Poems to Power Your Practice: Shine On by Matthew Foley

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When I was 5 years old,
my child-like inner light burned so bright,
I swear moths would follow me
wherever I went.

I would catch sight
of their wings in my dreams:
they were searching for a light bulb
that blazed somewhere inside my ribcage.

My imagination told me so.

By age 10, though,
dreams were silly things.

By age 15, I had learned like us all
that it was safer to dim our inner light
to better camouflage ourselves
in a world
addicted to its own darkness.

But when the night sky
rolled over the first day,
God had the wisdom to whisper
“Let there be stars,”
so that even in the dark,
we can still find our way back home.

So when the wind becomes still,
I can still hear the drumming of moth wings
searching for that light inside my chest.

So tonight,
I say it is time to flip the light switch on.

Shine on,
you giants of compassion.

Shine on,
you warriors with no weapons but love.

Shine on,
you with firecrackers for souls.

Shine on,
you granite monuments to resilience.

Shine on,
you who looked into the face of cancer
and said “Bring it”.

Shine on,
you who stood in the eye of the storm
and said “I got this”.

Shine on,
you beautiful beautiful Buddhas to be.

Shine on,
every pair of lungs still breathing.

Shine on.

Tonight is the night
we turn on the lights within.

Flip the switch.

Shine on.


Matthew FoleyMatthew Foley is a writer, spoken word artist, and English teacher in Charleston, South Carolina.  He has released two books of poetry, We Could Be Oceans and The Typewriter Sutra, as well as a spoken word poetry album, What You Will Need in Class Today.  He currently teaches high school English as the Charleston County School of the Arts and is the founder of Holy City Youth Slam, an organization in Charleston that teaches poetry and performance to local youth.

You can check out more of his work at www.matthewfoleypoetry.com and keep an eye out for an upcoming book, and what we most look forward to, an ALBUM!!

image by LadyDragonFlyCC


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