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HEAVEN by Jhilmil Breckenridge

This poem was written as my Day 29 poem on my month long immersion in Tiferet Journal’s Poem-a-thon for April 2016’s National Poetry Month...

We were given a prompt to write a poem on what heaven meant to us, whether or not we believe in it’s conventional description.

I started with the conventional, that spirituality and faith lead us to peace, but as I wrote this poem, like with all my writing, it takes on it’s own form, and I started looking at common proverbs that we are told, in the spirit of this too shall pass, light at the end of the tunnel, etc. And I started questioning why people think pain is bad, and why shouldn’t we celebrate the rain just as we celebrate rainbows?

My own spiritual practice is deeply rooted in mindfulness, meditation and yoga and I believe, in every breath, we are reborn, and in every breath, we die. Although I was born a Hindu, my Muslim grandmother had the most influence on me, and I was married to a Christian for 21 years, so really, my own conventions of religion take the best from all, and I always shun labels. I hate saying, for example, that I am a Hindu woman from India. Why should that be important? We are all people, human beings, and so I like to follow Krishnamurti’s suggestion that each time we identify with a particular religion, a particular race, we commit violence.

I hope you enjoy this poem, and I hope you can find peace and heaven, just where you are.
Reunion at the Gates of Heaven by Naomi VanDoren

by Jhilmil Breckenridge

Faith was given
To endure suffering

Rainbows help us
To wade through rain

The light at the end of the tunnel
Oh, why is life so hard?

Every cloud
has a silver lining

And after the darkest night
the brightest dawn

We grow with these proverbs
To help us make meaning of life

And heaven, too
A mythical reward for suffering

But heaven is right here, right now
You just have to believe

And the flip side of suffering is joy
And rain is made for dancing in

Tunnels are a break from the noisy highway
And have you seen anything as pretty as a cloud?

Dark nights are magical
Velvety kisses of silk on skin

So, to all the inventors of proverbs, here is a new one:
Heaven is a state of mind.
Photograph "Dew at Dawn" by Jhilmil Breckenridge

Jhilmil Breckenridge is a poet, writer and activist who speaks out about mental health, incarceration and abuse. She has just completed her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster. Her poems often worry about issues of feeling lost in a changing world, the immigrant or foreign experience, love and loss and longing, and nostalgia for times gone by. She is Fiction Editor for a South Asian literary magazine, Open Road Review. She is working on her first novel and when she is not writing, she is chasing clouds and rainbows with her iPhone. You may connect with Jhilmil on Twitter here. 

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~


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