These are a few poems which have been inspired by the conversations with the guests on seeds – as well as some which guests have written.
A poem written for Rebecca Parnham who I spoke with for Episode 145:
Seeds of Love
We talk and in every second sentence I hear
Someone else who helped, another name
While division was his goal, it’s clear
As seeds of love are planted, unity draws near
Even if life will never again be the same
For in those brief moments of that day,
last breaths were stolen from so many lives
The way things were can’t remain or stay
And yet still a smile, for come what may
With empathy, love and hope still strives
So let’s turn our faces together, not apart
Learning to talk, uniting for brave deeds
Like laughing and listening, it’s a start
And maybe it will help heal each heart
Giving us courage to plant more seeds
This is a poem that a guest, Alina Siegfried, read out during our interview.
Inspired by David Clifford, episode 123 here
That teacher who believed
in you. It was decades ago
but the memory is fresh.
Who saw potential
where others saw none.
I can see the tears rising as I ask
“What shaped him that way?”
You’re not sure. He just was.
But perhaps someone played that role
in his life too.
A catalyst for finding meaning
for so many ships setting out.
What does his legacy mean
for us, for me. How do I go about
not trying to inscribe my name
on stone buildings that will crumble
but inputting into lives,
weaving into hearts
that beat and grow.
I give myself permission
to laugh, to cry, to ask questions
I give myself permission
To embrace others
I give myself permission
To stay curious
I give myself permission
To be truly present
This is a poem that Natasha Zimmerman wrote to answer my usual question of “where are you from”, as well as a video of her reading it.
I am from frigid six-month winters and the abiding awe of snowfall,
From harvest-time suppers in dusty fields
And the clean, clean earth of mud-soaked country roads.
I am from oceans away and here.
I am from America, but not this one.
I belong everywhere I’ve ever been.
I am from stacks and stacks of dog-eared books,
From abandoned umbrellas and the golden hour.
I am from poetry and cello music,
From furrowed brows and furrowed fields.
I am from kisses by starlight and broken hearts by daylight.
I am from knowingness and mystery.
I am from the certainness of the sacred.
I am from my grandpa’s galoshes and gentle shoulder squeezes.
I am from the strong hands of my grandmothers,
Made of sterner stuff than me.
I am from big questions and small ones too,
And I am from the loveliest of all human acts:
The soft soul-bow of inhabiting this moment with you.
Natasha reading that poem:
Poem reflecting on the conversation with Natasha Zimmerman, episode 125:
Abiding awe, you say.
Those words speak to me of patience.
Of planting deep into dark soil,
grateful for the sun’s warmth.
Of watching, hoping for rain.
Then watching miracles,
as the smallest of seeds rise.
From hard casings to soft growth.
From death into life.
Transformed from within.
What might these curated conversations reveal
as we scratch beneath the hard surface,
of repetitive answers to the simple
yet profound, “how are you”?
Getting past that first hard layer
to the rich places where roots can grow.
What seeds might be planted if we
come together with an attitude
soaked in vulnerability, and gratitude.
What might such seeds yield as a harvest?
Let’s plant and see.
Inspired by photographer Jonathan Lee, episode 22 here.
Your eye is
Your heart is
Your mind is
Look out for the light
that sliver of time,
that fragile crystalline moment
that will reveal
a hidden dimension.
Turn a photo into portraits. Into art.
Reveal something new
like an explorer’s first map
of an unknown country.
First steps. First dawns. First light.
Showing what was previously unknown.
Pull back layers to reveal
something about them and perhaps
So keep telling their stories.
Keep painting, with light.
Inspired by environmental social scientist Franca Buelow, episode 28 here.
Your smiling and dancing mother swings through the room as we talk
The laugh of your father follows her for they
are present as you tell the story
of a childhood outside
and inside books
And now, today
weaving the strands together
life unexpectedly adding a few more
diversity of thought that each serves to inform the others
like a sunset blending light, sky, cloud – together, all the more brilliant
Inspired by Peter Beck, episode here.
The thinnest of barriers
separates us from wonder.
From an understanding of love, waiting.
As paper cannot be seen through
yet we know it is so thin.
Shine a light on it and see for yourself.
Like the sun hitting a silver platter
And reflecting into open eyes.
Open to the possibility
that your presence will be with us
no matter which path is chosen.
Or like holding a midnight candle
held in the dark at a service
more than 50 years ago.
A moment in time.
These encounters, unfolding elegantly,
revealing within the very idea,
that God is with us always.
Inspiring hushed whispers.
Look – right there!
