Tiger and Butterfly

You have a butterfly
On your nose.

What do you
Have to say?

I know, it is a Monarch butterfly
I like it there,

Tiger shakes his head,
Butterfly holds on
And is still there.

Tiger says, I will have
No forest, no land, no dominion
Without Butterfly.

Butterflies and flowers
Adore each other’s beauty,
Getting on with the business of life,

Natures’ new growth,
Exchanged for nectar.

Then we get fruit,
Food to feed all,
All the animals.

So I care
That caterpillars can eat
On the ground, on leaves.

I love listening
To their chomping
And see them turn into chrysalises,

But so vulnerable,
I make sure they are safe
And can transform,

I see them metamorphose
Into their butterfly potential,
Hatch in all their beauty.

So, I know every caterpillar
Wants to eat
And become a butterfly.

Tiger asks Butterfly,
What do you
Have to say?

We will invite Sophia,
Lady Wisdom herself,
Mother of all children,

She, who has been crying,
She, who has been so sad,
To come our forest.

Sophia looks in wonder
At the magnificence of Tiger,
At the magnificence of Butterfly,

She marvels at the flowers,
Their fragrance
And so many colours.

Tiger and Butterfly weave flowers
Into Sophia’s hair,
Invite her to dance.

They ask Sophia,
What do you
Have to say?

The caterpillars used to starve.
The chrysalises were not safe.
The butterflies did not hatch.

You are not that tiger,
Snared and captive,
Of the cruel circus,

Jumping through hoops,
For the sale of tickets.

Oh Tiger, I love that,
You are free
Knowing the cycle of nature.

I love you
For caring that caterpillars
Become butterflies.

That butterflies and flowers
Give us honey and fruit,
The bounty of life,

Filling the forest
With thriving animals,
A cycle that is right.

Yes, let’s profit
Without weeping and sadness
And do nature’s bidding.

Tiger, let me give you
The biggest hug.
Butterfly, alight on his nose.

Tiger, go forth,
Bound ahead
In a cloud of butterflies.

Posted in Love, Nature, Poems, Theme for 2024, Theme for the Year | Comments closed

Tiger loves Carnival

I stride out,

Padding softly,

Focus bright.

My keen eyes,

The obstacles of man

Blighting Sophia’s hope.

When I see Sophia crying
Lady Wisdom herself
So profoundly sad.

If I need to, I roar.

If I need to, I snarl.

If I need to, I bite.

Mostly I pad

Along in love,

Sniffing out my fellow mighty,

I hunt them.

Charge playfully into
The back of their legs.

Together we kneel
Before poverty in all its forms,
Offering healing hands.

Will we count
On our fingers
Reasons to smile?

Will we count
Hearts not bleeding,

But beating to rejoice?

Will we count
Clapping hands
Celebrating success?

Will we count
Carnival rhythm
And join the dance?

Will we crown
Sophia as our queen,
Celebrating all of us?

This is my daily hunt,
A charging fight of love
For wisdom herself.

Now you know
Why I love Sophia
And sing

Tiger loves Carnival

“Tiger loves Carnival” is an adaption of the poem “Tiger & Sophia”

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The Tiger is Here

photo of tiger and cub lying down on grass

My soul
Does magnify

The presence of the tiger
Standing magnificent
With a roar declares:

My stance
My whiskers
My alertness

My pink nose
My piercing eyes
My perked up ears

My twitchy tail
My scent markings
My territorial scratchings

My snarl
My ferociousness
My prowl

My prance
My bounding
My pounce

My bite
My kill
My lips

My taste
My breath
My heartbeat

My every ounce
My squint-eye smile
My happiness

My purr
My paws
My claws

My fur
My stripes
My all

All magnify
All magnify Sophia

My wild heart beats
My soul sings
And oh

I see her, Sophia
Lady wisdom herself
I bound up to her

She is crying
She is the pain-bearer
Mother of all children

She wipes her eyes
She pets me
I nuzzle her

Now blessed
With one tear
I bound forth

Using my power
To end a drop of suffering

Reveling in healing
Joy ferociously
Ending despair

I chase back to Sophia
For another tear
Arriving again I declare

My soul
Does magnify

The tiger is here.

