River

New River Gorge, Virginia, Appalachian Mountain

The river has a will

Since the beginning of time, ancient

With grand patience

Cutting through the hardest rocks of the Appalachians

Not across the easiest, bewildering many

Its journey a mystery

Over thousands of years, surely

Birds land to find sanctuary

Boats arrive bearing fortune

Fishing nets cast for food

Yet in its grandness, the river is impermanent

Can’t step into the same river twice

The river is a flow

Life is like that

Ever flowing, ever changing, never permanent

And sometimes a mystery.

Noelle L, 25.07.2020

Lavender

Léonard CotteUnsplash

Its heady scent carried by the mistral

Perfuming the air near and far without ask

As provence blooms in arid midsummer

Drinking the sun, basking in prayer

One day pruned for new shoots

For nothing stays forever, such is life

So rejoice our place in the moment

When it’s time to take our leave

Go where the wind blows.

Noelle L, 18.07.2020

I am the mountain

 Joshua EarleUnsplash

I am the mountain

Snow falls, gone soon after winter

Spring clouds, drift by not a matter

Summer sunshine, only a fair friend

Autumn leaves, fall with an end

Seasons come and go

Yet I remain unmovable, to know

Winds come, rain falls, I don’t turn them away

Come what may 

Because I am the mountain.

Noelle L, 25.07.2020

Silence

Ammerdown Centre, near Bath

On the road less travelled

I take nothing

I leave nothing

Except footprints

To hear the silence

When the birds stop singing

To find my way home.

Noelle L, 12.07.2020

Aurora

CNN Travel, Okarito, South Island, New Zealand

My wish is to see the Aurora in New Zealand next year. Here’s my ode to it.

Leaping across the velvety sky

With the gods of wind, dancing

Over the wilderness into the deep South

Where all is quiet and still

Tonight, the Aurora

Lights my heart, lifts my hopes

And frees my spirit.

Noelle L, 12.07.2020

Celebrate Today

Roxxie Blackham, Unsplash

A poem inspired by John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row, and borrows a line (Just this! Only this!) from Zen poet, Ryokan’s poem.

Up Cannery Row I sit

With my cigarettes lit

Writing my life story

For a buck, how sorry

Care not I feel 

Chapters won’t seal

But the sun is not having it

Coz it wants a bestseller hit

Demanding I run with the truth

When nothing is more true 

Than friendship and love

I don’t know about tomorrow

Sometimes I miss yesterday 

I only know this moment

Just this! Only this!

Have faith

And a good bathe

Make today the most

And cook a mean roast

In this blazing summer heat

Birds can’t stop singing to their unborn

Silence too has a beat

In perfection, we see order

But in brokenness, we see beauty

In love, we see possibilities

If you find yourself

Standing on a wreckage of emotions

Dance like a gypsy

Ride in a jeepney

My guide is today

My mantra is love

Born to love in Cannery Row

We sing

We dance

And celebrate today.

Noelle L, 05.07.2020

Be Free

Fer Nando, Unsplash

In the gilded cage of desire

Fed with anxiety, dire

Feathers tremble with fear

Behind invisible bars, caged birds despair 


Thirsty they are, they say

Shooting the breeze all day

Never enough, never satisfied

Becoming prisoners of pride


Suffering comes to all

So sing the blues away at Preservation Hall

Hit those notes out of the park

For hope to make its mark


In the gilded cage of confusion

Flee the delusion

Leave your heart’s rue 

And may peace be upon you


When birds fill the dusky orange sky

Fellowship meets freedom

Bringing along wisdom

Making their way to heavenly kingdom


God made birds to fly

Not to live in cages

Break those chains, baby, break them

Lift those wings with might

And claim your birthright

Be free, my friends

Be free, and be at peace.

Noelle L, 04.07.2020

A Hundred Days

AngieUnsplash

When I was researching for this poem, I searched for what transforms in 100 days. Turns out that sunflowers take about that amount of time to develop seeds. And so I use sunflowers as the metaphor, and draw on William Blake’s poem “Ah Sunflower”. Enjoy!

