Archives for posts with tag: water

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Buddhist Chants to Heal
by Shirani Rajapakse

The rains retreats are ending
this month. Tonight monks
in the neighborhood temple
will assemble in the audience hall
to chant pirith — Buddhist sutras, words
ancient as the hills, but wiser than all
the knowledge that has been.
They will take it in turns
throughout the night
to chant the words of the Buddha,
just like they’ve done
many countless times before and will continue
into the future.              A large water-filled
                          earthenware pot
sits on the table
in front of them
as they chant.

In the morning
                          they will distribute the pirith
                          water to all present. People
will collect them in hands outstretched,
joined together, cupped
to receive the blessing.

There is a belief, older than time,
that water retains memory.
Water that holds
the vibrations of Buddhist chants heal
and we take in this water, let it course
gently down our throats
in the conviction
it will soothe us, bring us inner peace,
even momentarily.

             I’ve grown up
             with this belief
             just as I’ve
sipped on the vibrations of chants
a hundred million times
                          or more.

Its pouring again and I don’t
want to venture outdoors.
I take out my book of sutras and      chant,
first for myself, then for my family
and friends,
for all beings
seen and unseen that inhabit
the earth and the planets —
the entire universe.

I chant for the world
that is in need of healing,
I chant for the trees
                          swaying outside,
                          the birds
                          sheltering under leaves,
             lonely stray dogs howling with winds,
             animals trying to survive
                          in the wild,
people all over.

I have no pot of water,
but that doesn’t matter. The rain
thundering outside will
lift the positive vibrations of the sacred chants
and carry them to wherever
rainwater flows,
to wherever
healing is needed.

PAINTING: Miracles of Each Moment by Kazuaki Tanahashi (2003).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What immediately came to mind as I began to write a poem for this prompt was the connection between water and healing. Many cultures practice water therapy. In Sri Lanka where I come from, water has been used for centuries as a vehicle to transfer the positive effects of Buddhist chants. We do this regularly. However, November, as I write this, is extra significant in the Buddhist calendar, as it marks the end of the rains retreat for the monks who have been temple-bound for the past three months. The last day is marked by all-night chanting. The offering of this poem is my way of transferring positive thoughts to the world and bring it some healing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shirani Rajapakse is a poet and short story writer from Sri Lanka. Her publications include the award-winning Chant of a Million Women and I Exist. Therefore I Am. Rajapakse’s work appears in Dove Tales, Buddhist Poetry, Litro, Linnet’s Wings, Berfrois, Flash Fiction International, Voices Israel, About Place, and Mascara. Find more of her work at shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

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Grateful
by Margaret Coombs

i.

The river, reflective, pushes westward.
The seams between its tessellations rise

into pointed ridges. Wind roughens
dark, transparent water. I don’t know

what might become of you, River,
when the catastrophe hits.

ii.

The low summer sun reflects the forest
into the water. River wears a bright green ribbon.

iii.

Does River see the softness
in the shrubbery? Do leaves
know the river is there?
Do they live independent lives
as colleagues? They may be
a married pair, constantly aware
of each other, caressing one another
hello with a splash, a slosh, a dropped leaf

of a different color, fading out of green.
Green, says River.

Tonight I reflect you. Tomorrow
I’ll be filled with mud.

iv.

Dear Earth, I heard your murmurs again tonight.
You send messages meant for other species
to help them survive. Scientists measure
what you say and call it evidence, which remains
unheeded, the language they use being too complex
for many humans to comprehend. Statistical applications,
algorithms, deltas and omegas seem a secret told
to our maker. The rest of us don’t know how to listen.

v.

A woman sitting on the river bank enjoys
the chickadees, mallards, and sandhill cranes
tonight and every summer night. Why
does she weep? It’s the sight of you, River—
the threat to your endurance. She knows
none of us will last, not even you. Thank you,
she says. Thank you, thank you.

PAINTING: Landscape Banks of the River by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1874).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My husband and I regularly visit a nearby park that gives access to the river for fishing and boating. One day I noticed that I was tearing up as I stood in front of the river. This five-part poem is my exploration of why those tears fell.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margaret Coombs is a poet and retired librarian from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the city of her birth located on the western shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Manitowoc River. Her first chapbook, The Joy of Their Holiness, was published in 2020 under the name Peggy Turnbull. She now uses her birth name as her pen name to honor the poet she was as a young woman. Recent poems have appeared in Bramble, Your Daily Poem, and Verse-Virtual and are forthcoming in Barstow & Grand and Soul-Lit.

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A Manual for How to Heal the Earth
by Ruth Weinstein

Chapter 1
Do not read this seeking hyperbolic beauty.
No awe-inspiring vistas here, no elegiac passions,

only a short manual on how to live a modest life,
and, perhaps, how to hold hope for a planetary future.

Chapter 1: Consider your consumption of water.
Collect a trio of gallon buckets or unused cooking pots.

