You Are the Answer To the Dreams of Your Ancestors: by Ando Kineret Yardena, dedicated to Bernie Glassman

You Are the Answer To the Dreams of Your Ancestors

Dedicated to Bernie Glassman

Ando Kineret Yardena, pictured above in white prayer shawl. This poem was written during the 2018 Zen Peacemakers Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat.



You are the answer

To the dreams of your ancestors.

When they were lovemaking

under canopies of shame

and love and the fear of what would come,

they dreamed of you.

They dreamed of you

that you would come and redeem them.

Redeem all they had been and done,

and hadn’t,

one generation, ten thousand years, later

when everyone else had forgotten

what it smelled like

as they gave themselves to the Earth

to the only One who could save them—

You did not forget.

Take back your ancestors and take back your hearts.

Look around you, take care of this land.

For this

is Eden.

You are the answer

To your ancestor’s prayers:

To make this world remember Peace,

to make this world again know Love;

for the world they wished they could have seen,

but which they never ceased believing

you couldn’t help but make happen.

You are the answer

To your ancestor’s prayers:

That someone would come who would care

for all the places and all the hearts of the

air and earth, water and sky beings,

Past and today and future –

of all the beloved ones and

all the ones who generation after generation

are the most unseen


You are the answer to your ancestor’s prayers:

Don’t think you don’t belong Here.

No need to question it.

Don’t try to make it make sense.

Rest instead in that great, beloved knowing:

You are a chosen one.

They needed you here,

Prayed for you to be here—

Knowing you were the One who

could finally carry their bones home

to bury them

in the fertile field

of your great heart,

to dream of them and pray to them and pray for them to come

again and guide you,

with what you needed to do:

To close the affairs

they weren’t able to close,

to bring the healing

they couldn’t yet bring;

to be free in a way

they could never have dreamed of,

but did;

To come home again,

and coming home, make whole

all the way forward,

all the way back,

for all the ones

across space and time

still out wandering the deserts

of their great hearts

looking for Love everywhere except in their own hearts.

Please, granddaughters,


look inside your own hearts.

I can’t be anywhere else.

I can only be here.

I can only be here.

Do not doubt you have a place here

Something that only you can do:

Sing a song for us

Make love to the ocean for us

Love a child on this earth for us

Light a great wild sky fire for us

so the smoke can burn through the layers of space and time

that seem to separate us,

But don’t.

We are here

And we are watching you pray

for the next ones to come

as we once prayed for you.


Ando leading ceremony at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat, 2018



Thank you, ancestors, thank you for coming before me.

Thank you for showing me the way.

Thank you for praying

for me to come.

I honor you

I cherish you

I grieve for you

I pray for you

I live in peace for you

I work for justice for you

I light incense in memory for you

I dance on the great fire of my heart for you.

I write this song of love for you

I sing my poetry to all of the people for you.

I listen to guidance from the trees and the earth for you.

I listen carefully for you.

I walk carefully listening for you.

I hate no hates for you.

I love all my loves for you.

I dream the next generation’s dreams for you

I let go and let go and let go and let go for you

Doing what is mine to be done right now

I live in ceremony.

I rest when it is time for rest.

And when you speak

I listen

with the soft edges of my body,

with all the ears of my heart.

And you will know

Your prayer has not been in vain.

Thank you for coming before me.

Thank you for showing me the way.

Thank you for praying

For me to come.

I am here

Without duty.

I am here with an open heart

In Love.

Please keep singing your songs into me:

It is how I know my place of belonging.

It is how I know you are well.

It is how I know what is mine to

pray for next

Thank you, ancestors,

I see you

I hear you

I claim my courage for you

I open my heart to peace for you.

I go out into the terrible darkness for you.

I rise up into the soul light of song for you.

I love and love and love for you.

I am quiet and lay close to the earth for you.

I tell the truth of my heart for you.

I take care of the Earth and the unseen ones for you.

I forget for you and I remember for you and I welcome all the feelings that flow through my heart for you.

I give to death my cherishings for you.

I rest in peace forever and ever for you.

Ancestors, precious ones,

grandmothers and grandfathers,

Guides and angels,

Protectors, seen and unseen,

Please rest now

with ease and gladness in your hearts,


Your prayers have been answered.

The waters of your love have carved

through the limestone mountains of the generations

the steep cliffs by which we’ve journeyed to be together here

the caverns inside which

press our foreheads to the earth

offering up our lives

in total surrender.

Rest now, Dear Ones


We are here.

We are here

among you.

And we are Praying for, and Tending this sacred world for,

the next ones

who will come,

so one day

they will

know you too.


Ando Kineret Yardena lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she is a youth worker, artist and poet. Her work grows out of her love of learning from the lives and stories of others, and her love for the Earth. She is engaged in international and interfaith peace work and guides youth rites of passage ceremonies. Read her 2016 reflection on the Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat at OnBeing.

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You Are the Answer To the Dreams of Your Ancestors: by Ando Kineret Yardena, dedicated to Bernie Glassman

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for this poem! You put into words the things I haven’t yet been able to say. My ancestors talk to me and I try to listen… you’re the first person that I’ve read that seems like they get it..

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