Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

In the Red Tent

For Children The Gates of Paradise

From the red tent under the sycamore, amid the hustle
of Science Square and spirit-led Quaker community,
we poets hear “The Circle Game” play in the distance.   
A caterpillar line dances down my arm.
Our feet are in cut grass, dead leaves, broad-leaf plantain and clover.
The sessions sit in us; I feel God’s presence in my belly.
We are, as our incoming General Secretary said:
“a powerful, needed, gathered people.”
We are, as our Clerk noted, the same
on both sides of the podium.  We do
the business of our meetings where
no one thinks to minute Trayvon Martin.
See where new actions must begin
to re-direct our great body?
Our transforming outer skin is
a slow-moving giant who needs its muscle and heart,
its expanding lungs, its roots in the earth,
its molecules alive and ready to dare.

Posted in Poets United Poetry Pantry #211.

  Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast


  1. I sense the importance of this meeting in your poem, Susan, and also the wonderment of feeling the presence of God within. That seems to me a wonderful way to do business, and it is good that there is aliveness and a readiness to dare.

    1. Thank you, Mary. You have read the essence.

  2. The red tent made me think of Anita Diamant's novel. I like the idea that at your general meeting people on both sides of the podium were the same. I also like the questions about the new actions and directions. If any church or institution is to be relevant it certainly needs roots and life.

    1. Bless you, Gabrielle. I thought of Diamant, too, though we were men and women together.

  3. It must be comforting to gather with many Friends of peaceful countenance and spirit, in such weeks as we are living. The prayers all of you send out - may they land in place of missiles in the minds and hearts where they are most needed.

    1. Yes. Thank you. And we have much to heal in our organization as well.

  4. I specially love the ending stanza Susan ~ The energy and zest are unmistakable ~

  5. so many souls together for something positive is inspiring indeed...i specially like the last two lines... :)

    1. Thank you, Sumana. I feel inspired from the weekend and a little overwhelmed too.

  6. I may not have read this right as by the comments posted but my take was that there was a healthy dose of clever sarcasm here concerning the ever increasing gulf between the haves and the have-nots and the way in which society glosses over such. Not sure if the misspelling of Trayvon was intentional but the reference to General Secretary in juxtaposition with clerk was lovely and powerful. "Some of the animals in the barnyard are more equal than others" God's presence in the belly? Indeed! I worry that the "new action" may be irrevocably leading to revolution or some other disaster.

    1. I loved reading your out-of-the-box comment. Thank you for correcting the spelling which was ignorance and not intentional. Our Quaker structure has both Clerk and General Secretary at the regional level--both of whom gave gentle nudges in a good direction while reminding us of what individual meetings had neglected to do. Everything you said is relevant to the changes we are hoping to undergo. Thank you.

  7. It is perhaps difficult for one from overseas to comment on your poem. It is easy to say that injustices such as the Trayvon Martin case do not happen in my country, but they do! I might like to think we have greater tolerance here for color, race, religion and immigration but we don't. But that is not the case. We don't protest enough because we might have to show our faces and would rather not say "Stop, we are being inhumane". Instead we hide and hope someone else does it. Fortunately some of us write and speak out this way. I hope one day this tiny whisper will be more.

  8. Well written and I agree with all the comments shared.

  9. Ah, those terrible meetings where only non-living, too-abstract to truly matter just now things are discussed. Aren't they the worse?

    Your poem puts me in mind of something I read in the news the other day. Before the August recess, Congress wanted to take care of something that was too important to leave for later: so they decide to sue the President over health care. No, let's not address the children dying in the border, or the fact that we are supplying weapons to people who are already killing each other, let's work on a civil suit...

    Oops! I just realized that I went on and on. It's your poem. It gets in the belly and brings out the thinking bits. ;-)


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