I Give You the Springtime of My Blushing Heart: A Poetic Love Song

Belvie Rooks and Dedan Gills
ISBN: 978-1-7323185-2-6
90 pages
Published June, 2019
Audiobook on Audible – Named by Speechify as one of the 29 Best Poetry Books for 2024.


Poetry / African American / Death, Grief, Loss / Inspiration, Personal Growth

This collection celebrates the love of Dedan Gills and Belvie Rooks, a journey as old as eternity and as new as now. As individuals, each was devoted to giving, kindness, and love, but together they became an even greater power, and their commitment to social justice touched many lives. There are moments so fleeting that, like the wings of dragonflies, they shimmer, shudder, and vanish. So it was on the day Dedan left this world. Belvie knows that the memory of Dedan’s being cannot be grasped by any medium but the poetic. His laughter and attentive presence set the example of how to soar while on this human journey. His wisdom and kindness allowed him to kiss enlightenment while being grounded in the communities he loved so much. Now, Belvie presents Dedan’s poetry as a gift, an invitation to dive deep into the unknown while hearing the familiar with new ears. As it lifts our spirits, this book challenges us to ponder: How do we make everything that happens something of beauty and value?

—From the introduction by Reverend Dr. Barbara A. Holmes, author of Race and the Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently

Invocation: Diane Longboat
Preface: Belvie Rooks
Foreword: Will Alexander
Introduction: Rev. Barbara Holmes
Edited: Belvie Rooks

The Big Picture

I Am
The Tree and Me
Healing The Whole
There Was a Question (a poem for Thomas Berry)
Change as Balance
Meeting Myself: Epiphany of Oneness
Up Jumped Spring

The Divine Feminine

Shamanic Mother
Big River Morning
The Other Side

New Beginning

Darkness of the Soul
Music of My Soul
The Sacred Wound
Graveyard Graffiti
Windy Eyes of Time
Spring Poem

Love Book

Love Book
Mood Belvious
Smiling Lips of Infinity
Grandeur Pink

African Journey

Sacred Intentions
Our Wedding Vows
It’s Official

What Would Healing Look Like?

Ghana and Elmina
What Would Healing Look Like
A Child of the Middle Passage
The Power of a Question

Possibilities and Healing

Thank you, Belvie
Global Chorus
In Love with Love
A Different Kind of Love

Facing the Final Mystery

Dedan’s Zen Hospice Letter
Soul Book
Primal Existence
Dancing at the Edge of Infinity
I Give You My Love

Afterword: Elizabeth Miller and Matthew Davis
Epilogue: Ruth King
Contributor Biographies
Dedan’s Legacy Projects (with links)
Books on the Journey
Belvie and Dedan Biographies

Diane Longboat is an educator (MEd), traditional healer, and traditional teacher. She is the founder of First Nations House (Office of Aboriginal Student Services and Programs) at the University of Toronto, founder of Soul of the Mother (traditional lodge on the shores of the Grand River) and Education Advisor to the Premier of Ontario and the Ontario Minister of Education. Diane has worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada’s largest hospital for mental health as Traditional Healer creating Ceremony Grounds where traditional healing is now part of the standard of care for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit clients and patients. Today Diane is the Senior Project Manager for Guiding Directions Implementation at CAMH.

Will Alexander works in multiple genres. In addition to being a poet, he is also a novelist, essayist, aphorist, playwright, philosopher, visual artist, and pianist. For him, each word has access to not only the median level of three-dimensional experience, but also partakes of experience on both the supra and subconscious planes. He has been acknowledged as a leading surrealist writer and poet. His praxis of language is not unlike the Mayan numerical world, where each letter of the alphabet spontaneously engages in non-limit. Thus, all fields of experience are open for exploration: art, physics, botany, history, astronomy, architecture, and poetics. Alexander’s books include Asia and Haiti, The Sri Lankan Loxodrome, Compression and Purity, Sunrise in Armageddon, Diary as Sin, Inside the Earthquake Palace, Towards the Primeval Lightning Field, and Mirach Speaks to His Grammatical Transparents.

