Choices by Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni has been one of my most favoritest poets ever since I discovered books of poetry. When I started to read her poems, I took great heart that a nice Italian girl could write poetry like that. It gave me hope that maybe this Polish girl might could give it a try too. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that that nice Italian girl describes herself as “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.”  Ah well,  so much for my silly assumption based on how a name appears to me. Naming is powerful. Words are powerful. When we learn to use words, we are learning to develop our power, we are building choices for ourselves. So, check it out … Choices by Nikki Giovanni …



if i can’t do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don’t want
to do

it’s not the same thing
but it’s the best i can

if i can’t have
what i want    then
my job is to want
what i’ve got
and be satisfied
that at least there
is something more
to want

since i can’t go
where i need
to go    then i must    go
where the signs point
though always understanding
parallel movement
isn’t lateral

when i can’t express
what i really feel
i practice feeling
what i can express
and none of it is equal
i know
but that’s why mankind
alone among the animals
learns to cry
—Nikki Giovanni

If you like this, check out these links to learn more and read more by Nikki Giovanni

We all have to make choices in our lives. For sure not all of the choices are what we might have most wanted. Sometimes we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. Sometimes we must discern between the lesser of two evils. But, choose we must. Let us always find a way to choose the path with heart. We can always find a way to imbue the path with heart, to love the one you’re with!

The Old Wisdom by Jane Goodall

It’s been a little while since I shared a poem here. This one from Jane Goodall just seemed right for a cold winter afternoon. But that may be because it IS a cold winter afternoon as I am writing this. I suspect it would be quite wonderful for a soft spring day, a balmy summer day or a brisk autumn day as well. 

And yes, Jane Goodall is known to the world as a primatologist, she is also a poet. Have a read?


 By Jane Goodall

In Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues

When the night wind makes the pine trees creak
And the pale clouds glide across the dark sky,
Go out my child, go out and seek
Your soul: The Eternal I.
For all the grasses rustling at your feet
And every flaming star that glitters high
Above you, close up and meet
In you: The Eternal I.
Yes, my child, go out into the world; walk slow
And silent, comprehending all, and by and by
Your soul, the Universe, will know
Itself: the Eternal I.

 Thay Nhat Hahn writes about the interdependence of all that is. As I think about interdependence, as I read Goodall’s poem, I can’t help but think that if we all knew and remembered, literally re-memberd that we are all part of the warp and weft of the same fabric, then calls for social justice and for respect of human dignity would be moot. 

maybe the Beatles said it best?  . . .
I am she
as you are she
as you are me
And we are all together . . .
and we ARE all together, inextricably interconnected and interdependent. 
and justice? well … “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” Dr. Martin Luther King
and “Everyone does better when EVERYONE does better.”  Jim Hightower.
we are all together. in you, in me, in us all, the eternal. let us all pledge to work for the well being of all sentient beings, until there is compassion and justice for us all, everyone of us.

may all women be dangerous women

this morning I found this prayer by Lynne Hybels entitled Dangerous Women Creed posted on the WATER (women’s alliance for theology, ethics and religion) email list.  May it inspire us all to live out our faith courageously as healers, peacemakers and leaders in our world as we work together to give birth to a world of justice where all living beings flourish in dignity and respect . . . 

Dear God, please make us dangerous women.
May we be women who acknowledge our power to change, and grow,
and be radically alive for God.
May we be healers of wounds and righters of wrongs.
May we weep with those who weep and speak for those who cannot s
peak for themselves.
May we cherish children, embrace the elderly, and empower the poor.
May we pray deeply and teach wisely.
May we be strong and gentle leaders.
May we sing songs of joy and talk down fear.
May we never hesitate to let passion push us, conviction compel us,
and righteous anger energize us.
May we strike fear into all that is unjust and evil in the world.
May we dismantle abusive systems and silence lies with truth.
May we shine like stars in a darkened generation.
May we overflow with goodness in the name of God and by the power of Jesus.
And in that name and by that power, may we change the world.
Dear God, please make us dangerous women.

 … written by Lynne Hybels

Poetry, Power and Suheir Hammad’s talisman

There is a child’s nursery rhyme that is often quoted: sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.  But, there is another version of that rhyme that says: sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will kill my soul.  … naming is powerful. Words are powerful. Poetry is powerful.

Thomas Merton wrote, “art [poetry] enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” When I read poetry, when I hear it, when I feel its resonance in my heart, in the depth of my being it touches, it changes, it evokes the best in me. Poetry embodies the alchemy of transmogrification to ways of being that celebrate human dignity, that create social structures that embody justice. 

Suheir Hammad writes poems of war, peace, women, power – she claims human dignity and a just world. Her writing is a talisman for me. She wrote a poem that titled talisman … feel its power …

it is written
the act of writing is
holy words are
sacred and your breath
brings out the
god in them
i write these words
quickly repeat them
softly to myself
this talisman for you
fold this prayer
around your neck fortify
your back with these
may you walk ever
loved and in love
know the sun
for warmth the moon
for direction
may these words always
remind you your breath
is sacred words
bring out the god
in you

Give a listen to her TED Talk. (If you have not explored the TED web page, really go surf over there. TED: Technology, Entertainment, Design – ideas worth spreading. And it really is a great collection of ideas worth exploring). So, here is the link to Suheir Hammad reading a couple of her poems

may you walk ever loved and in love!

may we all know days of warmth

and peace

and love