This is the second “Tiger & Sophia” poem, the first poem is The Tiger & Sophia

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Pexels.com

Posted in Love, Nature, Poems, Theme for 2023, Theme for the Year | Comments closed

Awake to Ukraine

Sunrise at Pigeon Cove, Rockport, Massachusetts, USA March 2021
Sunrise at Pigeon Cove, March 2021

There is a dawn moment when the heavens are blue and the sun creates yellow above the horizon of the sea and you see a blue with a yellow stripe emerging beneath and at that moment we awake to the flag of Ukraine.

Please get up in the morning and reflect on the sunrise and the values that we wish to arise in us and the values that we wish to grow and we wish to make happen. But the sun will rise quickly and the bright light will blur all and the busyness of the day will flood into our lives and we will forget the point that we need to remember when we awoke.

We can live in horror at one man’s poverty creating destruction on another land, the brutal attack and destruction of the sovereign nation of the Ukraine and systematic murder of its people. And we need to hold that and remember and not forget but we also need to have a horizon that we can look out to and set sail towards. It is a horizon of our values that we want to rise to and we know that are true, are kind, are good, that build a loving and prosperous world. May we see the Ukrainian flag on the horizon at dawn and wake to work throughout the day to make life giving values alive for all.

So I give you a picture, taken from my home in March in 2021 at dawn, showing the sun rising at that moment when the Ukrainian flag can be on all our imaginations as the horizon of our hope. Let us wake, look out and remember Ukraine and the values of wonder in our hearts that we want to make real in the world and decide what sacrifices we will make this day to make wonder come alive for every person in the Ukraine and for every person in the world.

This reflection was inspired by the artist Karen Tusinski who paints stunning pictures of the horizon in Rockport Massachusetts and who has painted a Ukrainian flag on a canvas and placed it in the window of her gallery. I’m asking artists to paint pictures of the Ukrainian horizon to keep us inspired.

Posted in Grief & Wonder, Horror & Terror, Love, Nature, Poems, Prayer | Comments closed

The Psalm of Change

Please read like a psalm and pause at each selah (asterisk) *

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space, singing an ode to “we,” men and women * and however we identify.

Slowly we breathe

  1. We support a space where we can be open, be imagined by the best in all of us * to do the most for those with the least.

Slowly we breathe

  1. We support a space safe of no accusation, of no oppression * where anger can arise and blossom into inspiration.

Slowly we breathe

  1. We support a space for the feminine voice * and for voices to be heard that have not been heard, and for those who have been silenced.

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space for those who did not hear or could not listen * or would not listen.

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space for deep and loving reconciliation * for feminine and masculine voices to sing in unison again.

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space for words that will inspire a thousand years of deeds * that will make a difference.

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space for faith that enables us to change who we are * and be the loving transformation the greater “we” wants us to be. 

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space to feel the curiosity, to give our names, to add our effort * to leave a loving impression for millennia to come.

Slowly we breathe,

We are the change.

I am grateful to Lillie Allen of Be Present for creating and holding a space where I could write this psalm.

Psalm of Change is offered to those who have signed The Mary Manifesto as a way to guide our work.

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Will you sign the Mary Manifesto?

At the root of my work on ending poverty is knowing that we are all equal as humans and, in my faith, all equally loved by God. This leads to justice. Justice calls us to provide opportunity for all.

At a time when it is important to speak up and be counted for equality, justice and opportunity for all, I have written the Mary Manifesto. It calls for men, especially, and women to support 318 WOMEN to gather in 2025 to review the Christian notion of God and the Creed, 1,700 years after 318 MEN met in Nicaea to do the same.

