friday feast: for a change, some good news

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

This moment is for you.

THE GOOD NEWS
by Thich Nhat Hanh

They don’t publish
the good news.
The good news is published
by us.
We have a special edition every moment,
and we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
and the linden tree is still there,
standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
to touch the blue sky.
The good news is that your child is there before you,
and your arms are available:
hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
and help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
smiling its wondrous smile,
singing the song of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow your head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow
and preoccupation
and get free.
The latest good news
is that you can do it.

Plum Village, 1992

~ from Call Me By My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh (Parallax Press, 1999).

Spread the good news!

Recently, while I was feeling overwhelmed by the depressing, violent, politically ugly, oftentimes heartbreaking news of the world, this luminous poem quietly tapped me on the shoulder.

I took a few deep breaths, drank in the words, and felt so much better. I was reminded of the transformative power of poetry, that it is, in essence, a form of meditation. One does not have to be a practicing Buddhist to appreciate the value of mindfulness — a moment of stillness and clarity, to offer gratitude for the beating of your heart.

Poetry Friday is a place of good news, each blog a special edition, each participant a small miracle. It’s a safe haven, where the right words can help turn despair into compassion.

I thank you for this moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author, poet, teacher, peace and human rights activist, and world renown Zen Master who has published over 100 books. His conversations with Martin Luther King, Jr. likely convinced King to publicly oppose the Vietnam War. Dr. King nominated “Thay,” as he is known to his students, for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. 

♥ Karissa is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at The Iris Chronicles. As Thay would say, “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”

Hugging is possible.

((♥))

**Photo Credits:

“Dandelions” by Janine Russell/flickr
“Spreading the Joy of Spring” by Jason Paluck/flickr
———————————————————————

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

42 thoughts on “friday feast: for a change, some good news

  1. Thank you for this, Jama. Thich Nhat Hanh is truly a healer, and the way you describe Poetry Friday today is so beautiful! I will link to this post from TPF Facebook page – it is so uplifting. Thank you! Another book you might love is WORDS TO LIVE BY by Eknath Easwaran, a life-changer. Happy PF…a.

    Like

    1. Yes, it makes perfect sense that his words are an integral part of meditation practice. I’m happy that this poem found me when it did — fate + serendipity🙂.

      Like

  2. What a lovely thought, Jama, about the community that is Poetry Friday:

    “It’s a safe haven, where the right words can help turn despair into compassion.”

    You’re so right.

    Maria

    Like

    1. I feel fortunate that PF was there when I first started blogging in 2007. Since then, it’s been a constant source of joy and inspiration, often a saving grace at a challenging week’s end.

      Like

  3. Beautiful poem, Jama! And I love those photos. Thank you. (Although Thay is Vietnamese, not Tibetan, your post reminded me of the music from Tibet I featured last Monday. They might “strike a chord” with you.🙂

    Like

  4. So-your post is why I’ve been reading the poetry Friday posts for a long while, & am so happy to be part of it now. Your photos are so joyful, and the poem is mindful indeed, each line a small gift of thought for us. It’s difficult to know which I like more, but “The good news is that you are alive,/and the linden tree is still there,/standing firm in the harsh Winter.” is something I think I will post at my desk. Thank you Jama; happy day!

    Like

    1. See, now there’s a great example of PF’s magic — getting to meet you🙂. You go through life but once; surely the people we meet by chance or circumstance are one of its greatest blessings. I try hard not to take any of that for granted. Happy Day to you, Linda.🙂

      Like

  5. Jama,

    Thanks for this poem. I am constantly refreshed by my little granddaughter Julia. The world is an ugly place–for sure, but we have to look at what is good and beautiful to help ourselves remain sane and hopeful for the future.

    Like

  6. Lovely. And thank you for saying, “One does not have to be a practicing Buddhist to appreciate the value of mindfulness — a moment of stillness and clarity, to offer gratitude for the beating of your heart.” (Though, I have to add, my seven-year-old is *fascinated* by Buddhism. I’ve got a little philosopher on my hands.)

    Thanks for this post.

    Like

  7. The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
    smiling its wondrous smile,
    singing the song of eternity.
    Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
    Bow your head.
    Listen to it.
    Leave behind the world of sorrow

    I just love these lines!
    This is such a glorious poem…thank you for introducing me to this poet,Jama

    Like

  8. Something drew me to your blog today, Jama. I’m glad you found this healing poem. It’s beautiful, I drank it up. Your description of Poetry Friday was beautiful, too. Thank you!

    Wishing you a weekend of continued good news.

    Like

  9. “The good news is that you are alive.”
    YES.
    Thank you for sharing this.
    One of my fave Thich Nhat Hanh quotes: “If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”
    We are never alone….

    Like

    1. That’s a beautiful quote, Irene! Looks like many of you were familiar with Tay’s work way before me. But I’m glad I finally “found” him.

      Like

  10. Warm warm bear hugs – Jama, yes hugging is possible. And hugging is love.🙂

    I know what you mean about poetry soothing one’s tortured thoughts – a balm indeed, a respite, a breath of moonshine – and you’re right, we should celebrate our Special Editions every Friday – we are each one of us, as you noted, a small miracle. The fact that your thoughts are able to deeply move me despite the geographical distance – renders everything timeless where spatial boundaries oftentimes cease to exist.

    Thank you for such lovely thoughts, Jama.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your beautiful comment, Myra. It *is* amazing and wondrous and reassuring that we can all share parts of ourselves and have that resonate with others. Here’s to meaningful connections.🙂

      Like

  11. A lovely read to start the week. Full of hope. And funnily enough in the comment I left on another blog before I came here I mentioned the picture book Dandelions by Eve Bunting – another case of the “weed” being a sign of hope.

    Like

    1. I just ordered a copy of his book and can’t wait to dig in. Thanks for letting me know about this picture book. It sounds like a wonderful way to teach kids about slowing down and getting centered, etc. So many of them are over-scheduled and lead hectic lives, too.

      Like

Comments are closed.