A note from Carl:
Happy Winter Solstice to you!
Last weekend we had a small gathering of friends over, enjoying delicious whiskey, candlelight, and genuine connection. At one point, our dear friend, Nan Seymour, asked if she could share a poem. Personally, I think any social gathering improves when someone reads a poem, as it has always been the role of poets to stay close to what is true, essential, and often unspoken. When the person who reads the poem is as beautifully tender-hearted and open as Nan, it opens the floodgates of grief and possibility around the table.
The poem has been living in me ever since, and I wanted to share it today, as it seems appropriate on this Solstice day.
By Aurora Levins Morales
Say these words when you lie down and when you rise up,
when you go out and when you return. In times of mourning and in times of joy.
Inscribe them on your doorposts, embroider them on your garments, tattoo them on your shoulders,
teach them to your children, your neighbors, your enemies,
recite them in your sleep, here in the cruel shadow of empire: Another world is possible.
Thus spoke the prophet Roque Dalton:
All together they have more death than we, but all together, we have more life than they.
There is more bloody death in their hands than we could ever wield, unless we lay down our souls to become them,
and then we will lose everything.
So instead, imagine winning. This is your sacred task. This is your power.
Imagine every detail of winning, the exact smell of the summer streets in which no one has been shot,
the muscles you have never unclenched from worry, gone soft as newborn skin,
the sparkling taste of food when we know that no one on earth is hungry, that the beggars are fed, that the old man under the bridge and the woman wrapping herself in thin sheets in the back seat of a car,
and the children who suck on stones, nest under a flock of roofs that keep multiplying their shelter.
Lean with all your being towards that day when the poor of the world shake down a rain of good fortune out of the heavy clouds,
and justice rolls down like waters.
Defend the world in which we win as if it were your child. It is your child.
Defend it as if it were your lover. It is your lover.
When you inhale and when you exhale breathe the possibility of another world into the 37.2 trillion cells of your body until it shines with hope.
Then imagine more. Imagine rape is unimaginable. Imagine war is a scarcely credible rumor.
That the crimes of our age, the grotesque inhumanities of greed, the sheer and astounding shamelessness of it,
the vast fortunes made by stealing lives, the horrible normalcy it came to have,
is unimaginable to our heirs, the generations of the free. Don’t waver.
Don’t let despair sink its sharp teeth into the throat with which you sing.
Escalate your dreams. Make them burn so fiercely that you can follow them down any dark alleyway of history and not lose your way. Make them burn clear as a starry drinking gourd over the grim fog of exhaustion, and keep walking.
Hold hands. Share water.
Keep imagining. So that we, and the children of our children’s children may live.
It is a good one to read out loud on the darkest day. It is a good one to read when a tax bill gets passed, when sacred, protected Monuments are threatened, when nuclear weapons are tested, when mass shootings happen with such horrific frequency…
Another world is possible.
Last week, Erin wrote of the advice Francis Weller offered her, how we need copious amounts of beauty in these times. I would add that we need copious amounts of imagining into new stories and new possibilities for our world. I love the phrase from Charles Eisenstein: the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
Today, I am imagining into those possibilities with all of the 37 trillion cells of my body, and welcoming the return of the light.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday,