Try to forget.
Forget every lesson ever learned
about so-called worthiness.
Santa Clause’s Naughty or Nice List,
grown-ups’ hot and cold love.
The classroom’s gold stars and cruel words,
the playground’s hunger games.
Religion’s heavens and hells,
society’s carrots and sticks.
The spiritual olympics measuring
how ‘high’ our vibration is.
The second-hand violence,
I open my mouth,
in silence or aloud, and call out:
“Dear Beautiful Rascal,
Maybe my brain’s cracked,
maybe Grace likes playful names.
Either way, I keep tasting them as I try.
Try to remember.
Remember prayer is the unknown
reaching out to the unknowable.
A human being speaking to Spirit,
whatever the fuck Spirit is,
whether or not it exists,
whatever the fuck human is,
whether or not it exists.
Sometimes it flows bang on,
but sometimes I call out:
“I don’t even know why I’m doing this,
if anything is out there,
or in here,
if all this is
so be it.”
It cracks me up enough
to get me lit to the touch.
Sometimes my mouth’s a sublime instrument,
sometimes a wretched, spasmed orifice.
It doesn’t matter which.
Give the bullshit regiments the slip;
lay in hedge-row or windowsills
with such gusto
that love, grief,
laughter and weeping
become exactly the same thing again.
Many prayers are simple:
“May this being find safety and freedom
to live within life’s gift,
and give back to it.
May all beings find the same.”
Other days though it gets interesting:
“May the girl with the blue hat be safe,
may the stupid sky be forgiven,
may we fall on our arses towards heaven,
may all trees come home.”
There’s no need to know
who the girl with the blue hat is,
or why the sky needs forgiveness.
“May all beings find the same.”
What would you pray for today, if you chose to, and if you gave yourself permission to pray with no pre-conceptions of what prayer means? Add yours in the comments and we can make a freetyle prayer thread together.
"There's nothing heavier than an untold story."
So many forms of untold truth weigh us down; the great tragedies of history, family secrets and the unspoken truths of each moment. Each story wants to be 'told' in some sense, to be given back to the greater holding of life, released from our bodies and our psyches. If each of us can find safe, sustainable ways to release more truth back into the greater holding of life, more healing and transformation becomes possible...poetry and storytelling are just some of the many wonderful ways to do this. This poem is one of endless attempts to play my part.
Coming to Light
Maybe, when history’s rewritten
from the beginning,
to tell the stories of all women,
people of colour, labourers, slaves,
creatures and elements
whose backs paved the way
for each famous white man’s fame…
Maybe, when we stop pretending
anyone can be free, be equal,
be whole, stay alive, in isolation,
or that anyone’s hurt is theirs alone….
Maybe, when every profit ever registered
is measured in the balance with its loss…
Maybe, when every victory is weighed
in the same scales as its costs…
Maybe, when the last ‘unbaptised’ child
is raised up from their unmarked grave,
into light, and blessed,
not by the same carrion sacraments
which proclaimed their bodies profane,
but by being returned a name,
being washed in the tears
held in limbo’s decades…
Maybe, when all the disappeared ones,
and all the still disappearing,
are spoken of in the same breath
as the race for quantum computing,
AI and star-colonisation…
Maybe, when in one choking leap
we speak the terror and grief swallowed
from throat to chest to gut to grave,
just to keep our heads up on this
Maybe, when in a single blink
we catch sight of our own raised fists
and admit, first; we’ve only ever waged war
against ourselves, we’ve all played our part
in this world that we’ve made,
second; how much we love, want to love,
all those whom we claim to hate…
When the last lie
which breaks life into pieces
comes to light…
When the last love
we sought to protect
We’ll be able to say it:
“I dwell here on this Earth.”
PS: I first wrote this poem in response to a specific tragedy, the Tuam Babies scandal in Ireland. An underground chamber, a sewage tank in fact, was discovered to hold the bodies of 800 babies which had been secretly 'buried' there. There is still an ongoing struggle to have the full history of these children, and those from other Irish institutions, made public.
PPS: Though my posts have had thousands of comments on Facebook, I'm only now adding them to my site, so they may be a bit lonely, without your words to keep them company. Comments are a thousand times welcome.
Dave Rock is a prize-winning spoken word artist and storyteller, and a conscious writing, speaking and performing arts teacher. He's worked with thousands of people, including award-winning comedians, actors and inspirational figures.