poem: writing in time of pandemic, climate change, social injustice, tyranny, and gratitude for what matters

poem: writing in time
of pandemic, climate change,
social injustice, tyranny,
and gratitude for what matters

writing from our home
in Nashville, where we
are under an excessive
heat warning all this week,
high humidity and temperatures

my beloved and I
both testing positive for COVID
for the first time and
quarantined at our home,
we are managing

writing this now,
my eyeballs hurt,
my fever is breaking
and I am covered in sweat
and trying to control a bad cough

tragically, we are inundated
daily with bad news of
gun violence, mass shootings,
and extrajudicial shootings
of young black men by police

and all this, not to mention,
the house hearings on the
criminal ex-45th. ‘president’
and his fascist, anti-democracy,
insurrectionist efforts to steal election

dear hearts, grateful for
all of you who have expressed concerns
and who walk this journey with us,
blessed to belong in authentic
community with you all

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
July 7, 2022

photo by author

poem: visions of hope, transformation, and manifestation

poem: visions of hope, transformation,
and manifestation

hooking one’s hopes on the egos
of humans and worldly events
crushes our souls

peace is denied at the tyrant’s whim,
human rights are ruled unconstitutional,
life, liberty, and happiness end at the point of a gun

we, in the world, not of the world,
Earth students, Spirit beings,
our hopes are set in shared visions

the diminution of ego of True Self,
the diminution of control of Authentic Being,
the diminution of personal power of universal Cosmic Consciousness

our visions of yes/and unity, wounded healing,
mutuality, beloved community, wholeness,
the way of the Cosmos

one’s authentic hope lies
in deep intuitive knowing, envisioning,
and faith in manifesting transformation

beloveds, be the change
shanti, shanti, shanti
thou art that

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry

May 15, 2022

poem: the poet in times of war’s calamitous uncertainty

poem: the poet in times of

war’s calamitous uncertainty

witnessing, entering the chaotic fray
with nothing but words of reality on the
ground and perennial truth of the ages

resisting the post-truth totalizing
systems of fascist lies and violence
of the powerful and controlling

oh, Liberty, perennially calling all
to live free of oppressive
tyrannical authoritarianism

bodily, directly, non-violently,
affronting the oppressor’s
indignities and injustices

with no assurance of personal safety,
soul bared, wounded healer,
lamenting, revisioning, transforming

more imaginative, true, authentic, holistic, just,
life-giving alternative counter dominant
cultural ways of being together in diversity

veritas vos liberabit

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
March 24, 2022

Images: 1) ‘Ukrainian teacher bombed out of her apartment by Russians’ by Justin Yau/Sipa
USA, 2) ‘Maternity ward patient
and her unborn baby killed by Russian attack on the hospital’ by Evgeniy Maloletke/ AP

Author’s note: ‘Veritas vos liberabit’ is latin for ‘the truth shall make you free.’

My poem is written a month after Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and the continuing war resulting in approximately 5,000 Ukrainian civilian deaths, millions of refuges leaving their country, cities bombed to the ground, Russia commiting war crimes, and a very uncertain future for all. I wrote the poem remembering that poets through the ages have always been the bane of authoritarian tyrants, as poets, within the poetic tradition and the expressiveness of the poem, are prepared to reveal the darkness of war and tyrants, in ways that perhaps preachers, journalist, diplomats, heads of state, and others (except the survivors) are not able to do. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, poets are the only ones capable of articulating the transcendent nature of things by identifying ‘symbols’ and ‘emblems’ of the world. Thus we see a role of the poet as truth-bearer of the prophetic tradition.

poem: for the Ukrainian women in the black parka and scarf (I am signaling you through the flames)

poem: for the Ukrainian women
in the black parka and scarf
(I am signaling you through
the flames) 

her blue eyes squint
from the sting of the smoke
flaxen hair covered with
a large white bandage
her high cheekbones
smeared with blood
lips searching for words
which do not come
hands extended, palms up,
crying out for justice

her weary visage
hangs in the ether
of eons haunting us
for the hundreds of million
war casualties from stones,
arrows, bullets, bombs,
humans cruelty and incarnate evil
fueled by human desires for
power and control always
resulting in violence 

may her suffering
ignite in us
the awareness that
the line of peace and violence
runs through every human heart
asking our self: what is the mirror
of life holding up to us, what are
we creating and how is it creating us,
and what is it we intend to create
here upon this earth home 

thus may the compassionate heart
of the enlightened mind overcome
the sovereignty of death culture,
such that in her suffering we lament,
embodying the life force and peace
in every breath, manifesting
peace is every step, our lips
perpetually chanting peace,
shalom, shanti, salaam, and our poetry
defeating the conqueror with word 

in our third eye the bloodied woman
with her haunting blue eyes and flaxen
hair and high cheekbones transforms us all 

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
February 26, 2022

photo Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Images

Author’s note: It is with great respect I
credit quotes from my poem from other
master writers and master teachers.
The subtitle of my poem is a line from
the poem ‘Poetry as An Insurgent Art’
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Stanza three,
lines six through eight are by the writer
Mark Nepo and line nine and ten are by
the writer Gary Zukov. In stanza four
‘the compassionate heart of the enlightened
mind’ is a Buddhist teaching taught by many
including Sogyal Rinpoche, and ‘peace is
every step’ is a book title and teaching from
Thich Nhat Hanh. All of these writers and teachers
are masters of their art and should be read and
studied for their wisdom especially in the area of
peace and life viz-a-viz violence and death.

