you weep for all you have lost
I listen with my mouth open;
your tears fall on my tongue
and I taste your pain.
you were in the river of tiny fish
I splashed with you.
When you hug your swelling belly
I breathe love songs in your ear
to welcome the spirit who is coming
into this world through you.
they broke the child in you
something broke in me.
When you fled from the johns to the jones
I tried to crack your crystal palace
so you could visit that beautiful boy
who found refuge with Peter Pan.
was with you when they beat you
for sucking your thumb, and when they
beat you harder because you couldn't kill
the lovely soft bandit cornered by coon dogs.
I am with you at the white table
of the one who has shared his cup with you.
laugh with you when you cartwheel through life
as a circus acrobat, and when you
walk the high wire without fear
because your second self goes ahead of you
making footholds so you cannot fall.
the border camp. I share your terror
of returning to a country you can't remember
where killers still haunt the killing fields.
I am with the scary man with brick dust
on his skin and a claw hammer in his belt.
I whisper to him, "Don't tread on wildflowers."
am with then hunter and the hunted.
I am Cossack and Jew, slave and slave owner.
I am the man in iron from the dragon boat.
I am the priestess whose weapons
are a mirror and the sickle moon,
who can give blood to the earth without cutting.
am in the blade of grass that bends
under the tremendous gray hoof, and springs back.
I am with the elephant mother who grieves
for her calf as metal rain from the poachers' gunship
turns her dreams to blood ivory.
am no bodhisattva, able to remember
all lives, past and present, without being overwhelmed.
I must spit out the tears I have tasted
and not go stooped under grief and pain of others.
I can do this: I can go to the one
with a hole in the heart, and show you
the precious child who fled from your body
when they tried to kill your dreams,
and you lost the dreamer in you.
can promise your child of wonder
that, despite everything, you are safe and can be fun.
I can hold you together until you know each other.
Growing beyond myself, I can go on holding you
in the fierce embrace of Great Mother Bear
until you cannot be apart, because you are one.
The most gifted dreamers may be, like the most gifted seers and healers, highly sensitive people who will be challenged, across a lifetime, to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Gardens require walls. This poem is a gift; it emerged from images shared in a wonderful community of active dreamers in one of my pre-pandemic workshops in a red cedar grove at Mosswood Hollow, where the Great Stump always reminds me of the possibility of regeneration.
"Empathy Dreams" is included in Here, Everything Is Dreaming: Poems and Stories by Robert Moss. Published by Excelsior Editions.
Photo by RM