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Even in Temples

Deng Ming-Dao writes how silence has sound. When I meditate, the sounds I hear strike me. Leonard Cohen’s quote echos that with “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Our senses cannot be totally shut off. We feel, hear, see, smell, taste, etc. even when we do not realize it. It is in the moments of quiet or darkness that we see sounds and light are always there. When we are mindful and attentive to our activities and senses, what we did not sense is there. It is in the mindful and meditative moments that the world–its allness–are there for us to soak in.

I told my students that much of the meaning to be found in poetry came in the pauses and silences between words, lines, and stanzas. Poetry touches our souls in those silences. When we pause and soak in the poetry, including the silences it shares with us, the meaning comes to life, only to change the next time we read the lines. In this sense, poetry, like life, is about living its meaning, sensing that is fleeting, incomplete, and fluid.

Even in temples
Where residents vow never to talk,
And silence is worshiped,
There is sound.
There are songs.
There is poetry.

Memories incarnated,
Lifetimes pulled through a thousand minds,
Cadences bearing time,
Rhymes connecting life,
Stanzas stacked like the generations.

Those who follow Tao write poetry.
Read poetry.
Live poetry.
And enter Tao through its lines.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

20 responses »

  1. A beautiful light filled post Ivon. Thank you. ☀️

  2. this offers me a
    moment of lightness 🙂

  3. Soaking still. Had to read the text repeatedly to get a true feel of it! Excellent!

  4. The breath, our most immediate necessity, has two pauses, after the inhale and exhale. If we quiet enough, the inhale and exhale make sounds.

    Our bodies are in motion with the inhale and exhale, it is only when we pause that our bodies are in a sort of suspended animation.

    We miss the small miracles that surround us, our minds race and multitask getting lost in thought and emotion.

    We rarely leave our head to xperince life from our heart, where a deeper knowing exists.

  5. Yes. I am one who hears sounds in silence, often music. It makes ‘listening to music ‘ almost vulgar in comparison. Love the Cohen quote and the post in general. Aloha, Ivon.

  6. What a beautiful and inspiring post! I am made better for reading it, and echo the sendiment of meditating and reflecting on life, in the stillness and silence of life. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  7. Just like poetry, I’ve heard it said that music is the silence between the notes. In meditation, the silence brings sights and sounds not normally seen or heard…at least it does for me.

  8. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  9. Beautifully written, Ivon.
    It is almost impossible, I have found, to articulate the affect of poetry upon our senses. Here, you have encapsulated the nuances of poetry with ease!


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