That sense of wonder rises
filling us up to the brim
from the inside.
Seek out the thin places,
point them out to others
that love may grow.
Inspired by Michelle Sharp, episode 1 here with her life story, and later on Kilmarnock here.
There is real value
in an encouraging word.
if they’re heard.
So speak them now.
Why wait until tomorrow.
Their home is here, today.
Inspired by poet Kathleen Gallagher, episode here.
Some conversations are like jewels
Found, unexpectedly, on a rocky beach
A West Coast beach full of grey rock
that has been buffeted by wind, rain, waves
and over time perfectly formed
coloured stones into smooth objects of desire.
They are often buried, seldom on the surface.
The secret to find them? Come closer,
for I only whisper this answer.
It is lost in the wind to many.
You need to be attentive and present.
Be in the moment and aware, looking out
Not rushing from this here to another there
to find these jewels you must open your eyes
and really see what is around you.
Breathe deep. Look to the old language.
Wait. Ponder this. Break it down more.
Aro means to notice
Ha means to breathe
So be attentive to each breath.
Be present, seek out peace
The guidance is written there
in the words themselves.
This is the antidote to our
stumbling from person to person
our interactions shallow, casual.
Seldom seeking the deepest questions.
Too busy with the trivial and mundane to ask:
Who are you, what formed you
and how can we help each other, my friend?
Yes, our conversation was all this.
A rare gift given
I’ll go look for more.
Inspired by architect and community builder Camia Young, episode 30 here.
Connecting people with their purpose
Is where your prevailing wind blows
Moving always in the same direction
something your heart already knows
Avoid the danger in purpose world
That altruism dominates all
Removing ourselves completely
As we listen only to ‘the call’
Instead take the past and you’re learning
Let it influence the here and now
What form that will take is a detail
Get the ‘why’ right to discover the ‘how’
For what gets built is not the real thing
It’s people who provide the true base
For with them comes the reason for being
As a building turns into a place.
Inspired by Amy Marsden, episode 24 here.
My dictionary is lacking this word
for it means more to you
than it has to me.
I thought it meant ‘family’
Yet you describe a web of connections
running deep and strong
living and pulsing wider and wider
to encompass all who come across your path
Your definition is better.
Do you mind if I write it in here
and adopt it
as my own
Inspired by Netta Egoz, episode 3 here.
Like an echo
down the path
of a wandering life
as if it were a childhood friend
who can open a new door
of different possibilities
walking through while clasping close
who you are
before you choose,
what you’ll do.
Purpose – like a piece
of gifted greenstone.
Pounamu, lighting the way
down paths that
will one day lead
Inspired by Cheryl Doig, episode 62 here.
A privilege denied to many
That child, you said
was killed for stealing five dollars.
Decades ago now,
yet grief still fresh in a mother’s eyes.
What was his name?
No response could truly reflect
the value of a life snuffed out
blown like a candle
light flickers, fades
It gives perspective
to, well, everything.
These lines, these thoughts, the past, future,
A creeping sadness
if I let it come in.
Like a cat it wants to curl up
by me and follow me around asking for my attention.
We each complain as birthays pass.
We make jokes – light hearted.
But deep rooted, we are perhaps saying
I was better when I was younger.
How untrue, and truly
that is an insult to him.
To all who did not get that
choice of having another birthday.
So do not complain about getting old.
It is a privilege denied to many.
Inspired by 10 year old Shanna Moe, episode 5 here.
You are far more precious
than this poem,
or anything else I will ever be involved in creating.
For you embody all
my hopes and dreams.
You spur me on to attempt
to be worthy of what I’ve been entrusted.
May I be given the grace to wisely
teach from my past
so you can be fully alive in the present
and expand the frontiers of what is possible in your future
Inspired by urban food farmer Bailey Peryman, episode 7 here.
Hard ground like pavement abandoned
Only allows for some weeds
Until you break it up into good soil
A chance at new life for some seeds
Though looking dead, like brown pebbles
Each one is placed with great care
glimpses of green, small miracles
The wonder is we don’t stop and stare
In the same way the hands that are helping
May have hardened minds that won’t yield
Most look and see only lost causes
You look and see an uncultivated field
Perhaps more important than produce
Or crops for a cafe or store
Are the seeds of purpose planted in minds
Growing thoughts that they can be more
Inspired by Holly Norton, episode 69 here.
Rain falls on my roof
like a thousand fingers typing
drenching all who venture out
small streams turning into flood
moving the long settled stone
washing up gold nuggets to shore
Yet each drop on its own would go
unnoticed, likely brushed aside
like so many daily distractions.
