Wednesday, January 31, 2018



You know that it is there, lair
where the bear ceases
for a time even to exist.

Crawl in. You have at last killed
enough and eaten enough to be fat
enough to cease for a time to exist.

Crawl in. It takes talent to live at night, and scorning
others you had that talent, but now you sniff
the season when you must cease to exist.

Crawl in. Whatever for good or ill
grows within you needs
you for a time to cease to exist.

It is not raining inside
tonight. You know that it is there. Crawl in.

–Frank Bidart
Star Dust


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

my ride's here


Sunday, January 28, 2018

rare bird



In the end you vanished, gone to the Unseen.
Strange the path you took out of this world.
Strange how your beating wings demolished the cage,
and you flew away to the world of the soul.

You were some old woman’s favorite falcon
but when you heard the Falcon Drum
you escaped to the placeless.

You were a drunken nightingale among owls,
but when the scent of the rose garden reached you,
you were gone.

The bitter wine you drank with us left it’s headache,
but at last you entered a timeless tavern.

Like an arrow you went straight for the target of bliss,
straight to the mark like an arrow from a bow.

Like a ghoul, the world tried to deceive you
with it’s false clues-
but you ignored the clues,
and went straight to that which has no clue.

Now that you are the sun, what good is a crown?
and how do you tie your belt
now that you have no middle?

Heart, what a rare bird you are,
that in your yearning for heaven’s attention.
you flew to the spear-point like a shield!

The rose flees autumn,
but what a foolhardy rose you are,
seeking the autumn wind.

You were rain from another world
that fell upon this dusty earth.

You ran in all directions
and escaped down the gutter.

Be silent. Be free
of the pain of speech.

No time for sleep since you took refuge
with so loving a friend.



Saturday, January 27, 2018

days breaking


Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.

–Arthur Schopenhauer


Friday, January 26, 2018



Bird pins (brooches) made out of scrap materials by Japanese Americans held in internment camps during World War II.

From The Art of Gaman: Arts & Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps 1942-1946 by Delphine Hirasuna (Ten Speed Press, 2005).

Gaman is a Japanese term of Zen Buddhist origin which means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity”.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

no I or not-I


A valley and above it forests in autumn colors.
A voyager arrives, a map leads him there.
Or perhaps memory. Once long ago in the sun,
When snow first fell, riding this way
He felt joy, strong, without reason,
Joy of the eyes. Everything was the rhythm
Of shifting trees, of a bird in flight,
Of a train on the viaduct, a feast in motion.

He returns years later, has no demands.
He wants only one, most precious thing:
To see, purely and simply, without name,
Without expectations, fears, or hopes,
At the edge where there is no I or not-I.

–Czeslaw Milosz
Robert Hass translation


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

with you



Full of life now, compact, visible,
I, forty years old the eighty-third year of the States,
To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence,
To you yet unborn these, seeking you.

When you read these I that was visible am become invisible,
Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems, seeking me,
Fancying how happy you were if I could be with you and become your comrade;
Be it as if I were with you. (Be not too certain but I am now with you.)

–Walt Whitman
full of life now


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

all the flowers are forms of water


All day the stars watch from long ago
my mother said I am going now

when you are alone you will be all right
whether or not you know you will know

look at the old house in the dawn rain
all the flowers are forms of water

the sun reminds them through a white cloud
touches the patchwork spread on the hill

the washed colors of the afterlife
that lived there long before you were born

see how they wake without a question
even though the whole world is burning

W.S. Merwin
Rain Light


Sunday, January 21, 2018



Let a stalk of wheat
be your witness
to every difficult day.

Since it was a flame
before it was a plant,
since it was courage
before it was grain,
since it was determination
before it was growth,
and, above all, since it was prayer
before it was fruition,
it has nothing to point to
but the sky.

Remember the incredibly gentle wheat stalk
which holds its countless arrows fixed
to shoot from the bowstring --
you, standing in the same position
where the wind holds it.

–Ishihara Yoshiro


Saturday, January 20, 2018

travelling together


If we are separated I will
try to wait for you
on your side of things

your side of the wall and the water
and of the light moving at its own speed
even on leaves that we have seen
I will wait on one side

while a side is there

–W. S. Merwin


Friday, January 19, 2018

eternal companion


Death is our eternal companion. It is always to our left, an arm’s length behind us. Death is the only wise adviser that a warrior has. 
Whenever he feels that everything is going wrong and he is about to be annihilated, he can turn to his death and ask if that is so. His death will tell him that he is wrong, that nothing really matters outside its touch. His death will tell him, I haven’t touched you yet.

–Carlos Castaneda
Journey to Ixtlan


Thursday, January 18, 2018

on prayer


You ask me how to pray to someone who is not.

All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge
And walking it we are aloft, as on a springboard,
Above landscapes the color of ripe gold
Transformed by a magic stopping of the sun.

That bridge leads to the shore of Reversal
Where everything is just the opposite and the word 'is'
Unveils a meaning we hardly envisioned.

