Birds of prey
fly their victims
live into the eye-blue sky

with intent

to drop them, split them, kill them
and then feed upon them.

I long
to be that prey;
to be sundered –

(like the sacrificial lamb, the turtle and the russet crab).

want my heart
to crack and scatter
its gems on the hard grey stone.

want my guts
to burst and spread
their filth on the grassy slopes.

want my brain
to splinter and pierce
you with its obsidian shards.

to be a feast
of truth you will devour.


40 thoughts on “Pray

  1. Hi Michele

    Great! Unusual perspective, so very engaging.
    The only discordant ‘note’ for me was the guts and filth.

    Write more. It’s too long between drinks, so to speak.


  2. As usual, I always feel as though I’ve been hit below the belt when I read one of your poems Michele, such powerful imagery, and I loved your last lines.
    Funnily enough the word ‘filth’ jarred with me too…I’ve tried to understand why, and think it;’s because for me, it’s a pejorative or even judgmental word, which isn’t a part of your beautiful poetry..

    And yes… more please! ( when you feel inspired !)

    • Dear Valerie, I shall take the poem punching “below the belt” as a compliment, but I am very sorry to have distressed you with my “filth”! I suppose I was wanting to express the sentiment of being completely open, and willing to offer up every part of the self for transformation into something beneficial to others. I was lucky enough to receive some teachings from the Dalai Lama on the weekend, and he continually referred to this desire – much more eloquently and powerfully than me of course! Do you know this prayer, form Shantideva’s “The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.” (HHDL’s favourite) Prayer of the Bodhisattva

      As long as space endures, As long as sentient beings remain, Until then, may I too remain and dispel the miseries of the world.

      There is lots of amazing imagery in the full poem, expressing the desire to offer up everything, good and bad, for others. It is very inspiring!

      My poem doesn’t quite hit the mark of course, but that was where I was coming from.

      Thanks for reading Valerie, take care x

      Sent from my iPad

      • Dear Michele,
        yes it was a compliment, your poems always hit the mark !
        No, I wasn’t distressed by the word filth…I just feel that since all things are part of the Whole, and the One, nothing about you could be less than beautiful and perfect…
        And you expressed perfectly the idea behind
        the exquisite Boddhisattva poem. with love, Valerie

  3. Let me explain further (for myself). “Filth” and it’s links to your guts being a negative perspective was fine by me, as in having its validity, but when I came to the last line and the word “truth” linked to what was being devoured, ie your filthy guts, that’s when I experienced disharmony – truth and filth, I suppose.

    Anyway, hope that is clearer and makes sense.

    • Hi Gigi. Thanks so much for your interesting comments! I think you are spot on in saying that wether the word “filth” fits into the poem or not, depends upon your interpretation of “truth”. It is probably the Buddhist in me that feels the two are not unhappy bedfellows: first because of the emphasis those practises place on acknowledging all the negative inside so that they can be transformed into a positive: and second because in emptiness, there is no ugly or beautiful, all equally emerges from “truth” – it is only our mind that differentiates and creates “filth” by labelling it so. But then again, maybe that is just me! Either way, I appreciate the lively discussion! Take care x

      Sent from my iPad

      • I understand the Buddhist concept.
        After your response (thanks!), I see it as more of a linearity issue (for me); that is, filth was filth (with integrity) but then when it had become a part of truth (by devouring time), truth holding all, filth and non-filth, then it was truth only. Just truth.

  4. Michele, this is a powerful and very well crafted poem even down to the arrow head shape of the verses which conveys the image of falling and bursting and spreading, as well as the piercing by the obsidian shards. Also, I wonder whether you were inspired to write it by the picture or did that just come afterwards?

    • Thank you Malcolm, a very astute comment! I did take some time getting the layout to reflect the descent of the prey in this poem, so I’m happy you thought it added to the impact. In answer to your question, the poem is always first for me, and then I try to find a picture that reflects or adds to it. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment 🙂

      Sent from my iPad

  5. Whoa! Talk about intense. This piece is ferocious and unrelenting. It’s as if the reader is your prey, and you drop us into this vat of stark images–and force us to see the beauty there. I am not as brave as you, friend?

    Don’t tell me who, but did you have someone in mind in the lines where you say “you” in the last 2 stanzas?

  6. I seem to have freaked everybody out with this poem! Perhaps it is what you mention, that I have picked up the reader with me, and taken them on a journey they were not necessarily up for. Whoops!

    The ‘you’ in the last stanzas refers to everybody. I just wanted to express a sense of opening yourself up completely and without discrimination, unreservedly giving to others whatever you have to give. It is a bit brave, isn’t it? Don’t know what got into me! Thanks for reading Michael, take care. 🙂

  7. Fantastic, Michele. I love the pray/prey play on words, and the sentiment here is perfectly expressed for me. I think it works with a frightening intensity. All too rarely experienced perhaps, but when it is – wow!

  8. Captivating poem, Michele. Creating images that were quite unexpected caused me to read your poem over again carefully and think for a while about it. Well done.

  9. Well, this one leaves me breathless. I love that you have grabbed your truth by the throat, dragged it down and ground it into the earth. There is nothing left for this poem to do, but burst into light. Considered the offering… thoroughly devoured.

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