Green Tara Prayer

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

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

After Many Years Absent

After Many Years Absent

Single bits of many houses clumped together
green shingled eves, a patched chimney
cracked, layered slate roofing, and attic dormers
the pale sky almost violet, fading in
this between hour after dinner and before bedtime

I have spent the day inside this house, alone
going through the rooms one floor at a time
lumbering methodically trying
to put all that has been moved or removed
back where it was before I left
before I knew I would ever leave,
before I knew I would have to leave
Not much has changed. Only a few things
Time changes

I do not remember my crib even now
that I see it stowed in the attic next to Gramma’s
steamer trunk where Christmas ornaments packed
in old egg cartons and tissue paper
have been kept since she died in 1968.
The painted animals on the crib are worn
barely recognizable scant remains of a blue elephant
and the hindquarters of a zebra;
the whole of it covered in dust.

Do I remember my highchair? my potty? the yellow bear?
The yellow bear on the potty! Balloons tethered to his overalls fallen down around fuzzy ankles,
balloons red yellow blue & green.
I am sure I loved that bear.

I crouch down low below splintered raw beams
the dry air challenging my lungs. Light slips through
torn parts of the yellow browned parchment shade
nailed to the window frame and sill; worn, musty
holding secrets inside trapped away from the scorching sun
beating against the high dormer pane.

They told me over supper last night that I used to pinch Gramma’s legs, they say, to see her skin turn black and purple. I remember liking Gramma Lillian. Lillian Marie.
She died when I was four and they did not let me go to her funeral. I was too young for death, they said, and sent me to Mrs. Murphy. I do remember Gramma’s stockinged legs plump cushions from my head, those big black nun shoes, and the finely stitched hem of paisley dresses purple blue and dark maroon. I wrapped my arms around her legs and squeezed tightly, sometimes afraid, sometimes rocking and giggling safe from the harsh voices above. She never minded often stroked my hair gently. Yes, Gramma, I remember. Lillian Marie.

Warm afternoon after Thanksgiving meal
sitting in the bay window with my toy box.
Outside a bird, a robin perched on the icy gate swung open,
crushed against the trellis where honeysuckle climbs in Spring
flower to lick sweet and birdie looks hungry.
Why are you crying, little man? Come here. What are you looking at?
The birdie? Why won’t you stop crying? You have all your nice toys.”
A man said, “Leave him be. Kids cry. That’s what they do.
You spoil them if you pick them up every time they cry.”
The door between the kitchen and dining room swings open;
“I’ll be finished soon then he’ll have his nap. You two go relax.”

The gate was supposed to be closed,
not smashed up against the vine.
Someone should close the gate!
The honeysuckle will be smashed and broken
there will be no sweet in Spring
she will be furious if someone doesn’t close the gate
“Fly away birdie! Fly away!” I scream inside.

Now I look out over Maplewood through the torn shade
Catholic churches and the bulky industry of the forties
stand where once vast groves of maple pine poplar & cherry grew.
The rust colored leaves of McMullin’s sappy maple loose their grip on the parched branches waiting for rain
beyond Albemarle & Clay streets further out away
down Dewey Avenue the structures diminish into flatland
ending at the shore of Lake Ontario. One steel smokestack
at Kopdak Park on Ridge Road snatches the last glint of the sinking sun
vomits white steam hot cold joining as darkness approaches,


Poem: I Must Go to Hephaestus (a Sestina)

hephathena Poem Mark Hannan I must go to haephestus
Athena Scorning the Advances of Hephaestus ca.
Paris Bordone (Italian-Venetian, 1500-1571)
Oil on canvas (61.78) Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri-Columbia

I Must Go to Hephaestus (a Sestina)
I try to find comfort for myself
not only with words in private
but, by howling from the ashes:
a raven from dust.
Not with words in private,
but to go boldly as I tell my tale
of a raven from dust;
knowing how one can surely wish to die.
I go slowly as I tell my tale
of how she chained my heart away –
I know how one can surely wish to die.
She had all my love, and betrayed it.She chained my heart away,
it hung to dry in my belly;
She had all my love and betrayed it –
the wailings now burst in flame.Heart hung to dry,
I carry my head, as a quiver
full of the wailing burst to flame.
Now you have seen a flower between my ribs.

I carry my head as a quiver…
shoot down every advance…
but you have seen the flower between my ribs.

