life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the category “politics”

so thug 

A bold and sustained outbreak of gentleness

We believe in the God of grace.

We follow the Teacher of Love.

We live by the Spirit of mercy.

We trust God’s healing of the world.
When people spread fear and division,

when evil, injustice and oppression thrive,

no political revolution, program or platform will save us,

but only a people transformed by grace and light,

and a bold and sustained outbreak of gentleness.
We will stand up to cynicism, hate and indifference,

and blanket this world with compassion, calm and mercy.

We will proclaim the truth against all resistance.

We will meet fear and hate with healing.

We will obstruct the progress of injustice 

with our prayers, our words and our bodies.

We will infest the world with grace and love.
We pray for open hearts and a spirit of deep listening.

We pray for courage to enter the wounds of the world;

for a spirit of peace to face violence with nonviolence;

for patience to answer darkness with light.

We pray for humility to offer ourselves 

as the first to be changed.

We pray for one another, for we are one Body.

We devote ourselves to sacrifice and discipline.
Giving thanks for the great spirit of grace

already breathing in us, already rising,

in hope and love, as the gentle people of God,

we go forth.          


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

with wings
 rough hands
 feet on bare earth
I want to become a continent of angels
 some common rarity so unexplored
that even I cannot find where I begin or end
let this body become a borderless land
full of immigrants
artist and poets
whose only claim to fame is that 
they rushed to join this conflagration of 
unbound unexplored unknowable art
to enter full existence
who is to say what is real
in a universe so wide
and blasted unpretentious  
let us join this revolution
 wild eyes full hearted
as if this day 
is the only day the universe will ever exist
and yes you matter 
come with me 
join asunder
this world is fully ablaze
and yet none of us burn
like a kernel in the heart of the sun 
now I have come to understand 
the language of infinity
it is in the way you dress and speak 
and hurry along caressing the earth 
and me with it
some vision of your standard uranium golden globe reeking sun 
the perfect curve with no edge

Adam A DeFranco (c) 2016

I am always amazed at the layers,

the levels, of the human experience. 

The never ending,

ever-evolving, devolving,

shifting, opening,

illumination, illusion-revealing,

conviction shattering, my gospel truth challenging, 

deep calling to deep, border breaking, 

darkness, light and color discovering, re-discovering.
This way of living I have stumbled onto – into – 

not because I’m so smart –

but because I asked,

I was given this priceless gift. 

This surprising path 

of a pilgrim,

of spiritual growth,

baby stepping my way to

healing, learning,

opening, Mystery,

more always reveals more. 

Always re-defining the definitions

of love, abundance,

grace, healing,

truth, error,

good, evil,

joy, suffering,

prosperity, poverty,

spirit, spirituality,

life itself becoming more with each step. 

My self righteousness becoming less important

with every glimpse of my Creator, my own Belovedness. 

Sometimes I understand how Peter must have felt when he saw the great sheet of unclean animals come down before him,

which God asked him to kill and eat,

He challenged with those same words I have heard from heaven –

“What I have named clean do not proclaim unclean.”

Challenging, very challenging, stuff. 

The stuff of humility and opening, 

the stuff of learning. 

Life changing/giving stuff. 

We want to think we know, that we are right. 

We want approval, to be able to judge. 

We want to earn our way, be worthy. 

It will never work. Thankfully. 

Then we catch the tiniest of glimpses of the Lover

and we fall on our knees,

breathless, undone,

aware of our need, our misplaced vanity,

stripped of our pride, our shoes,

amazed by what we have encountered, changed forever. 

full but ever thirsty for more – 



I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.


— Maya Angelou 

gifts appear  

I give you an emptiness,

I give you a plenitude,

unwrap them carefully. 

— one’s as fragile as the other —

and when you thank me

I’ll pretend not to notice the doubt in your voice

When you say they’re just what you wanted. 
Put them on the table by your bed. 

When you wake in the morning

they’ll have gone through the door of sleep

Into your head. Wherever you go

they’ll go with you and

wherever you are they’ll wonder,

smiling about the fullness 

you can’t add to 

and the emptiness

that you can’t fill.  
When you feel nothingness 

and emptiness gnawing at your life, 

there is no need for despair.

 This is a call from your soul, 

awakening your life to new possibilities. 

Nothingness is the sister of possibility. 


