Monday, March 31, 2014

For what is it to die?


For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

–Kahlil Gibran



Sunday, March 30, 2014



After the biopsy, after the bone scan, after the consult and the crying, for a few hours no one could find them, not even my sister, because it turns out they’d gone to the movies. Something tragic was playing, something epic, and so they went to the comedy with their popcorn and their cokes, the old wife whispering everything twice, the old husband cupping a palm to his ear, as the late sun lit up an orchard behind the strip mall, and they sat in the dark holding hands.

–Patrick Phillips


Saturday, March 29, 2014

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died


I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the heaves of storm –
The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue-uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

–Emily Dickinson 



Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Secret Garden, excerpt


One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever.

One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands out and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun—which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so.

And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with the millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone’s

–Frances Hodgson Burnett



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond


As for life,
I'm humbled,
I'm without words
sufficient to say
how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond,
both of these
and over and over,
and long pale afternoons besides,
and so many mysteries
beautiful as eggs in a nest,
still unhatched
though warm and watched over
by something I have never seen -
a tree angel, perhaps,
or a ghost of holiness.
Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
It suffices, it is all comfort -
along with human love,
dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about
stopping, and lying down at last
to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
yet to come, when
time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,
and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.
As for death,
I can't wait to be the hummingbird,
can you?

–Mary Oliver


Monday, March 24, 2014

no help for that


there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled
a space
and even during the
best moments
the greatest
we will know it
we will know it
more than
there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled
we will wait
in that

–Charles Bukowski 


Sunday, March 23, 2014

rabbit as king of the ghosts



The difficulty to think at the end of day,
When the shapeless shadow covers the sun
And nothing is left except light on your fur--

There was the cat slopping its milk all day,
Fat cat, red tongue, green mind, white milk
And August the most peaceful month.

To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time,
Without that monument of cat,
The cat forgotten in the moon;

And to feel that the light is a rabbit-light,
In which everything is meant for you
And nothing need be explained;

Then there is nothing to think of. It comes of itself;
And east rushes west and west rushes down,
No matter. The grass is full

And full of yourself. The trees around are for you,
The whole of the wideness of night is for you,
A self that touches all edges,

You become a self that fills the four corners of night.
The red cat hides away in the fur-light
And there you are humped high, humped up,

You are humped higher and higher, black as stone--
You sit with your head like a carving in space
And the little green cat is a bug in the grass.

–Wallace Stevens

Saturday, March 22, 2014

at least



If nothing saves us from death, at least love should save us from life.

—Pablo Neruda


Friday, March 21, 2014

fear no more, says the heart



Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins, collects, lets fall.

—Virginia Woolf
Mrs Dalloway


Thursday, March 20, 2014

not to worry


Everyone is so afraid of death, but the real sufis just laugh: nothing tyrannizes their hearts. What strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl.



Monday, March 17, 2014

on being


"Let me not not-be. Let me be. Let me not annihilate myself, and let not conditions arise to annihilate me. May I live always, and may I not not-live.” 
This is the feeling, the longing, the main desire of the Self. It is asserting its eternity. The eternity aspect of the Self always affirms itself in the desire never not to be, and the desire always to be.

This kind of love is always seen in the Self. When all things go, when the world itself goes, it would be good if we are alive – so the Self thinks. 

It is on the one hand Self-luminous, Self-conscious, Self-affirmative, and also Self-bliss. Eternal unending bliss – that is the Self.

–Ramana Maharshi


Sunday, March 16, 2014

despite it all


There are times in your life when, despite the steel weight of your memories and the sadness that seems to lie at your feet like a shadow, you suddenly and strangely feel perfectly okay.

–Kevin Brockmeier


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gravelly Run


I don't know somehow it seems sufficient
to see and hear whatever coming and going is,
losing the self to the victory
of stones and trees,
of bending sandpit lakes, crescent
round groves of dwarf pine:

for it is not so much to know the self
as to know it as it is known
by galaxy and cedar cone,
as if birth had never found it
and death could never end it:

the swamp's slow water comes
down Gravelly Run fanning the long
stone-held algal
hair and narrowing roils between
the shoulders of the highway bridge:

holly grows on the banks in the woods there,
and the cedars' gothic-clustered
spires could make
green religion in winter bones:

so I look and reflect, but the air's glass
jail seals each thing in its entity:

no use to make any philosophies here:
I see no
god in the holly, hear no song from
the snowbroken weeds: Hegel is not the winter
yellow in the pines: the sunlight has never
heard of trees: surrendered self among
unwelcoming forms: stranger,
hoist your burdens, get on down the road.

–A. R. Ammons


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Death poem of a Japanese Zen Master


Empty-handed I entered
the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going —
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.

Like dew drops
on a lotus leaf

I vanish.

—Shinsui, 1769



via datura

Monday, March 10, 2014


Saturday, March 8, 2014

merrily, merrily


That man’s life is but a dream -
is what we now come to know. 

Its house abandoned,
the garden has become home
to butterflies.
—Monk Sougi


Friday, March 7, 2014

not to worry


Jenny Holzer

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ash Wednesday



Once I thought everything
has a soul
Then I learnt only
the fool fears the tree—
It is empty—
So too the wind
that sends it which
way and that—
Now I know God
is such a wind
from which we
are rent—
The heavens take
the tree
from the tree—
leaf by leaf—
Being gone, taken,
is what means Heaven—
It is full—of wings—
A music of what
is missing
since nothing
but men have souls
tho, it appears,
not many.

–Kevin Young


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

not to worry


Death has nothing to do with going away.

The sun sets, the moon sets.

But they are not gone.

–Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

the transformation of things


Once Zhuang Zhou dreamed he was a butterfly, a fluttering butterfly. What fun he had, doing as he pleased! He did not know he was Zhou.

Suddenly he woke up and found himself to be Zhou.

He did not know whether Zhou had dreamed he was a butterfly or a butterfly had dreamed he was Zhou. Between Zhou and the butterfly there must be some distinction.

This is what is meant by the transformation of things.

–Zhuang Zhou


Monday, March 3, 2014

whatever happens


Whatever happens,
those who have learned
to love one another
have made their way
to the lasting world
and will not leave,
whatever happens.
The incarnate Word is with us,
is still speaking, is present
always, yet leaves no sign
but everything that is.

When we convene again
to understand the world,
the first speaker will again
point silently out the window
at the hillside in its season,
sunlit, under the snow,
and we will nod silently,
and silently stand and go.

–Wendell Berry