Green Tara Prayer

daily meditation prayer green tara buddhism
Rubin Museum of Art

O great mother Arya Tara

Liberator of all sentient beings

protect me so i may benefit others

whether in this life of the next.

Be here now and stay above my head

bestowing blessings and inspiration

to step forward with compassion and wisdom.

om tara tuttare ture soha

om tara tuttare ture soha

om tara tuttare ture soha

GRAPHIC: See Rubin Museum of Art – Daily Mindfulness Tips and Guided Meditation Sessions

verse copyright mark hannan 2020

Litany by the Sea


In an abundant wood
Of Queen Anne’s lace
dried and brown like bamboo,
the ant scurries its way over fallen
bramble and raspberry thorn,
twisted California poppy blooming orange.
As I lay there, intertwined
I hear an old man
with an ancient smile
in simple language say –
“Every step is a Prayer.” 1

Every feather in a wing
every sail set to sea
thread woven as cloth
horn blast in the fog
every step is a Prayer;
one hand

Every medicine taken
line and lure cast
ribbon tied in a bow
hand in the collection plate
home run or base hit;
each one
a Prayer.

Every blood draw and needle stick
tongue taste of envelope glue,
spatula slipped under bubbling eggs,
tender kiss before going to sleep –
each is a step
a test of faith;
every step is a Prayer.

Know each measure of your breath,
the rise and fall
in and out of each moment; 
of every step you take.

Every step is a Prayer
One hand


1. Wallace Blak quoting his granfather, Black Elk

Copyright Mark Hannan 1998

The Abnormal Is Not Courage…

jack gilbert monolithos poem

I love this poem, for so many reasons, but mainly because it fortifies the heart and strengthens resolve.

The Abnormal Is Not Courage…

poem by Jack Gilbert, Monolithos

The Poles rode out from Warsaw against the German
Tanks on horses. Rode knowing, in sunlight, with sabers,
A magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace.
And yet this poem would lessen that day. Question
The bravery. Say it’s not courage. Call it a passion.
Would say courage isn’t that. Not at its best.
It was impossib1e, and with form. They rode in sunlight,
Were mangled. But I say courage is not the abnormal.
Not the marvelous act. Not Macbeth with fine speeches.
The worthless can manage in public, or for the moment.
It is too near the whore’s heart: the bounty of impulse,
And the failure to sustain even small kindness.
Not the marvelous act, but the evident conclusion of being.
Not strangeness, but a leap forward of the same quality.
Accomplishment. The even loyalty. But fresh.
Not the Prodigal Son, nor Faustus. But Penelope.
The thing steady and clear. Then the crescendo.
The real form. The culmination. And the exceeding.
Not the surprise. The amazed understanding. The marriage,
Not the month’s rapture. Not the exception. The beauty
That is of many days. Steady and clear.
It is the normal excellence, of long accomplishment.

Alethea; a grounding poem

The poem Alethea, by Mark Hannan in 1993, was written as an invocation creating sacred space and is meant to be accompanied by the beat of a doumbek or celtic frame drum.

Alethea; a grounding poem for sacred space
Dionysiac procession. British Museum. about 100 CE. Rome, Roman Empire. Photo by Yair Haklai, 2009.


The need

to go

on the N Judah train

to Ocean Beach

to stand alone

facing out

dig long toes in

sand and water


Take hold, feet

root here

and roll angles round


dig in

With each toe

touch past salt chill


beyond down

through layers

of body

into belly

deep attention –

Now enter

enter the darkest point

with longing

faith will bring light

Take root

reach past

crabs burrowed there


of cormorants, sea otters & whales

push through

crusty skeletons

lost ships

& sallow dead men clutching

their loot push down

through lead tin copper

& iron step

into that ore laden vein rush of it

blood saturate each bone


with heat

churning gut reach


your body in

hot coals

that do not burn

& rest there

at the center of the earth

let go

and rise –

bring back that fire

through layers of rock wet memories


loss & chagrin

Bring up


through rich soil alive


tendrils winding up

ankle shin calf knee & thigh

to the fleshy thick

of your furry sex

sphincter anus

into belly

liver kidney & spleen



further your luminous heart

out all along your arms

from gracefully held shoulders

to elbow sinewy arm wrist fingertip

& back

to touch

supple neck

& throat open song


further fire light up

into jaw ah smile bright brow

blazing broadly

crowned with joy

in release




from After Many Years Absent & Other Poems – M. Hannan © 1993

tree, a story

devon tree


The Tree is an ancient symbol in many cultures. The Tree of Knowledge, the Family Tree, and the Tree Of Life are three powerful examples.

“Every atom belonging to you belongs to me.”  

~ Walt Whitman

Picture if you will, a Tree. An old Tree that stands in the middle of a small town. It has always been there, further back than the oldest citizen can recall. An engraved plaque rests in the ground nearby. If you ever visit this town you will want to see what is written on the plaque, and why this Tree is such a special Tree.

This Tree is known as …well …legends about this particular Tree abound; treasure buried underneath, magickal workings, shape shifting gnomes and faeries inside, that sort of thing. Perhaps I should tell you one of those legends first?

No. Let me tell you of a more recent occurrence in the life of this Tree.

