Friday, November 10, 2006

Whisper Simple Secrets...

If you stare into the flickering brilliance of the candle flame,
Watch it until you can see the vanishingly small,
Somewhere in the back of your mind,
You might just understand.

A picture of the world rests behind your eyes,
That thought gleams as a fraction of the energy,
The same field that is everything's essence,
The web of white light it takes imaginary eyes to see.

Hold the world like a Christmas ornament,
Floating in a golden glow tinged with soft green,
There in the cupped palm of your hands,
Gift unto it a sweet gift.

Call the white light down from Heaven,
Do it with all your heart,
Let it flow through you,
Wash over this tiny blue globe of life - healing.

God gifts us each a spark of his everything,
Else we couldn't be here at all,
His children yet to mature,
Still in school.

If every thought you had was of something joyful,
Never would a hurtful day enter your life,
You have the keys to the Universe,
But Mother and Father say you must be a passenger first.

Think of pain and painful things come to you,
Drawn like flies to a rotting stench,
Think of joy and joyful things will come to you,
Drawn like light into the empty dark.

Call the white light down from Heaven,
Do it with all your heart,
Let it flow through you,
Wash over this tiny blue globe of life - healing.

Let's do it together.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 11/09/2006

Author's Comments

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Reading Martì...

I was at first somewhat astonished,
Time stepped out of the picture and faded into the distance,
A bit player whose part was done in an epic timeless,
Where bare truths about the soul of a land are laid,
Flayed of all pomp and circumstance and artifices of finery.

The honest opinions of one in a land new and unknown,
Waiting in dusty tomes a century and more on the page,
Speaking of first impressions and speaking truth without mercy nor spite,
With the clarity of seeing everything hidden beneath,
Rivaled only by modern miracles like MRI's or x-rays,
Hits your preconceptions of culture between the eyes.

"We worship wealth here,
For we came without it and without its respect,
The downtrodden cast-offs of old lands all,
In waves and droves and sea-sick jubilation of landfall,
Only to emulate the visible qualities of our oppressors,
Seeking what we perceived as their strengths without true knowledge."

In a land where the clocks must be punched,
Where work rules every aspect of our worth and ability to exist,
How do we have a moment for the grace of souls malnourished,
Do we ever feed the worth of our souls when our mouths are our rulers,
Still slaves to our bellies which can translate only gold into food and shelter?

It is of small wonder that the sword that threatens our necks comes from "on high" -
A curved scimitar swinging with the weight of yellow metal,
Hiding at its core a hollow vacuum - a void where a graceful spirit should be,
If it were filled with what belongs there it would melt into a ploughshare,
Or perhaps into the bricks that could hide our heads from hurricanes and tornadoes,
Or the hearth that used to warm our bread.

The least among us are our true mirror,
The clearest glass we shall ever gaze into,
And if the bones of them are prodding their flesh,
Their frost bite of lack of shelter and bellies full of nothing but air,
Their pitiful rags wrapped 'round the vision of skulls that is the source of our fear,
It will pull that sword of gold upon us all to cleave our necks as surely as the clocks tick.

How many among us would give even the illusion of a five dollar bill to their pantry,
If it had to be given without the craven illusion of a tax deduction?

This world is not and never has been divided by arbitrary lines on a plastic globe,
Not one of marble nor glass nor clay nor wood nor paper,
No matter how well-drawn or sculpted its representation of Earth,
For what we put into the sky or the water or the land travels freely,
Not one law can arrest its progress or its consequence.

Our souls and our fates are as intertwined as is the atmosphere or the waterways,
Filled with underground rivers that carry every deed and action throughout the whole,
A permeated brew stirring by convection and gravity unseen yet ever-present.

What we do with the "least" among us we will drink and eat,
Regardless of whether we know it or acknowledge it or remain ignorant of it,
It will fuel poisonous growth or it will be clean and gentle with us,
As we reap we will sow is the pertinent verse.

Fires do not burn without fuel,
Fuel made of greedy intent or even plain ignorance,
And if violence and harm do not treat us as harshly as flames in the end,
It will be simply because we gave them no cause to burn.

In the end it all congeals into that basic truth -
Which crosses all those artificial and arbitrary lines on globes and maps.

We made a play for "freedom" here,
A crop which only thrives when shared and tended well.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 08/30/2006

Author's Notes:
This was inspired by reading the early newspaper articles written by Jose Martì when he first came to live in New York in the 1870's. He wrote for New York and multiple Latin American newspapers his observations on the emerging culture in the United States - which to this day values work and wealth but forgets the values of spiritual nourishment, charity, and the human need for self-worth not always gained through financial acumen. It shows in the way we drive ourselves nearly beyond our physical limits for work and career, the way we look down on vacations long enough to truly rest the soul and body, and the way we are driven to work at the expense of family and community. When one steps back and takes a fresh look, we are tragically out of balance. The fact that people in this country or any other go without food and shelter is a clear reflection of how such scales are tilted. What happens when things are unbalanced for too long and stretched too far away from the balance point?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

By Rainbow Light...

Teased with visions of a fragile world healed,
I sense a hunger of titanic proportions,
Hiding in the mists of the collective undermind,
Waiting to climb the ladders of belief and faith,
Pushing on the heavy lid of fear that covers the exit,
The one from fantasy into reality.

I hear it spoken of with a nervous laugh,
Like it might shine in reflections from a tinfoil hat,
Something cooked up by a lunatic fringe in a crazed moment,
This utterly surreal idea that peace and kindness could somehow win,
When what seems like preservation is to kill more of "them,"
Still it's a haunting vision that lives in a joke,
A world where everyone has a roof and clean water.

