Friday, May 09, 2014
Monday, December 10, 2012
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Friday, December 30, 2011
At the End of the Year
At the End of the Year
The particular mind of the ocean
Filling the coastline's longing
With such brief harvest
Of elegant, vanishing waves
Is like the mind of time
Opening us shapes of days.
As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.
Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.
The slow, brooding times
When all was awkward
And the wave in the mind
Pierced every sore with salt.
The darkened days that stopped
The confidence of the dawn.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
~ John O'Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us)
Friday, February 11, 2011
and looks at the body,
looks at the mind,
as a lion
at the not-quite-itself,
moving of shadows and grass.
Wary, but with interest,
considers its kingdom.
all that will be,
heart once again enters --
enters hunger, enters sorrow,
enters finally losing it all.
To know, if nothing else,
what it once owned.
~ Jane Hirshfield ~
(The October Palace)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII
The Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII
Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.
What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.
Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.
Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(In Praise of Mortality, translated and edited by
Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)
Sunday, September 19, 2010
The pull is so strong we will not believe
the drawing tide is meant for us,
I mean the gift, the sea,
the place where all the rivers meet.
Easy to forget,
how the great receiving depth
untamed by what we need
needs only what will flow its way.
Easy to feel so far away
and the body so old
it might not even stand the touch.
But what would that be like
feeling the tide rise
out of the numbness inside
toward the place to which we go
washing over our worries of money,
the illusion of being ahead,
the grief of being behind,
our limbs young
rising from such a depth?
What would that be like
even in this century
driving toward work with the others,
moving down the roads
among the thousands swimming upstream,
as if growing toward arrival,
feeling the currents of the great desire,
carrying time toward tomorrow?
Tomorrow seen today, for itself,
the sea where all the rivers meet, unbound,
unbroken for a thousand miles, the surface
of a great silence, the movement of a moment
left completely to itself, to find ourselves adrift,
safe in our unknowing, our very own,
our great tide, our great receiving, our
wordless, fiery, unspoken,
hardly remembered, gift of true longing.
~ David Whyte ~
(Where Many Rivers Meet)
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I used to sit in the cafe of existentialism,
lost in a blue cloud of cigarette smoke,
contemplating the suicide a tiny Frenchman
might commit by leaping from the rim of my brandyglass.
I used to hunger to be engaged
as I walked the long shaded boulevards,
eyeing women of all nationalities,
a difficult paperback riding in my raincoat pocket.
But these days I like my ontology in an armchair,
a rope hammock, or better still, a warm bath
in a cork-lined room--disengaged, soaking
in the calm, restful waters of speculation.
Afternoons, when I leave the house
for the woods, I think of Aquinas at his desk,
fingers interlocked upon his stomach,
as he deduces another proof for God's existence,
intricate as the branches of these bare November trees.
And as I kick through the leaves and snap
the windfallen twigs, I consider Leibniz on his couch
reaching the astonishing conclusion that monads,
those windowless units of matter, must have souls.
But when I finally reach the top of the hill
and sit down on the flat tonnage of this boulder,
I think of Spinoza, most rarefied of them all.
I look beyond the treetops and the distant ridges
and see him sitting in a beam of Dutch sunlight
slowly stirring his milky tea with a spoon.
Since dawn he has been at his bench grinding lenses,
but now he is leaving behind the saucer and table,
the smokey chimneys and tile roofs of Amsterdam,
even the earth itself, pale blue, aqueous,
cloud-enshrined, titled back on the stick of its axis.
He is rising into that high dome of thought
where loose pages of Shelley float on the air,
where all the formulas of calculus unravel,
tumbling in the radiance of a round Platonic sun--
that zone just below the one where angels accelerate
and the ampitheatrical rose of Dante unfolds.
And now I stand up on the ledge to salute you, Spinoza,
and when I whistle to the dog and start down the hill,
I can feel the thick glass of your eyes upon me
as I step from the rock to glacial rock, and on her
as she sniffs her way through the leaves,
her tail straight back, her body low to the ground.
~ Billy Collins ~
(The Art of Drowning)
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Surely, you too have longed for this --
to pour yourself out
on the rising circles of the air
to ride, unthinking,
on the flesh of emptiness.
Can you claim, in your civilized life,
that you have never leaned toward
the headlong dive, the snap of bones,
the chance to be so terrible,
so free from evil, beyond choice?
The air that they are riding
is the same breath as your own.
How could you not remember?
That same swift stillness binds
your cells in balance, rushes
through the pulsing circles of your blood.
Each breath proclaims it --
the flash of feathers, the chance to rest
on such a muscled quietness,
to be in that fierce presence,
wholly wind, wholly wild.