Rev. Barbara Holmes, Ph.D. is a writer and scholar who publishes books about the intersection of ethics, spirituality, mysticism, cosmology, and African American religious culture. Her published works include: Dreaming (Fortress Press, 2012); Liberation and the Cosmos: Conversations with the Elders (Fortress Press, 2008); Race and the Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently (Fortress Press, 2002); A Private Woman in Public Spaces (2000), and other publications. She is president emerita of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and former professor of ethics and African American religious studies and vice president of Academic Affairs at Memphis Theological Seminary. She was called to ministry while working as a corporate lawyer, and also has a background in theater arts.

Matthew Davis, Ph.D. creates lessons about the inner journey of living in the natural world. His home as a child moved around the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf with his parents who were teachers. He has spent the last twenty years writing, and teaching composition, science, social justice, literature and critical (creative) thinking at many levels, from colleges and universities, to juvenile detention centers and corporations. He has worked as a business executive and editor, and has designed and directed numerous educational initiatives and programs. Matthew holds a doctoral degree in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness, is the founder of the poetry slam collective Avay-i-Janaan, and is cofounder and Executive Director of the Pseads Institute for Learning and Innovation.

Elizabeth Miller, Ph.D. is associate editor of I Give You the Springtime of My Blushing Heart, is an educator, educational designer and assessment specialist, and organizational consultant. She has held leadership roles at nonprofit, educational and corporate organizations with national and international focus, and brings together graduate and professional research in cognitive science, neurocardiology, contemplative studies, literacy, and ecology. She holds a doctoral degree in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness, and is committed to establishing more integrative and life-giving approaches to learning and evaluation. Elizabeth has worked in publishing and has a background in editing and marketing. She is a founding member of the international poetry slam collective Avay-i-Janaan, and is cofounder and Director of Programs for the Pseads Institute for Learning and Innovation.

Ruth King is an international teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition, an emotional wisdom author and life coach. King is on the Teacher’s Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, California, and is founder of Mindful Members Insight Meditation Community in Charlotte, NC. In former years, King managed leadership training and organizational development divisions at Levi Strauss and Intel corporations, specializing in culture change initiatives. A world traveler, King’s work has been influenced by many cultures. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, California, and is the author of several publications including her recent book, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism From The Inside Out. Currently recognized as a heart activist, trainer of trainers, and consultant to consultants, King teaches the Mindful of Race Training program, which blends mindfulness principles with an exploration of our racial conditioning, its impact, and our potential. Website: www.RuthKing.net

“This beautiful and engaging love story by two friends and lifelong human rights and social justice activists models what love can be in these times. Dedan’s poetic vision, ranging from the personal to the cosmic, enriches us all.”   —Danny Glover, humanitarian and actor

“Now, more than ever, love truly lived is a revolutionary act. Belvie and Dedan embody love in its truest, most beautiful sense. There is the beauty of the small things and there are those times when the heart must break open in order to hold the big things—it’s the breaking open that creates the room to hold it all. Revolution means to return to origin. In this time when so much has lost its way, let the words in this book guide you home, to the origin, to love.”     —Julia “Butterfly” Hill, environmental activist; author of The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods

“A cosmic celebration of being as well as a clear-eyed affirmation of love in a time of great crisis. Dedan Gills is a national treasure.”    —Dr. Brian Thomas Swimme, cosmologist; coauthor of The Universe Story

“One of the most beautiful poetic expressions of the present time, Dedan has masterfully woven metaphors and melodies together to offer a Springtime from his heart to the hearts of his readers. Thank you for such a masterpiece.”    —Dr. Nahid Angha, co-director, International Association of Sufism; Executive Editor of Sufism: An Inquiry

“Dedan Gills reminds us that a poet combusts meaning into passionate songs of wholeness, and that poetry comes out of actually living the miracle of so many interfaces of truth and experience that they explode with grace in the heart and stun us with fresh insight and original beauty.”    —James O’Dea, former president, Institute of Noetic Sciences; author, activist, and mystic

“I am so glad that the world is going to have this book. The love between Belvie and Dedan was deep and moving to behold. It created an atmosphere that spread among all of us lucky enough to be anywhere near, like wildflowers sprouting in spring, awakening, inspiring, delivering a thoughtful joy. This poetic correspondence between two great souls, with each other and all of existence, is a precious gift to us all.”   —Susan Griffin, author of Woman and Nature and A Chorus of Stones

