A Collection of Powerful Poems                         

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn

A cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,

This is the best season of your life.

Wu-men                                                                                                                                        

To the mind that is still

the whole universe surrenders

                       Buddha     

"Trust your wound to a teacher's surgery.

Flies collect on a wound. 

They cover it,

 those flies of your self-protecting feelings,

your love for what you think is yours.

Let a Teacher wave away the flies

 and put a plaster on the wound.

Don't turn your head. 

Keep looking

 at the bandaged place. 

That's where

the Light enters you.

And don't believe for a moment

 that you're healing yourself."

                            Rumi

Your grief for what you've lost lifts a mirror

up to where you're bravely working.

 

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,

here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.

 

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.

If it were always fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.

 

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding.

the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated

as bird wings.

                           Rumi

 

 This being human is a guest-house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture.

Still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

                                                          Jalrudin Rumi

Today like every other day

We wake up empty and scared

Don't open the door of your study

And begin reading.

Take down a musical instrument

let the beauty we love be what we do

There are hundreds of way to kneel

And kiss the earth.

                                                                                                  Rumi

When I'm with you

we stay up all night

When you're not here

I can't get to sleep

Thank god for these two insomnias

and the difference between them.

                             Rumi

 \     

Come to the garden in Spring

There's wine and sweethearts

In the pomegranate blossoms

If you come, these will not matter.

If you do not come, these will not matter.

                                Rumi

The Truth stands before me,

On my left is a blazing fire, and

On my right, a cool flowing stream.

One group of people walk toward the fire, into the fire,

And the other towards the cool flowing waters.

No one knows which is blessed and which is not.

But just as a just as someone enters the fire,

That head bobs up from the water,

And just as a head sinks into the water,

That face appears in the fire.

Those who love the sweet water of pleasure

And make it their devotion are cheated by this reversal.

The deception goes further-

The voice of the fire says:

“I am not fire, I am fountainhead,

Come into me and don’t mind the sparks.”

                                                              Rumi

Come, come whoever you are!

 Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.

It doesn't matter.

Ours is not a caravan

 of despair.

Come,

come even if you have

broken your vows

 a thousand times.

Come,

 come yet again,

come!

                                                                Inscribed at the tomb of Jelaluddin Rumi

“You can hold back from

 suffering of the world,

 you have permission to do so,

 and it is in accordance

 with your nature,

 but perhaps this very holding back

is the one suffering

 you could have avoided"

                                                                Franz Kafka

 

"I have a feeling that my boat

 has struck, down there in the depths,

 against a great thing. And nothing happens!

 Nothing . . . Silence . . . Waves . . .

-Nothing happens?   Or has everything happened,

 and am now standing quietly, in my new life?"

                                                                              Juan Ramon Jimenez

[

Love After Love

The time will come, when with elation,

 you will greet yourself arriving

 at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other's welcome

and say, sit here.  Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

 Give wine.  Give bread.  Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you.

all your life, whom you have ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

 peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit.  Feast on your life.

                                                                                      Dereck Walcott

[

Keeping Quiet

Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still

 for once on the face of the earth, let's not speak in any language;

 let's stop for a second, and not move our arms too much.

It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines;

 we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.

 Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm the whales

and the man gathering salt would not hurt his hands.

Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire,

 victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes

 and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused with total inactivity.

Life is what it is about...

If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving,

 and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence

 might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems to be dead in winter and later proves to be alive.  Now I'll count to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.

                                                                                          Pablo Neruda

Please Call me by My True Names

I am the 12 year old girl, refugee on a boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate.

 And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

 I am member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands, and I am the man who has to pay his ”debt of blood” to my people, dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.

 My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills up the four oceans.

 Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and my laughs at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

 Please call me by my true names so I can wake up,

and so the door of my heart can be open the door of compassion.

                                                                            Thich Nhat Hahn

The Journey

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,

 though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice,

 though the whole house began to tremble

and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

"Mend my life!" each voice cried. But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers at the very foundations,

though their melancholy was terrible.

 It was already late enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen branches and stones.

 But little by little, as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,

 and there was a new voice

which you slowly recognized as your own,

 that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do,

determined to save the only life you could save. 

                                                Mary Oliver

 

There is a pain so utter it swallows substance up,

then, covers the abyss with a trance

so memory can step around, above

upon it, as one in a swoon travels freely,

where an open eye would drop him,

bone by bone.

                                                                        Emily Dickinson

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope,

for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.

And wait without love.  For love would be love,

of the wrong thing. 

Yet there is faith.

But the faith and the hope and the love, are all in the waiting.

And the darkness shall be the light

and the stillness the dancing. 

                                             T.S. Elliot

 

God has no body now on earth but yours

no hands but yours

no feet but yours.

Yours are the eyes through which he pours out,

compassion in the world, compassion in the world.

His are the hands, blessing me now.

All praise to the one.

 

Ring the bells that can still ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.

Lost

A native American Elder was asked,

“What shall we do if we get lost?”