Why? Because for 1,700 years the very notion of God in Christianity has been defined with a male dominant image by a group of men in the year 325. This impacts and impedes our sense of equality, justice, and opportunity. When one portion of world see itself as superior to another there is less opportunity for those who are put down.

I am launching the Mary Manifesto to spark a conversation and to join conversations underway #genderequality, the UN #heforshe movement, #sustainabledevelopment #NiUnaMenos #metoo #OrangeTheWorld #endgenderbasedviolence #GenerationEquality.

A man said to me that he was not sure he would sign the Manifesto, as it calls for an all-women meeting and would it not be better if men and women came together in agreement. My answer is that for 1,700 years we have lived with a men’s male-only version of God. If we cannot first encourage and listen to a women’s version, we will never get to a synthesis that gives us a sense of God that speaks to equality, justice and opportunity and ending poverty for all.

Let me know of leading Christian women theologians, clergy, artists and leaders, especially those committed to ending poverty, who want to come together.

Click to read the Mary Manifesto

Thank you,
Jamie Coats

Posted in Episcopal, Grief & Wonder, Horror & Terror, Love | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Tiger & Sophia

I stride out,
Padding softly,
Focus bright.

My keen eyes,
The obstacles of man
Blighting her hope.

If I need to, I roar.
If I need to, I snarl.
If I need to, I bite.

Mostly I pad
Along in love,
Sniffing out the mighty,

I hunt them.
Charge into
The back of their legs.

Together we kneel
Before poverty herself,
Offering healing hands.

Will we count
On our fingers
Reasons to smile?

Will we count
Hearts not bleeding,
But beating to rejoice?

Will we count
Clapping hands
Celebrating success?

This is my daily hunt,
A charging fight of love
For wisdom herself.

Jamie Coats
January 2020

See Songs of Sophia

Posted in Nature, Poems, Theme for 2020, Theme for the Year | Comments closed

The King of Kings

In a large bleak field
Stands a radiant man.

Announcing I am the King of Kings,
The only Son of God.

I approach the man,
The light is so strong

I have can hardly make out
Any human features.

Drawing near
I see he holds a long handled shovel.

He has just dug
A minuscule grave.

He says to me, “I am your King.
Kneel. Obey my every word.”

Then I notice in the grave
Is a dead dove.

I hear footsteps
And look round.

A woman, just as herself,
Walks swiftly towards us.

She kisses him on the lips.
He collapses into her arms,

Sobbing deeply,
His radiant light goes out.

I see him as fully human
For the first time.

The dove awakes.
Shakes herself off and takes flight.

Jamie Coats
February 2018

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Dedicated to the Co-Founders of OPHI
Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative:
Sabina Alkire & John Hammock

(En español haga clic aquí: LAS CANCIONES DE sOPHIa)


  1. Wisdom

Sophia, wisdom, she comes to us *
And gently holds our hands.

With your hands *
Count and number things,

Shake hands to make friends, *
Make things that create a better world.

She places her hand on our hearts *
Feeling the number that pulses our life.

Live in your hearts *
And see the lines

That make out the lives *
Of the rich and poor alike.

  1.  The Poor

Accompany me to be welcomed *
Into the home of the poor.

One room with a kitchen behind *
One seat, set aside for you.

You’re offered more food *
Than you can eat,

Wondering how to say “enough” *
Without being rude,

Wondering if you’ve been offered *
The family’s food for a week.

Sophia asks our host to tell her story *
A farmer’s daughter whose

Grandfather gave her *
Her dowry for her education.

She now supports the education *
Of a hundred young women.

How she can afford that? *
You wonder, and she in joy replies

It is the great happiness of her life *
To share what she has.

  1. The Rich

Come into the place of the rich *
Who are blessed

To live by a number *
The amount of money that they have.

They desire to make a difference *
And are measured in their response.

Asking,  “How can I know *
How to make a difference?”

  1. When We Are Blind

Know when you are blind *
And cannot see

You have your hands to count *
And ears to listen.

