Thursday, July 30, 2015




The rose is obsolete
but each petal ends in
an edge, the double facet
cementing the grooved
columns of air--The edge
cuts without cutting
itself in metal or porcelain--

whither? It ends--

But if it ends
the start is begun
so that to engage roses
becomes a geometry--
Sharper, neater, more cutting
figured in majolica--
the broken plate
glazed with a rose

Somewhere the sense
makes copper roses
steel roses--

The rose carried weight of love
but love is at an end--of roses

It is at the edge of the
petal that love waits
Crisp, worked to defeat
plucked, moist, half-raised
cold, precise, touching


The place between the petal's
edge and the

From the petal's edge a line starts
that being of steel
infinitely fine, infinitely
rigid penetrates
the Milky Way
without contact--lifting
from it--neither hanging
nor pushing--

The fragility of the flower
penetrates space

–William Carlos Williams


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

telling the bees


When someone dies you are supposed to tell the bees and invite them to the funeral, give them wine and cake, hang mourning cloth over the hive.

You should tell them other things as well - of a marriage, when you are planning to rob the hive, when you are troubled by your dreams.

Tell and they will listen, tell and they will spread the word with the wind.

–Rima Staines


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

let me begin again


Let me begin again as a speck
of dust caught in the night winds
sweeping out to sea. Let me begin
this time knowing the world is
salt water and dark clouds, the world
is grinding and sighing all night, and dawn
comes slowly and changes nothing. Let
me go back to land after a lifetime
of going nowhere. This time lodged
in the feathers of some scavenging gull
white above the black ship that docks
and broods upon the oily waters of
your harbor. This leaking freighter
has brought a hold full of hayforks
from Spain, great jeroboams of dark
Algerian wine, and quill pens that can’t
write English. The sailors have stumbled
off toward the bars of the bright houses.
The captain closes his log and falls asleep.
1/10’28. Tonight I shall enter my life
after being at sea for ages, quietly,
in a hospital named for an automobile.
The one child of millions of children
who has flown alone by the stars
above the black wastes of moonless waters
that stretched forever, who has turned
golden in the full sun of a new day.
A tiny wise child who this time will love
his life because it is like no other.

–Philip Levine

In the Realm of Hokkaido
Robert van Koesveld


Monday, July 27, 2015

you know ...


You have been trained since infancy to direct your attention to what is temporary. Had anyone before revealed the Permanent to you, there would be no need to sit with Wu Hsin.

Most people don’t sit because they are afraid of what is revealed.

The individuals fear that they will lose their individuality, their identity. One could say that the love of Being is not yet greater than the love of being somebody … or it could be said that the fear of the not yet known is far greater than the distaste for the known.

Either way, “I’ll pay any price” is suddenly shown to be a hollow offer.

When you become clear that you are not this body, but that it is your instrument, then worries about death dissolve.

In essence, death dies.


–Wu Hsin



Sunday, July 26, 2015

all is well


Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone,
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
let it be spoken without effect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was;
there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near, just round the corner.
And all is well.

–Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)
Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, London. UK 


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Love drinks it in



As air becomes the medium for light when the sun rises,
And as wax melts from the heat of fire,
So the soul drawn to that light is resplendent,
Feels self melt away,
Its will and actions no longer its own.
So clear is the imprint of God
That the soul, conquered, is conqueror;
Annihilated, it lives in triumph.
What happens to the drop of wine
That you pour into the sea?
Does it remain itself, unchanged?
It is as if it never existed.
So it is with the soul: Love drinks it in,
It is united with Truth,
Its old nature fades away,
It is no longer master of itself.

The soul wills and yet does not will:
Its will belongs to Another.
It has eyes only for this beauty;
It no longer seeks to possess, as was its wont -
It lacks the strength to possess such sweetness.
The base of this highest of peaks
Is founded on nichil,
Shaped into nothingness, made one with the Lord.

–Jacopone da Todi
from Let Annihilation and Charity Lead


Friday, July 24, 2015

the sums of things


Nothing in the entire universe ever perishes, believe me, but things vary, and adopt a new form.

The phrase “being born” is used for beginning to be something different from what one was before, while “dying” means ceasing to be the same. 
Though this thing may pass into that, and that into this, yet the sums of things remains unchanged.

The Metamorphoses


Thursday, July 23, 2015

no permanence is ours


No permanence is ours,
we are a wave that flows to fit whatever form it finds.

