Sunday, February 28, 2021



waiting for death
like a cat
that will jump on the

I am so very sorry for
my wife

she will see this
shake it once, then

Hank won't

it's not my death that
worries me, it's my wife
left with this
pile of

I want to
let her know
that all the nights
beside her
even the useless
were things
ever splendid

and the hard
I ever feared to
can now be

I love

—Charles Bukowski

. . .

now, listen, when I die I don't want any crying, just get the
disposal under way, I've had a full some life, and
if anybody has had an edge, I've
had it, I've lived 7 or 8 lives in one, enough for
we are all, finally, the same, so no speeches, please,
unless you want to say he played the horses and was very
good at that.
you're next and I already know something you don't,

—Charles Bukowski
forget it


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


fear of vanishing


The fear of vanishing which may arise with inquiry,
is the old sensation: “I am the body.”
This is not a fear of the new, but of leaving the old.
Have no fear and plunge into your own Being.
When “you” disappear, all fear will also.

Stay quiet, be still, here you are.
Stay as presence in your Heart.
Do not fear meeting the Self,
it is what you always been.
Nothing can be lost, have no fear.

There can also be fear of “losing it.”
Only when you possess something does the fear of losing arise.
Only Self cannot be held, so only Self cannot be lost.
The only way to avoid fear is to return to the inner beauty,
the Self, the Heart on the right.



Blessing the Boats (at St. Mary's)


may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it
will love your back 

may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

—Lucille Clifton

Saturday, February 27, 2021

between worlds


Between the material world and the world of feeling there must be a border - on one side, the person grieves and the cells of the body grieve also; the molecules also; the atoms. Of this there are many proofs. 

On the other, the iron will of the earth goes on. The torture-broken femur continues to heal even in the last hour, perhaps beyond; the wool coat left behind does not morn the loss of its master. 

And yet Cavafy wrote, "In me now everything is turned into feeling - furniture, streets."  And Saba found in a bleating goat his own and all beings' sorrow, and this morning the voice of that long-dead goat - which is only, after all, a few black-inked words - cries and cries in my ears.  

Rilke, too, believed the object longs to awaken in us.  But I long for the calm acceptance of a bentwood chair and envy the blue-green curve of a vase's shoulder, which holds whatever is placed within it - the living flower or the dead - with an equally tender balance, and know no difference between them.

—Jane Hirshfield
from After


enter with mercy


If there is a single definition of healing it is to enter with mercy an awareness of those pains, mental and physical, from which we have withdrawn in judgment and dismay.  

—Stephen Levine




Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fish hooks or clay pots or grinding stones. But no, Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken then healed. 

Mead explained that, in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg you die. You can not run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. 

A broken femur that has healed is proof that someone has taken time to stay with the person who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. 

‘Helping someone through difficulty is where civilization starts’ said Mead. We are at our best when we serve others. 

—Dr. Ira Byoc
The Best Care Possible:
A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life