You don’t know what it is like *
So you are in the dark,

Like Justice you are blindfolded, *
So live like the blind,

Use your hands *
To count your surroundings.

Gently feel around. *
What do your fingers find?

  1. Know Your Poverty

Do you find walls in front of you *
Or are you living outside?

When you kneel and touch your floor, *
Do you touch dirt, concrete, planks or carpet?

What food are you preparing?  *
Do you have enough for the day?

For the week? For your family? *
Careful! Don’t burn your hands,

Are you cooking with dung? *
Or wood or fuel of another kind?

You eat a palmful, *
Are you still hungry?

Checking your child’s head for fever. *
How far is the hospital?

In your pocket you feel for your money. *
Can you pay the bill?

How much schooling do you have? *
Does your work speak of learning?

Can you fumble around to find some tools. *
Do you have any for earning?

Thirsty, feeling for a tap, *
Do you have running water?

Is it safe to drink? *
Or you are reaching for your kettle?

Do you boil the hottest tea *
Your mouth can bear?

You need to go so bad.
Do you have a latrine?

Or do you go outside? *
Or pay to go to the village loo?

Outside you stumble on something *
A piece of rubbish,

Rubbish that is never collected *
And is strewn everywhere.

Blind, you know you’ll trip *
Whichever way you turn.

  1. Know Your Un-Wellness

Even in places where more money grows *
Other forms of poverty emerge,

Is there sickness of the mind? *
Is there sickness of work?

Is there crippling over-indebtedness? *
Is there growing futility

Numbing the senses with despair? *
Is the rage doped up,

Or intermittently lashing out *
In growing cycles of violence?

And know that there are hands *
That measure this lack of wellness too.

  1. See and Make Progress

When you have counted all these things *
The blindfold will fall from your eyes.

Light will fill your vision *
You will see all the things

That count towards poverty. *
The number Sophia counts

That paints a vivid picture *
For the rich to see the poor,

That says that there is much to do *
And many ways to help.

Sophia returns again and again, *
Counting again and again

For all to see progress *
That delights rich and poor alike.

  1. Who Comes to Help?

Now the rich can see, *
They wonder how to help.

Sophia kneels in the dirt *
At the unshod feet of

The poorest of the poor *
And with her numbers

She holds the hands of the rich to be there too. *
The rich come as rulers,

People of trade, *
People of medicine,

People of learning, *
And people of building,

All united by Sophia’s number *
That captures the demons of poverty.

  1.  How Can We Help?

First remember, don’t even count *
Unless you plan to make a difference.

Find ways for poor and rich to sit together *
With the numbers as they sink in.

Ask how are our minds opened? *
Do we have space to play with new solutions?

Ask what does Sophia’s counting *
Say about our priorities?

Are we ready for her to come back in *
To measure the difference we’ve tried to make?

As leaders do we give weight *
To Sophia’s equal measure?

  1. An Alliance of Rich and Poor

Now there’s an alliance of rich and poor *
Who understand one another

To ensure that there is enough *
To make a difference.

This alliance knows that there are *
Three great measures of mankind,

A measure called your heartbeat, *
Counting how we are all equal.

A measure called money *
Counting how we go up in the world

And a measure of Sophia *
Counting how we go down into poverty.

With these three numbers *
We grow in compassion

Together counting *
What truly matters.

  1. The Balance Scale Breaks

People love to compete *
With one another

To tip the balance with money *
Up in their favour.

Does the other end of the balance *
Tip down?

Showing a decrease in poverty? *
If not what do we see?

A balance scale tipped up with money *
Just for the rich

And the other end that measures poverty *
Not tipped down for the poor.

We see the balance scale is broken *
And Justice weeps.

  1. The Balance Scale Pivots

Sophia asks those with money *
To set aside enough

To always be able to count poverty *
And ensure the balance scale measures

Increased wealth *
With decreased poverty.

