Author Archives: Carol Capper

Where’s the Map?

Often these days
I find myself saying
In our culture we are not prepared
for aging and death.

Ours is a culture 
that denies and denigrates
growing old in so many ways.

My lament, however, is about 
seeking a way to accept 
the aging process and inevitability of death.

How do we go about
living and dying at 
the same time?

How do we navigate
this end of life realm
without direction?

There are expectations of course.
Most of them focus on 
an endless list of abilities lost.

Where is the expectation that
we gain wisdom and grace?
How do we move past 
the invisibility of personhood
that surrounds us?

I've often offered to others
that they trust the process,
but this process requires a level of trust
that exceeds what may have been needed before.

Loving what is - this is the phrase that 
keeps nudging my mind
Easing into what may come,
Taking one step at a time.

Slowing down and 
being more deliberate
has its advantages.
(aka the tortoise)

Maybe less mourning the losses.
More gratitude for the gifts.
Expect transitions to last longer
and let go your idea of what's to come.
Spend more time appreciating the present.

Maybe, just maybe, this has the beginnings
of the map I've been seeking.
Now let's see if I can keep 
from losing my way...

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Perfectly Clear

The weather notice on my phone 
 is telling me 
"It's perfectly clear right now"

So my mind responds -
perfectly clear to whom?
Not to me I'm afraid

And exactly WHAT is it that's perfectly clear?
When one is feeling overwhelmed
with the political landscape, the climate crisis
and the myriad daily issues percolating in front of me -
it requires great effort to see what's clear

Maybe what's clear is the background
against which all of these issues
are playing out

Maybe it can be comforting to know
that clarity can be seen behind
the fast moving pieces 
I often find difficult to grasp

Perhaps one can choose which to focus on
Perhaps this background is the constant,
a particular aspect of living 
one can trust and have faith in

We do need some solid base 
from which to navigate, to take a stand,
to rest in when we're overwhelmed
and exhausted

I suspect that it's from this perspective
that clarity arises and gives us 
the energy we need to keep moving forward

toward a day when it is perfectly clear.

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This Garden of Living and Dying

There is a quiet
among the plants in my garden
in early day of Summer

Unlike the closed-in warmth-conserving
heaviness of Winter,
this quiet has a rhythm all its own

In the Spring the energy of growth
pushing up and out
brings tentative shoots
raising their sleepy heads

But by the time of early Summer
there has already been much
birthing of newness and
the slow fading away of aging blooms

There is a settling into this sequence
of the pulsing of new life in one spot
followed by a curling into itself
in another

A time of both living and dying
repeated over and over,
a rhythm that continues into
the chill of Autumn

Would that we could ride these waves
of living and dying 
with less angst 
and more like these flowers in my garden.

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Another Day of Murder

Nineteen children this time dead
We are not at war
We’re just having a normal day 
sending our kids to school

Something is terribly wrong
when nineteen children
don’t come home and 
are shot to pieces instead 

So what the fuck do you think that is?

It’s not mental illness  
It’s not that we don’t love our children
It’s about making money and
preserving power

What will it take for us
to realize that we really can be 
a loving and compassionate people?
How to turn from the direction we are heading?

What medicine cures the sickness
now afflicting our politics?
How to make politicians realize 
it’s in their interest to do whatever works
to prevent further mass murder 
of children?
It sickens me even to ask these questions.

The answers cannot be to sell or 
buy more guns
We are not going to ask that 
teachers be armed
because no one else is standing up 
to protect our children.

Nor can it be just offering 
thoughts and prayers
There were 78 incidents of gun violence
in our schools this year 

The answers are really quite easy
We know what works to limit gun violence
but it means electing politicians who
think that controlling gun violence
is worth the effort.

Difficult to imagine that this 
would be a challenge for them
or that it would not be worth doing
WHATEVER IT TAKES!

But there it is.

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We Are Little People

After all the seeming of our trying
In an effort to make ourselves big
and more important, more powerful
more of whatever is more than what we have
or what we are now

We are still little people
who are mortal.

Every effort to compare and judge,
each time we throw ourselves into
competition with another,
whatever we think we've won

We are still little people
who are mortal.

When we objectify others,
when we engage in war on them,
when we rape, torture or kill

We become even smaller,
less significant and
still very mortal.

