dear family:

Dear Family


the table is long this year
stretching beyond
these humble house walls
where wine is plenty- in each glass
as dreams bloom, wildly
in the childhood pulsing in our chest

there are a few plates empty
and this concerns me

for there is much to go around

let me offer you something-
for I have not brought my voice
yet to a prayer for you,
my family:

dear clan of honest heart
and diamond mind
promise me one thing:

when we must part
remember I asked this of you

do not go.
at least before I know you
before your name is in the breath I breathe

do not go as a stranger

when I have once found you as
brother, sister, mother
uncle, aunt, and father
through many lives when we have met
and then been met again as one another

promise me
that you will not drive out
into a still night
without this bond making our music
in your heart to keep you company

and do not retire too soon
to your bed
before we both have been good friends 
with the moon,

drinking in the entirety of the twinkling magic
of things known and unknown

do not leave…
before you know the exquisite
sweetness that nestles in the tender shapes you make
imparting your sense of things
so familiar to me from birth and
that knows me from a reasonable fake

do not go
until you catch the
like the new spring sun casting shimmering tendrils
’bout your presence
that makes all things around us

even more precious

do not rest
your head- just yet
before you hear me call out to you ,
sweet one, ‘be at peace’

may you be well

do not go….
if you have not heard
-through the hour you question all meaning-

that you always

have a place at my table

and in this exit of embrace


do not rest your ears

before you hear
the sounds of the many places I have carried you
in the womb of my heart

for I have made a spot for you -safe-

my treasure of insurmountable value

do not depart…
without hearing me when I say
I will never trade you, forget you,
or wish you any other way

do not leave …
before you witness
that how knowing you

has grown my heart
larger than the doctors can explain

stay a while,
’til I can feel you live through my brush
painting nothing less than rainbows
for you to dance inside
’til your heart guides my hand

and your spirit; my eye

for a moment-and

don’t go…
before we have spent time
in the trenches of sorrow
the vistas of victory
and gazed at skies of peace
swam together in the ocean of forgiveness
two silly, land legged-fish with dreams

and especially dont go…
before all of me
learns to love you
with abandon

don’t go.
not just yet
but be here: still
know you are my reminder of the fullest

life can be
and in all ways will

and so, now
dear one –let us go
it is right, we have our place in 

those higher heights now

but go not with your back turning
be always here
making the space between us smile-
the way you do,
so well.

-Allison Aeryana Castley

for you, my beloved family
written tonight in memory of my grandmothers Jeanne Donnelly and Joy Castley- roots of my family tree
forever nourished by their enduring honey
thank you for all you have taught me

thank you to all those in my abundant gift of a chosen family
and to Colin, who through his being of honour, followed his intuition and catalyzed this much needed expression of a more authentic and open version of me

thank you to all those teachers who have shown me the gift in receiving well
and brought me to stillness to hear the wisdom within
thank you for taking such good care
of the most cherished things of this life and showing them to me, through you.
your worth, to me, knows not the limitation of such a thing as time
I am broken and whole because of you


elephant child


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