Stand still.  The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost.

Wherever you are is a place called here,

and you must treat it as a powerful stranger

both asking to know and be known.

Listen.  The forest whispers,

“I have made this place, you can leave and return once again

saying, here.”

No two trees are the same to Raven,

no two branches the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you,

you are truly lost.

Stand still.  Listen.

The forest knows where you are.

Let it find you.

Arrangement by David Wagoner

 

Ancient Celtic Wisdom

Be a full bucket, drawn up the dark way of the well.

Something lifts you up into the light

and show you your wings.

A full cup is set before you.

You taste only sacredness.

 

Now is the time

Now is the time to know

That all that you do is sacred.

Now, why not consider

A lasting truce with yourself and God?

Now is the time to understand

That all your ideas of right and wrong

Were just a child’s training wheels

To be laid aside

When you can finally live

with veracity and love.

Now is the time for the world to know

That every thought and action is sacred.

That this is the time

For you to compute the impossibility

That there is anything

But Grace.

Now is the season to know

That everything you do

Is Sacred

Hafiz

 

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood

and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth;

then took the other, just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim,

because it was grassy and wanted wear; though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same,

and both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence:

two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

and that has made all the difference.

                                                                    Robert Frost

The Summer Day

Who made the world?

 Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean the one who is

 eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth

instead of up and down -

who is gazing around with her

enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms

and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall into the grass,

 how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed,

how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

 Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

 with your one wild and precious life?

 

                                                Mary Oliver

Of Death

And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its rest­

less tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink form 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.

                                            from: The Prophet  Kahill Gibran

 

Poem

Willing to die,

You give up

your will.  Keep still

until, moved

by what moves

all else, you move.

                          Wendell Berry

[

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For the time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

                                                 Wendell Berry

I go among trees and sit still.

All my stirring becomes quiet around me

like circles on water.

My tasks lie in their places where I left them

asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes

and lives a while in my sight.

What it fears in me leaves me

and the fear of me leaves it.

It sings and I hear its song.

Than what I am afraid of comes.

I live for a while in its sight.

What I fear in it leaves it

and the fear of it leaves me.

It sings and I hear its song.

                                             Wendell Berry

Breaking

Did I believe I had a clear mind?

It was like the water of a river

flowing shallow over the ice.  And now

that the rising water has broken

the ice, I see that what I thought

was the light is part of the dark.

                               Wendell Berry

The Clear Days for Allen Tate

The dogs of indecision

Cross and cross the field of vision.

A cloud, a buzzing fly

Distract the lover’s eye.

Until the heart has found

Its native piece of ground

The day withholds its light,

The eye must stray unlit.

The ground’s the body’s bride,

Who will not be denied.

Not until all is given

Comes the thought of heaven.

When the mind’s an empty room

The clear days come.

                             Wendell Berry

"It may be when we no

 longer know what to do,

we have come to our real work,

 and that when we no longer know which way to go,

 we have begun our real journey."

 

                                                 Wendell Berry

The Watchers

The horses graze the winter slope

and then go to the high ground

and stand, watching the traffic

along the road, the slow river,

the trees leaning and straightening

in the wind. The day's time

is their time. They do not move

toward it or away. Their minds

are at home in this world,

diminished by no question.

         Wendell Berry                                         

 

As soon as I felt a necessity to learn about the non-human world,

I wished to learn about it in a hurry. 

And then I began to learn perhaps

the most important lesson that nature had to reach me:

 that I could not learn about her in a hurry.

  The most important learning, that of experience,

 can be neither summoned nor sought out.

 The most worthy knowledge

cannot be acquired by what is known as study—

though that is necessary, and has its use.

  It comes in its own good time

 and in its own way to the man who will go where it lives,

 and wait, and be ready,

and watch.

  Hurry is beside the point, useless, an obstruction.

  The thing is to be attentively present. 

To sit and wait is as important as to move.

  Patience is as valuable as industry.

What is to be known is

always there.

  When it reveals itself to you, or when you come upon it,

it is by chance.

 The only condition is your being there and being

watchful.

                                                                                             Wendell Berry

 

Is my soul asleep?

Have those beehives that labor

at night stopped?  And the water

wheel of thought,

is it dry, the cups empty,

wheeling, carrying only shadows?

No my soul is not asleep.

It is awake, wide awake.

It neither sleeps nor dreams but watches,

it’s clear eyes open,

far off things, and listens

at the shores of the great silence.

                                             from Antonio Machado (translated by Robert Bly):

 

Last night, as I was sleeping

I dreamt - marvelous error! -

that a spring was breaking

out in my heart.

I said:  Along which secret aqueduct,

oh water, are you coming to me,

water of a new life

that I have never drunk?

Last night, as I was sleeping

I dreamt - marvelous error! -

that I had a beehive

here inside my heart.

And the golden bees

were making white combs

and sweet honey

from my old failures.

Last night, as I was sleeping

I dreamt - marvelous error! -

that a fiery sun was giving

light inside my heart.

