great portability. Short, clever, profound … Here’s one of my faves, Time and Eternity.

LOOK back on time with kindly eyes,
He doubtless did his best;
How softly sinks his trembling sun
In human nature’s west!

…………– Emily Dickinson