Today is National Poetry Day and a few members of the Lapidus team wanted to share with you poems that mean something to them.


Clare Scott, Chair of Lapidus:


This poem always brings me back to what matters and how I should be living.   I tingle with these two lines: Grandfather Space. / The Mind is his Wife.


Prayer for the Great Family


Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day—

       and to her soil: rich, rare and sweet

                          in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing, light-changing leaf

       and fine root-hairs; standing still through wind

       and rain; their dance is in the flowering spiral grain

                          in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and silent

       Owl at dawn. Breath of our song

       clear spirit breeze

                          in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,

       freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;

       self-complete, brave and aware

                          in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;

       holding or releasing; streaming through all

       our bodies salty seas

                          in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through

       trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where

       bears and snakes sleep— he who wakes us—

                          in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to the Great Sky

       who holds billions of stars— and goes yet beyond that—

       beyond all powers, and thoughts

       and yet is within us—

       Grandfather Space.

       The Mind is his Wife.

                          so be it.


                                                      after a Mohawk prayer


Gary Snyder, Turtle Island

New Directions, New York, 1974, pp. 24-25



 Francis Ainsle, Scotland Director

Here’s a poem that always makes me happy and leads me to reflect on life. . . 
Perhaps the World Ends Here by Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.



Kiz Bangerh - Community Director


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley


Richard Axtell - Lapidus Coordinator

This is the first poem for me that really struck deep. How many decisions in my life have been driven by fear or anxiety? 
I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn't
And she scared me
And I smashed her
I don't think
I'm allowed
To kill something
Because I am
Nikki Giovanni

Is there a poem that has a special meaning to you? Why not share it in the comments below.