It was fiery because I felt

warmth as from a hearth,

and sun because it gave light

and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, as I was sleeping

I dreamt - marvelous error! -

that it was God I had

here inside my heart.

                                          Antonio Machado

 

The perfume of sandalwood,

the scent of rosebay and jasmine,

travel only as far as the wind.

 

But the fragrance of goodness

travels with us

through all the worlds. 

 

Like garlands woven from a heap of flowers,

fashion your life

as a garland of beautiful deeds.

 

         Buddha

“The thought manifests as the word;

The word manifests as the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And habit hardens into character;

So watch the thought and its ways with care,

And let it spring from love

Born out of concern for all beings.”

                                         Buddha

 

         Breathing in, I know that anger is here.

         Breathing out, I know that the anger is in me.

         Breathing in, I know that anger is unpleasant.

         Breathing out, I know this feeling will pass.

         Breathing in, I am calm.

         Breathing out. I am strong enough to take care of this anger.

                                                                                     --Thich Nhat Hanh

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as the old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who sucures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me geneneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.
                                            UTE Prayer

    "Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built

upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead and how earnestly I

must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received."

                                              Albert Einstein

  "There is no spiritual practice more profound than being kind to one's family,

 neighbors,

the cashier at the grocery store,

 an unexpected visitor, the con in the next cell,

a stray cat or dog,

or any other of the usually 'irrelevant' or 'invisible' beings who may cross our paths

in the course of a normal day.      

         Certainly there are spiritual mysteries beyond description to explore,

 but as we mature, it becomes clear 

that those special experiences are only meaningful

 when they arise from and return to

a life of ordinary kindness."

                                                                                            --Bo Lozoff

         We are what we think.

         All that we are arises with our thoughts.

         With our thoughts we make the world.

         Speak or act with an impure mind

         And Trouble will follow you

         As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.

        

         We are what we think.

         All that we are arises with our thoughts.

         With our thoughts we make the world.

         Speak or act with a pure mind

         and happiness will follow you

         As your shadow, unshakable.        

         "Look how he abused me and beat me,

         How he threw me down and robbed me."

         Live with such thoughts and you live in hate.    

         "Look how he abused me and beat me,

         How he threw me down and robbed me."

         Abandon such thoughts, and live in love.

 

You do not see me out here.

I am an image projected on the back of your own retina.

You do not hear me outside of yourself.

The sounds are simply vibrations on your own eardrum.

 

         This is the profound, simple truth:

         You are the master of your life and death.

         What you do is what you are. 

Lao Tzu                                                                                                                                                                       

In Nelson Mandela's Inaugural Speech

 he read this poem by Mariannne Williamson

 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

 Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

 It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

 Actually, who are you not to be?

 You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other

people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

our presence automatically liberates others.

\

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy,

a quickening, that is translated into action

And because there is only one of you in all time

this expression is unique

And if you block it, it will never exist though

any other medium and will be lost. . .

The world will not have it

It is not your business to determine how good

it is, nor how valuable, nor how it

compares to other expressions

It is your business to keep it yours, clearly

and directly. . .to keep the channel open

You do not even have to believe in yourself

or your work. . .You have to keep open and aware

directly to the urges that motivate you

Keep the channels open!

                                      Martha Graham

 

Ring the bells that can still ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.

 Ich liebe meines Wesens Dunkelstunden

 

        I love the dark hours of my being.

        My mind deepens into them.

        There I can find, as in old letters,

        the days of my life, already lived,

        and held like a legend, and understood.

 

        Then the knowing comes: I can open

        to another life that's wide and timeless.

        So I am sometimes like a tree

        rustling over a gravesite

        and making real the dream

        of the one its living roots

        embrace:

        a dream once lost

        among sorrows and songs.

                                                    Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God.

        Da neigt sich die Stunde und rührt mich an

 

        The hour is striking so close above me,

        so clear and sharp,

        that all my senses ring with it.

        I feel it now: there's a power in me

        to grasp and give shape to my world.

 

        I know that nothing has ever been real

        without my beholding it.

        All becoming has needed me.

        My looking ripens things

        and they come toward me, to meet and be met.

                                                 Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God.

 

He whom I enclose with my name is weeping in this dungeon.  I am ever busy

building this wall all around; and as this wall goes up into the sky day by

day I lose sight of my true being in its dark shadow.

I take pride in this great wall, and I plaster it with dust and sand lest a

least hole should be left in this name; and for all the care I take I lose

sight of my true being.

 

                                  Tagore, from  Gitanjali

 

The same stream of life

that runs through my veins

runs through the world

and dances in rhythmic measure.

 

It is the same life

that shoots in joy

through the dust of the earth

into numberless blades of grass,

and breaks into tumultuous waves

of leaves and flowers.

 

It is the same life that is rocked

in the ocean cradle

of birth and death,

in ebb and in flow.

 

My limbs are made glorious

by the touch of this world of life;

and my pride is from

the life throb of ages

dancing in my blood this moment.