May be an image of 1 person and standing

poem: where is everyone?

poem: where is everyone?

the ninth of ten siblings,
high school cheerleader,
dancer in the band,
friend to all she knew,
aunt, wife, mother, grandmother

her dreams and memories
are filled with people
which she often
vividly remembers today
feeling their close presence

she will often ask:
where are the young ‘uns,
is everybody upstairs,
didn’t so and so spent the night,
isn’t there thirty in our group

beloved, just us two
old folks living alone;
others out on their own,
some living alone, others passing on,
where is everyone indeed

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
February 18, 2022

photos: 1) the cheerleader
2) one of ten siblings front
row center (only nine are pictured)
3) Grandmomma

Author’s note: The elderly in our
society face multiple challenges
when it comes to remaining socially
engaged as we age. Perhaps first is
that our culture idolizes its’ youth and
encourages maintaining one’s youthful
attitude as long as possible into old age.
This negates the value elders may bring
to our culture such as seeing the world with
spiritual maturity and offering their wisdom
from long experience. Additionally, for many
as they age, there are factors leading to
increasing loneliness and social isolation.
Some of those factors include cognitive
conditions such as dementia and Alzheimers,
other worsening health conditions of
aging, living arrangements, and lack of
transportation, among other factors. We must
do better at forming inclusive, intergenerational
societies that value and bring dignity
to all regardless of age.

Jesus, the Universal Cosmic Christ, is a revolutionary

Jesus, the Universal Cosmic Christ, is a revolutionary
please visit my web page for more of my poetry, reflections, and quotes @herbstonejr.com
Thank you for your support and happy reading
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Advent Reflections

Advent reflections: When Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, meet during their pregnancies, they rejoice in the ending of Empire and its oppression of the lowly under which they live at that time with the Roman occupation of Judea

Mary sings a revolutionary song to Elizabeth, known as the Magnificat:

The Magnificat: Luke 1:46-55 NRSV lyrics:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer called Mary’s song “the most passionate, the wildest, one might say the most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung.” Bonhoeffer, who would be hung 12 years later for resisting Nazism, added: “This is not the gentle, tender, dreamy Mary … This song has none of the sweet, nostalgic, or even playful tones of … Christmas carols. It is instead a hard, strong, inexorable song about collapsing thrones and humbled lords of this world … ”

Sister Elizabeth Johnson says “The Magnificat is a revolutionary song of salvation whose political, economic, and social dimensions cannot be blunted. People in need in every society hear a blessing in this canticle. The battered woman, the single parent without resources, those without food on the table or without even a table, the homeless family, the young abandoned to their own devices, the old who are discarded: all are encompassed in the hope Mary proclaims.”

image by Ben Wildflower
click on image for better view

Reflection: My Romance With Bookstores and Great Books

Reflection: My Romance With Bookstores and Great Books

Over the weekend, we visited three different brick and mortar bookstores. I have
always loved bookstores and libraries. Holding the books in your hands, reading
snippets, admiring the author’s creativity, and being inspired to write.

After Cathey and I were first married in the early 1970’s , we had a VW Beetle,
which she drove to her work everyday, and a bike I rode wherever I needed to go.
This included many trips to a lovely independent bookstore in the village near where
we lived. I spent a lot of time there reading and buying the books of Jack Kerouack,
Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Carlos Casteneda, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan, and
many others.

This weekend we visited: an Amazon storefront, a Barnes and Noble, and our
independent bookstore, Parrnassus, co-owned by the novelist, Ann Pachett, who
lives in Nashville.

At Parnassus, I purchased the newly published book, The Every, by Dave Eggers,
which is only being sold through independent booksellers at this time by the author’s
design. Interestingly, the book is available as a hardback with over 30 different cover
designs (see the book I bought below). Also, Eggers has three different subtitles as
follows: ‘At Last A sense of Order,’ or ‘The Final Days of Free Will,’ or ‘Limitless
Choice is Killing the World.’

His novel focuses on the challenges and dangers facing our culture today due to the
ever increasing growth and power of tech companies and giant e-commerce sites.
The back cover says, “The Every will keep the reader in breathless suspense about
the fate of capitalism, freedom, and the human animal.”

If you love bookstores and good writing by contemporary authors who address the
critical social and cultural challenges of our times creatively and prophetically, visit
your local independent bookstore, hold it in your hands, marvel at it, pick your cover,and buy this book by Dave Eggers. And happy reading!