life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

for one more night

The lion still roars

I walk in grief

On the purple beach

the grey-green water

meeting the sky

Into infinity

the world unending

I sit on driftwood

Fascinatingly carved by water

Into pieces of art

and shapes that look like

cattle skulls in the desert

I cry as I pick up rocks

Why do i grieve such simple things

Those precious shells

I spent hours snorkeling for

In 1985

You polished them

til they were smooth as silk

So beautiful

I loved everything about them

and that memory they held

Back When the world was still

A mystery

And I knew nothing about hardship

Loss or pain

I thought love and life were simple

That you wanted me to be happy

That you loved me

That we would build a family together

I kept those shells in a special jar

Would let the kids play with them

For a special treat

I loved their delight in them

As they played for hours

sorting the colors and shapes

Loving the story of us at the start

I Kept them close to me

Through all the losses

Then they were gone

lost to me forever

way after my innocence

but somehow they took

some shred I was holding on to

Some secret part of me and you

that was still beautiful

I picked up small beautiful rocks

today at the beach

They reminded me

and it all returned

all the losses

all the pain

What you chose

The choices I was forced to make

The price of gaining my soul

The cost of winning my freedom

I cry so deeply

Right to the core

such intense love

for the wounded heart

carried in small pieces

of the world

connecting all the pain

and love together

Bittersweet grief

Bittersweet love

Exquisite pain

Exquisite joy

Will I ever find love that understands this?

Will I ever share this same heart as one?

Will I ever make it home?

Will I ever make it?

Will I ever?

Will I?



Amy Lloyd

Have you sat with grief?

Have you let it wring you dry?

Leave you swollen and exhausted

in it’s wake?

Allowed the pain from the inner depths of hell,

deeper than you knew existed,

to ooze out,

bubble up into your heart,

so that your tears could begin

to wash you clean?

Have you asked yourself

the questions with no answers?

then allow them to just co-exist with you,

allowing that life is good,

finding space for gratitude

even in the unanswerable?

Have you walked, and talked,

with death and your losses?

The innocence murdered

by anger and hate?

Precious time stolen

by monsters and ogres?

Hearts trampled

by words of violence and sarcasm?

Are you familiar with vulnerability?

With allowing your deepest feelings,

painful feelings,

raw feeling,

real feelings,

to come out of the grave

where you try to hide them?

Exposing your wounds,

old and new?

I know how hard it is,

I know.

I try to avoid it too.

I also know the truth.

It must be done.

It is the broken road to healing.

To life!

The more we feel,

the more we can feel.

Go deep, my friend

Open up wide.

Sit a spell and let it bubble.

Feel it all.

It will feel rotten for a while,

then comes the morning

you wake up good as new!

New and improved.

I promise you won’t regret it.

Just trust me on this one.

I am intimately familiar

with this process.


Amy Lloyd

EVERYTHING is not a gift. There may be valued transformation that arises from many experiences, but that doesn’t mean that EVERY experience is a gift. If we lean too far in that direction, we will deny trauma and victimhood all together, something we have already been doing for centuries. No, everything is not a gift. Some experiences are horrors, and it is all we can do to heal from them. To suggest that someone MUST find the gift in them, is to add insult to injury. It is also to create a culture that welcomes all horrors, because, after all- “everything is a gift.” Let’s keep it grounded- sometimes, it’s a gift. Sometimes it’s a horror. And the only who can decide that is the person who had the experience.

– Jeff Brown

By the rivers of Babylon—

there we sat down and there we wept

when we remembered Zion….

For there our captors asked us for songs,

and our tormentors asked for mirth,

saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” …

How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! …

O daughter Babylon, you devastator!

Happy shall they be who pay you back

what you have done to us!

Happy shall they be who take your little ones

and dash them against the rock!

—from Psalm 137

This Psalm, a lament by exiles from Jerusalem after its destruction, can be one of the most wrenching to live with. It takes us deep into the grief and rage of the abused and exploited, the refugee, the prisoner. It won’t let us off the hook. It forbids us ever to say to the suffering, “There, there.” It invites us to sit with them by the river of their sorrow— to sit for a long time with them, and bear their anguish.

And then it turns dark, into that murderous vengefulness that makes us so uncomfortable—it does me, anyway. How do we keep up with it, this mood swing from poignant sorrow to child-killing rage? When we are taught to love our enemies, how do we deal with all those enemies in the Psalms that we despise and want to destroy? Four things come to mind.

1. My real enemies are not other people; they are my self-centeredness, my fear, all those desires and attachments that separate me from the “Jerusalem” of true life. Those enemies and their offspring I really do want to destroy. I read this Psalm as an expression of my deep sadness, longing for the depth of life I have abandoned, and a prayer for the transformation of my consciousness, a change in my heart.

2. I read this prayer as a confession: sometimes I am that angry. And in my religious heritage we have been that murderous. I pray this psalm as a confession of the violence in my heart and in my community.

3. This is not a comfortable, white, middle class person’s prayer. It is the cry of the oppressed. I have no business dialing down their rage, “demanding of them mirth.” I read this Psalm as a way to be in solidarity with those who are in this deep anguish, who feel exactly this anger, without sugar-coating it.

4. This Psalm is also a cry for justice, which is not revenge but it is change. There is such a thing as the wrath of God. God cries out that oppressors be stopped, that violence end. The cry here is not literally to kill babies, but to utterly destroy the offspring of greed and exploitation, to end the line of succession of violence and abuse, to chop off the family tree of hate and fear and selfishness. The change is built on love of the oppressors— but God’s merciful justice requires that some things get destroyed. As Revelation 11.18 says, “Your wrath has come, and the time… for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Look up Psalm 137 and read the whole thing. Confront your sorrow and your inner enemies. Confess your violence. Sit with those who are in anguish. And cry out with them for the end to oppression, the destruction of unjust systems, and the coming of God’s reign of mercy and justice that will not merely make this world better, but replace it.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

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