Smiling at the Beast

What coils out from within,
dark and inscrutable,
with no regard for all we’ve made,
how we reach to each other in the night.
One of the old gods, cruel and unyielding,
the arm of the destroyer
lifted against our tenderest mercy.
Once the void is opened, the venom released,
there’s no going backward, no pretense
that what we’ve seen is not us.
The shaman rattles slowly,
the seeds within his gourd
beating time against the hollow sphere,
against our fearful thoughts,
reminding us to keep time
with another heartbeat,
absorb the poison
and within us change again
to who we are, hand in hand,
smiling at the beast
as we slowly re-emerge
into the light.





18 Responses to “Smiling at the Beast”

  1. T Johansson says:

    OH MY! Your connections are deep and ancient, strong as piano wire, speaking in tongues long ago stilled… until now. I so honor your Sacred Gifts, Dear Brother– please keep lifting us up toward The Light!

  2. Maria Jimenez Frid says:

    Indeed a tender moment! A quiet cycle in order as we rearrange our thoughts and feelings. Thank you for this most beautiful expression, Don. We trust that the noisy beast will whimper in the face of another, larger heartbeat.

  3. Eric Dunn says:


  4. Pichay says:

    I fatigue over the frequent task of removing burrs from the hair of the beastie. Fishing hours now precious, I’d rather be about once more in the river before ice freeze-up. Love the beastie, curse the burrs…

  5. Eleanor GillMilner says:


  6. Tom Starrs says:

    The beast hates to be named. And smiling often exacerbates the intensity of their beastliness. Thank you for your poem; you are a master craftsman.

  7. Sandra M Jensen says:

    Exactly right, Don. I also see our national drama as shamanic in nature. We have a deeply divisive national shadow, and now we do shadow work.

  8. Athena Coleman says:

    This poem describes the honorable conversation that may begin now. I love the imagery of transmuting the poison and Sandra’s comment about shadow work. We’ve got this.

  9. David Banner says:

    Fabulous…that is all I can say about this one!

  10. Elizabeth Nunn says:

    There are many faces to the beast. Many smiles. But before the smiles is the stillness of going deep within and preparing. Always preparing.

  11. Frank Urbschat says:

    There can be no judgement when facing the beast. Only Love will set the stage for change.

  12. John MacKenzie says:

    Sadly we are now in the presence of the host of the beast

  13. I am so struck by the beast within myself, to look within where it really resides- only that change in each is able to shift the collective. Its many faces we must each face ourself. Thanks for this reminder.

  14. Truly lighting a candle in a very dark place, but still leaving room to curse the darkness a bit….keep ’em coming

  15. tom wilson says:

    A masterpiece. Much needed in this dark time.

  16. Richard Sims says:

    Thank you for the lucidity.

  17. Kaia True says:

    Ah yes, so needed this reminder of grace of imperfection…. Thank you.

  18. Bill Dare says:

    So Beautiful my Beast within and out. Always Good to be recognized Don. In this Birthday I am honored in the Light of all.

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