“A poetic celebration of life. We owe a debt of gratitude to Belvie and Dedan for this moving testament to the eternal power of love, both personal and cosmic.”    —Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade, Sacred Pleasure, and The Real Wealth of Nations

“Through his own healing, Dedan learned to embrace suffering as part of life, to look deeply into its meaning and enter the mystery in a way that deepened the question “What would healing look like?” He loved honestly and without pretense. He spoke his heart and mind, with an ability to draw from all quarters of life, speaking to their connectedness to each other and to him. He was a rare man whose voice embodied a rich and full life that stretched from the street to the cosmos. He could see what might be possible. We would do well to listen… he teaches us how to love.”   —Steven Siler, MFT

“When music is your medicine and kindness your song, the journey from slavery to stardust is possible. When the poetry and deep love of Dedan Gills and Belvie Rooks are your companions on that journey, it is more than possible—it is likely. A book to keep by your bedside, Springtime resonates with transformative understandings and embodied wisdom from an intimacy generously shared.”    —Eimear O’Neill, Ph.D., transformative educator, transgenerational therapist; and creative director of Spirit Matters Community

“Dedan Gills possessed a soul that holds galaxies, a sagacious, loving spirit that was profoundly moving, and a rare capacity to give words to wisdom. In this powerful book, the partnership of Dedan and Belvie continues to guide all of us in need of their vision, creativity, mentoring, and brilliance. These poems are pulsars, seeds, blessings, love notes, and lessons, filled with Dedan’s magnanimous presence, cosmological insight, enchanted heart, and unyielding commitment to a wounded world and its healing.”    —Drew Dellinger, Ph.D., author of Love Letter to the Milky Way

“A beautiful testimony to the power of love between partners…. Reading these poems is a reminder of the timelessness and endurance of love across all dimensions, and the importance of living our truest paths for service and hope.”   —Jeanine M. Canty, Ph.D., professor, Naropa University

“It is often said that the true measure of a person lies in the questions s/he asks, more so than the answers s/he provides. I Give You the Springtime of My Blushing Heartis an exquisite offering in which sage Dedan Gills demonstrates his transcendence by at once posing and answering the most poignant and provocative of questions: ‘What would healing look like?’ Through her artful curation, Dedan’s beloved Belvie Rooks shares from the treasure trove of Dedan’s poetic writings a sampling of how the Love, Light and Legacy of Dedan’s life is what healing looks like. Thank you, Dedan, for being a way-shower for us all. Thank you, Belvie, for your generosity in sharing Dedan with the rest of us.”    —Thomasina H. Williams, Family Enterprise Consultant, Founder of Sankofa Legacy Advisors, Inc.

“Dedan’s love poems to Belvie come from a very deep place that most mortals have never experienced. Some of us live privileged lives, others lives filled with struggle. Dedan used his rich life, often filled with struggle, to explore for us the deepest questions of human existence and his outpouring of love. Springtime is his gift to all of us that extends far beyond his lifetime.     —Wilford Welch, author of In Our Hands: A Handbook for Intergenerational Actions to Solve the Climate Crisis and The Tactics of Hope

“Belvie Rooks and Dedan Gills, partners in love and in life, swayed to the rhythms of the cosmos. Activists since the time of their youth, both led lives devoted to righting the wrongs of the world and found kindred cause in the arms of the other. This luminous collection offers us a glimpse into the depth and breadth of their love, and in doing so invites us to embrace the infinite and intimate possibilities of living with unguarded, open hearts.”    —Sandra Bass, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Students, and Director, Public Service Center, UC Berkeley

“Brothers and Sisters, there is a person in the room with us today whom I would like to recognize. Many of you will never realize the enormous contribution he has made to our movement. Brother Dedan Gills, will you please stand!”    —Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt, Black Panther Party Leader, Black Women’s Forum Community Meeting, Los Angeles, 2005

“At a time when hate is literally marching in the streets, I Give You the Springtime of My Blushing Heart is more than a breath of fresh air, it is life. This soul-bearing work offers the world a glimpse of revolutionary love in reactionary times.”    —Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, musician; author of The Task of the Artist in the Time of Monsters