                                      Tagore

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it

not.  My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my dream and

felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to me that

it was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this perfect

sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

                                      Tagore, from Gitanjali

 \
The Mind of Love
Today I love the world.
Last week it was a vile place,
broken, beyond repair.
And my mind reached out
in all directions
like a spiders spindly legs
to mend and weave
and fill the empty spaces,
until falling, exhausted
dangling by a single thread,
discouraged and utterly humiliated
that I couldn’t mend the fissures,
that I ever thought I could.

Today I love the world,
the faces on the street
the wind and chill.
Pausing to look up through
dark bare branches,
reaching out in all directions
against the vast bright blue.

Soon buds and leaves
will fill the empty spaces.
In the mind of this love
The fissures mend themselves.

** Excerpts of *A Heart as Wide as the World: Living with Mindfulness,
                                          Wisdom, and Compassion*, by Sharon Salzberg

\

 Attention is not concentration.  Attention is interest.  If you’re interested in something, then you’re attentive.  And if you’re attentive, you discover many things.

I shall pass through this world but once.

Any good therefore that I can do

or any kindness that I can show to any human being,

LET ME DO IT NOW.

Let me not defer or neglect it --

For I shall not pass this way again.

 

“. . . the mind is restless, turbulent, strong and unyielding. .

.as difficult to subdue as the wind.”

                                                           --Bhagavad-Gita

\

"Do not go by revelation or tradition,

do not go by rumor, or the sacred scriptures,

do not go by hearsay or mere logic,

do not go by bias towards a notion or

by another person's seeming ability

and do not go by the idea 'He is our teacher'.

 

But when you yourself know that a thing is good,

that it is not blamable,

that is praised by the wise

and when practiced and observed

that it leads to happiness,

then follow that thing."

                                --Buddha

Always we hope

someone else has the answer.

some other place will be better,

some other time it will all turn out.

 

This is it.

no one else has the answer.

no other place will be better,

and it has already turned out.

 

At the center of your being

you have the answer;

you know who you are

and you know what you want.

 

There is no need

to run outside

for better seeing.

 

Nor to peer from a window.

 

Rather abide at the center of your being;

for the more you leave it, the less you learn.

 

Search your heart

and see

the way to do

is to be.

                                                --Lao Tzu

The perfume of sandalwood,

the scent of rosebay and jasmine,

travel only as far as the wind.

But the fragrance of goodness

travels with us

through all the worlds.

Like garlands woven from a heap of flowers,

fashion your life

as a garland of beautiful deeds.

                                                       --the Buddha

It is part of the cosmic law that what you say and do determines

what happens in your life.

The ordinary person thinks that this law is external to himself

and he feels confined and controlled by it.

So his desires trouble his mind, his mind troubles his spirit,

and he lives in constant turmoil with himself and the world.

His whole life is spent in struggling.

 

The superior person recognizes that he and the subtle law are one.

Therefore he cultivates himself to accord with it, bringing

moderation to his actions and clarity to his mind.

Doing this, he finds himself at one with all that is divine and enlightened.

This is the profound, simple truth:

You are the master of your life and death.

What you do is what you are.

                                                                             Lao Tzu

 

"If one is at peace with the mind, one can sit in the middle of a prison riot with little or no concern.  However, if one is at war with the mind, then even if one sits in a cave it will seem as if one is in the middle of a prison riot.  It is the stillness of the mind that brings a peace within."

"A human being is part of the whole, called by 'Universe'; a part

limited in time and space.  We experience ourselves, our thoughts

and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of

optical delusion of our consciousness.  This delusion is a kind

of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to

affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to

free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of

compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of

nature in its beauty."

                                                                     --Albert Einstein

Where are you now, my good friend?  Are you out in the field, in

the forest, on the mountain, in a military camp, in a factory, at

your desk, in a hospital, in a prison?  Regardless of where you

are, let us breathe in and out together, and let the Sun of

awareness enter.  Let us begin with this breath and this

awareness.  Whether life is an illusion, a dream, or a wondrous

reality depends on our insight and our mindfulness.  Awakening is

a miracle.  The darkness in a totally dark room will disappear

the moment the light is switched on.  In the same way, life will

reveal itself as a miraculous reality the second the Sun of

Awareness begins to shine.

               

Our relationships with one another

are like the chance meeting

of two strangers in a parking lot.

They look at each other and smile.

That is all there is between them.

They leave and never see each other again.

 

That is what life is--

just a moment, a meeting, a

passing, and then it is gone.

 

If you understand this,

then there is no time to fight.

There is no time to argue.

There is no time to hurt one another.

 

Whether you think about it in terms of humanity, nations,

communities or indiviuals--

there is no time for anything less

than truly appreciating the brief

interaction we have with one another.

 

                                                 --Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

 

There is no exercise better

for the heart

than reaching down

and lifting someone up!

 

                                              ~John Andrew Holmes~

Saint Francis And The Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths

sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

                                                             Galway Kinnell

The rain has stopped,

the clouds have drifted away,

and the weather is clear again.

If your heart is pure,

then all things in your world are pure.

Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself,

then the moon and the flowers

will guide you along the way.

                                                      Ryokan

Connections

Every time we take a breath, we become the universe. The very moment of creation is contained in us and passes on to rocks and trees, animals and fish. The old ones say the essence of life is in water and wind, earth and breath, fire and bone, but most of all in breath, our first connection to the elk, the hawk, the bear, and the buffalo.

 

Without breath, no connection.  Without connection, no creation.

Without creation, no breath.

 

This is the sacred circle of life, unbroken.

                                                                             from  Dancing Moons

                                                                                            by Nancy Wood                                                                                                                                                                              

After great pain, a formal feeling comes --

The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs --

The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,

And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

 

The Feet, mechanical, go round --

Of Ground, or Air, Or Ought --

A Wooden way

Regardless grown

A Quartz contentment like a stone --

 

This is the Hour of Lead --

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow --

First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go --

                                                      EMILY DICKINSON, 1862

MESSAGE TO A MONK WHO SCRIBBLES VERSE

Pain and bliss, love and hate, are like a body and its shadow;

Cold and warm, joy and anger, you and your condition.

Delight in singing verse is a road to Hell,

but at hell's gate -- peach blossoms, plum blossoms.

IKKYU, Zen teacher, libertine and poet

 

"Let the Soul banish all that disturbs;

Let the Body that envelopes it be still,

And all the frettings of the Body,

And all that surrounds it.

Let Earth and Sea and Air be still

And Heaven itself.

And then let the Body think

Of the Spirit as streaming, pouring,

Rushing and shining into it from

All sides while it stands quiet."

                                   Plotinus, 205

A Mountain Meditation

The birds have disappeared

into the sky,

and now the last cloud

is melting away.

We sit together,

the mountain and me

until,

only the mountain

remains.

If the angel deigns to come

 it will be because you have convinced her,

 not by tears but by your humble resolve

 to be always beginning; to be a beginner.

                                                                                                   Rainer Maria Rilke

 

\

The cloud is free only to go with the wind.

The rain is free only in falling.

The water is free only in its gathering together,

in its downward courses,

in its rising into the air.

In law is rest.

If you love the law,

if you enter singing into it

as water in its descent.

                                                      Wendell Berry

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing

there is a field.

 I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other

doesn’t make any sense.

                                                                                              Rumi

The song I have come to sing

remains unsung to this day.

I have spent my life

stringing and unstringing

my instrument.

                                        Tagore

A billion stars go spinning through the night,

Blazing high above your head.

But in you is the presence that

Will be, when all the stars are dead.

                                                                Ranier Maria Rilke

 

\

The cloud is free only to go with the wind.

The rain is free only in falling.

The water is free only in its gathering together,

in its downward courses,

in its rising into the air.

In law is rest.

If you love the law,

if you enter singing into it

as water in its descent.

                                                      Wendell Berry

Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing

there is a field.

 I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other

doesn’t make any sense.

                                                                                              Rumi

The song I have come to sing

remains unsung to this day.

I have spent my life

stringing and unstringing

my instrument.

                                        Tagore

The Coming of Wisdom with Time

The leaves are many but the trunk is one.

Through all the lying days of my youth

I waved my leaves and branches in the sun.

Now, I wither into the truth.

                                               WB Yeats

"It Felt Love"
How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its
Beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being,
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too

Frightened
                                                      From The Gift: Poems by Hafiz

May your heart be like water,
Slings and arrows pass through.
Only the gentle scar of wisdom
Notes.  

Little Gidding

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, remembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover

Is that which was the beginning;

At the source of the longest river

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea.

Quick now, here, now, always.  ­

A condition of complete simplicity

(Costing not less than everything)

And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well

When the tongues of flame are in-folded

Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.

                                                        T.S.Elliot

Sweet Darkness

You must learn one thing.

The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds except

the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the

sweet confinement of your aloneness

to learn

anything or anyone

that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

                                    David Whyte

 

"Dreams are the touchstones of our character...

our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."

                                   Thoreau

PICKING BLUEBERRYS

Once, in summer,
In the blueberries,
I fell asleep, and woke
When a deer stumbled against me.

I guess
She was so busy with her own happiness
She had grown careless
And was just wandering along

Listening
To the wind as she leaned down
To lip up the sweetness.
So, there we were

With nothing between us
But a few leaves, and the wind's
Glossy voice
Shouting instructions.

The deer
Backed away finally
And flung up her white tail
And went floating off toward the trees -

But the moment before she did that
Was so wide and so deep
It has lasted to this day;
I have only to think of her -

The flower of her amazement
And the stalled breath of her curiosity,
And even the damp touch of her solicitude
Before she took flight-

To be absent again from this world
And alive, again, in another,
For thirty years
sleepy and amazed,

Rising out of the rough weeds
Listening and looking.
Beautiful girl,
Where are you?

                                      Mary Oliver

I am awake. And clinging to my small life.

 Occupied with tidying the house, and matters of finance

Steadfastly ignoring the flower of love that blooms in my heart.

