prayer for radical gratitude (audio 4:31)

Prayer, by Arthur Roy Mitchell (c.1889-1977), A.R. Mitchell Museum, Trinidad, Colorado

thank you for every morsel bittersweet
for every fleeting foray into unimaginable bliss
every lifetime of incalculable pain
for the searing darkness and the blinding light —
thank you

for your rabid inability to create your own boundaries
giving me a reason to establish my ramparts soundly
and master the raising and lowering of my own castle gates —
thank you

for triggering my insecurities with your comings and goings
dragging your nails over toughened scar tissue
busting open wounds that I smugly believed were
once and for all time healed and whole —
thank you for giving me no choice
but to redress and heal anew

in exasperating fashion you loved when i was barely lovable
remained close by when i begged you to disappear
evaporated into the ethers at the very times i wanted simply
to stroke the skin round your weary countenance,
hoisted me onto the meat hook and left me in the netherworld
for days (nay, months!) on end
and for this most of all,
i thank you

you ignored my pleas to show up as i wanted
refused to succumb to the machinations of a restless and uprooted mind
imperceptibly inched along the road to a soul revealed,
pushed back when fear and unworthiness sought desperately to push you away
trampled my tidy, evanescent order into a liminal chaos
invited me to stew in my own juices until they rendered savory and sweet
(oh, did i remember to thank you?)

when i was certain that the elusive butterfly called love had left the room
you proved me wrong and i thank you
when i was steeped in weighty self-reflection and nagging indecision
you forced me none too gently toward an unchanging truth
gave me space to wallow and wonder (damn you!)
skipped merrily on your way without a glance in your rearview mirror
and while i despised your every stroke of bold absence,
i forgot, perhaps, to thank you

for the untold gifts you offered
(though i wanted something more!)

thank you
for the all-too-rare appearance of tender footprints in the snow
the sparse moments peeking out from beneath a pall of igneous complication,
for not forsaking for the sake of contrivance and a measured peace
and for showing up at my doorstep every time i surrendered my tumescent heart
to the whim of a ridiculously ironic god –
thank you

for this and for that
for tears of laughter and lamentation
for your utterly excruciating tirades of silence
and leaps into the abyss of unbound emotion,
for all that has died to the past and poises at the edge of the now —
while you still listen and wait and want and more
here i am, eyes wide open
to thank you

12 thoughts

  1. divine…..breath in ….love…..breath out….happiness…..true ends of life….

    every breath invaluable….earns… invaluable happiness….

    learn = l earn = love earn = happiness of body..mind..soul..spirit..

    your poetry invaluable = spends time wisely = cash with happiness…

    eternity dancing with eternity like football……

    sleeping time….creative enlightenment…..with dance divine…

    slumber sleep…..face to face with cosmic intelligence…..with no makeup….original face….creativity is nature of god…

    appreciating a creativity is seeing the face of god….that’s real wealth…..and you are quiet wealthy…in silence…and it reflects
    in your smile and smile to mile….milestone….eternal beauty…

    bless you…


    1. @ram0singhal,
      What a gift to know that you were spending time with much of my poetry while I slept! The words of Creation dance throughout the night, even while the writer dreams. Love all…


  2. Well, this is certainly an interesting exchange! In addition, I received feedback from a friend who was sure the poem represented my last, best closure to a cantankerous relationship (umm, well, sort of, but noyesmaybe) — and another from someone I never met who was aghast when his former (?) lover forwarded the poem to him and suggested he might see himself in parts of it. BuddhiHermit replied true to form with a tantalizing poetic koan, and now Dawn is uncharacteristically using phrases like “parry and thrust.”

    Hmmm. I’m percolating with a blog post that will say something about poetry, expression, my use of the written word as a healing modality for myself and also for group consciousness, and something, too, about the intersection of divinity and reality (whatever they are), and the seeming but doubtless non-existent difference between energy and form (whatever they are), etc.

    Meantime, I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t have round-the-clock, easy access to the Internet. This party could continue for quite a while, methinks. En garde!


  3. OK, BuddhiHermit, who are you?!? I love your “replies”, but I’m feeling a bit voyeuristic observing this poetic parry and thrust between you and Rachel.

    Can we all come out and dance together in the light?


    1. Hi Dawn,

      I’m glad you are enjoying the call and response.

      I quite accidentally found Rachel’s site on the net. For no particular reason, I felt like something was calling for a response, so I responded.

      It’s all very unusual, and even more so, when I see things happening in such a synchronistic way. Rachel’s poetry has unexpectedly stimulated a heart-felt poetry in return, however, I’m beginning to wonder if the inner gods and goddesses haven’t decided that now is a great time to play their own special brand of Badminton amongst us mortals.

      As to me, I’m just another relatively uninteresting, mature male, looking at exploring the nature of life. I live my life quite normally, as one does, except that now I discover, I’m becoming a bit of a closet poet.

      Please do join the dance. I look forward to some of your own response – poetry perhaps? …


      1. OK. First of all, any male who is actually “mature” cannot be uninteresting. (I hear a roar of laughter and a collective “AMEN” from the women of the world.)

        Second…methinks he doth protest too much. You are obviously a skilled communicator (I hear those women rejoicing again!) and your poetry is amazing.

        Are you seriously telling us that you believe in “accidents” and are new to the flow of synchronicity? You? “Mortal”? Huh!

        Anyhow, I am not very poetic lately. I have been feeling the need to have things as simple and clear as possible — distilled down to the very essence.

        Thank you for peeking out of your closet.
        Please carry on your unique and beautiful dance.

        I look forward to catching more glimpses of you…


  4. The Giver Should be Grateful

    When was choice ever mine
    To dally with touch, taste sound or scent

    Whenever did the Gods relent
    Or offer less than bitter brine

    Except to show a verdant vale
    Then deny the door and trail.

    Would that fate had shaped another path
    That feet touch earth in another part
    Perhaps in life join an other heart
    No-one wants to be apart.

    Yet this is the path that led me here
    To meeting friends that I hold dear
    And reading words and then to hear
    A heart that’s true is always near.

    Small are the mercies of this life
    Unless its true, God plays with dice
    Small are the treasures that we find
    Buried deep in Heart and Mind

    These true gifts that we revere
    Unheeded, unloved will disappear
    But greater love in greater measure
    Will make all earth our very own treasure

    And so it is I take my fate
    To guide me places I would forsake
    And so it is I take this life
    Enjoying friendship while I might
    For to hold as friend is a precious gift
    Too soon, too soon, away they drift.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s