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Image by Pascal Brandle

The Secret Discipline

We must live by the love of what we will never see.
That is the Secret Discipline. —Rubin Alves

Let’s decipher messages this mist scribbles
into the long mane of the clouds, through

the aftermath of melted ice caps. Imagine
we could read circles of runes to see what

our children will inherit. Breadlines for the future,
broken covenants, air laced with pathogens, white

phosphorus, crops pocked with plague.
Can’t we stop the gaslight now?

We’ve run out of cardboard for the roofs
of shelters? How do we read burned books?

How to survive on a diet of grasshoppers and smoke?
Look who issued forth from the aperture

of your body. Isn’t she a beloved creature?
Land is sacred and eternal. Animals

are wild, but wise—Let’s live the secret discipline,
intuit ions from the sundew, honor earth’s

apricots, kumquats and limes.
Let’s sow seeds in the infinite mind

Look to the eyes of children,
bless the brevity of a lifespan.

There’s death—and there’s breath—
pass it on.

Deborah DeNicola’s 7th book is The Impossible from Kelsay Press, 2021. Original Human was published by Word Tech Communications in 2010. She edited Orpheus & Company; Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology 1999, from UPNE press. Previous books include Where Divinity Begins, 1994 from Alice James Books, and four chapbooks. Her memoir, The Future that Brought Her Here was published by Ibis Press, 2009. Among other awards, Deborah received an NEA fellowship. Her web site is:


  1. Anonymous

    So beautifully said. I hope this message reaches many, raises consciousness. All prefaced by love…..

    • Anonymous

      Great poet- great teacher and tutor – and a ver nice person.

    • Deborah DeNicola

      Thank you for your kind reply.

  2. Anonymous

    You are such an artist with words. Love this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Anonymous

    Wonderfully said. Such deep meaning. We must teach the young.

    • Deborah DeNicola

      Thank you, you’re very kind!

  4. Anonymous

    Sends chills down my arms.
    So beautifully said.
    Awaken earth heed these words.

    • Deborah DeNicola

      Thank you, you’re very kind!


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