House Asunder – A Mandala & The Poetry It Inspired

House Asunder @ 2016 Bo Mackison

House Asunder @ 2016 Bo Mackison

Sometimes, after I create a mandala, I look and I see a story. Or in this case, a story written through poetry.

House Asunder

Split asunder, this house of me.
Unholy and discordant, I search old bones
for moments caught — oh tenuous, the breakthrough —
the scour of memory for treasure once shiny
bright and ribbon wrapped.

In the rubble, ladders suspended, the route out
is unclear. Heart explosions are messy affairs.

Yet shimmers cannot be denied, light still flickers
on splinters and shards. Whose task is this?
The putting together of that which has come apart?


Playing with the practice of combining mandala making and poetry writing,  part of an online workshop I’m creating that meld words, vision and place. Details coming soon!


Weave the Sky. Weave the Words.

The Stars are Singing © 2016 Bo Mackison

Weave the Sky with Stars © 2016 Bo Mackison

Weave the Sky with Stars

maple branches leafing
owls in trees hooting
worms in the earth dancing

prairie grasses rooting
breezes blowing
rivers flowing

words knowing
harmony and ease


Using words and vision and place to shine the light on the contemplative creatives’ journey.


Blessed Be the Night People – A Mandala

© 2016 Bo Mackison

Blessed Be the Night People © 2016 Bo Mackison

A mandala for insomniacs.

Blessed be the night
people, awake and listening
to starsong by moonlight.

Shine A Light


Working on my soon-to-be-offered workshop.

I’m practicing shining a light into the shadows.


Surrender. A Poem


Duality ©2016 Bo Mackison

Surrender. I know it is time.
Is there a choice?
What would that choice be, if not surrender?

Already I am on the ground
arms splayed on the solid earth that holds me,
a spinning world, this ride I’m on,
riding for life.

High on the mountain
the view is wide,
Head-in-the clouds rapture.
Yet, in a time of blindness
one misstep can prove fatal.

There are times to surrender.
Put your faith in the ground.
From this vantage one can fall repeatedly
and continue to get up,
no harm.

The be of life
for a time such as this
not the do of life.

When taking the first next step requires
the patience of a saint (and there are no saints in sight)
when even that first next step
towards that which is most desired
demands my intellect and will,
and those have been annihilated

This is the “night of non-being”
a phrase wordsmithed by Parker Palmer
who speaks of the black of depression
as only one can
from experience.

The tighter I hold the secret
the deeper the exhaustion,
and the deeper the exhaustion
the more I feed the beast of annihilation

surrender the secret
and speak the truth

speak the truth
and cling to the earth

for to survive
in the clutches of hard places,
where darkness hides all details in shroud
where will loses all sense of direction
where intellect refuses to awaken and
feelings shift-change into nothingness

I search for the life force deep within;
a flicker of light in the depths of dark
and a howl now hushed, though echoes still pervade.

Light of hope.
Echo of recognition.

The soul holds on and
the ground supports

for it is this that allows the dark its full expression.

Palmer asks can you see
not as an enemy determined to destroy
but as a friend,
a friend, sigh–
a friend pressing you to this one small square of ground
where it is safe to land. sprawl. crawl. stand.

For it is in the standing within oneself,
the turning within
that one finds truth
and learns to hear the whispers of saving grace.

Palmer names this familiar
this time as

‘full body immersion’
and I think
full body immersion, a baptism in the darkest of wells

and then as

‘full body expression’
and I think
full body expression, a closing tight and pulling in
so that
an opening is made ready

to the wonder,
to the mystery of the silence,
to the awe.

I stand in the awe,
in the essence of the sacred.

I surrender to the tension of light and dark
until I can bear the duality,
accept the duality,
embrace the duality

of the ongoing journey.



This writing was inspired by this podcast:

On Being with Krista Tippett | Parker Palmer  (On The Soul In Depression)