NaPoWriMo 2016: day sixteen

 

Day sixteen -

[These words were originally written in 2013, on the day of the Boston Marathon bombing. In remembrance, today, I offer them to you.]

I'm needing to take a step back from the formal poems today. A step back from the lessons. I am highly sensitive (as I know many of you are as well). So let today be a day for our words to pour out like honey, like a balm. Today is the day for our prayer poems.

(Which also includes anger. Of course. We aren't all sweetness and light. We are human. We hurt in different ways and so we pray in different ways, at each moment.)

There's a prayer in all of us and we don't need anything more than a little courage - and a little encouragement - to let it out. Poetry is as simple as our breath, words releasing just as our breath rises and falls. Our essential self is breath.

But of course, breath has no religion and no belief ssytem. Breath is breath. So prayer doesn't mean religious (though it can be). It is a means of grasping at the bigger picture of the world, the paradox of our ebbs and flows. The pain and the pleasure, all at once (which I tried to parse out on my blog this morning).

Atheists and Pagans, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus. We all pray, in our own breath, in our own ways.

So, from a variety of poets of all religious traditions, including no tradition at all, a few prayer poems to inspire your breathing-prayer poem today:

My Beloved by Rabia al Basri
What Was Told, That by Rumi
To Live in the Mercy of God by Denise Levertov
All the Difficult Hours and Minutes by Jane Hirshfield
Casualty by Seamus Heaney
To My Friends by Primo Levi
Things I Didn't Know I Loved by Nazim Hikmet

May all beings be safe.

May all beings be free.

May all beings be loved.