Category Archives: compassion

Let the Truth Be Known

IL Route 22, Sept. 2017, copyright MDMikus

I’m normally a pretty high energy person, an optimist. For a while I’ve not posted new poems (maybe one), nor written much. My energy’s been very low and I was mostly on hold. Every day I would try to do something. Maybe bike 10 minutes or get a load of wash done. Maybe just take my medications on time, eat healthy meals. Hang out with my husband. Breathe, drink enough water. This was not depression, which I recognize.

Because I am who I am, I tried to figure this out, made a list of fatigue factors. Tried to find what I could do about any of them. Slowly I am edging back to what feels like normal for me. Today was a good day.

I’m not saying any of this to get suggestions, and I appreciate your concern, truly. There are some things in life I can’t do anything about and I hate that (as Anne Lamott says). My youngest sister, Dorothy, is dealing with stage 4 aggressive breast cancer and has for almost 5 years. She is ten years younger than me. I was kind of a second mother and we are still close. Over the years I’ve done a lot of writing to help both of us. And I can support her in some ways, but I cannot fix this and the stress of it affects all of us.

I believe in healing. I have experienced profound body, mind, spirit healing for myself…more than once. And I also know there is much mystery in what happens, to whom, and why.

Dorothy has helped a lot of people in these 5 years. As she goes through the medical world, she spreads around what she learned from me about guided imagery, homeopathy, energy work (like acupuncture and reiki) etc. Her current oncologist encourages her to get massage and reiki etc. because it helps her feel better and thus do better. She’s shared my poems with her support group and taught me a lot. (She really likes “cupping” for pain–do you remember the Olympic athletes who used it?) She hugs everyone (a family trait).

One way I’ve learned to deal with anxiety of all types is to be grounded and in the present moment. “Right here. Right now” I say, even aloud sometimes.

Writing is coming back which feels wonderful, like I am coming back into myself. Here is a recent poem prompted by a video of an interview of Patti Smith. The poem reminded me there is always a context to what goes on all around me–the big picture, the cycles, the mystery of it all.

9/21/17

Let the Truth Be Known

After an Interview with Patti Smith
Posted on Facebook by Jan Krist

If I could tell you
truthfully
knowing what I know
the facts, the narrative arcs…

if I could say to you
eye to eye
unblinking
no fingers crossed—
however unlikely it seems
now
looking around
reading as much as I can bear
and stay sane
and still sleep at night

I would say:
It all works out
Not as some Pollyanna
apple-cheeked naivete but
I trust—on some level—
all is well and all shall be well

I do not know the details
I barely, barely know my place in it
on a single day
but I know that in this
pervasive dark
under the most abhorrent rocks
as truth is revealed
as what was wounded
in need of healing
comes to light
at first shocking but
as with many things
light and air and revelation
heals
and hope keeps breaking through
as others find answers
to the insoluble problems

I do not have to know it all
I do have to hold a space
for transformation to take place
encouraging, welcoming, embracing, accepting
the whole becoming
what it could be—

you and me…
we…

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2017

Offering–After Charlottesville

8/14/17

Offering

After Charlottesville

So this is what it takes
to wake up or
wake some up
jolted out of ennui
or apathy, depression
or lack of curiosity

This last straw
with all the others
to add to the clay
to bake in the sun
to make the bricks
to build the country
the world
we want to live in

we want to leave for
our children and their grandchildren
No, I cannot see the details
the easy way out or through
and there are no guarantees
and the risks are real
if fear is sometimes overblown
I wish I could tell you

something supremely inspiring
but what I offer is this:
my hand outstretched
reaching to clasp yours
my heart as open as I can
Will you meet me there
and begin?

No one can fix everything
Do your bit, join with others
to create all of it.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2017

Sky and Trees, Deerfield, MD Mikus, Copyright 2017

59–“To Take My Own Advice” from my poetic journal

Look Up by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2016

Listen to poem here: https://youtu.be/eBZyB2KzYqU

4/12/16

To Take My Own Advice

Some wrongs you can make right
some are not your job to fix
your life to live
Letting go is all you can do
(doing nothing is harder than it looks)

You do what you can
from what you have and where you are
You scan the horizon
and on the good days
you do what you can

And if you remember you are not
the god of anyone
and if you remember no one is like you
and what you might advise
are strung words strained through your filter

flung words flowing on a river
and you have no control whatsoever
of whether or who or when or where
All you can do is breathe out, breathe in
and right what wrongs you can

Be kind to someone
comfort, breathe with them, hold a hand
be gentle, do unto others as…

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

From upcoming collection: Resist the Slide into Darkness by Margaret Dubay Mikus

I wrote this from heartfelt personal circumstances, but it more broadly applies to today.

For more poem videos in the series

52–“Listening to Peter Mulvey” by Margaret Dubay Mikus

12/13/10

Listening to Peter Mulvey

The attempt to do something
that matters, that lasts,
meaning something to someone,

moving a heart to tears
of joy or sorrow that is familiar,
speaks to someone

or for someone,
to say something that hasn’t been,
but needs to be.

It could all be for me—
I am someone—but I refer
to the part of me, the connection,

that is someone else.
I am aware all is not light and laughter,
if not evil, then darkness

surely exists.
But in that pitch black
is still a crystal, a seed, a promise.

That is where I live.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2010

From upcoming collection: Resist the Slide into Darkness by Margaret Dubay Mikus. Listen to this poem: https://youtu.be/vS1G_Rgx4R8

I first heard Peter Mulvey at Folkstage, a live radio show on WFMT radio in Chicago, hosted by Rich Warren. Peter’s music, stories, humor, and humanness were more than entertainment, they were nourishment. They moved me and stayed with me, like velcro, inspiring many poems including this one. I’ve seen and heard Peter many times since then, always with the same penetrating effect. My heart is opened in some way by his artistry and generosity. He creates a space of grace. I chose this poem because it says something relevant for today, these times we are in. What music inspires you to be and do better?

For more poem videos in the series

Traveling the Skyway, Sept. 11, 2011 by M D Mikus, Copyright 2011

51–“White Woman from Illinois on Mandela” from “Frazzle”

Sunset in Reverse by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2014

“He might be the first to say
he was ordinary,
a man making choices with great clarity,

understanding consequences
to holding hate and anger close,
how one gets burned
and nothing gets accomplished….”

From “White Woman from Illinois on Mandela” in my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen here: https://youtu.be/hHvHZ7noO94

My internet was down today and I wasn’t sure I could get a post out. I didn’t freak out, but let it go…what will be will be. Yet a way to do it presented itself (in the form of my husband), and I took it. These videos have become my lifeline, kind of, and I needed that.

I read this poem in my voice lesson on Wednesday. Now that I’m choosing what to read each day from all the possibilities, I wanted to pick something that caught the feeling for me, the urgency maybe. I had some ideas, but I waited until the inner voice was clear. And I trusted: Read about “ordinary people” doing extraordinary things. Yes. Isn’t that part of hope, remembering…?

Flag over Harbor, Door County, Wis. by M D Mikus, Copyright 2014

For more poem videos from the series

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing