Friday, January 31, 2014

the more loving one


Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

–W.H. Auden


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Is this dying?


Is this dying? Is this all? 

Is this what I feared when I prayed against a hard death? 

Oh, I can bear this! I can bear this!

Cotton Mather  (1663-1728) 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I never died, said he


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Late Fragment




And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

–Raymond Carver


Monday, January 27, 2014

this way


For the raindrop, joy is in entering the river—

Travel far enough into sorrow, tears turn to sighing;
In this way we learn how water can die into air.

When, after heavy rain, the storm clouds disperse,
Is it not that they’ve wept themselves clear to the end?



Saturday, January 25, 2014

an African proverb

When death finds you, may it find you alive.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Angel of Duluth, excerpt


I lied a little. There are things I don’t want to tell you. How lonely I am today and sick at heart. How the rain falls steadily and cold on a garden grown greener, more lush and even less tame. I haven’t done much, I confess, to contain it. The grapevine, as usual, threatens everything in its path, while the raspberry canes, aggressive and abundant, are clearly out of control. I’m afraid the wildflowers have taken over, being after all the most hardy and tolerant of shade and neglect. This year the violets and lilies of the valley are rampant, while the phlox are about to emit their shocking pink perfume. Oh, my dear, had you been here this spring, you would have seen how the bleeding hearts are thriving.

—Madelon Sprengnether

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

into this world


Let us die gracefully into this world
like a leaf pressed in stone

let us go quietly breathing our last breath

let the sun continue to revolve in its great golden dance

let us leave it be as it is

and not hold on

not even to the moon

tipped as it will be tonight

and beckoning wildly in the sea

–Natalie Goldberg

Sunday, January 19, 2014

when i go

Oseberg, a 9th-century burial ship, at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway.
Photograph, Kim Walker, Robert Harding/Corbis,


When I go, bury me with nothing but my own skin.
I spent far too many days trying to outrun this thing called mine. 

So if I set myself into your arms would you hold me like the Earth, quietly? 

I am yours. Give me a field, give me a big sky. A mountain.
Give me your mouth. 

I’m just looking for a quiet place that I could die inside of.

—Anis Mojgani



Saturday, January 18, 2014

the four ways of unreason


Ah, open another reality to me!
I want to be like Blake, visited by angels:
I want to have visions for breakfast.
I want to meet fairies in the street!
I want to imagine myself out of this raked-together world,
This jerry-rigged civilization.
I want to live like a banner in the breeze,
Some symbol of something fluttering above something else!

Then bury me wherever you want to.
My true heart will go on keeping watch —
Sphinx-emblazoned sail —
Atop the mast of visions
In Mystery’s four winds.
North — what everybody needs
South — what everybody desires
East — where everything comes from
West — where everything ends
— The four winds of civilization’s mystic air
— The four ways of unreason, and of learning the world.

–Fernando Pessoa


Friday, January 17, 2014

Inscription for a Gravestone


I am not dead, I have only become inhuman:
That is to say,
Undressed myself of laughable prides and infirmities,
But not as a man
Undresses to creep into bed, but like an athlete
Stripping for the race. 
The delicate ravel of nerves that made me a measurer
Of certain fictions
Called good and evil; that made me contract with pain
And expand with pleasure;
Fussily adjusted like a little electroscope:
That’s gone, it is true;
(I never miss it; if the universe does,
How easily replaced!)

But all the rest is heightened, widened, set free.
I admired the beauty
While I was human, now I am part of the beauty.
I wander in the air,

Being mostly gas and water, and flow in the ocean;
Touch you and Asia
At the same moment; have a hand in the sunrises
And the glow of this grass.
I left the light precipitate of ashes to earth
For a love-token.

–Robinson Jeffers



Thursday, January 16, 2014

take nothing for the journey


Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

–Hunter S. Thompson


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Piece of the Storm


From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed. That’s all
There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
“It’s time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening.

–Mark Strand



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Life After Death, A Burden of Proof, excerpt


Whatever it is that occurs at death, I believe it deserves to
be called a miracle. The miracle, ironically, is that we don’t die.
The cessation of the body is an illusion, and like a magician sweeping aside a curtain, the soul reveals what lies beyond. 

–Deepak Chopra


from largerloves


Sunday, January 12, 2014

i see you


'This is our choral tribute to Lily Allen who wrote this song for her mother, Alison Owen.
Orchestrated and Arranged by Rachel Santesso'


Saturday, January 11, 2014

how it works


Let's face it. We're undone by each other.
And if we're not, we're missing something.
If this seems so clearly the case with grief, it is only because it was already the case with desire.
One does not always stay intact.

