The Old Scientists Who Knew ~ Clarissa Pinkolo Estes

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Vasavada taught breathing to me
as prayer, as clearing, as vision.

The popular tonglen practice
aside for a moment,
Vasavada AND Aunt Edna,
both used to say in order to calm
oneself: Breathe in blue,
breathe out red.

In our time, a super nova,
and the amazing camera lens
following it
in outer space, shows
the oxygen streaming
from this vital mass–
being blue…
and like some
of the minute gases
we breathe outward,
along with carbon dioxide,
are red seeming.

Long ago
when I trekked back home
to sit in ‘the university of the kitchen’
with my aunts and grandmothers,
I would often tell them
the fantastical stories
of latest science discoveries.

Without exception,
they all listened carefully,
were properly amazed,
asked a few questions,
consulted with
their silver-haired heads
bent toward one another
like a bouquet of white dahlias,
and then announced triumphantly:
“We already knew that!
We’ve always known that!”

Though they wouldnt
have been able to say
hydrogen, nitrogen, neon,
argon, oxygen etc.
They had their own words.

“Breathe in blue,
breathe out red”…

to propel the body
into soft peace,
into focused prayer,
into sharpened vision…
the full spectrum
from firm to plush.


Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized

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