Finding Light in Poetry and Practice

Photo credit: Sandy Reich

A friend recently said, “Poetry saves lives.” I believe this to be true. These two poems from Austin-based poet Judy B. Meyers helped me reflect on the experience of being human in relationship to self, Spirit, other and on the vital role of spiritual practice. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

By Judy B. Myers



                                         OR LESS

Two of us standing solidly anchored on ancestral ground,

            faces lifted upward toward sky

                    into a blanket of glittering light so embracing

                           I was not sure if we were here—or there—

                                  or if I were you or you were me—

                                           or if we were simply stars

                                                  brilliantly igniting spaciousness,

                                                            illuminating darkness.

I wasn’t sure where I ended and you began—

              Or where earth and sky began—-

                        Or ended

                              but right there and then I knew

                                      there was nothing at all,

                                             nothing more or less than





Without the Spirit the body cannot live;
Without the body the spirit cannot act.—
(Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian)
—Paul F. Knitter

The bread is being broken,
The wine is being blessed.
The ambulance wails.
I remember my death.
I remember my life
I feel the suffering somewhere
of someone I don’t know.

I move forward,
hands held opened.
I receive the body.
I hold the cup.
I drink the wine.
Humble tears of gratitude
remind me why
I sit in silence.
So easily forget
who I Am.

I need a lot of practice
to constantly remind me:

I am my daughter’s friend:
young mother of two boys
dying of brain cancer.
I am her mother,
broken hearted.
I am the child who
no one hears,
the one hiding
beneath the bridge,
homeless, hungry.
I am the elder
shedding tears
facing, fearing
my own mortality.

I need a lot of practice
every day, all the time
to remind me who I Am.

I Am the body. 
broken and shed.
I am the blood.

The ambulance wails
through silent communion
reminding me
who I Am.

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