So in the cathedrals of learning *
Sophia invites the rich

To sets aside money *
To keep the brightest minds

Finding counting ways *
To hold the poorest of the poor

In the minds of the richest of the rich *
And to create an alliance between them

To celebrate *
That we all have a heartbeat.

Theme for 2018

Jamie Coats

Posted in Grief & Wonder, Love, Poems, Prayer, Theme for 2018 | Comments closed


Dedicado a los Co-Fundadores de OPHI
Iniciativa de Oxford Pobreza y Desarrollo Humano:
Sabina Alkire y John Hammock

1.- Sabiduría

Sophia, Sabiduría, viene a nosotros
y gentilmente toma nuestras manos.

Con tus manos,
puedes contar y numerar cosas.

Estrecha manos para hacer amistades,
Haz cosas que creen un mejor mundo.

Ella posa sus manos en nuestros corazones,
Sintiendo el numero que hace vibrar nuestras vidas.

Vive en nuestros corazones,
conoce las directrices,

Hace que la vida,
De ricos y pobres, sean lo mismo.

2.- Los pobres

Acompáñame a ser bienvenido
En el hogar de los pobres.

Una sola habitación con la cocina detrás.
Un solo asiento, reservado para ti.

Te ofrecen más comida
De la que puedes comer.

Te preguntarás ¿cómo decir “suficiente”?
Sin ser grosero.

Te preguntarás también si te han ofrecido
su sustento familiar de una semana entera.

Sophia pide a su anfitriona que cuenten su historia.
Es hija de un granjero,

Cuyo abuelo dio
su dote para educarla.

Ahora, ella apoya la educación
de un centenar de jóvenes mujeres.

¿Cómo puede permitirse ese lujo?
Te lo preguntarás, pero ella con gran entusiasmo responde:

Que es la mayor alegría de su vida,
poder compartir lo que tiene.

3.- Los ricos

Vamos al lugar de los ricos,
quienes son bendecidos.

Quienes viven bajo un numero,
la del dinero que poseen.

Ellos desean hacer una diferencia,
Se preguntan ¿cómo puedo saber

cómo se hace esta diferencia?

4.- Cuando somos ciegos

Debes reconocer cuando eres ciego
y no puedes ver.

Tienes tus manos para contar,
y tus oídos para escuchar.

Como no sabes cómo es en realidad,
estás en la oscuridad.

Como la Justicia, tienes los ojos vendados.
Por eso vive como un ciego.

Usa tus manos,
para contar tu alrededor.

Suavemente, siente tu entorno.
¿Qué encuentran tus dedos?

5.- Conoce tu pobreza

¿Encuentras murallas delante de ti,
o vives fuera de ellas?

Cuando te arrodillas y tocas el suelo,
¿tocas suciedad, concreto, tablones o alfombra?

¿Qué comida estas preparando?
¿Tienes suficiente para el resto del día?

¿Para la semana? ¿Para toda tu familia?
¡Cuidado! No quemes tus manos!

¿Estás cocinando con estiércol,
madera, combustible o algo diferente?

Comes un puñado.
Revisas la cabeza de tu hijo por si tiene fiebre,

¿Qué tan lejos está el hospital?
Buscas dinero en tus bolsillos,

¿alcanza para pagar las cuentas?
¿Cuál es tu nivel de educación?

¿Tu trabajo muestra aprendizaje?
Cerca de ti, ¿puedes conseguir herramientas?

¿tienes alguna para producir?
Sediento, buscando un grifo,

¿tienes agua potable?
¿Es seguro beberla

o debes buscar una tetera para hervirla?
¿Hierves el té más caliente

que tu boca puede soportar?
Necesitas ir,

¿tienes un baño?
¿O vas afuera?

¿O debes pagar por el retrete del pueblo?

Al salir, te tropiezas con algo,
un pedazo de basura.

Basura que nunca se recoge
y que está desparramada por todos lados.

Incluso ciego, sabrás tu camino
por donde sea que gires.

