Ingrid Goff Maidoff - Tending Joy

Celebrating Poetry, Beauty,
& the Sacred Essence of Joy

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Perhaps I’ll Be Less Quiet Soon…

BIRDSONG

I set out tonight on the wood trail
along the stone wall, across the bridge,
and up the sky topped hill.

The sun poured down
a silky sovereignty,
making honey of the fields…

Pausing there
in the evening air,
I allowed my thoughts to still.

I do not need
to list right here
the dark cries of the world…

Yet the wild bird of the soul
still sings- softly,
fierce and sweet.

And the birds in the thicket,
too, have not given up
their song.

And you, my friend,
how are you?
We’ve been quiet far too long.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff
(from a new collection in the works, A Book of Love & Wonder)

There is a line from a poem by Odysseus Elytis which made me gasp with recognition when I first read it.  I can’t even count the number of times I have rewritten it in my journal. It captures how tongue-tied I’ve felt of late, and yet how I have longed to keep pouring my love into the world. It is this:

“I have something incomprehensible to say,
like birdsong in the time of war.”
-Odysseus Elytis

I wonder how many of us have been feeling this- this longing to continue to live our love; to live in Love; to pour love into the world, and yet the news of the day, the atmosphere of the day, almost makes an expression of love seem incomprehensible.

I was mugged once.  I was in my twenties, walking alone down a dark city street.  Suddenly I was surrounded by three very hostile women who kicked me, pulled me all around, and stole whatever they could from me.  And I just watched it happening.  I went absolutely quiet.  It was so astonishing to my innocence that I didn’t have a response.

I think of this now because I’ve been feeling mugged in one way or another fairly often these past few years… going along cheerfully and then finding myself shocked and astonished when presented with another facet of reality.  Sometimes it knocks me sideways, and I go very quiet.

I don’t want to react with cynicism or fear.  I still want to live with the vision and the conviction that Love is the best energy we have for addressing the world’s problems.  And I want to keep finding the ways that are the truest and most effective ways for me to serve through this love.  We each have our own particular ways of doing this.  Incomprehensible, perhaps, but neccessary- like birdsong in the time of war.

 

 

A Life Cherishing Force

…if you look closely, a red geranium on the windowsill!
This time of year, especially, (cold New England Winter) I love to find hidden treasures of color…little surprises everywhere. ..

Mary Oliver wrote that “Poetry is a life cherishing force.”  I walked with this thought this morning, and thought, cooking is also a life-cherishing force… and gardening… dancing, kissing, nursing a baby, walking around the block, even sweeping the kitchen floor.  It seems to me that all acts of creativity, caring, and celebration are life cherishing forces, when our hearts are aligned with gratefulness, with love….  what is, for you, a life cherishing force? Couldn’t you list at least a dozen that would apply to this moment – to today?

Breathing!
Singing!
Teaching!
Kindness!
Praying…
Eating…

A MEMORIAL POEM

This winter I was asked for something to read at the memorial of a teenage boy who had taken his own life.  I could hardly imagine the agony of his family and friends.  This is the poem that came through for me.  Weeks later, I received a thank you in the mail with a lovely box of tea.  I printed out the last verse of the poem for a sympathy card, and people have responded well.  This has given me confidence to offer it here.  I hope it is healing and helpful for anyone who needs it.

Memorial Poem

This is what grief looks like:
the tide has gone out,
farther than the eye can see,
pulling with it every ship,
the sun, and every single wave;
stealing hopes, plans, agreements,
and a thousand precious things;
leaving a shattered seabed of
lost shells, secret wishes, dying reeds
and impossible questions…

~
And there is the feeling that
life will remain emptied, slack like this,
much longer than we can bear…
How could the ocean return
and moonlight shimmer upon it?
We pray one day to drag our courage
to the ravaged and restless shoreline,
face the horizon, looming,
and find ourselves
opening, reaching,
calling beyond our mourning.
We pray life responds, gently urging,
This one we love has moved on,
yet somehow we are not finished.

~
Love grows the heart. So does sadness.

~
Within each of us, a warm harbor
of memories, visions, sorrows and joys.
Where light breaks on distant waves,
gulls glide above the incoming sea,
and the soul of our loved one is whispering,
Fear not. Carry on. I am with you…
I am grateful. I am loved. And I’m free.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff

p.s.  I seem to have to put a ~ in between verses so that the blog doesn’t squish them together…

Hope

I had a request for this card this morning, which made me think that, yes, this is a good poem for these times.

hope

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from the book of poems, WHAT HOLDS US

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Reverie & Revelation

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when asked, where do your poems come from…

REVERIE & REVELATION

Every poem arises
from a deep unraveling love
for the un-say-able which is living
which is This.

Words filter in through reverie,
an open-ended waiting,
to wander in suspension
the day’s unbroken trail.

It’s fishing with the angels;
the sift for revelation;
an offering, prayer, or opening;
to step beyond the whirl.

Not idleness but courting;
not silence but deep listening;
both lovemaking and stillness;
to take the Presence in.

Delirium; vision; fancy;
blooming; belonging; trust;
to linger in the twilight;
the willingness not to know.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, from the book, What Holds Us

Tell me, friend, where do your poems come from?

“real poetry is to live a beautiful life”~ Basho

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I met two beautiful souls at the artisan’s fair this weekend who told me that they would like to write poems but they have no time- they are simply too busy and working too hard.  I confessed to sometimes using this excuse myself.

Here is an invitation:

Basho, the 17th century Japanese poet, said, “Real poetry is to live a beautiful life. To live poetry is better than to write it.”

If we are not writing poems, are we living, at least, a beautiful life?  Or is the mind too occupied with struggle and striving?  What are we struggling and striving toward? Is it a day when we might finally relax, breathe, look around at what is beautiful, and write a few words of gratitude and praise?  Let’s do that now.

In the morning, tell yourself, “I am living a life which is now abundant with moments in which I may relax, breathe, see the beautiful, give thanks and praise- every day.  It is so.  This is my life.”

At first, small moments will reveal themselves – like little flashes of light, or a bird’s song rising suddenly nearby.  Then you will begin to sense that these moments may widen into longer pockets of time.  Eventually there will be days of beauty, gratitude, praise…maybe even a poem or two will come.  Nothing much has changed, except you have tuned your attention.  You are noticing a little more, receiving life into your life.

Joseph Campbell taught, “Eternity is a dimension of the here and now.” You begin to notice that  Eternity has been revealing itself all along.  Now you are remembering that you are in it- breathing it, admiring, enjoying.  Life itself is the poem.

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Living in the Radiance

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(I have always sensed, and I believe Jonah does as well, that we are two souls who are enjoying the experience of having this life together… this poem speaks to that intuition…)

Lovers in the Kitchen

 

We are living in the radiance, you and I.
We maneuver around each other’s bodies,
making soup in our little kitchen,
passing the cooking ware, the spices.
Our living is a dance.
Light spills off our elbows, our fingertips.
It hovers around our temples.
We know the spaciousness we’ve come from,
to which we will return.
Like waves
on the surface of the ocean,
we rise up, joyful, subside.
We never speak of this
yet we know well what we are.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, Winter 2016

~

 

The Tug of Autumn

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The Tug of Autumn

.
At noon I stood in stillness,
amidst a cathedral of browning oaks,
chin up, mouth agape, watching
leaves languish from the trees.
It was raining and the tug of autumn
was surely here.
.
I would like to be wiser, calmer,
more at home in the world.
I’d like to give my days
the delighted artfulness
of courtship, merging, lingering,
bearing witness, offering praise.
.
I want to hold what holds us.
.
~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff,
from the book of poems, What Holds Us
~
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