Presents by Norman MacCaig

knowing the way,
learning when to say yes –
when to walk away

how to tell the differences between, 
the people truly wanting to change themselves, thus the world, 

your helpers, 

the light-walkers, 

from the ones with underlying, unsavory, motivations
– discernment,

intuition –

we use them everyday
or we get ourselves into
where we hone our skills
by finally struggling,

 like a fly in the spider web,

finally extricating ourselves 

as we learn our newest lessons

the, God awful,
hard way


take a breath

In these times when anger

 Is turned into anxiety

 And someone has stolen

 The horizons and mountains,
Our small emperors on parade

 Never expect our indifference

 To disturb their nakedness. 
They keep their heads down

 And their eyes gleam with reflection

 From aluminum economic ground,
The media wraps everything 

 In a cellophane of sound,

 And the ghost surface of the virtual

 Overlays the breathing earth. 
The industry of distraction

 Makes us forget

 That we live in a universe. 
We have become converts

 To the religion of stress

 And its deity of progress;
That we may have courage

 To turn aside from it all

 And come to kneel down before the poor,

 To discover what we must do,

 How to turn anxiety

 Back into anger,

 How to find our way home. 


John O’Donohue 
‘For Citizenship’ from BENEDICTUS


Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.         – Jean-Paul Sartre

photo sources at

give us peace 🇺🇸

 I, may I rest in peace—I, who am still living, say,

May I have peace in the rest of my life.

I want peace right now while I’m still alive.

I don’t want to wait like that pious man who wished for one leg

of the golden chair of Paradise, I want a four-legged chair

right here, a plain wooden chair. I want the rest of my peace now.

I have lived out my life in wars of every kind: battles without 

and within, close combat, face-to-face, the faces always

my own, my lover-face, my enemy-face.

Wars with the old weapons—sticks and stones, blunt axe, words,

dull ripping knife, love and hate,

and wars with newfangled weapons—machine gun, missile, 

words, land mines exploding, love and hate,

I don’t want to fulfill my parents’ prophecy that life is war.

I want peace with all my body and all my soul.

Rest me in peace.


I, May I Rest in Peace by Yehuda Amichai

   For all whose lives have been taken by war,

grant your mercy O God.

For soldiers, civilians, those wounded and neglected,

grant your mercy, O God.

For earth despoiled and living beings sacrificed,

grant your mercy, O God.

For our glorification of war and violence

and our willingness to hurt others

to defend ourselves,

grant your mercy, O God.

We give thanks for your beloved 

whom we have sacrificed;

we ask blessing for their loved ones,

confess our need for your grace,

and pray for the redemption of society.

Spirit of compassion and gentleness,

in the name of the One who was sacrificed,

save us by your grace,

and grant us your mercy.



Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

🇺🇸 happy Memorial Day

Listen to Garth sing We Shall Be Free

Quote photo sources found at

ringing loud


…and that we all feel this undeniable bond with the land of our birth, and she knows it: we are all born of the dust of the earth and the breath of God.

Heavenly patriotism is this belief that all human lives everywhere are worth the same.

That we’re a country of countries, a world of families, a earth of one human race, and that was it — the essence of this great land she lived in.

What really unites this great land is more than a flag — it’s an idea. The idea that all peoples under heaven are the idea of a Great God.

That all peoples under heaven, in our back alleys and in our hospitals, in our prisons and shelters and headlines and every person in our far-flung world, are flagged as the handiwork of God, the dream of God, the art of God.

Everywhere she looked, there it was — “I was the stranger and you welcomed me in.“

It was strange and glorious, how it was happening in her, for her nation, for all the nations: Heavenly patriotism makes you patriotic for all of humanity.

You are doing something great with your life – when you’re doing all the small things with His Great love.

You aren’t a citizen of here working your way into heaven. You’re a citizen of heaven working His Way through here.

And it was there in every flag: the stripes that went on like a road, like The Way of Love that goes everywhere and always welcomes the wanderer in.

All those stars like a Love that can’t be contained by the walls in this world.

There under the bloom of fireworks,she could feel it –

the love of Christ exploding a heart.

– Ann Voskamp (edited)
such good stuff! read her patriotic and amazing blog –



Give our leader your justice, O God,

and your righteousness to those in power.

May they judge your people with righteousness,

and your poor with justice.

May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,

and the hills, in righteousness.

May they defend the cause of the poor of the people,

give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.

Psalm 72.1-4


God of eternal justice and mighty grace,

may your gentle healing and fierce compassion

overthrow those in power, and fill them with your love.

