Divine Tree


“When a soul has in it the life of the spirit, then does it bring forth good fruit and become a divine tree.”
-‘Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks

Here the hands represent the soul
in action and on that hand
is the imprint of the divine tree.

You can read and see more photographic reflections on the month of Speech at Nineteen Months.





From Melissa Shaw Smith, Woman with Landscape.

Melissa Shaw-Smith

The raven came by in the late afternoon
three caws for hello, I see you down there
fingering the damp wash on the line
weak sun on your back, wondering
if it’s strong enough for drying, halfheartedly
sweeping wet leaves, pulling
shocking green weeds out of the gutter
stroking the tabby, scenting the apple decay.

You, walking around and around
your garden, cutting tangled armfuls
of herbs to suspend in the sunny spot
over the kitchen table, pulling
rattling skeleton pods of beans out of the rain
softened earth, mounding horse manure
over the rhubarb, turning the compost
disturbing the worms.

You, standing in a tree-framed window
of sunshine, ear half listening to the whispering
of oak leaves laughing dryly at their shriveled jokes
breathing the must of leaf mold
seeking the spot by the back door, somewhere
behind the three waiting pumpkins
where the cricket has chosen to sing

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Gumbootspearlz Photography

JunePerkinsPowerBrisbane172 (c) June Perkins

Today is the day for steadfastness and constancy. Blessed are they that stand firm and immovable as the rock and brave the storm and stress of this tempestuous hour.
-‘Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

This month I just wanted to focus on tests and constancy. Rocks seem to represent streadfastness so well. I love the light cast on these rocks, representing illumination as one shows spiritual strength.

Click for more from Nineteen Months 

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A More Powerful Thought of Love



When a thought of war comes,
oppose it by a stronger thought of peace.
A thought of hatred must be destroyed
by a more powerful thought of love.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 28)

Thinking of all the places in the world in need of healing.
Thinking of all the young people in the world who need freedom
to be educated, to find jobs, to grow up and find wisdom.
Moving beyond thinking to doing what can be done.
Thinking positively and praying.

Praying in a way that leads to action.
Actions that give everyone freedom
the freedom to think and do things
that bring peace within
and between people.

Sending out a more powerful thought of love.


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Another interesting one from Melissa. Expresses how social media makes me feel sometimes!

Melissa Shaw-Smith

IMG_2557She was undone by small things
a lost button, a missed call, stale bread.
Her ribs could only expand to take in so much air
Guilt was a wolf’s shadow haunting
the end of her bed at night.
To darn a frayed patch gave her some satisfaction—
a wound remade with stout thread.
For brief moments she could make the world
stand still, cup water in her hands and watch
the pink light slipping through her fingers.
The veil was pulled back
skin against skin, moments so intense
tears burst from her eyes making her
laugh with joy and surprise.

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From The Book of Pain.

the Book of Pain


Focus down to the tiniest speck
or gape across a billion years,
but how, exactly, how?
Irises, corneas, rods and cones
are light, not sight,
the question of the question remains.

It’s patterns, I think,
it’s all about patterns—
we are pattern machines
and patterns rule our world:
edges and curves, light and dark,
colors that rise to surfaces
and memories that play
through and throughout.
It is all sight unseen, memories akin,
up and down, round and around,
moving one side to the other
until, effortlessly, we see ourselves
in the illusion we are sure surrounds us.

He is, don’t you see, the Cause of causes,
not the cause. That is the pattern for us.


Thank you for reading Vision. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken on a walkabout photography day in Boston, Massachusetts. For…

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