Tag Archives: poemsonglyrics

When the inner lamps burns, it illuminates the whole world. ~ Gandhi

Odetta does a beautiful introduction to this great song.

Let your light shine!!!!!!!!!!

This Little Light Of Mine lyrics

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Light that shines is the light of love,
Hides the darkness from above,
Shines on me and it shines on you,
Shows you what the power of love can do.
Shine my light both bright and clear,
Shine my light both far and near,


Don’t impose on me what you know – I want to explore the unknown

Former President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam quoted this poem – The Student’s Prayer , while expressing his views on the need for creativity in our classrooms. The young son of a Chilean biologist, Umberto Maturana, became unhappy at school because he felt his teachers were making it impossible for him to learn. They wanted to teach him what they knew, rather than drawing out what he needed to learn. As a result Maturana wrote “ The Student’s Prayer”, of which this translation is an abridged version. It perfectly expresses the intelligent individual’s response to the conforming pressures of parents, teachers, bosses or the crowd.

The Student’s Prayer 

by Umberto Maturana, July 2007

Don’t impose on me what you know,

I want to explore the unknown

And be the source of my own discoveries.

Let the known be my liberation, not my slavery.

The world of your truth can be my limitation;

Your wisdom my negation.

Don’t instruct me; let’s walk together.

Let my richness begin where yours ends.

Show me so that I can stand

On your shoulders.

Reveal yourself so that I can be

Something different.

You believe that every human being

Can love and create.

I understand, then, your fear

When I ask you to live according to your wisdom.

You will not know who I am

By listening to yourself.

Don’t instruct me; let me be.

Your failure is that I be identical to you.


Discussions with an open mind and a sincere desire to understand

What are my choices?

What am I missing or avoiding?

What is possible?

These are three of twelve questions form Marilee Adams of the Inquiry Institute.  Read them all at: Inquiry Institute: Great Results Begin with Great Questions.  I think her twelve questions may prove to be very valuable to those who want to contemplate an issue and to think in depth about a topic.  The thinking we do helps us to be better and thinking with others.  Thus, these twelve questions can be reframed to be responded to by more than one person.  Changing them to be assessable to two or more people is not difficult.  These slight alterations open the door to interdependent thinking.  Here is what the three questions from the above might look like.

What are our choices?

What are we missing or avoiding?

What is possible?

The complicated realities of today beg for people to think through options together.   The potential of finding ways to move forward with something other than “win/lose” or “I am right and thus my thoughts should prevail” attitudes is essential to society as we meet the future.

My thought is that each of us, in our personal and community life, can practice thinking with others.  We can practice showing up with an open mind and a willingness to learn from each other to think together.  Without intentionally practicing, we can kid ourselves into believing that ,when the time comes, we will be good at and comfortable with thinking with others.  This seems more than a little naive to me.

Practicing thinking together can lead to a rooted comfort with the practice, so consider some of these altered questions and find another person or a group of people and pose the question and begin the discussion with an open mind and a sincere desire to understand the others.

Here is some food for thought:

Connecting mind-to-mind does require people with a willingness to have an open-mind

Minds can open over time – so sharing thinking, with openness, can lead to more openness

Mutual understanding, clarity of agreements and a commitment for growth doesn’t come easy

All interdependentness is challenging, yet embracing this challenge serves the common good 

This complete poem can be found at an earlier blog of mine.



Hello darkness, my old friend

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence

Remembering 9/11

After 9/11 Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Litvin wrote Land Of The Living.  Here are the lyrics and a link to listens to her sing it. 

(Lyrics by Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Litvin,
Music by Lucy Kaplansky)

Land Of The Living

Late afternoon back in New York town
Waking up as the wheels touch down
Pick up my guitar and walk away
Wish I was going home to stay

Line of taxis, I wait my turn
Tar and asphalt, exhaust and fumes
Beside the road on a patch of ground
Taxi drivers are kneeling down

Beneath the concrete sky I watch them pray
While the people of the world hurry on their way
I think they’re praying for us all today
And the stories that fell from the sky that day

This is the land of the living
This is the land that’s mine
She still watches over Manhattan
She’s still holding onto that torch for life

Back home fire’s still burning, I can see it in the air
Pictures of faces posted everywhere
They say “hazel eyes, chestnut hair
Mother of two missing down there”

I pass the firemen on duty tonight
Carpets of flowers in candlelight
And thank you in a child’s scrawl
Taped to the Third Street firehouse wall

There’s shadows of the lost on the faces I see
Brothers and strangers on this island of grief
There’s death in the air but there’s life on this street
There’s life on this street

This is the land of the living
This is the land that’s mine
She still watches over Manhattan
She’s still holding onto that torch for life

Then I got in a taxi, said “Hudson Street please”
He started the meter and he looked at me
I glanced at his name on the back of his seat
And I looked out the window at the ghost filled streets

I noticed cuts on his hand and his face
And I said “You’re bleeding, are you okay?”
He said “I’m not so good, got beat up today
And I’m not one of them no matter what they say

I’m just worried about my family
My wife’s in the house and she’s scared to leave”
And I didn’t know what to say
I didn’t know what to say
But I said a prayer for him anyway

This is the land of the living
This is the land that’s mine
She still watches over Manhattan
She’s still holding onto that torch for life 

Listen and and watch a visual tribute on You Tube by clicking here.   


A poem about getting better at ‘thinking together’

I have been doing a lot of reflection on how we adults might take a giant step forward in our abilities and practice of working together.  Here is a poem I wrote sharing some of what I have been attempting  to sort out.

Thinking Together

    by Jerry Jennings

    August 17, 2011

When it comes to adults working and thinking together

We face the ‘random pile of pick-up-sticks’ kind of complexity

In our families, communities, workplaces, country and globally – nothing is simple

Issues are often layered and interwoven with challenges, opposing points of view and closed thinking


Tomorrow belongs to those that can collaborate and create in concert

Tomorrow’s promise is complex and thus requires interdependent thinkers

Those who listen and think together will realize tomorrow’s opportunities

Today’s adults need to get much better at thinking together


We need to connect with each other to maximize our collective judgment and knowledge

We need to grow thinking by thinking together across differences

It is so easy for us as individuals to only think with those who think like us

Think of the ‘pick-up-sticks’ all in a neat row, matched by color– ‘how boring’


Life is full of differences: different priorities, customs and thinking

Living and/or working together is full of challenges: We can think through them or not

Thinking interdependently invests in the idea that good can come from diversity of thought

We need to connect: mind-to-mind


Not ear-to-ear or argument-to-argument

Not tolerating each other’s opportunity to talk

Not striving to be the winner – as if your thinking is the best

Not just sharing space politely with the appearance of broadmindedness as our main goal


Connecting mind-to-mind does require people with open-minds

Minds can open over time – so sharing thinking with openness can lead to more openness

Mutual understanding, clarity of agreements and a commitment for growth doesn’t come easy

All interdependentness is challenging, yet embracing the challenge serves the common good 


Sometimes we think we need to fight through a problem or an issue

Sometimes we are almost compelled to ‘not be swayed’ by the thoughts of others

Sometimes we are not able to see the value of the thinking of others

We need to get good at arriving at ‘thought through’ not ‘fought through’ outcomes


Connecting mind-to-mind is worth getting good at

Connecting mind-to-mind is not going to just happen

Connecting mind-to-mind requires developing new processes

We must be intentional about connecting – mind-to-mind