What is a Mouse Good For?

a little brown mouse 
nibbled on my book cover
in the night
his little teeth marks
and claw scratchings
were distinctive

do we call an exterminator?

what are mice for?
i mean, what do they do in this world?

a small warm animal
covered in fur
a long scaly tail
nobody likes mice…
except other animals 
who eat them
or scientist who
put them to use 
in experiments…
for you know who


i am starting to think more about mice

they are quiet and alert by nature
they are very quick and quiet
they can run and jump
they are often scared

they too are trying to live their lives
find food
feed their families,
protect their children
be warm and safe

i feel less like calling the exterminator now
let’s look on the internet… 


well,  it turns out that this seemingly little useless house invader is
“the most important herbivores in the eco system. In forest, fields, farmlands and backyards, mice sustain predators of all sizes. They link plants and predators in every terrestrial ecosystem.” 

WOW!


reading further it turns out these little critters are trying to save humanity! 

“ The mouse genome is very similar to our own, making mouse genetic research particularly useful for the study of human diseases. ... Mice are extremely useful for studying complex diseases, such as atherosclerosis and hypertension, as many of the genes responsible for these diseases are shared between mice and humans.” 


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 6.5 million members and they say, “Friendly and highly intelligent, mice are just as smart as dogs and can even recognize their names and respond when called.”

WOW, WOW!!!

you who chewed on my copy of “The Way of the Bodhisattva” by 
Shantideva was no other than a Bodhisattva too!

invading my house as a pest
you were a visitor of great consequence
in your simple way, without intention
you are my brother (or sister)
certainly part of my family,
your DNA proves it

I only hope my life may be
as meaningful as yours 
I gassho, 
homage
to the great bodhisattva
little brown mouse 


—Bruce Linton

Companionship

this morning
a strange leaf
turned out to be 
a small lizard
sunning himself
i wished him a good day
walking on
three stones sat like buddhas
by my Bay
I sat with them
i rested on a bench
two seagulls flew overhead
one landed on the end of my bench
he looked at me with his dark black eye
i looked back
human companionship
may be overrated  


—Bruce Linton

I want to be

I want to be the tremor of petals
when a bee comes to sweep up pollen.

I want to be the pause between phrases
of a mourning song, listening for the
heart to beat, feeling the lung inflate.

I want to be the butter melting across
the corn rows of a summer supper on 
the porch. 

I want to be the hand holding someone’s 
head as it is gently laid to rest on a pillow.

I want to be the utmost leaf on the tallest
tree, behind my house, to catch the sun 
as it sneaks into my yard.

I want to be a baby’s breath as it laughs
at magic no one knows.

And, now I see I can be each of these 
Poetry says so. 


—Martha Ward

Here & Here

Launching into the blackest night 
my body drops away, I take flight
and soar through stories & and tales
of who’s fabrication I cannot tell and
still I soar, then alight at the edge of
my bed just before dawn's light, weighted
with the whole of me, losing hold of
where I’ve been and what I’d seen…

My chair sits midst the lawn, my feet
naked against the silky slips of grass,
toes dozing  letting the earth cradle them, 
and be found to be a part of that sacred ground.
Earth, enter my feet, take away pain 
that keeps me from sleep.

Walking in the middle of the street, 
the day’s heat is held back behind
the bank of pecan & cottonwood trees. 
There is a breeze that kisses my brow, 
brings a hum to my lips, and my eyes 
linger on the long-limbed mimosa 
flowers swaying above the creek.


—Martha Ward

Prodigal

Like scaring up chickens off their roosts,
squawking loudly across the yard, I dusted up
a scene to take me away from my home, 
to wander into experiences of other homes 
and homeless feelings, to learn that I wanted 
back on my home roost.

The ease of being missed and missing wanes
& waxes. Distance increases and the 
need to fill what had always been provided.  
It takes the reins of my days, determines my direction.

