Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Four Quartets, excerpt


We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.

–T. S. Eliot
Little Gidding


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

not to worry


Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you can not bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain.

What you have not done is feel you are beyond that pain.

—Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, April 25, 2015



Around midnight he took the oxycodone
and listened to Arvo Pärt’s “I Am the True Vine”

over and over, the snow falling harder now.
He switched off the light and sat without dread

of the coming hours, quietly singing along;
he smoked any number of cigarettes without thinking

once about the horrifying consequence;
he was legibly told what to say and he wrote

with mounting excitement and pleasure,
and sent friendly e-mails to everyone, Lord

I had such a good time and I don't regret anything —
What happened to the prayer that goes like that?

–Franz Wright
Wheeling Motel


Friday, April 24, 2015

not to worry


Any soul that drank the nectar of your passion was lifted.
From that water of life he is in a state of elation.
Death came, smelled me, and sensed your fragrance instead.
From then on, death lost all hope of me.




Wednesday, April 22, 2015

stand with your lover on the ending earth


stand with your lover on the ending earth- 
and while a(huge which by which huger than
huge)whoing sea leaps to greenly hurl snow

suppose we could not love,dear;imagine

ourselves like living neither nor dead these
(or many thousand hearts which don't and dream
or many million minds which sleep and move)
blind sands,at pitiless the mercy of

time time time time time 

-how fortunate are you and i,whose home
is timelessness:we who have wandered down
from fragrant mountains of eternal now
to frolic in such mysteries as birth
and death a day(or maybe even less)

–E. E. Cummings


earth song


Listen to things more often than beings.
Hear the voice of the fire, hear the voice of the water,
Listen in the wind to the sighing of the bush:
This is the ancestors breathing.
Those who are dead are never gone;
The dead are not down in the earth:
They are in the trembling of the trees,
In the groaning of the woods,
In the water that runs, in the water that sleeps,
They are in the hut, they are in the crowd.
Those who are dead are not ever gone;
They are in the woman's breast, they are in the wailing of a child,
They are in the burning log and in the moaning rock.
They are in the weeping grasses, in the forest and the home.
Listen to things more often than beings.
Hear the voice of fire, hear the voice of water.
Listen in the wind to the sighing of the bush.
This is the ancestors breathing.

–Traditional Senegal


all for you


Before the final curtain goes down
On my life,
I shall say to my Mother-Earth,
“My gratitude-heart is all for you,
All for you."

–Sri Chinmoy


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

and when they grow above me


Cover me with soft Earth… jasmine, lilies and myrtle; and when they grow above me… they will breathe the fragrance of my Heart into space.

–Kahlil Gibran


Saturday, April 18, 2015

White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field


Coming down out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful, and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings — five feet apart —
and the grabbing thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys of the snow —
and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes
to lurk there, like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows —
so I thought:

maybe death isn't darkness, after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us —
as soft as feathers —
that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow,
that is nothing but light — scalding, aortal light —
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.

–Mary Oliver


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

my soul is not asleep


No, my soul is not asleep.
It is awake, wide awake.

It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches,
its eyes wide open
far off things, and listens
at the shores of the great silence.

–Antonio Machado


Tuesday, April 14, 2015



Ya’aburnee - Arabic – this incantatory word means “You bury me”,
a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person
because of
how difficult it would be to live without them.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

if i never see you again


if i never see you again
i will always carry you

on my fingertips
and at brain edges

and in centers
of what i am of
what remains

–Charles Bukowski


Friday, April 10, 2015

darn darn darn



And what was “I”

is only a word

in December’s dark mouth.

—Tomas Tranströmer
from Winter’s Formulae
Windows and Stones: Selected Poems


'Tomas Tranströmer, one of our mindfulness poets and 2011 winner of the Nobel Prize, died on March 26, 2015, at the age of 83. Here are a couple of quotes to remember him by:

"We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones.

And this: "I am still the place where creation does some work on itself."'

–Curator, ayearofbeinghere

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

in beauty


In beauty may I walk
All day long may I walk
Through the returning seasons may I walk
Beautifully I will possess again
Beautifully birds
Beautifully joyful birds

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk

With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk
With dew about my feet may I walk
With beauty may I walk
With beauty before me may I walk
With beauty behind me may I walk
With beauty above me may I walk
With beauty all around me may I walk

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk
It is finished in beauty
It is finished in beauty

–The Navajo Night Way Ceremony



Monday, April 6, 2015

when it comes


When it comes, you’ll be dreaming
that you don’t need to breathe;
that breathless silence is
the music of the dark
to vanish like a spark
and it’s part of the rhythm

–Wisława Szymborska


Sunday, April 5, 2015




Welcome to the silly, comforting poem.