Only when pooled together they create
force, momentum, change
Inspired by social entrepreneur Daniel Flynn, episode 8 here.
Standing beneath this green tree
its branches are wide
sweeping above you.
Farther than you realise
waving back and forth.
Living. Like a dancer.
I see you there
Selling this and that. Busy.
The tree offers shelter and shade
covering all you do.
Don’t forget to
listen to the leaves
as they shake in the wind.
Reminders. Maybe whispers.
(It’s hard to do that
In the middle of a sale).
Don’t forget to
Reach out and grab a hanging apple.
Sustenance. Soul food.
(It’s hard to do that
when catering is covered).
Don’t forget to
ask a child what they see
when looking up.
Perspective. Joyful moments.
(It’s hard to do that
writing a strategic plan).
For in the end perhaps
observing the tree.
May be more important than we realise.
More important than
all that kept us busy.
What is the tree?
You tell me.
Inspired by Kit Hindin, episode 9 here.
Why is my answer always “busy”,
to the question, “how are you?”
I’ve forgotten to stay still.
Breathe deep and remain true.
My calling and my purpose,
are drowned out by other cries.
They demand attention yet lead,
to a surface life, in disguise.
So steal silent moments. Slow down.
Reflect, for time will tell.
How pure the water is,
that is drawn from the deepest well.
Inspired by Mark Ambundo, episode 10, here and a second episode here.
If our purposes are like arrows
pointing in the way we should go
I see you have a quiver full
and carry with you a strong bow
May they fly where you will them,
always straight and true,
and in the end point people
Beyond, to what’s bigger than you.
Inspired by Academic Dr James Austin, episode 12 here.
You Done Good
A life time of living
A life stream flowing
always in the same direction.
Like a river,
carving down a valley.
Consistent through the
ebbs and flows ofthe seasons.
Life choices made.
What match mountains?
Against a consistencyof purpose.
and the river flows and deepens
diverges in new directions
you hadn’t seen coming.
Work, perhaps better called
mission – entrusted
to the next callused hands.
So the river flows on
Inspired by Mark Prain who knew Sir Edmund Hillary and how they came up with a new venture together, episode 19 here.
Mountains cast long shadows across the land,
those who conquer them even more.
That day you shook a very mountain’s hand
deciding together to take a stand.
Creating something unseen before.
Throw out your plan that’s ‘crazy’
for all at this table to see.
Don’t worry if the vision is hazy
(unless you’re a little bit lazy).
open their eyes to all it can be.
Consequences unseen wait round river bends,
as hope and hard work give birth.
For as yet unknown allies and future friends
all help as time, the future lends
Starting something of worth.
So don’t be afraid of that half waking thought,
for all may not be what it seems.
Grab the idea tight, show what you’ve caught,
it may be exactly what they’ve also sought,
and become more than an echo of dreams.
Inspired by entrepreneur Michael Mayell, episode 44 here.
Failure, like compost
for new ideas
that are scattered like seeds.
Some take root
Inspired by Film Director Marcelle Lunam, episode 50 here.
I am connected to you each and every day.
Long gone, your only trace in
childhood memories you gifted to me.
They surface when I look through old photos,
when I watch an old film you took
of my Mother, a debutante.
I showed her smiling and alive at her funeral.
Each life precious, flickering, gone.
Yet it was you who taught me age 6 about shades,
who showed me Italian paintings,
and inspired me to think beyond what I saw.
To collect colour, compile sound.
So in telling these stories you are woven in
for really all I am traces back to you.
Maybe then, you are less forgotten than I thought.
Maybe I can be the same for another child.
Inspired by Rwandan Refugee Simon Mbonyinshuti, episode 61 here.
Your identity stripped away
in a gunshot moment.
Carrying with you only your name.
Clinging to it as you hid in the dark,
under beds, under chairs,
emerging from a tomb,
Photos all gone,
memories only remain.
what is forgotten.
And yet even then,
The word whispered,
Your new life built on those four letters.
Claiming back identity, this field in which to plant seeds,
and watch them grow.
Inspired by 90 year old Sister Mary Scanlon, episode here .
A Life of Service
You describe being 16 and holding the hand
of an old man breathing his last.
Your memory of that moment still,
crystal clear though long in the past.
Inexorably drawn to this life,
of service – for deep calls to deep.
Your name an echo of others – one enough
Examples of the promises you keep.
Memories created over these years
helping many move past fear of death into light
Love at all times, the cascading call,
may we never let that slip from our sight.