It so happens, mostly for reasons of greed, prank, or science, there is periodic digging around this Tree, both officially and unofficially, skillfully and unskillfully. In fact, the last time there was digging, the Tree almost died. Quick attention to its welfare barely saved it. The fact is the Tree is in danger again, in danger of being split into pieces and hauled away and perhaps shipped to carpenters and craftsman for homes or furniture.

You see, there are those who want to dig this Tree up once and for all to make way for something else, something better, something more profitable for the New Age. They say that in a few years people won’t remember the old Tree anyway, they’ll be so happy with what has replaced it. And, if there is a treasure beneath it? Well, if they find a fortune in the process, all the better.

There has been no end of discussion in the meeting chambers of City Hall. Strong voices, ardent longing, fist pounding even, each of them sure that they have the best idea.

Some, especially the older ones, are outraged by all this. Others see themselves as progressive and modern, and still others, perhaps most, are indifferent. Indifference is the opposite of Love, not Hate.

Some have suggested that the Tree be relocated. Some think that if the Tree is relocated they might as well dig all the way to the bottom of its roots to see if indeed there is any treasure there. Of course, the fiscally minded want to know how the treasure will be spent, and by whom.

There have been many of these hearings, committees, and fact finding studies. Actually, at one point it seemed a decision had been made, but now, at the last moment, the project has been halted and sent back for further review. Something about new evidence.

All the citizens of this small town received by mail a short handwritten note requesting their presence at a Town Meeting. Something about the way it was written, the way it felt in the hand as it was read, convinced the reader that attendance at this meeting was especially important to them personally.

Everyone spoke in earnest and with conviction when discussing the invitation with others at work, on the train, over coffee, or in their dimly lit bedroom as their heads lay softly on the pillow nose to nose with a loved one. All were in agreement. All were curious. And eventhough none quite knew why, all were confident that this meeting was a significant moment in the history of their town, and their lives.

When all the townspeople were gathered in the chambers at City Hall, located alongside the park where the Tree stands, a Child walked quite unabashedly into the center of the hallowed chamber. The room was silent save the echoes of muffled coughs, a sneeze, a mother’s hand swatting the bare legs and sun browned arms of her fidgety brood.

There was something familiar about this Child in their midst; a familiarity that was keenly felt by each of them. This Child was uniquely recognizable to all those present, yet none knew the Child’s name. If the truth were to be told, those present would say that this Child reminded them of themselves when they were about that age. In fact, that is the truth. Each saw this Child as a mirror image of their own Self when they were just about that age; the same nose, that crooked little mouth, the jaunty walk.

After a moment, the Child spoke.

“What does the Tree want? Has anyone asked the Tree?”

That voice! It too was immediately recognizable as their own. The effect of hearing it was like someone calling your name in a crowded place and you turn to look to see if they mean to call you. There was stunned silence now, a lot of head nodding, whispers behind hands. Some were reacting to the Mystery of the Child, some to the question; most were simply astonished.

And they had no argument or reply to the question the Child was asking. Nor did the Child hurry them to answer. Kindness and Love were at the heart of the asking and are the root of the solution.

“What does the Tree want? Has anyone asked the Tree?”

“Well, no,” they finally managed to reply in whispers and nods.

The Child smiled, looked at each one present there, and then walked out of the chambers, through heavy doors, down marble steps, across the street, and into the lush green park where the Tree stood in Sun. They all followed, silently, as if drawn forward by memories from their own past.

This Child stood by the huge trunk of the Tree and walked around it three times. Then he moved to the periphery to make another, larger circle around all of the townspeople gathered there together in a circle around the Tree. The Child spoke softly, yet each could hear the message as clearly as an eagerly awaited secret whispered in their ear. The timbre of its voice vibrated in their hearts as the Child spoke.

“This Tree that has stood here among you farther back then the oldest citizen can recall. This Tree whose roots extend far beneath the earth, whose arms extend high into the heavens, knows the answer in its heart. If you listen you will hear its Truth.”

As the Child spoke the townspeople took each others’ hand into theirs without prompting or reserve, as if a parent naturally reached down to take their dearly beloved’s hand into their safe keeping. The Child walked around the great Tree, again looked at each and every one of them with the sweetest of smiles and tenderest affection, then placed its arms around the great gnarly trunk, hugged it tightly, and dissolved into it.
At that very moment, each of those gathered there saw the Tree differently than they had ever seen it before. It was somehow recognizable, acutely familiar, a familiarity that was keenly felt by each of them. If the truth is to be told, those present would say that the Tree reminded them of themselves. In fact, this is the truth. Each saw this Tree as a mirror image of their own Self; the same knot holes, the crooked little crevices in the bark, and the jaunty way it waved its limbs.

In the hush of their amazement they heard the Child’s laughter in the leaves. They stood there peacefully gathered in a circle around this great Tree in the center of their town, looking at themselves in each other, reassured of the Hope and Love in their hearts.

Now, if you were to go to this Tree, to try to listen for its secrets, and if you were to look down at the plaque placed in the ground alongside it, you would see, in raised letters pitted from age but brightly polished, and you would hear in the leaves above as clearly as an eagerly awaited secret whispered in your ear – your very own Name.

Copyright ©2012 Mark Hannan