It is not the sunrise,
which is a red rinse,
which is flaring all over the eastern sky;

it is not the rain falling out of the purse of God;

it is not the blue helmet of the sky afterward,

or the trees, or the beetle burrowing into the earth;

it is not the mockingbird who, in his own cadence,
will go on sizzling and clapping
from the branches of the catalpa that are thick with blossoms,
    that are billowing and shining,
        that are shaking in the wind.


        You still recall, sometimes, the old barn on your 
    great-grandfather's farm, a place you visited once, 
    and went into, all alone, while the grownups sat and 
    talked in the house.
        It was empty, or almost. Wisps of hay covered the floor, 
    and some wasps sang at the windows, and maybe there was 
    a strange fluttering bird high above, disturbed, hoo-ing 
    a little and staring down from a messy ledge with wild, 
    binocular eyes.
        Mostly, though, it smelled of milk, and the patience of 
    animals; the give-offs of the body were still in the air, 
    a vague ammonia, not unpleasant.
        Mostly, though, it was restful and secret, the roof high 
    up and arched, the boards unpainted and plain.
        You could have stayed there forever, a small child in a corner, 
    on the last raft of hay, dazzled by so much space that seemed 
    empty, but wasn't.
        Then--you still remember--you felt the rap of hunger--it was 
    noon--and you turned from that twilight dream and hurried back 
    to the house, where the table was set, where an uncle patted you 
    on the shoulder for welcome, and there was your place at the table.


Nothing lasts.
There is a graveyard where everything I am talking about is,

I stood there once, on the green grass, scattering flowers.


Nothing is so delicate or so finely hinged as the wings
of the green moth
against the lantern
against its heat
against the beak of the crow
in the early morning.

Yet the moth has trim, and feistiness, and not a drop
    of self-pity.

Not in this world.


My mother
was the blue wisteria,
my mother
was the mossy stream out behind the house,
my mother, alas, alas,
did not always love her life,
heavier than iron it was
as she carried it in her arms, from room to room,
oh, unforgettable!

I bury her
in a box
in the earth
and turn away.
My father
was a demon of frustrated dreams,
was a breaker of trust,
was a poor, thin boy with bad luck.
He followed God, there being no one else
he could talk to;
he swaggered before God, there being no one else
who would listen.
this was his life.
I bury it in the earth.
I sweep the closets.
I leave the house.


I mention them now,
I will not mention them again.

It is not lack of love
nor lack of sorrow.
But the iron thing they carried, I will not carry.

I give them--one, two, three, four--the kiss of courtesy,
    of sweet thanks,
of anger, of good luck in the deep earth.
May they sleep well. May they soften.

But I will not give them the kiss of complicity.
I will not give them the responsibility for my life.


Did you know that the ant has a tongue
with which to gather in all that it can
of sweetness?

Did you know that?


The poem is not the world.
It isn't even the first page of the world.

But the poem wants to flower, like a flower.
It knows that much.

It wants to open itself,
like the door of a little temple,
so that you might step inside and be cooled and refreshed,
and less yourself than part of everything.


The voice of the child crying out of the mouth of the
    grown woman
is a misery and a disappointment.
The voice of the child howling out of the tall, bearded,
    muscular man
is a misery, and a terror.


Therefore, tell me:
what will engage you?
What will open the dark fields of your mind,
    like a lover
        at first touching?


there was no barn.
No child in the barn.

No uncle no table no kitchen.

Only a long lovely field full of bobolinks.


When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,

like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.

Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.

Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
    like the diligent leaves.

A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.

Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.

In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.

Live with the beetle, and the wind. 

This is the dark bread of the poem.
This is the dark and nourishing bread of the poem.

–Mary Oliver 


Thursday, April 2, 2015

wild horses


all goes onward and outward


The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what anyone supposed,
and luckier.

–Walt Whitman


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

the rest


All the rest is silence
On the other side of the wall,
And the silence ripeness,
And the ripeness all.

—W. H. Auden