–Hermann Hesse


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

into the strenuous briefness


into the strenuous briefness
handorgans and April
i charge laughing.
Into the hair-thin tints
of yellow dawn,
into the women-coloured twilight
i smilingly
glide. I
into the big vermilion departure
(Do you think?)the
i do,world
is probably made
of roses &; hello:
(of so longs and,ashes)

–E. E. Cummings

Sunday, July 19, 2015

they go


Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.

–Edna St. Vincent Millay



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

the mystery of grace


I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.

—Anne Lamott


Thursday, July 16, 2015

the rest between two notes


My life is not this steeply sloping hour,
in which you see me hurrying.

Much stands behind me: I stand before it like a tree:
I am only one of many mouths
and at that, the one that will be still the soonest.

I am the rest between two notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because Death's note wants to climb over—
but the dark interval, reconciled,
They stay here trembling.
And the song goes on, beautiful.

–Rainer Maria Rilke

Mark Bridger

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ghazal 891



one by one
our friends
filled with joy and quest
begin to arrive

one by one our friends
the worshipers of ecstasy
begin to arrive

more friends and sweethearts
filling you with love
are on their way

darlings of spring
journeying from gardens
begin to arrive

one by one
living their destiny
in this world

the ones who are gone are gone
but the ones who survived
begin to arrive

all their pockets
filled with gold
from endless treasures

bringing gifts
for the needy of the world
begin to arrive

the weak and the exhausted
the frightened by love
will be gone

the rejuvenated
the healthy and happy
begin to arrive

the pure souls
like the spectrums
of the shining sun

descending from the high heavens
to lowly earth
begin to arrive

luscious and happy
the blessed garden
whose heavenly fruits

spring forth
from the virgin winter
begin to arrive

those who are born
from the roots
of generosity and love

taking a journey
from paradise to paradise
begin to arrive

Translation by Nader Khalili


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

time to go


Now it’s high watermark

and floodtide in the heart

and time to go.

The sea-nymphs in the spray

will be the chorus now.

What’s left to say?

Suspect too much sweet-talk

but never close your mind.

It was a fortunate wind

that blew me here. I leave

half-ready to believe

that a crippled trust might walk

and the half-true rhyme is love.

–Seamus Heaney
from The Cure at Troy


Monday, July 13, 2015

over to you


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Finding a Bible in an Abandoned Cabin


Under dust plush as a moth’s wing,
the book’s leather cover still darkly shown,
and everywhere else but this spot was sodden
beneath the roof’s unraveling shingles.
There was that back-of-the-neck lick of chill
and then, from my index finger, the book

opened like a blasted bird. In its box
of familiar and miraculous inks,
a construction of filaments and dust,
thoroughfares of worms, and a silage
of silverfish husks: in the autumn light,
eight hundred pages of perfect wordless lace.

–Robert Wrigley


Saturday, July 11, 2015

the heaven of animals


Here they are.  The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains it is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.
Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open. 
To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field. 
For some of these, it could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,
More deadly than they can believe. 
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey 
May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward:  to walk 
Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain 
At the cycle's center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.

–James Dickey 


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

lines written in the days of growing darkness


Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don't say
it's easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

–Mary Oliver


Saturday, July 4, 2015



Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him.
Shall I lead you on?” Ikkyu asked.
Ninakawa replied: “I came here alone and I go alone.
What help could you be to me?

Ikkyu answered: “If you think you really come and go, that is
your delusion.
Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and no going
With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly
that Ninakawa smiled and passed away.

from Zen Flesh Zen Bones
compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki


Friday, July 3, 2015

the day we die





The day we die
the wind comes down
to take away
our footprints.

The wind makes dust
to cover up
the marks we left
while walking.
For otherwise
the thing would seem
as if we were
still living.

Therefore the wind
is he who comes
to blow away
our footprints.

—Southern Bushmen
from A Book of Luminous Things
edited by Czeslaw Milosz


Thursday, July 2, 2015

opening octave to “[96]”



It will seem strange, no more this range on range
Of opening hopes and happenings.
Strange to be
One’s name no longer.  Not caught up, not free.
Strange, not to wish one’s wishes onward.  Strange,
The looseness, slopping, time and space estrange.

Strangest, and sad as a blind child, not to see
Ever you, never to hear you, endlessly
Neither you there, nor coming  … Heavy change!—

—John Berryman
Sonnets to Chris