Want to know 
what makes us bigger?
Basically Compassion and Insight
are the tools that work best

Compassion because it enlarges
our Heart-Mind to include
all other beings

Insight because it grows
our perception and understanding
of how to be in relation with
ourselves, all other beings
and the Earth

And that I believe is
how we may change from
always showing up as little people

And sets us each on the path to
become a Bigger Person
though we still be mortal.

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But the Children…

A Ukrainian child died tonight.

An abrupt shattering of a young life
We should all mourn this sweet soul

But before tears fall for this one innocent

Look again - 
There's another shot and killed,
one who has starved to death,
another raped and murdered.

And more. Sadly many more.

How many you ask.
More than enough
One is too many and 
none can be explained away.

How to explain the Corrupt Power that
causes this to happen?
What kind of hate kills children?

I want to ask the Russian soldiers -
What do you get from killing children?
What is your reward?
Do you really believe these are child Nazis?
Do you have children of your own?

I was a child during the Cold War times
We hid under our desks in school during drills
 preparing us for a nuclear attack.

I recall thinking if I could just 
talk to Khrushchev
I might make him understand
such a war should never be

A child's fantasy

Now in this time of Hot War

I see that Corrupt Power
does not listen to children
Corrupt Power does not listen
to anyone
Corrupt Power hears only
the hollow echo of its own voice.

A Ukrainian child died tonight.
Photo by Derek French

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The Intensity of Resolve

I can feel the energy of the words 
as I write this title
as well as the weight they carry

It's the energy of life and 
living from a place of intention
It's the way I wake up every morning
It's what I lay aside every night

It's having a purpose even when
I'm not certain what that is
It's the solid ground within 
where seeds are sprouting

It's even the doubting middle of the night voice
that must be hushed back to sleep
It's what my heart knows to be true
even when my mind says otherwise

And I love that I get to be all these parts of me
driven by the intensity of resolve
in living this fearsome and 
amazing life.

Don't you?

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Speaking in Flowers

Soon enough I will be speaking in flowers
Temperatures are shifting and
I've seen the stems of daffodils
poking through
Won't be long now

But there is no war happening here
I can sleep undisturbed by
Death dropping from the sky

I can walk the streets and
not fear vehicles of war 
blocking my way

I don't need to seek shelter 
underground
And God help me I don't have to
take up arms to defend my country

Yet my friends in Ukraine must do just that

They be brave in ways 
you can't imagine
I know they are a strong and
passionate people

I think of the woman offering sunflower seeds
to the Russian soldiers
She urges them to put the seeds
in their pockets 

At least Sunflowers will grow when
they all lie down here

Then they are the ones
who will be speaking in flowers

And what will they say?

Sorry for invading your country
Sorry for bringing war to your doorstep
Sorry we were just doing our job

Sorry that what you have left 
are these flowers.

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Ground Work

Rememberings of this year past
carry some weight 
and make it difficult
to leap into the new year

Does it help that we assign 
these demarcations
dividing our lives 
into segments?

Does it ease our path going forward
or is it simply about
giving ourselves another chance
to make things right?

Do we get to wipe the slate clean
and write a new story
Or are there other ways
to bring the Past into the Present?

I’d like to think the Past
provides some ground work - 
In an almost literal way 

Living necessitates that we 
process what’s past so that
it becomes fertile soil
for regeneration
 
Life isn’t the linear path we expected

It does, thankfully,
offer us a richness of opportunities
to work the soil
while we play in the dirt.

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Deep Time

In the time before Time
when Earth was raw
and Life was beginning…
Can you imagine that far back?

It might be good for your perspective 
to try
It might help reduce 
the angst that you feel
in your body

You know what I’m talking about.

A science teacher once told me
that if you stand with you arms
outstretched
And consider the timeline
of earth’s formation this way -

Say the birth of our planet happens 
at the tip 
of the middle finger 
of your left hand
and all the eons of growing and
developing occur along the timeline
of your outstretched arms;

then the life of humans on Earth
from the dawn of us until now,
on that same timeline,
would occupy just the tip 
of the fingernail 
of the middle finger
of your right hand.

All that history has preceded us,
and Earth will survive with or without us.
There are no guarantees.
But we have evolved in the way that
Earth’s energy has 
of moving life forward

We are an extension of 
and dependent on 
this world around us 

That’s it. That’s all there is.
And you can absorb that in a way
that makes you feel small 
and insignificant,
Or you can revel in the
beauty of it -
being connected to and
dependent on such an awesome planet.

The choice is up to you.

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