is a temple
that we seek

and flee. We set
and rake
our squares of sand

stone and soil.
There’s breath
as well as breeze

on our necks.
There’s purpose
as well as perplexity

in our palms. We know
terror is more temporary
than peace.  Still

that logic
won’t sing us to sleep.
So don’t.

Wake gently
when you are.

Lay softly
when you do.

Let’s crouch
to watch

the ants and bats
butterflies and centipedes
maggots and mayflowers.

Let’s breathe
life’s weave and jolt,
its dart and drift.

We are wise
to create sanctuaries; and

We are wise
to sniff the walls.

– Naomi Byrnes


The artwork is a response to the prompt abstract and the mindfulness activity: creativity from a crumpled state.

The poem is one I found in a notebook this morning. I’d started it in response to the prompt ‘simple‘ and ended up posting something else that day.

The poem had new resonance for me today, as I’ve been reading Bessel Van Der Kolk’s ‘The Body Keeps The Score’.  So this post is also my contribution to the 52 weeks of thankfulness quest.

I’m thankful for the persistence of Bessel Van Der Kolk and all his clients and colleagues over many decades. They are researching and advancing techniques that respect the reality of trauma … and seeking to prevent trauma from needlessly continuing to do harm. It’s difficult yet vital work, because “terrible things happen to people” is not a topic that we welcome. Yet, understandnig trauma and how to heal and prevent it is key to significantly reducing the violence and pain in our homes, streets and world.

I’m finding such hope in what can be achieved when we find ways to feel safe to be in our bodies, respect their amazing survival skills … and let them know what they know, moment by moment.