~ Lynn Ungar ~
(Blessing the Bread)
Sunday, February 07, 2010
A Map to the Next World
A Map to the Next World
In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map
for those who would climb through the hole in the sky.
My only tools were the desires of humans as they emerged from the killing fields,
from the bedrooms and the kitchens.
For the soul is a wanderer with many hands and feet.
The map must be of sand and can't be read by ordinary light.
It must carry fire to the next tribal town, for renewal of spirit.
In the legend are instructions on the language of the land,
how it was we forgot to acknowledge the gift, as if we were not in it or of it.
Take note of the proliferation of supermarkets and malls, the altars of money.
They best describe the detour from grace.
Keep track of the errors of our forgetfulness; a fog steals our children while we sleep.
Flowers of rage spring up in the depression, the monsters are born there of nuclear anger.
Trees of ashes wave good-bye to good-bye and the map appears to disappear.
We no longer know the names of the birds here,
how to speak to them by their personal names.
Once we knew everything in this lush promise.
What I am telling you is real and is printed in a warning on the map.
Our forgetfulness stalks us, walks the earth behind us,
leaving a trail of paper diapers, needles and wasted blood.
An imperfect map will have to do little one.
The place of entry is the sea of your mother's blood,
your father's small death as he longs to know himself in another.
There is no exit.
The map can be interpreted through the wall of the intestine --
a spiral on the road of knowledge.
You will travel through the membrane of death,
smell cooking from the encampment where our relatives make a feast
of fresh deer meat and corn soup, in the Milky Way.
They have never left us; we abandoned them for science.
And when you take your next breath as we enter the fifth world there will be no X,
no guide book with words you can carry.
You will have to navigate by your mother's voice, renew the song she is singing.
Fresh courage glimmers from planets.
And lights the map printed with the blood of history,
a map you will have to know by your intention, by the language of suns.
When you emerge note the tracks of the monster slayers
where they entered the cities of artificial light and killed what was killing us.
You will see red cliffs. They are the heart, contain the ladder.
A white deer will come to greet you when the last human climbs from the destruction.
Remember the hole of our shame marking the act of abandoning our tribal grounds.
We were never perfect.
Yet, the journey we make together is perfect on this earth
who was once a star and made the same mistakes as humans.
We might make them again, she said.
Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.
You must make your own map.
~ Joy Harjo ~
(A Map to the Next World: Poems)
Monday, February 01, 2010
Out of God's Hat
Out of God's Hat
The stars poured into the sky
Out of a Magician's hat last night,
And all of them have fallen into my hair.
Some have even tangled my eyelashes
Into luminous, playful knots.
You are welcome to cut a radiant tress
That lays upon my shoulders.
Wrap it around your trembling heart and body
That craves divine comfort and warmth.
I am like a pitcher of milk
In the hands of a mother who loves you.
All of my contents now
Have been churned into dancing suns and moons.
Lean your sweet neck and mouth
Out of that dark nest where you hide,
I will pour effulgence into your mind.
You can find me rolling in the fields
They are exploding in
Of scents, of sounds - everything is
A brilliant colored nova on a stem.
Forest animals hear me laughing
And surrender their deepest instincts and fears,
They come charging into meadows
To lick my hands and face,
This makes me so happy,
I become so happy
That my rising wink turns into a magic baton.
When my soft-eyed creatures see that wonderful signal
We all burst into singing
And make strange and primal beautiful sounds!
My only regret in this world then becomes:
That your shyness keeps you from placing
Your starving body against God
And seeing the Beloved become so pleased
With your courage
That his belly begins to rock and rock,
Then more planets get to leap
Onto the welcome mat of existence
Of your previous love.
The friend has turned my verse into sacred pollen.
When a breeze comes by
Falcons and butterflies
And playful gangs of young angels
Mounted on emerald spears
Take flight from me like a great sandstorm
That can blind you to all but the Truth!
Even if you have no net to catch Venus
My music will circle this earth for hundreds of years
And fall like resplendent debris,
Holy seed, onto a fertile woman.
Wants to help you laugh at your every
Wants you to know
Your life within God's arms,
Your dance within God's
~ Hafiz ~
(The Gift -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)
Friday, January 29, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
There is a trough in waves,
A low spot
Where horizon disappears
And only sky
Are our company.
And there we lose our way
We rest, knowing the wave will bring us
To its crest again.
There we may drown
If we let fear
Hold us within its grip and shake us
Side to side,
And leave us flailing, torn, disoriented.
But if we rest there
In the trough,
The low part of the wave,
Our energy and
Noticing the shape of things,
Then time alone
Will bring us to another
Where we can see
Horizon, see the land again,
Regain our sense
And where we need to swim.
~ Judy Brown ~
(The Sea Accepts All Rivers)