May your care for your littlest ones

invade our desires, sweep up our leaders,

overtake all greed, and transform the power in our hands.

May justice be our passion and love our courage.

May our leaders guide us in generosity

with gentleness, humility and truth.

By the self-giving of your grace,

may we overthrow all greed and oppression,

that none, in using power, may cause another’s suffering.

We give ourselves to the healing of the earth,

that we may be tender with even the mountains and hills.

God of mercy, may justice prevail:

not that we decide one another’s deserving,

but that we defend one another’s needs,

that all may have life, and have it abundantly,

in the spirit of your almighty tenderness and grace.



Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

love sets free

Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. – C.S. Lewis
Today is a ‘Freedom Anniversary’ for me! It is a big deal! My life has been a progression of stepping towards freedom.
The battles have been long, dangerous and hard to win in order to free myself. Both physically and spiritually. I am not completely there yet – it is a life-long exploration and journey to free myself. The chains and bars in my prisons, because I find they are legion, are very strong. My Alcatraz type barren -rock islands were such a long way from shore, with many snipers, predators and sharp rocks in the water and on all sides of the shores. My guards were very alert and ready to shoot me, or keep me locked down and in solitary for my whole life. They were gleeful when I fell and happy over my pain and destruction.
And yet, the love, the words, and truth, of God were so much more powerful than any of these things, that no prison in this world could not hold me and, for 22 years now, I keep walking out of my prisons into the brilliant light and sunshine of the free!!!!

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage|
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
And the trade winds soft through
The sighing trees
And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright
Lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.

Seek Love, Freedom, Justice, Courage and Respect

Under even the greatest oppression, a select few people have what they need. But this is not true justice. True justice is a whole society that is just; therefore there is no justice until there is justice for all. For this reason the struggle for justice is never-ending; there will always be setbacks, but never a reason to give up.

Even under the worst tyrant, there may be a powerful few who are free to act as they choose. But this is not true freedom. True freedom is a society in which everyone is free; therefore there is no freedom until all are free. For this reason the struggle for freedom must always set people free; freedom can never be achieved by coercion.

Injustice is always hidden, disguised as the way things ought to be, protected by social habits and assumptions that we never question or confront. Seeking justice always requires that we dismantle existing social structures. Those who seek justice will always meet resistance, but it is a struggle of truth against fear, and truth is stronger. 

The freedom and justice God intends for us (part of what Jesus called the Kingdom of God) is not a far-off fantasy; it is a gift implanted within us at our very creation. It arises as a gift when we treat one another with reverence. It can’t be enforced or manipulated or brought about by fear, violence or threat. It can only be set free in us. It can only be achieved by nonviolence.

Reverence overpowers coercion. It may take great time and sacrifice, but it will not fail. Even in offering its opponents the freedom to reject it, nonviolence has succeeded in setting all parties free. Even God does not threaten, coerce or manipulate us, but offers us grace and reverence. The cross is God’s nonviolence.

Our reverence toward others, including our enemies, regardless of the cost to us, even the cost of our lives, unleashes the infinite, world-changing, life-giving power of God’s grace in us. Just as an exploding bomb releases itself into the area around it with destructive force, a loving person releases herself into the world with creative power. This is the mystery of resurrection.

Martin Luther King, Jr. lived the resurrection life. Give thanks today for all those who have given of themselves for the sake of freedom and justice. And pray that you may have the courage, faith and compassion to stand among them, to join in the sacred struggle for “justice and liberty for all.”
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

A Scottish challenge for us this day – from one of my favorite writers!

Behind the Wires

Look around you, can’t you see what you’re missing,
Look around you, open your eyes;
There’s a whole world of loving and meeting
In a place where hostility dies.

Oh, I know that you don’t mean to hurt me,
You only want to protect what you’ve got,
But don’t you know the best way to lose it
Is to think that your freedom can be bought.

If you shut out your spirit of adventure,
If you close up your heart from within,
You build walls to keep out the danger
and find that you’ve locked yourself in.

I believe that peace is what we’re after,
But we’ve drawn up the lines for a war;
Surrender in trust to one another,
It’s the only thing worth fighting for.

So come out from behind your fences,
You’re in a war that no one can win,
Take a chance, lay down your defenses,
If I pull down the wire from the outside
Please won’t you pull it down from within.


Kathy Galloway (written for the women of the Greenham Common Peace Camp)
Love Burning Deep
used with permission



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