Notice: I say we; there, every one, separately,
Feels compassion for others entangled in the flesh
And knows that if there is no other shore
We will walk that aerial bridge all the same

–Czeslaw Milosz


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

my love is building a building


my love is building a building
around you,a frail slippery
house,a strong fragile house
(beginning at the singular beginning

of your smile)a skilful uncouth
prison,a precise clumsy
prison(building thatandthis into Thus,
Around the reckless magic of your mouth)

my love is building a magic,a discrete
tower of magic and(as i guess)

when Farmer Death(whom fairies hate)shall

crumble the mouth-flower fleet
He’ll not my tower,
laborious, casual

where the surrounded smile


–E. E. Cummings

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus


How could I have failed you like this?
The narrator asks

The object. The object is a box
Of ashes. How could I not have saved you,

A boy made of bone and blood. A boy
Made of a mind. Of years. A hand

And paint on canvas. A marble carving.
How can I not reach where you are

And pull you back. How can I be
And you not. You’re forever on the platform

Seeing the pattern of the train door closing.
Then the silver streak of me leaving.

What train was it? The number six.
What day was it? Wednesday.

We had both admired the miniature mosaics
Stuck on the wall of the Met.

That car should be forever sealed in amber.
That dolorous day should be forever

Embedded in amber.
In garnet. In amber. In opal. In order

To keep going on. And how can it be
That this means nothing to anyone but me now.

–Mary Jo Bang


Monday, January 15, 2018



The wound is the place where the Light enters you.



Sunday, January 14, 2018

the lovers know the loveliness


The lovers know the loveliness
That is not of their bodies only
(Though they be lovely) but is of
Their bodies given up to love.

They find the open-heartedness
Of two desires which both are lonely
Until by dying they have their living,
And gain all they have lost in giving,

Each offering the desired desire.
Beyond what time requires, they are
What they surpass themselves to make;
They give the pleasure that they take.

–Wendell Berry


Saturday, January 13, 2018



So it came time
for me to cede myself
and I chose
the wind
to be delivered to

The wind was glad
and said it needed all
the body
it could get
to show its motions with

and wanted to know
willingly as I hoped it would
if it could do
something in return
to show its gratitude

When the tree of my bones
rises from the skin I said
come and whirlwinding
stroll my dust
around the plain

so I can see
how the ocotillo does
and how saguaro-wren is
and when you fall
with evening

fall with me here
where we can watch
the closing up of day
and think how morning breaks

–A. R. Ammons


Friday, January 12, 2018

you are that



Know that you are prior to the first day you witnessed.

—Nisargadatta Maharaj

Wednesday, January 10, 2018



هزار بار ديگرم سر شكوفه كردن است
 I have yet to bloom a thousand times more…

—Qahar Aasi

Tuesday, January 9, 2018



Ripeness is
what falls away with ease.
Not only the heavy apple,
the pear,
but also the dried brown strands
of autumn iris from their core.

To let your body
love this world
that gave itself to your care
in all of its ripeness,
with ease,
and will take itself from you
in equal ripeness and ease,
is also harvest.

And however sharply
you are tested --
this sorrow, that great love --
it too will leave on that clean knife.

–Jane Hirshfield


Sunday, January 7, 2018

we asked for signs


I was talking to a dying friend. He was having trouble breathing and was in a lot of pain. He was telling me how, despite the pain, it was all perfect somehow, in a way he couldn't explain. That in the midst of the blood and the sleepless nights and the immobility, he had found a place of serenity. A place of freedom from his story of himself as 'the dying one'. A place of freedom from all dreams and hopes for the future, and a deep acceptance of things as they were. Life had radically simplified itself - the moment was all that mattered now, and all that had ever mattered. He told me, "Despite all this, I wouldn't swap this life for any other."
We are constantly reminded of the fragility of our hopes, dreams, plans and beliefs. The foundation of our world has cracks in it, and time and time again we are invited to remember the preciousness of life itself prior to "my life", the gift of existence prior to "I exist". Existence is our temple - the ground on which we stand is deeply sacred.

–Jeff Foster 


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Panthea, excerpt


We are resolved into the supreme air,
We are made one with what we touch and see,
With our heart's blood each crimson sun is fair,
With our young lives each spring-impassioned tree
Flames into green, the wildest beasts that range
The moor our kinsmen are, all life is one, and all is change.
With beat of systole and of diastole
One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart,
And mighty waves of single Being roll
From nerve-less germ to man, for we are part
Of every rock and bird and beast and hill,
One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill. . . .

One sacrament are consecrate, the earth
Not we alone hath passions hymeneal,
The yellow buttercups that shake for mirth
At daybreak know a pleasure not less real
Than we do, when in some fresh-blossoming wood
We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good. . . .

Is the light vanished from our golden sun,
Or is this daedal-fashioned earth less fair,
That we are nature's heritors, and one
With every pulse of life that beats the air?
Rather new suns across the sky shall pass,
New splendour come unto the flower, new glory to the grass.

And we two lovers shall not sit afar,
Critics of nature, but the joyous sea
Shall be our raiment, and the bearded star
Shoot arrows at our pleasure! We shall be
Part of the mighty universal whole,
And through all Aeons mix and mingle with the Kosmic Soul!

We shall be notes in that great Symphony
Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres,
And all the live World's throbbing heart shall be
One with our heart, the stealthy creeping years
Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die,
The Universe itself shall be our Immortality!

–Oscar Wilde