Every advance shot down
lay in a circle iron around – No more!
I will seize this chance like prey,
destroy this cycle inbred, bound.

In a circle iron round
many voices, not my own
echo the cycle inbred bound –
No more! I must go to Hephaestus.

My voice my own
reaches from mud thick molten rust
for Hephaestus, his art:
Craft of shifting shame to sterling.

I reach through thick molten rust
my tongue, flames for his fire –
to shift shame to sterling, the silence broken;
raven from dust risen.

My tongue, flame, flower
freed, from chain and iron
to raven now rising, risen
heart with no wish to die.

Freed from chain and iron
I come from Hephaestus,
with heart and lung
and no wish to die.

by Mark Hannan, from After Many Years Absent, © Studio Press 1993

About the Painting:

In this elegantly choreographed work, Bordone has created a titillating play of dominance and submission between Hephaestus (Vulcan) and Athena (Minerva). Hephaestus is the aggressor in his attempted restraint of Athena, but his gesture is also one of palpable desperation. His exposed backside and his unstable pose make him appear vulnerable, more so perhaps than the armored goddess. She looks down with apparent displeasure, drawing her arm back in an ambiguous gesture that can be interpreted as self-protective withdrawal and perhaps as preparation for a backhanded swipe.

Sing, clear voiced Muse, of Hephaistos, renowned for his inventive skill, who with grey-eyed Athene, taught to men upon earth arts of great splendor, men who in former days lived like wild beasts in mountain caves. But having learned skills from Hephaestus, famed for his work and craftsmanship, they now, free from care, peacefully live year by year in their houses. Be gracious, Hephaestus, and grant me excellence and prosperity! –Homeric Hymn to Hephaestus

Hephaestus, the master artisan, broke the silence, Out of concern for his ivory-armed mother: “This is terrible; it’s going to ruin us all. If you two quarrel like this over mortals It’s bound to affect us gods. There’ll be no more Pleasure in our feasts if we let things turn ugly. Mother, please, I don’t have to tell you, You have to be pleasant to our father Zeus So he won’t be angry and ruin our feast. If the Lord of Lightning wants to blast us from our seats, He can – that’s how much strong he is. So apologize to him with silken-soft words, And the Olympian in turn will be gracious to us… I know it’s hard, mother, but you have to endure it. I don’t want to see you getting beat up, and me Unable to help you.” Iliad I: 603-21, Lombardo translation

A thorough history of Hephaestus: myth/hephaestus.htm

For poetry buffs, here’s a description of the Sestina form:


The name Sestina is derived from the Italian sesto (sixth).
Historically, the Sestina is a French form. It appeared in France in the twelfth century, initially in the work of Arnaut Daniel. He was one of the troubadours or court poets and singers in the service of French nobles.
Troubadours were lyric poets. They began in Provence in the eleventh century. For the next two centuries, they flourished in South France, East Spain, and North Italy, creating many songs of romantic flirtation and desire. Their name is from the French trobar, to “invent or make verse”.
The Sestina was one of several forms in the complex, elaborate, and difficult closed style called trobar clus (as opposed to the easier more open trobar leu).Form:
In a traditional Sestina:
The lines are grouped into six sestets and a concluding tercet. Thus a Sestina has 39 lines.
Lines may be of any length. Their length is usually consistent in a single poem.
The six words that end each of the lines of the first stanza are repeated in a different order at the end of lines in each of the subsequent five stanzas. The particular pattern is given below. (This kind of recurrent pattern is “lexical repetition”.)
The repeated words are unrhymed.
The first line of each sestet after the first ends with the same word as the one that ended the last line of the sestet before it.
In the closing tercet, each of the six words are used, with one in the middle of each line and one at the end.
The pattern of word-repetition is as follows, where the words that end the lines of the first sestet are represented by the numbers “1 2 3 4 5 6”:1 2 3 4 5 6 – End words of lines in first sestet.
6 1 5 2 4 3 – End words of lines in second sestet.
3 6 4 1 2 5 – End words of lines in third sestet.
5 3 2 6 1 4 – End words of lines in fourth sestet.
4 5 1 3 6 2 – End words of lines in fifth sestet.
2 4 6 5 3 1 – End words of lines in sixth sestet.
(6 2) (1 4) (5 3) – Middle and end words of lines in tercet.