 Because her beauty is almost­ more than I can bear.

Occasionally, I summon the courage to look longingly at her before returning

to straightening the pictures of my life on the wall of my mind.

                                                            Amy Saltzman

A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner:

“Inside of me there are two dogs.  One of the dogs is mean and evil.  The other dog is good.  The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.”

 

When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied,

“The one I feed the most.”

 

"Come to the edge," he said.

They said, "We are afraid."

"Come to the edge," he said.

They came.

He pushed them . . .

And they flew

                                                     Guillaume Appolinaro

 

"You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.

The soul that rises with us our life star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness

And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory

Do we come.

                                          Shakespeare

"Hope" is the thing with feathers -

that perches in the soul -

and sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.

                                    Emily Dickenson

For the raindrop, joy is in entering the river-

Unbearable pain becomes its own cure,

Travel far enough into sorrow, tears turn into sighing;

In this way we learn how water can die into air,

 

When, after heavy rain, the storm clouds disperse,

is it not that they’ve wept themselves clear to the end?

If you want to know the miracle, how wind can polish a mirror,

Look: the shining glass grows green in Spring.

 

It’s the rose’s unfolding, Ghalib, that creates the desire to see-

In every color and circumstance, may the eyes be open for what comes.

                                          Ghalib

Grace

The Wood is shining this morning.

Red. Gold and green. The leaves

Lie on the ground, or fall,

Or hang full of light in the air still.

Perfect in its rise and in its fall, it takes

The place it has been coming to forever.

It has not hastened here, or lagged.

See how surely it has sought itself,

Its roots passing lordly through the earth.

See how without confusion it is

All that it is, and how flawless

Its grace is.  Running or walking, the way

Is the same.  Be still.  Be still.

-Wendell Berry

STRIPPING

Strip off the shoes and pantyhose,

the grown-up drag.  Undo those soft

white arms and their blond down,

moss made of light,

 

Wash away the sour working sweat,

fatigue of heels and fluorescent lights.

Unhook that tired bra, unclench the feet

with their worn-out travelogues, knees,

complaining in their bone cradles,

the drooling sex, and the shamed

belly, pouched like a stubborn mountain.

Release the years in a shower of moths shaken free

from an old sweater so full of holes

you can see through to the skin.

 

Strip off the skin.  Let it hang

over a chair the way it has hung

from your body lately, exhausted,

confessing to years of experience.

 

Strip away experience, that false umbrella

blocking only the sun.

 

Strip your mind of these words, clods

of dirt kicked up by donkey mind, clouds

that will soon pass.  Let the clang of language die

in your mouth.  Let your overworked tongue

hang, innocent and dumb

as tomorrow morning.  No one owns it yet,

that paper mini-dress of time, meant

to be cast off after one wearing.

 

I want to strip.  It’s the jewel

at the center I seek; let me be oyster, hoarding pearl.

Let me be coal, sheltering diamond.

Though in my heart of hearts I am afraid

 

I may be onion, each white circle

of stinky tears hiding another

exactly like it.  Or rose:

whose petals are her everything.

           ALISON LUTERMAN

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees

are turning

their own bodies

into pillars

 

of light,

are giving off the rich

fragrance of cinnamon

and fulfillment,

 

the long tapers

of cattails

are bursting and floating away over

the blue shoulders

 

of the ponds,

and every pond,

no matter what its

name is, is

 

nameless now.

Every year

everything

I have ever learned

 

in my lifetime

leads back to this: the fires

and the black river of loss

whose other side

 

is salvation,

whose meaning

none of us will ever know.

To live in this world

 

you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

 

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.

                                     Mary Oliver

 

When Death Comes

When death comes

like the hungry bear in autumn;

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;

when death comes

like the measle-pox

when death comes

like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:

what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything

as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea,

and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common

as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,

tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something

precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

                                                    Mary Oliver
At Blackwater Pond

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled

after a night of rain.

I dip my cupped hands. I drink

a long time. It tastes

like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold

into my body, waking the bones. I hear them

deep inside me, whispering

oh what is that beautiful thing

that just happened?

                                                     Mary Oliver 

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings

 

Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me, she

took me back so tenderly, arranging

her dark skirts, her pockets

full of lichens and seeds. I slept

as never before, a stone

on the riverbed, nothing

between me and the white fire of the stars

but my thoughts, and they floated

light as moths among the branches

of the perfect trees. All night

I heard the small kingdoms breathing

around me, the insects, and the birds

who do their work in the darkness. All night

I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling

with a luminous doom. By morning

I had vanished at least a dozen times

into something better.

The Sun 

Have you ever seen

anything

in your life

more wonderful

than the way the sun,

every evening,

relaxed and easy,

floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,

or the rumpled sea,

and is gone--

and how it slides again 

out of the blackness,

every morning,

on the other side of the world,

like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,

say, on a morning in early summer,

at its perfect imperial distance--

and have you ever felt for anything

such wild love--

do you think there is anywhere, in any language,

a word billowing enough

for the pleasure

that fills you,

as the sun

reaches out,

as it warms you

as you stand there,

empty-handed--

or have you too

turned from this world--

or have you too

gone crazy

for power,

for things?

