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Three More of Poems in a Pandemic

April 15, 2020

The Dream

there are days I fall down

and with ladders I climb up

sometimes I go sideways

but then there’s the dream

———and the dream is a circle

if the fall is the negative

and the climb is the positive

sideways is status quo

and the dream – that circle

———it’s something else

“excludes” is its downfall

“includes” is its main word

striving is its sideways

and the circle – yes the circle

—————is wholeness

there are tears – some grief

there is laughter and a smile

there is walking and stillness

and there is music round and round

—————song in a circle


April 16, 2020


do you ever know the last anything for sure – when

it may be the very next thing that’s going to happen again


April 17, 2020

The Mantra Prayer

Dear Mom—

Well, I thought I’d try a letter even though you died in 1984, and now in 2020 I am 86. Even so, I know you’d like to see this prayer I’ve been praying for quite a while now. It comes from the Himalayan Institute and it’s just four sentences. Here’s the first one:

“I meditate on, and surrender myself to, the Divine Being who embodies the power of will, the power of knowledge, and the power of action.”

You would absolutely understand the word in this sentence where I always got stuck when I was memorizing this. Yes, you guessed it——surrender. I have a hard time doing that you know. Actually I think you had a bit of an issue there too.

Here’s the next sentence:

“I pray to the Divine Being who manifests in the form of fragrance in the flower of life and is the eternal nourisher of the plant of life.”

It is right here, Mom, we begin to get to the things I love about the prayer. Imagine this—a divine being who manifests in the form of fragrance in the flower of life—isn’t that wonderful? And I think it’s true. When I inhale the smell of a lilac, I can just picture that fragrance being the manifestation of God. And the other wonderful thing about this sentence is that I am affirming that God is always—eternally—nourishing the plant of life, the earth.

I should tell you that when I pray this prayer (actually I set it to music) so, when I sing this prayer I change some of their titles for God. For instance in the first sentence instead of singing “Divine Being” I sing “God, the Creator.” And in this second sentence again instead of singing “Divine Being” I just substitute “God”. It seems more natural to me somehow and yet doesn’t change the intent of the prayer.

Now the third sentence:

“Like a skillful gardener, may the Lord of life disentangle me from the binding forces of my physical, psychological and spiritual foes.”

This is my favorite of the entire prayer—to think of God as a “skillful gardener,” which God certainly is AND that I have “physical, psychological and spiritual foes,” and that God can disentangle me from their “binding forces.” I breathe deeply here when I pray and stick in a quick little thank you for that.

And the last sentence is:

“May the Lord of Immortality residing within, free me from death, decay, and sickness and unite me with immortality.”

And that’s the promise and I say with a chuckle Mom that you are the living proof of that. Thanks for listening to me. I miss the talks we had together when we were both here on earth. I loved our ability, either one of us, to bring up subjects and then explore them together over many weeks.

I love you—ANN

(Prayer: This is the Maha Mrtyunjaya Mantra from the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA.)

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