I was exposed to caring for children, managing 
animals, caring for an old man infirm by a heart ailment. 
Traveled into histories made before I ever was, and tied up 
from neglect in knots of opportunities taken by others. 

Halls of stained glass rained colors, a pathway for
my steps across the cathedral, tending to preparations 
for the next event, celebration, funeral, arrival of a
dignitary, a queen. 

Skies of another place had me tethered by the heart
and I landed hard on my return, embraced by a known
firmament. The belonging took longer to reemerge, 
prodigal all the same.  


—Martha Ward

Shedding Little Branches



 

In the Moment



Archipelago

I never wanted a future. 
Never dreamed of bridal gowns or 
Baby cheeks or making 
My place in the world. 
 
I desperately desired to plant 
Sweet potatoes in Cuba at 21. 
I was bound to swim
With dolphins in the ocean. 
I fell in love with singing 
Brazilian music. I craved
Myriad makings of art. 
 
I have longed only
For unique immersions
In aliveness. 
 
I dived deep into each 
invigorating idyll, each
Oubliette of anguish
And despair. 
 
My life is an archipelago
Of these intense expansions 
And contractions, each 
Isle separate from the rest. 
 
Pearls on a strand, 
A knot between each one. 


—Geneve Gil

To the One Who Leads the Way

I whisper it now at this table
because I may not remember
after the long confusion 
of the day
of this life full of broken chairs
spilled tea cups
loss and gain jumbled and dripping

I may not remember to say
into my pillow
in the quiet room,
wake me when it's time.

I will not demand
nor pluck you by the arm
but ask you with eyes averted,
if grass has risen on the path
and I cannot find my way—
if I haven't ruined everything—

bring me to the edge
where the waves lap,
this life and the other 
changing one to the other

let the wind of my contradiction die
and the water calm.

I have learned, oh so thoroughly,
that I cannot do this
but if you would, take me by the hand
so it can yet be done.


written to David Whyte "House of Belonging”


—Sarah Webb

Dreaming the Tree

A tree in the air, a tree in the sea:
madrone muscled, lithe in its limbs,
kelp in a forest of reaching and falling.

The sleeper shivers silver:
a school of birds, a flock of fish.
Light sleets orange gold fronds,
leaves bubble in a current of wind.

Below the flow of light,
the drift of beings,
dark slopes down.
Down past tree branch kelp, 
bird flecked fish, 
on—
an entrance to dark
to deep.


—Sarah Webb

Dichotomy

When I first saw you,
I thought you were a tree,
growing on a mountain side.

Limbs thinning 
as they stretch to touch the sky.

White petals floating on the wind
from the flowers 
there must have been.

No green leaves.
Just brown-orange trunk,
white petals, 
and thinning limbs
on a mountain side.

When I looked closer,
I realized, you looked like a coral
under the sea.

Bright orange 
against the blue-green of the sea.
Specks of white school fish
swimming 
as would be petals in the wind.

I looked once again,
trying to understand.
I see you as a mighty tree.
I see you as a tiny coral.

Which are you?
Tell me!
The great tree 
touching the sky?
Or the small coral
under the sea?

Where is the truth 
in your dichotomy.


— S. Swan

Reverence

 


—Liz Tucker-Rogers

Face Off

Dropping pretensions is a bit
presumptuous. Prying parts 
that have grown into the matter
with us, gotten under our skin
is beyond the cosmetic surgical
scalpel’s perimeters.

What about that gut feeling which
roils at reminders why so&so made 
a miff in one’s middle organs and along
the long intestinal road – that fortitude
has forgone, forgotten, leaving its host
forlorn, not knowing how to return to 
the lungs for a needed grief session. 

Yet, in that despair is undoubtedly where
with a glimmer of care, awareness can
emerge, the dirge of self & projected 
retributions can flow out and float into 
the cloud of unknowing, dissipated into
no where, the face off. 
 

—Martha Ward