 

WAGE PEACE
by Judyth Hill


"Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble, breathe out whole buildings and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Make soup. Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,

imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty or the gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don't wait another minute."

 

A Visitor by Mary Oliver

My father, for example,

who was young once

and blue-eyed,

returns

on the darkest of nights

to the porch and knocks

wildly at the door,

and if I answer

I must be prepared

for his waxy face,

for his lower lip

swollen with bitterness.

And so, for a long time,

I did not answer,

but slept fitfully

between his hours of rapping.

But finally there came the night

when I rose out of my sheets

and stumbled down the hall.

The door fell open

and I knew I was saved

and could bear him,

pathetic and hollow,

with even the least of his dreams

frozen inside him,

and the meanness gone.

And I greeted him and asked him

into the house,

and lit the lamp,

and looked into his blank eyes

in which at last

I saw what a child must love,

I saw what love might have done

had we loved in time.

from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver

 

Peonies by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready

to break my heart

as the sun rises,

as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open ---

pools of lace,

white and pink ---

and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes

into the curls,

craving the sweet sap,

taking it away

to their dark, underground cities ---

and all day

under the shifty wind,

as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,

and tip their fragrance to the air,

and rise,

their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness

gladly and lightly,

and there it is again ---

beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.

Do you love this world?

Do you cherish your humble and silky life?

Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,

and softly,

and exclaiming of their dearness,

fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,

their eagerness

to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are

nothing, forever.

 

Morning Poem by Mary Oliver

Every morning

the world

is created.

Under the orange

 

sticks of the sun

the heaped

ashes of the night

turn into leaves again

 

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---

and the ponds appear

like black cloth

on which are painted islands

 

of summer lilies.

If it is your nature

to be happy

you will swim away along the soft trails

 

for hours, your imagination

alighting everywhere.

And if your spirit

carries within it

 

the thorn

that is heavier than lead ---

if it's all you can do

to keep on trudging ---

 

there is still

somewhere deep within you

a beast shouting that the earth

is exactly what it wanted ---

 

each pond with its blazing lilies

is a prayer heard and answered

lavishly,

every morning,

 

whether or not

you have ever dared to be happy,

whether or not

you have ever dared to pray.

 

from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver

 

"Given to the Dying"   Thich Nat Hahn
 
This body is not me; I am not caught in this body,
 
I am life without boundaries,
 
I have never been born and I have never died.
 
Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies
 
All manifests from the basis of consciousness.
 
Since beginningless time I have always been free.
 
Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out.
 
Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek.
 
So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye.
 
Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before.
 
We shall always be meeting again at the true source,
 
Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.

  

Sweet Darkness

 When your eyes are tired

 the world is tired also.

 

 When your vision has gone

 no part of the world can find you.

 

 Time to go into the dark

 where the night has eyes

 to recognize its own.

 

 There you can be sure

 you are not beyond love.

 

 The dark will be your womb

 tonight.

 

 The night will give you a horizon

 further than you can see.

 

 You must learn one thing.

 the world was made to be free in.

 

 Give up all the other worlds

 except the one to which you belong.

 

 Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet

 confinement of your aloneness

 to learn

 

 anything or anyone

 that does not bring you alive

 

 is too small for you.

David Whyte

 

THE JOURNEY

Above the mountains

the geese turn into

the light again

 

painting their

black silhouettes

on an open sky.

 

Sometimes everything

has to be

inscribed across

the heavens

 

so you can find

the one line

already written

inside you.

 

Sometimes it takes

a great sky

to find that

 

small, bright

and indescribable

wedge of freedom

in your own heart.

 

Sometimes with

the bones of the black

sticks left when the fire

has gone out

 

someone has written

something new

in the ashes

of your life.

 

You are not leaving

You are arriving.

 

-David Whyte

                                       

 

The Morning Wind by Rumi

                             The morning wind spreads its fresh smell.

                             We must get up and take that in,

                             that wind that lets us live.

                             Breathe, before it's gone.

 

Nothing to Save by D.H. Lawrence

 

                                  There is nothing to save, now all is lost,

                                  but a tiny core of stillness in the heart

                                  like the eye of a violet.

 

 

                             The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats 

 

                             I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

                             And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

                             Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;

                             And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

 

                             And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

                             Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

                             There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

                             And evening full of the linnet's wings.

 

                             I will arise and go now, for always night and day

                             I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

                             While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

                             I hear it in the deep heart's core.

