Poem: Renouveau

en lambeaux dechiquetes
I'ecorce brune,
vieille et seche des eucalyptus
traine par terre
a la base des troncs
qui I'a arrachee a pleines mains
sures d'elles?
les troncs se dressent nus,
neufs, jeunes, la peau pale,
a peine verte,
couleur de tranche d'aubergine
prets a commencer,
a recommencer c'est le printemps.

torn in strips
the brown, old, dry
bark of the eucalyptus trees
gathers on the ground
at their feet
whose hands,
strong and sure,
pulled it down?
the trunks rise
naked, new, young,
skin pale, barely green
like a freshly cut slice of eggplant
ready to begin, to begin again
it is Spring.

Sarah Benzaquen Lumpkin

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Poem: Armfuls of Poetry, Drops of Sunshine

mb33-Armfuls Sunshine rides on space and poetry on sunshine. Poetry gives birth to sunshine, and sunshine to poetry.

Sun treasured in the heart of the bitter melon, Poetry made of steam rising from a bowl of soup in Winter. The wind is lurking outside, swirling. Poetry is back to haunt the old hills and prairies. Yet the poor thatched hut remains on the river shore, waiting.

Spring carries poetry in its drizzle. The fire sparkles poetry in its orange flame.

Sunshine stored in the heart of the fragrant wood, Warm smoke leading poetry back to the pages Of an unofficial history book Sunshine, though absent from space, Fills then now rose-colored stove.

Sunshine reaching out takes the color of smoke; Poetry in its stillness, the color of the misty air.

Spring rain holds poetry in its drops Which bend down to kiss the soil, So that the seeds may sprout. Following the rain, poetry comes to dwell on each leaf. Sunshine has a green color, and poetry a pink one. Bees deliver warmth to the flowers from the sunshine They carry on their wings. On sunshine footsteps to the deep forest, Poetry drinks the nectar with joy. With the excitement of celebration, butterflies and bees crowd the Earth. Sunshine makes up the dance, and poetry the song.

Drops of sweat fall on the hard ground. Poems fly along the furrows. The hoe handily on my shoulder, poetry flows from the breath. Sunshine wanes away down the river, and the silhouette of the late afternoon lingers reluctantly. Poetry is leaving for the horizon where the King of Light is blanketing himself in clouds.

A green sun found in a basketful of fresh vegetables, a tasty and well-cooked sun smells delicious in a bowl of rice.

Poetry looks with a child’s eyes. Poetry feels with a weather-beaten face. Poetry stays within each attentive look. Poetry – the hands that work the poor and arid land somewhere far away.

The smiling sun brightening up the sunflower; the ripe and full sun hiding itself in an August peach; poetry follows each meditative step, poetry lines up the pages.

Discreetly, within closed food packages, poetry nurtures love.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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A Letter from Sister True Emptiness

Dear Friend, For this Lunar New Year (February 1st , 2003) we send you our wishes of peace and joy and thank you for your practice which makes life become more compassionate and more beautiful. Because of your generosity we have been able to give thousands of donations as a gift for the Lunar New Year to starving families in Vietnam. Following are brief news from a few regions where assistance is being offered. Central Vietnam Thua Thien and Quang Tri provinces: This is the poorest part of the country, small villages are scattered in dry mountains with no running water adn no electricity or toilets. Families live on cultivating small plots of land and have to carry water from the village well or the river to irrigate their crops. But this is not enough to feed them properly. Two nunneries under Sister Minh Tanh’s guidance contribute with seventeen social workers, trained by Thay. They cover forty villages and collaborate with local groups, including two parents, one local authority and one young person.

South Vietnam Lam Dong and Dong Nai provinces have fertile red soil. The young people marry early, have children having only a small hut they build themselves and try day to day to find work on the tea and coffee plantations. We have created nursery and kindergardens. Our donations help to buy rice, soy beans (to make soy milk) and vegetables for feeding the children at lunchtime and to pay the salary of the school teachers and assistants. Eight social workers cover thirty villages on the high lands and in the jungle.

Mekong Delta in Dong Thap, Cao Lanh, and Moc Hoa the soil is marshy but fertile. There is food (fish) but also sicknesses, snakes, and mosquitos. Special rice can be grown here when the water is 50 cm, but for five years floods have reached two meters high and stay for two months and a half. Humanitarian help has gone down since 11 September 2001 and many children have died. But all your contributions have arrived to help many of those out of work and starving families. Five social workers work together with local groups.


In North Vietnam Sister Dam Nguyen and twenty of her disciples visit poor families, typhoon victims and lepers.

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Poem: God of the Silences

As the young vine, after the frost
Reaches up its whitened arms to the sun
So my soul reaches out to you
God of the silences

As the frozen ground
Stretches itself out for the sun’s warmth
So my soul offers itself to you
God of the silences

As the small bird flies with delight
From thawing branch to thawing branch
So my soul sings at your approach
God of the silences

As the trees raise their branches to the bluing sky
In adoration of the returning sun
So my soul rises singing from my fragile body
To you God of the silences

Out of the frozen winter of unknowing
Into the paths of fellowship I go
Thanks be to you
God of the great and small silences

See the little flowers, the little yellow and white flowers
That have come out after the frost
See the little birds
That fly for joy in the air

As life begins again
After the frozen embrace of midwinter
My soul laughs and sings in your warmth
God of the silences

—Kate Evans
York, United Kingdom

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