In the Pause

In the pause
I sit
I breathe
I regenerate

In the pause
I come back home
I give myself a break
I find my peace

In the pause
I remember every moment counts,
Every breath is beautiful,
And life is not a race

In the pause
I return to my values
I return to my priorities
I return to my center

In the pause
I find my compassion…
For myself,
For others,
For the world

In the pause
I give recognition to our interconnectedness,
To my Self in Others,
To the Us in Them

In the pause
I acknowledge that all people matter,
That compassion is not hierarchical,
And that pain and suffering abound

In the pause
I resolve to receive, yet serve,
To be vulnerable, yet strong,
To be steadfast, yet change

In the pause
I am found…

Tori Burris Inkley


Flutter and fall
Flutter and fall

and dive
and glide

Flutter and fall
Flutter and fall

The earth stands still
The sun shines down
The wind decides
The fire burns out

But you…
You flutter and fall
Flutter and fall

Out of control
In control
No map
No plan
No dream
No goal

Just flutter and fall
Flutter and fall

Tori Burris Inkley


Do you hear them?
The church bells
Ringing across small town America

Listen closely
As they play the happy sad chorus to which we’ve all become accustomed.

I sit and listen as the carillon plays…
A sound I’ve heard for many years now
Only blocks from my home.
A sound that used to make me smile,
Used to bring me comfort
Used to fill me with hope.

But now the familiar tunes fill me with sadness,
Fill me with doubt,
And on occasion… fill me with anger.

For on this and many other Sunday mornings,
As the processionals continue
As the hymnals come out
As the voices are lifted to the heavens…

Mothers are burying sons taken from them through senseless brutality
Husbands are burying wives stolen by a virus some still believe to be a hoax
Men and women are cast aside because of who they love or how they love
Children leave home with friends never to return
Homeless starve while the wealthy feast

The red calls out the blue
And the blue calls out the red
And the black and brown still suffer

Listen closely to those bells my friends

What are they saying to YOU?
Are they calling you to act?
Are they calling you to pray?
Are they calling you to do nothing but turn a blind eye and a cold heart?

While I may not be sitting in a pew,
Those bells speak to me too…

They beg me to open my eyes wider
To love my fellow women and men, no matter their skin color
To never blindly follow a person or a religion or a political party
To cast aside societal norms and use the brain
AND the heart I’ve been given
To do right by others… ALL others…
Not just the ones who look like me,
Talk like me,
Think like me

We must do better my sisters and brothers…

The church bells are telling us to…

Tori Burris Inkley


want better than a mean spirit
from years past

a beautiful race

no hope

lost love and trust
these qualities being in all


swept out of the path
so telling


Tori Burris Inkley

[Blackout Poetry – excerpt from The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain]


I have noted what I have gained
and have composed, as fully as I can,
what can be
and if

My fancies ought not displease you

I will be able to tell

I am still enriching and polishing

Mental influences changed for some unknown reason

Whether it be received
is still disputable

I have neither slept nor idled
reaped experience
kept faith

I cannot change nature

Tori Burris Inkley

[Blackout Poetry – excerpt from The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli]


neither craven nor valiant
an indifferent air
calm and collected
all invited
within easy reach

the end

for everyone

Tori Burris Inkley

[Blackout Poetry – excerpt from Moby Dick by Herman Melville]

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