6.- Conoce tu Mal-Estar

Incluso en lugares donde hay mucho dinero,
aparece otra forma de pobreza.

¿existen enfermedades de la mente?
¿Hay enfermedades del trabajo?

¿Hay sobreendeudamiento paralizante?
¿Crece la inutilidad?

¿Se entumecen los sentidos con desesperación?
Es la rabia dopada,

O arremetiendo intermitentemente
¿En ciclos crecientes de violencia?

Y saber que hay manos
Eso mide esta falta de bienestar también.

7. Ver y hacer progreso

Cuando hayas contado todas estas cosas
La venda caerá de tus ojos.

La luz llenará tu visión
Veras todas las cosas

Que cuenta para la pobreza.
El número que cuenta Sophia

Eso pinta una imagen vívida
Para que los ricos vean a los pobres,

Eso dice que hay mucho por hacer
Y muchas formas de ayudar.

Sofía vuelve una y otra vez,
Contando una y otra vez

Para que todos vean el progreso
Que deleita a ricos y pobres por igual.

8. ¿Quién viene a ayudar?

Ahora los ricos pueden ver,
Se preguntan cómo ayudar.

Sophia se arrodilla en la tierra
A los pies de los descalzados.

Los más pobres de los pobres
Y con sus números

Ella sostiene las manos de los ricos para estar allí también.
Los ricos vienen como gobernantes.

Gente de comercio,
Gente de medicina,

Gente de aprendizaje,
Gente de construcción,

Todos unidos por el número de Sofía
Que captura los demonios de la pobreza.

9. ¿Cómo podemos ayudar?

Primero recuerda, ni siquiera cuentes
A menos que planees hacer una diferencia.

Encuentra formas para que los pobres y los ricos se sienten juntos
Con los números a medida que se hunden.

Pregunte cómo se abren nuestras mentes?
¿Tenemos espacio para jugar con nuevas soluciones?

Pregunta qué cuenta Sophia
¿Qué dice sobre nuestras prioridades?

¿Estamos listos para que ella regrese?
¿Para medir la diferencia que hemos tratado de hacer?

Como líderes damos importancia
¿A la medida igual de Sofía?

10. Una alianza de ricos y pobres

Ahora hay una alianza de ricos y pobres
Que se entiendan unos a otros

Para asegurarse de que hay suficiente
Para marcar la diferencia.

Esta alianza sabe que hay
Tres grandes medidas de la humanidad,

Una medida llamada latido de tu corazón,
Contando cómo todos somos iguales.

Una medida llamada dinero
Contando cómo subimos en el mundo.

Y una medida de Sofía
Contando cómo bajamos a la pobreza.

Con estos tres números
Crecemos en compasión

Juntos contando
Lo que realmente importa.

11. La escala de equilibrio se rompe

A la gente le encanta competir
Uno con el otro

Para inclinar el saldo con dinero
A su favor.

¿Se inclina el otro extremo del
Balance hacia abajo?

¿Mostrando una disminución de la pobreza?
Si no, ¿qué vemos?

Una balanza balanceada con dinero
Solo para los ricos

Y el otro extremo que mide la pobreza.
No se inclinó por los pobres.

Vemos que la balanza está rota
Y la justicia llora.

12. Los pivotes de la balanza

Sofía pregunta a los que tienen dinero
Dejar de lado lo suficiente

Para poder contar siempre la pobreza
Y asegurar las medidas de la balanza.

Mayor riqueza
Con disminución de la pobreza.

Así, en las catedrales del aprendizaje.
Sofía invita a los ricos

Para destinar dinero
Para mantener las mentes más brillantes.

Encontrando formas de contar
Sostener a los más pobres de los pobres.

En las mentes de los más ricos de los ricos
Y para crear una alianza entre ellos.

Que todos tenemos un latido del corazón.

Tema para el 2018

Jamie Coats                            sophiaoxford.org

En inglés

Posted in Grief & Wonder, Poems | Comments closed
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