Monday, February 29, 2016

A Poem by Diana Woodcock

The Secret of Positive Thinking

"All shall be well, and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing(s) shall be well."

                              -- Julian of Norwich

Even if I could consistently believe
Julian's words, I still would save
seeds--life's fragile sacredness
I'd still guard and respect.

And though I believe,
I would still grieve for skylarks,
song thrushes, blackbirds gone silent--
their marshes, moors and meadows,

ponds, heaths and hedgerows poisoned--
destroying their food supply.
Though I believe, I would still cry
out against "a strange passivity

haunt(ing) our lives."*  I would despise
all homogenized shrinking of the world,
dwindling of personalities,
dulling of relationship.

I would not slight the little spore
that blights the potato, the one small spark
that ignites the forest.  All shall be well,
regardless of what befell

the world yesterday.  If I can say
this and believe it, the battle's won.
Look how the Black-capped chickadees
have fun in their forest, flitting about

collectively, each respectively
doing its thing.  Silent and weightless,
harmless, disturbing neither limb
nor air, alert to all that goes there.

Surely they believe all shall be well.
How else could they be so full of grace--
the very face of God, each one the sum
total of perfection?  All shall be well.

Just ask the river otters, frolicking in brown
waters, tummy-up, holding out both hands.
But--ah, the curse of man, always a but--
what about the bees, their hives

no longer humming?  I cannot
ignore the disaster coming.
Dare I still believe
all shall be well?

*Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton, Introduction to
The Three Ecologies, Felix Guattari, page 6

Diana Woodcock is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, most recently Under the Spell of a Persian Nightingale.  Her first book, Swaying on the Elephant's Shoulders, won the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux International Women's Poetry Prize.  Chapbooks include Beggar in the Everglades, Desert Ecology:  Lessons and Visions, Tamed by the Desert, In the Shade of the Sidra Tree, Mandala, and Travels of a Gwai Lo.  Widely published in literary journals and anthologies (including Best New Poets 2008), her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Award, as well as performed live onstage in Lincoln Park, San Francisco at Artists Embassy International's 21st Dancing Poetry Festival.  Several of her poems "toured Alaska" as part of the "Voices of the Wilderness Traveling Art Exhibit, Alaska 2014-2015.  Prior to reaching in Qatar (since 2004), she worked for nearly eight years in Tibet, Macau and on the Thai/Cambodian border.

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