 

 

                             All the World's a Stage by William Shakespeare

 

                             All the world's a stage,

                             And all the men and women merely players;

                             They have their exits and their entrances,

                             And one man in his time plays many parts,

                             His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,

                             Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

                             Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel

                             And shining morning face, creeping like snail

                             Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

                             Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

                             Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

                             Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

                             Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,

                             Seeking the bubble reputation

                             Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

                             In fair round belly with good capon lined,

                             With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

                             Full of wise saws and modern instances;

                             And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

                             Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,

                             With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;

                             His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

                             For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,

                             Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

                             And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

                             That ends this strange eventful history,

                             Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

                             Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

William Wordsworth - The world is too much with us; late and soon

 

                                  The world is too much with us; late and soon,

                                  Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;

                                  Little we see in Nature that is ours;

                                  We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

                                  This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

                                  The winds that will be howling at all hours,

                                  And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,

                                  For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

                                  It moves us not.--Great God!  I'd rather be

                                  A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

                                  So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

                                  Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

                                  Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

                                  Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

                             The Swan by Ranier Marie Rilke

 

                             This laboring through what is still undone,

                             as though, legs bound, we hobbled along the way,

                             is like the awkward walking of the swan.

 

                             And dying-to let go, no longer feel

                             the solid ground we stand on every day-

                             is like anxious letting himself fall

 

                             into the waters, which receives him gently

                             and which, as though with reverence and joy,

                             draw back past him in streams on either side;

                             while, infinitely silent and aware,

                             in his full majesty and ever more

                             indifferent, he condescends to glide.

 

                             Translated by Stephen Mitchell

 

The rain has stopped,

the clouds have drifted away,

and the weather is clear again.

If your heart is pure,

then all things in your world are pure.

Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself,

then the moon and the flowers

will guide you along the way.

                                                                   Ryokan

 

"let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you truly love" RUMI 

 

The way we define and delimit the self is arbitrary. We can place it between

our ears and have it looking out from our eyes, or we can widen it to include

the air we breathe, or at other moments we can cast its boundaries farther to

include the oxygen-giving trees and plankton, our external lungs, and beyond

them the web of life in which they are sustained.

 

-Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self

 

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am

and I don't know the kind of person you are

a pattern that others made may prevail in the world

and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

 

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,

a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break

sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood

storming out to play through the broken dyke.

 

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,

but if one wanders the circus won't find the park.

I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty

to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

 

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,

a remote important region in all who talk:

though we could fool each other, we should consider-

lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

 

For it is important that awake people be awake,

or a breaking line may discourage them back to  sleep;

the signals we give-yes or no, or maybe-

should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

                                                          -William Safford

 

The journey is the accumulation of stillness. Patience

Emptiness. The union that I seek is not of my creation.

The self I have created impedes union. Stillness must be

learned, and the endless time in which I learn it is filled

with doubts and desolations. Stillness often feels like

abandonment. Why isn't Spirit communicating with me?

What have I done to deserve such a stony, cold silence?

How do I avoid filling with new terrors

 the emptiness that  terrifies me?

 

And what you thought you came for

Is only a shell, a husk of meaning

From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled

If at all. Either you had no purpose

Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured

And is altered in fulfillment.

                                    Little Gidding I

 

Well of Grief

Those that will not nit slip beneath the still surface of the well of grief,

Turning downward in its black water to the place we can not breathe,

 Will never know the source of which we drink.

  The secret water, cold and clear,

 Nor find in it the glimmering small round coins

 Thrown by those who wished for something else.

David Whyte

 

First forgive the silence
That answers prayer,
Then forgive the prayer
That stains the silence
Excuse the absence
That feels like presence,
Then excuse the feeling
That insists on presence
Pardon the delay
Of revelation,
Then ask pardon for revealing
Your impatience
Forgive God
For being only a word
Then ask God to forgive
The betrayal of language.

Mark Jarman “Psalm: First Forgive the Silence”

Hokusai says

Hokusai says look carefully.  He says pay attention, notice.

He says keep looking, stay curious.  He says there is no end to seeing.

He says Look Forward to getting old.

He says keep changing.

You just get more who you really are.

He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love. 

He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child, every one of us is ancient,

every one of us has a body.

He says every one of us is frightened.

He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive -Shells, buildings, people, fish,

Mountains, trees, wood is alive.

Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.

It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.

It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
  and stare at the ants on your veranda
    or the shadows of the trees
    and grasses in your garden.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.

Joy is life living through you.

Satisfaction and strength is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.

 

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

 

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

 

e.e. cummings 1894-1962

 

The rain has stopped,

the clouds have drifted away,

and the weather is clear again.

If your heart is pure,

then all things in your world are pure.

Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself,

then the moon and the flowers

will guide you along the way. 

Ryokan.

 

"Let the Soul banish all that disturbs;

 

Let the Body that envelopes it be still,

 

And all the frettings of the Body,

 

And all that surrounds it.

 

Let Earth and Sea and Air be still

 

And Heaven itself.

 

And then let the Body think

 

Of the Spirit as streaming, pouring,

 

Rushing and shining into it from

 

All sides while it stands quiet."

]

                                Plotinus, 205

 

Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of
spirit on the body.

Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling!

At night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine.

Breathe into
me.

Close the language-door and
open the love window.
The moon
won't use the door, only the window.
--Rumi. Translator: Coleman Barks

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