A Heavy Branch Fell


One day during a storm a heavy branch fell onto a little snowdrop plant. Later when the branch was removed the small tender stems, unharmed, were seen to have spread out and curled around as if to embrace the log. Less than an hour later, the little shoots had all but straightened out and, unimpeded, were growing upward toward their fulfillment.

Murshida Sitara Brutnell
The Sufi Way, England

From Prayers for a Thousand Years
(ed. Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon, Harper San Francisco)


Lava Ferns

Lava flows settle and solidify
in sheets upon sheets of
brittle, porous planes, like
Phyllo dough for baclava,
left out to dry, now stuck

Cooled surfaces relent to
Nature's thrust, Persephone
rising from Hades lair, seeking
Demeter's embrace.

Fronds of ferns peak out of the lava's
cold darkness, curling back on itself,
like hieroglyph of hope ascending,
spreading slim wings of green.

Spores lifted by the moist motion of the
oceans pounding love against stone-fired shore.
Having broken through the molten manacle
made from within, ferns called forth other
greenings, prehistoric.

And the breeze carried their collective cry,
"It's time to begin again."

by Martha Koock Ward



When everything is over and all this is left on the floors of this
earth is Styrofoam, cockroaches and broken Apple products – what voice
will emerge from the dark? What wind will be left to tear and carry
the remains around and around in a stir of chaos? When all the books
have been torn from the shelves and there are no people left to testify
– what wound will infinity feel in her massive black claw? Which held,
for a time, a rise and fall of oceans, lovers who whispered poetry
about rain, chords on the piano that responded to what was missing in
the dark.
Will she, the dark mass, rise up like an oppressed beast? Will she
shake off the waste, bite into the blood of roaches who live off the
dead? What cry of disorder will spring out a lust for life, like the
voice in Genesis, which responded to the void with a word?
Some people say the earth will end in a fire. And then perhaps a
return to complete silence, with only the remnants of our life longing
to hold form. To re-create.
I hope that this is all that survives, old prayers echoing in
nothingness like particles of dust.

by Hallie Gayle

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