Mindful Musings Blog

Poems of Presence – Autumn 2023

Autumn in the San Francisco Bay Area brings cactus blooms and the last of the summer harvest, as we ready a winter garden. Our mindfulness practices support all the savoring and the letting go into quieter spaces. As always, a new crop of poems to reflect and enliven our weekly class themes:


Feeding Your Soul

In a Circle of Trust (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

I love these fierce and gentle hours 
when the silence between us
blooms between voices
as deeply, as profusely
as the pale pink blossoms
that flourish in pavement cracks.
I did not know how much
I longed for this silence,
Did not know how the silence would honor
each voice the way a frame holds a portrait,
bringing value and beauty to the art inside,
didn’t know how shining it could be
with its infrangible truth,
how silence invites a deepening of self
the way a river deepens and changes the  canyon,
even as the river itself is changed.


Wasting Time (Donna Ashworth, Wild Hope)

Perhaps we could redefine

our idea of time

I don’t believe you can waste time

by resting

talking to a friend

walking in nature

or reading a book

you can’t waste time by connecting

letting souls talk

allowing inner children out to play

or making stories to pass down

you can’t waste time by helping

or doing anything at all

that feeds your soul

and energises your weary bones

that’s exactly what time is for

in fact

everything else

is just a tick on a list

just a tick

on a never-ending list



Breath and Being

Joy Chose You (Donna Ashworth, Wild Hope)

Joy does not arrive with a fanfare
on a red carpet strewn with the flowers of a perfect life

joy sneaks in as you pour a cup of coffee
watching the sun hit your favourite tree, just right

and you usher joy away
because you are not ready for her
your house is not as it should be
for such a distinguished guest

but joy, you see, cares nothing for your messy home
or your bank-balance
or your waistline

joy is supposed to slither through the cracks of your imperfect life
that’s how joy works

you cannot truly invite her, you can only be ready when she appears
and hug her with meaning
because in this very moment
joy chose you.



Just this Breath (Danna Faulds)

Settle in the here and now.
Reach down into the center
where the world is not spinning
and drink this holy peace… (entire poem here)


Loving Presence

Presence (John Philip Newell)

In the gift of this new day,
in the gift of the present moment,
in the gift of time and eternity intertwined,
let us be grateful,
let us be attentive,
let us be open to what has never happened before… (entire poem here)

Shifting Purpose (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

Yesterday, the thing to do
   was to rake the golden leaves
    from the grass and gather them
       into huge untidy piles
  for my husband to pull away.
   Today the invitation is
to not rake the leaves.
   To sit in the grass and feel myself
    folded into an unmanaged beauty.
  The invitation is to admire
     their infinite shades of yellow… (entire poem here)

Because (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

So I can’t save the world—
can’t save even myself,
can’t wrap my arms around
every frightened child, can’t
foster peace among nations,
can’t bring love to all who
feel unlovable.
So I practice opening my heart
right here in this room and being gentle
with my insufficiency. I practice
walking down the street heart first. (entire poem here)

Autumn Walk (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

Perhaps it is the autumn light
that makes the walk up
this familiar old dirt road feel
so lucky, so fortunate? This is how
I want to meet life—as if
there is no way to contain all
the beauty so it leaks out and floods
the world with gold… (entire poem here)


Excerpt from “A Great Wagon” (Rumi)

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
There is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
The world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
Doesn’t make any sense.


Remember (Joy Harjo)

… Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember. (entire poem here)