Over a hundred days 

The sunflower blooms

From seed to full glory

The age of innocence

On dry, sandy prairie

Songs lost in a reverie

The sunflower springs unbidden

Nothing’s forbidden

Mind as pristine as the blue Nelson lakes

Life still has many takes

The coming of age

Gardeners come calling

Enough of lolling

Time to snip, snip

The baby’s bib

The sunflower grows, reaching for the sky

Petals wilder as the wind blows

The age of knowing

Weary of time

Blinded by anopia

For meaning in utopia

Yet in the air sowing scent

Turning sorrow into sweet summer brent

The sunflower hardy, ready to seed

Over a hundred days

The sunflower blooms 

From seed to full glory

Shedding tears

Slaying its fears

What about you, my friends?

Now go forth, seed your dreams

Reach for the sky 

Give to the world

All you can, like the sunflower

Noelle L, 26.06.2020

The Train Journey

Marissa Beletti, Unsplash

Story-poem written and read by me as part of Calm in Chaos meditation series. The theme for the week was Intentions (Purpose). As a background, using the train journey a young lady takes from New Delhi to Bodh Gaya where Siddartha Gautama attained enlightenment.

New Delhi

The stationmaster of curiosity asks, “My dear, where are you heading?”

“To Bodh Gaya”, I reply, hoping to impress

“Ah, the City of Enlightenment.”

“Yes sir, I go there to find wisdom.”

“But my young lady, enlightenment is a journey, not the destination.”

*******

Inside the train, beside a small cracked window, I take my seat

A disheveled man jumps in as the train leaves. He sits across

“Let’s be friends,” he says, passing me a white daisy flower

“I escaped from prison.”

“Why do people run away?” I ask him

The train rumbles along 

“People run away when they have desires,” he says, 

And gets off at Lucknow.

*******

A lady in black makes an entry and sits across

“Let’s be friends,” she says, passing me her silky shawl

“My husband died, and left me penniless.”

“Do you have desires?” I ask her

People around murmur in conversation

“Desires and regrets are illusions, they’re not real,” she says,

And gets off at Varanasi.

*******

A soldier of one leg, hobbles in and sits across

“Let’s be friends,” he says, passing me his cross

“I lost my leg in the war.”

“Do you have regrets?” I ask him

Shadows of rolling hills pass us

“Regrets I have none, purpose is what I have,” he says,

And gets off at Sasaram.

*******

A man with a straw hat enters and sits across

“Let’s be friends,” he says, passing me his last piece of bread

“I am a tourist.”

“What is your purpose?” I ask him

Amidst the din of the train clatter

“I want to live kindly,” he says

*******

Final destination

The train comes to a gentle halt

A quiet end to its noisy symphony

The conductor helps me with my bags: “Where do you wish to go from here, missy?”

“I am where I need to be now,” I reply

“Ah my young lady, are you here to get enlightened?”

“No sir, enlightenment is the journey, not a destination,” I say

And get off at Bodh Gaya.

NoelleL, 19.06.2020

Surrendering Like An Eagle

Mathew Schwartz, Unsplash

If we remind ourselves of our imperfections

Tell us we’re not good enough

Punishing the fragile ego

Life becomes a suffering.

But what if we can be for changing

If answering setbacks

Means leaving outside the ego

The enemy of courage locking us in a wallow.

Instead, why not surrender and accept

On hand, a willing heart

To life’s irregular cracks and weathering

We’ll see the play of her seasons

And witness the glory of her possibilities.

Let life not beat us down

Instead, accept her grand invitation

To climb onto her big, strong wings 

Like those of the bald eagle

That flies towards the storm

Gliding higher, gathering more strength, more speed

Soaring above rain clouds.

Why let the ego keeps us on our knees

When we can fly above the gust.

An eagle 

Does not dwell on the size of her claws

Nor apologises for her flaws

Instead she opens up to the call of life

Accepting a lift from the stormy winds

Going higher, going further, she becomes more.

Noelle L, 05.06.2020