Place one in your bathtub, one in your bathroom sink.
They will lend a funky note to your otherwise beautiful

tiled haven of long showers and candle-scented hot baths.
You may soon find a place for the third, but before you

you shower, catch each drop of cold water swirling
(counter)clock wise down the drain. Water house plants

with saved water after the city chlorine has evaporated.
Capture the gray water when you wash your hands

and brush your bright smile reflected in the mirror.
Use it to flush the toilet. There now, you have not

replenished dried riverbeds, but don’t you feel better?
Isn’t the parched part of your sad heart drinking rain?

Your third vessel is still empty. Catch more water and
soak for a week all your bucket lists of wanting. Watch

how gray water dulls the glitter of incessant desires.
Contemplate the meaning of each drop, each separate

spherical offering of water longing for oceanic union.
Live with chapter 1 for a year. Then with the fluidity of

water write your own Chapter 2—a practical manual
of poems about how to heal our only beautiful blue dot.

PAINTING: Untitled (Warm Water) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1988).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In a long ago former life, Ruth Weinstein taught high school English in Philadelphia, English as a Foreign Language in Japan, and English as a Second Language in Arkansas. For nearly 45 years, however, she has focused on organic gardening; writing poetry, essays and memoir; and making both functional and art pieces in a variety of textile media. She has won awards for poems about how gardening and food affect personal and community relationships. She and her husband live on their 40-acre wooded homestead in the Arkansas Ozarks.

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Still Waters
by Paul Jones

I am still, waiting
for the one moment
that old Eastern sages
say gives absurdity
an absolute clarity,
the moment multiple
bald monks chant to induce.
They say the Way is
like water. It will work
its wonders at due time,
the way water always
breaks up rocks, turns them
into sand, but will not
be transformed itself.
Being water, it’s
already what it needs
to be. Winter and ice
merely redefine water.
Wind, when it works, only works
on the surface of water
When fire meets water,
water is sent to heaven
but fire just becomes ash.
Water, like saints, returns
to perform its steady work.
Sleet, snow, rain or hail—
even fog—are water’s
temporary bodies.
In time, water will be
all part of one huge sea.
Water will save us all
in time. In time, they say.
In the meantime, be water
as best you can be. Me?
I am still waiting
for all waters to become
still, to run deep, and
clear a few things up.

IMAGE: Ocean Blue Drip, sculpture by Peter Alexander (2011).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Lawrence Ferlinghetti placed a rocker in the poetry area of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. The chair rocks because it’s hard for anyone to sit still while reading poetry. Like the prophet Amos, I have been waiting for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream for a long time. I wish things were simpler, say like, water seems to be but isn’t really. I still try to be still at appropriate times, but like rain I fall, like the chair I rock, and like poetry I try to stir a few things up.

paul jones

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Jones’ poetry has been published in Poetry, Broadkill Review, Red Fez, Journal of American Poetry, and in other journals and anthologies, including Best American Erotic Poems (1800-Present). Recently, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Net Awards. His chapbook is What the Welsh and Chinese Have in Common. A manuscript of his poems crashed on the moon’s surface in 2019. Visit him at  smalljones.com.

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FISH
Poem by Gaia Holmes 

“There are plenty more
fish in the sea,”
he tells you with conviction
knowing, as he does,
the whole spectrum
of glitter, silver fin and gill.
 
He knows fish
that would shock
with their electric,
sheepish fish that graze
on plankton, sea furze
and the moss
that clads shipwrecks.
 
He knows fish
that you can trust
for their regularity,
fish that get high
on the lights
of midnight trawlers,
fish that freeze
mesmerized
by the clank and hum
of ocean liners.
 
He knows fish
that fall in love
with pebbles,
fish that get giddy
when wind
fingers the waves.
 
He knows fish
that would gracefully
take your hook
into their mouths
without wincing.

“Fish” and two other poems by Gaia Holmes appear in the  Silver Birch Press Silver Anthology, available at Amazon.com.

Illustration: Drylcon Graphics

antonio oquias
AUTUMN NITE
by Jack Kerouac

Cloudy autumn nite
—cold water drips
in the sink.

Photo by Antonio Oquias,

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FISH

Poem by Gaia Holmes 

“There are plenty more
fish in the sea,”
he tells you with conviction
knowing, as he does,
the whole spectrum
of glitter, silver fin and gill.
 
He knows fish
that would shock
with their electric,
sheepish fish that graze
on plankton, sea furze
and the moss
that clads shipwrecks.
 
He knows fish
that you can trust
for their regularity,
fish that get high
on the lights
of midnight trawlers,
fish that freeze
mesmerized
by the clank and hum
of ocean liners.
 
He knows fish
that fall in love
with pebbles,
fish that get giddy
when wind
fingers the waves.
 
He knows fish
that would gracefully
take your hook
into their mouths
without wincing.

NOTE: “Fish” and two other poems by Gaia Holmes will appear in the upcoming Silver Birch Press release Silver: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (available November 15, 2012).

Illustration: Drylcon Graphics