We plant seeds in the ground
And dreams in the sky,

Hoping that, someday, the roots of one
Will meet the upstretched limbs of the other.

It has not happened yet.
We share the sky, all of us, the whole world:

Together, we are a tribe of eyes that look upward,
Even as we stand on uncertain ground.

The earth beneath us moves, quiet and wild,
Its boundaries shifting, its muscles wavering.

The dream of sky is indifferent to all this,
Impervious to borders, fences, reservations.

The sky is our common home, the place we all live.
There we are in the world together.

The dream of sky requires no passport.
Blue will not be fenced. Blue will not be a crime.

Look up. Stay awhile. Let your breathing slow.
Know that you always have a home here.

By Alberto Ríos

 

This was one of the many poems I earmarked when I first dipped into the delicious selection of poems that is the book Poetry of Presence, and it jumped out at me today. Written in 2014 by Arizona’s state poet laureate, the poignancy of the poem felt bright in a world where so many things other than ‘blue’ are fenced.

It also reminds me of a movement called Joining Heaven and Earth, in the Shamatha Yoga series I used to practice daily. It points to such an important aspect of practice: the connecting of spacious mind and boundless heart with the ordinariness of day to day living. Especially after a period of retreat where all the helpful conditions for experiencing this goodness are in place, I find it hard to be content with the ‘uncertain ground’ of daily life. At other times I nearly forget to ‘look up’ and ‘stay awhile’ in the home that the blueness offers, as I get entangled in the joys and sorrows of my own life, the lives of others around me and the news of countries and states. And so, as always, I’m grateful to the poets of this world who point to the deeper truths that are infinitely more stable than the impermanence of experiences, who remind us of the bigger picture. Know that you always have a home here.