I suppose it's all fine if the rich chase children in other countries,
Bullets bombs or underwear,
That sort of thing doesn't "belong" around here,
But can you tell me where it does so I never go there?

There are those of us like mirrors,
We shine mirror light on all the dark places,
You know - where a soul tries to hide when it's afraid,
Places like Denial and Ignorance and the like,
Because we see that world shining in the tinfoil hats,
Where everyone has the basics of life,
It's a vision of a possible truth,
All it takes is a lot of love and a little rainbow light.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 08/19/2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Reggae Heart...

Wash me down to de Carribean, she’s de bluest sea,
We could all ‘ave cried her, from tears o’ joy.

A night song o’ sail cloth flapping under dese brilliant stars,
Bring de morning sun down upon de beach.

Palm trees, dey sway up over our smiling heads,
When de reggae plays de limes fall into de drink.

Wash me down to de Carribean, she’s de bluest sea,
We could all ‘ave cried her, from tears o’ joy.

Rum runners dancing south dere, down by de sweet blue sea,
Coconuts floating out past de Keys where we sing.

Oh Lord, take me away down dere in de sunshine,
Where she swims by de light be dawn now.

Wash me down to de Carribean, she’s de bluest sea,
We could all ‘ave cried her, from tears o’ joy.

We free now, Darlin’ mine you be de sunshine,
Fishin’ for your love gentle an’ slow now.

Put de peppers on de chicken an limes wit’ sweet plantains,
Love me slowly now, my miracle on de wing

Wash me down to de Carribean, she’s de bluest sea,
We could all ‘ave cried her, from tears o’ joy.

I wan’ be seeing de parrots so colored pretty,
De albatross, he fly slowly over you an’ me.

Fly wit’ me reggae heart an de Wailers play,
I’m gone up on Heaven while Bob Marley sings.

Wash me down to de Carribean, she’s de bluest sea,
We could all ‘ave cried her, from tears o’ joy.

Fly wit’ me reggae heart an de Wailers play,
I’m gone up on Heaven while Bob Marley sings.

Wash me down to de Carribean, she’s de bluest sea,
We could all ‘ave cried her, from tears o’ joy.

By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/01/2006
**NOTE** My web host did a network-wide server upgrade, and this resulted in the shut-down of all my blogs hosted on my own site, including *Spell Book*, for one month. Tonight is the first time I've been able to post here since early June.

*Spell Book* will resume publishing in the next couple of days. Thank you all so much for your patience!


Friday, June 02, 2006

Dreams Of Sand...

He awoke to heat and thirst and pain,
Not sure where he was in the silence,
Lying torn on burning sands,
Seeing the cloudless blue sky waver and shimmer.

Rolling over with a groan,
He shakily got his feet under him,
Unsteady and drenched in sweat that steamed away instantly.

He raised a hand to shield his eyes,
All the world was sand unbearably bright,
A scorpion crawled by nearly at his feet,
He licked his cracked and bleeding lips and remembered what it was,
Just in time jumping away.

Dizzy with confusion he turned around and followed his own footprints,
They led to a smoldering building in ruins,
An arm lay outstretched from under a shattered block of stone,
A child's arm by the look of it.

He remembered being a child once,
Playing with toy cars as his sister cradled her Barbie doll,
"I'm going home in a week" he thought,
Suddenly terrified at something he couldn't remember,
Maybe couldn't bear to remember.

It might happen again back home,
He suddenly knew this even though "what" was only a burning haze,
He knew he couldn't let "it" happen back home,
The tears burst into his eyes along with white hot rage,
Out-burning the sun as he saw a smoldering teddy bear near the arm.

He reached for the gun at his hip,
Pointed it at his face as he thought "I can't let this go back home,"
Flipping off the safety he started to squeeze,
Just like they'd squeeze the truth out of him in horrible ways,
If he let "it" get back home.

Just as he heard the final click before his angels were due,
He woke up in sweat drenched sheets,
Screaming incoherently as his wife looked at him with THAT look in her eyes,
The sickening animal fear that he knew was on his childrens' faces in their room,
The look that made a lie out of their words of hope for "recovery."

There was only one way he would ever recover from something,
But God help him - he couldn't figure out what "it" was,
And as he reached for the pills in the drawer by the bed,
The thought burned his soul all the way to his core.

The teddy bear was familiar...


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 06/02/2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

For announcements SPECIFIC TO PLAINFIELD LIVE POETRY READINGS, Please join the Plainfield Live Poetry Group at:


We have found a wonderful new place for poetry readings. The location is convenient to poets in Plainfield, Naperville, Aurora, Montgomery, and Oswego.

Poetry readings will be held the first Tuesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm at:

Green Leaf Coffee House
(located in Sun Plaza)
2400 S. Eola Road, Suite G
Aurora, IL 60504

Attendance is free of charge and all poets are welcome to read.

Contact Dan Stafford at or 815-483-8878 or Jillmarie at Green Leaf Coffee House (

Sun Plaza is located on the far Southwestern portion of Eola Road about two miles before it intersects US Hwy 30.

Our first reading will be Tuesday, April 4th starting at 7pm. Please forward this message to anyone you feel would be interested in reading or attending!

Please join Dan Stafford at Green Leaf Coffee House for the kickoff of the new Western suburbs poetry readings, and let's get this off to a wonderful start!

As always, please bring material suitable for a family environment, and let's all show our new hosts how wonderful the spoken word can be!

I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing many talented poets at Green Leaf starting in April!


Dan Stafford - Emcee