–Judith Butler


image from vivre !


Friday, January 10, 2014

there is no going back


No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over the grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.

–Wendell Berry
A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems


 image datura


Thursday, January 9, 2014


Know then that the body is merely a garment.

Go seek the wearer, not the cloak.




Monday, January 6, 2014

how it works


If you want to have life, you have to die every moment for it.
Life and death are only different expressions of the same thing looked at from different standpoints; they are the falling and the rising of the same wave, and the two form one whole.

—Swami Vivekananda


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Atlantis, excerpt


2.  Reprieve

I woke in the night
and thought, It was a dream,

nothing has torn the future apart,
we have not lived years

in dread, it never happened,
I dreamed it all. And then

there was this sensation of terrific pressure
lifting, as if I were rising

in one of those old diving bells,
lightening, unburdening. I didn't know

how heavy my life had become - so much fear,
so little knowledge. It was like

being young again, but I understood
how light I was, how without encumbrance, -

and so I felt both young and awake,
which I never felt

when I was young. The curtains moved
- it was still summer, all the windows open -

and I thought, I can move that easily.
I thought my dream had lasted for years,

a decade, a dream can seem like that,
I thought, There's so much more time ...

And then of course the truth
came floating back to me.

You know how children
love to end stories they tell

by saying, It was all a dream? Years ago,
when I taught kids to write,

I used to tell them this ending spoiled things,
explaining and dismissing

what had come before. Now I know
how wise they were, to prefer

that gesture of closure,
their stories rounded not with a sleep

but a waking. What other gift
comes close to a reprieve?

This was the dream that Wally told me:
I was in the tunnel, he said,

and there really was a light at the end,
and a great being standing in the light.   

His arms were full of people, men and women,
but his proportions were all just right - I mean

he was the size of you or me.
And the people said, Come with us,

we're going dancing. And they seemed so glad
to be going, and so glad to have me   

join them, but I said,
I'm not ready yet. I didn't know what to do,

when he finished,
except hold the relentless

weight of him, I didn't know
what to say except, It was a dream,

nothing's wrong now,
it was only a dream.

–Mark Doty
Atlantis: Poems


Saturday, January 4, 2014




If I am dying, leave the balcony open. 
The child is eating an orange. 
(From my balcony, I see him.) 

The reaper is reaping the barley. 
(From my balcony, I hear him.) 

If I am dying, leave the balcony open.

–Federico Garcia Lorca 


Friday, January 3, 2014

trying to find a way to love


Am I Not Among the Early Risers, excerpt



Here is an amazement -- once I was twenty years old and in
every motion of my body there was a delicious ease,
and in every motion of the green earth there was
a hint of paradise,
and now I am sixty years old, and it is the same.

Above the modest house and the palace -- the same darkness.
Above the evil man and the just, the same stars.
Above the child who will recover and the child who will
not recover, the same energies roll forward,
from one tragedy to the next and from one foolishness to the next.

I bow down.

–Mary Oliver
West Wind


Thursday, January 2, 2014

the house of belonging


I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
like any other.

the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
I thought

it must have been the quiet
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the black day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

–David White


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Just Lying on the Grass at Blackwater


I think sometimes of the possible glamour of death -
that it might be wonderful to be
lost and happy inside the green grass -
or to be the green grass! -
or, maybe the pink rose, or the blue iris,
or the affable daisy, or the twirled vine
looping its way skyward - that I might be perfectly peaceful
to be the shining lake, or the hurrying, athletic river,
or the dark shoulders of the trees
where the thrush each evening weeps himself into an ecstasy.

I lie down in the fields of goldenrod, and everlasting.
Who could find me?
My thoughts simplify.  I have not done a thousand things
or a hundred things but, perhaps, a few.
As for wondering about answers that are not available except
in books, though all my childhood I was sent there
to find them, I have learned
to leave all that behind

as in summer I take off my shoes and my socks,
my jacket, my hat, and go on
happier, through the fields.  The little sparrow
with the pink beak
calls out, over and over, so simply - not to me
but to the whole world.  All afternoon
I grow wiser, listening to him,
soft, small, nameless fellow at the top of some weed,
enjoying his life.  If you can sing, do it.  If not,

even silence can feel, to the world, like happiness,
like praise,
from the pool of shade you have found beneath the everlasting.
–Mary Oliver