Posts Tagged ‘listening’

small stones and writing for healing and peace

autumn dry leaves
hurl themselves
into my winter face


neil reid © december 2012

If by some chance you know my blog here, yet not We Write Poems, a community of poem writers, then please allow this special invitation.

In response to the recent events in the east, the loss of so many young lives and those who cared for them, WWP is engaged with a gathering of writers and words to share our response to that experience. If you read, if you write, yes you qualify, then please be invited to come and see and listen, even share your own words with us.

Our prompt-posting, Writing for Healing and Peace, is now open and will remain that way for any who wish to participate.

We cannot say what life brings to us, but we are responsible for our response.


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what language did

one day life came into our earth.  how it was
before nobody knows.  no one spoke and for
all we know, for all we don’t know, it was dark.
no water moved.
because of life, smoke began to weave.  it spun
itself into twine, twisting silent thought.  flames
arose upon new feet, began to dance.  moon
observed a waking wind, spoke, said to sun,
let them see!  so brightness rained from the sky.
life inhaled.
yet no stories were being told.  nothing really
made any sense at all.  so then language
decided to take on life.  dust began to whisper
shadows, then seek the spaces between all
things such that connections might embrace.
awareness took root.
rocks joined in, became a chorus.  clouds
began to sing about the sky the water the land.
water pronounced a willingness to fall, so faith
began.  then worms and leaves.  then limbs
and four-legged beasts with mouths to eat,
growing and falling apart.  words piled up
like crisp autumn leaves close underfoot.
words began to move.
then men, then women, so that all those
stories might be harvested and given birth
and given death.  like all real stories must.
appreciation became a smile upon the lips
of men.  every story mattered, no matter
the voice.  so quite unexpectedly thus did
listening come into the world.


neil reid © may 2012

A lovely clumsy draft? But I don’t care. (guilty pleasure?) Since first reading Stephen Mitchell’s translation of Gilgamesh, a desire began. Then more recently, the amazing work of Eduardo Galeano and his Genesis, Memory of Fire Trilogy. (clearly I’m way beyond my depth, splashing as best as I can)

While I’m rather lack “classic” leanings, something about these lyric mythic voices sounded and tasted right to me. So something to play with here; a stumbling step, but how else to begin?

And how dare one of casual accord approach such myth? I’m no student that way. Yet too, where do any myths begin? They represent our understanding of experience, so we, any of us, do qualify. Nothing carved in rock. Mostly I just wanted to approach that lyric voice, so this result. Worth more more engaging with I think.

And credit due, I love and borrowed Galeano’s phrase, language decided to take on life. Wonderful.

PS. REVISION, replaced “gathered” with “harvested” in the last stanza. Re-reading it was just obviously better, so much better. 05-12 neil

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it is

a matter of silence.


I know we

all understand.


Don’t-wanna-wanna-stop. Won’t-can’t-because-because.


Again    and    again    and

let go

let go.

I don’t know what we will find.

Let go.


I don’t know what we will hear.

You, there, across the room

close as a couch, flannel I can touch.

Red & black & white & buttons (undoing) plaid

Fingers mumble, we listen them then.

Language in the native dark, illumination-like.

Even at the other far away end of a thread

like letters co-mingle us, long breaths in between.

Flashlight becomes punctuation, comma’s curl

like lips, a new cocoon makes brushes of hands

Magellan painting on the sea.

Vocabulary waves.


Spare everything spring-thirsty-leaves like clothes, and emerge

where words left off. Your voice in primordial dark, could-be should-be

any night like any-night-might-be, becomes deaf-speak by fingers first.

Assemble vowels of open chords “without audible friction” (they say)

“a unit language, a cell & nucleus” (like they speak) becomes syllable

phrasing on close wet lips. So ordinary, just like an apple wanted to be.

And that was the meaning meant all those slumbered days.

Here, the dawn is hours walking distance now, take my hand.

Stir, like leaves-lips does salted abiding breath and realize

what was once fear famished becomes full, given way like a prow

does the water bay, and cleaving makes whole in wake.


It is not wisdom. It is nothing clever at all.

It is patience. It is willingness.

It is standing sentinel, drinking pulse of phoenix sun.

It is grapes & stems in the bowl. It is a coyote howl

blackbird grace, fallen forest trunk & what’s that mean?

It is becoming human into one skin of experience.

Neil Reid © February 2010

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