Saturday, October 31, 2009

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

.
You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

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

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver
.
.

Friday, October 30, 2009

show me your face


.

show me your face 
i crave
flowers and gardens
open your lips
i crave
the taste of honey
come out from
behind the clouds
i desire a sunny face
your voice echoed
saying "leave me alone"
i wish to hear your voice
again saying "leave me alone"
i swear this city without you
is a prison
i am dying to get out
to roam in deserts and mountains
i am tired of
flimsy friends and
submissive companions
i die to walk with the brave
am blue hearing
nagging voices and meek cries
i desire loud music
drunken parties and
wild dance
one hand holding
a cup of wine
one hand caressing your hair
then dancing in orbital circle
that is what i yearn for
i can sing better than any nightingale
but because of
this city's freaks
i seal my lips
while my heart weeps
yesterday the wisest man
holding a lit lantern
in daylight
was searching around town saying
i am tired of
all these beasts and brutes
i seek
a true human
we have all looked
for one but
no one could be found
they said
yes he replied
but my search is
for the one
who cannot be found

.
 ~ Rumi
Translated by Nader Khalili






)when what hugs stopping earth than silent is


)when what hugs stopping earth than silent is

more silent than more than much more is or
total sun oceaning than any this
tear jumping from each most least eye of star
.
and without was if minus and shall be
immeasurable happenless unnow
shuts more than open could that every tree
or than all life more death begins to grow
.
end's ending then these dolls of joy and grief
these recent memories of future dream
these perhaps who have lost their shadows if
which did not do the losing spectres mime
.
until out of merely not nothing comes
only one snowflake(and we speak our names



~ e.e.cummings

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Larry Darrells' Awakening from 'The Razor's Edge"









"How grand the sight was that was displayed before me as the day broke in its splendour...I was ravished with the beauty of the world. I'd never known such exaltation and such a transcendent joy. I had a strange sensation, a tingling that arose in my feet and traveled up to my head, and I felt as though I were suddenly released from my body and as pure spirit partook of a loveliness I had never conceived. I had a sense that a knowledge more than human possessed me, so that everything that had been confused was clear and everything that had perplexed me was explained. I was so happy that it was pain and I struggled to release myself from it, for I felt that if it lasted a moment longer I should die; and yet it was such rapture that I was ready to die rather than forego it. How can I tell you what I felt? No words can tell the ecstasy of my bliss. When I came to myself I was exhausted and trembling"






~ Somerset Maugham

click the title for background information

face to face



The human face is the icon of creation.
Each person also has an inner face, which is always sensed but never seen. 
The heart is the inner face of your life. 
The human journey strives to make this inner face beautiful. 
It is here that love gathers within you. 
Love is absolutely vital for a human life. 
For love alone can awaken what is divine within you. 
In love, you grow and come home to your self. 
When you learn to love and to let yourself be loved, 
you come home to the hearth of your own spirit. 




A world lies hidden behind each human face. When you look at some faces, you can see the turbulence of the infinite beginning to gather to the surface. Suddenly...their gaze becomes the vehicle of some primal inner presence. The human face carries mystery and is the exposure point of the mystery of the individual life. It is where the private inner world of a person protrudes into the anonymous world. Your face is the icon of your life. In the human face, a life looks out at the world and also looks in on itself. When a persons life has been bleak, much of its negativity can remain unhealed...the bleakness lodges in the face ... instead of being a warm presence, has hardened into a mask. Yet one also encounters the opposite, namely, the beautiful presence of an old face deeply lined ...that has retained a lovely innocence.



.

~ John O'Donohue


deepening journey





What amazes me is that before we can count we are taught to be grateful for what others do. As we are broken open by our experience, we begin to be grateful for what is, and if we live long enough and deep enough and authentically enough, gratitude becomes a way of life.


~ Mark Nepo

to choose one's attitude

.
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances...
.
~ Victor Frankl

from 'A Joseph Campbell Companion' by Diane K. Osbon



In the story of Sir Galahad, the knights agree to go on a quest, but thinking it would be a disgrace to go forth in a group, each

"entered into the forest, at one point or another, there where they saw it to be thickest, all in those places where they found no way or path."

 Where there is a way or a path, it's someone else's way.Each knight enters the forest at the most mysterious point and follows his own intuition. What each brings forth is what never before was on land or sea: the fulfillment of his unique potentialities, which are different from anybody else's...when the knight sees the trail of another, thinks he's getting there, and starts to follow the other's track, he goes astray entirely.



~ Joseph Campbell


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a sadness fell upon me






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.



~ Gitanjali
translated from original Bengali by Tagore

The river has no shape

The river has no shape, but it takes on the boundaries which it carves out for itself,
so is the mind boundless, until it creates a prison for its own thoughts.


-Samurai Warrior Wisdom



from the Tao Te Ching



Nothing in the world,
Is as yielding and receptive as water;
Yet in attacking the firm and inflexible,
Nothing triumphs so well.
Because of what it is not, 
This becomes easy.
The receptive triumphs over the inflexible;
The yielding triumphs over the rigid.
.
-Lao Tzu


from The Wisdom of Insecurity

.

You cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you cannot grasp it just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket. If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run. To "have" running water you must let go of it and let it run.
.
-Alan Watts 


On the Road Home







It was when I said,
"There is no such thing as the truth,"
That the grapes seemed fatter.
The fox ran out of his hole.

You...You said,
"There are many truths,
But they are not parts of a truth."
Then the tree, at night, began to change,

Smoking through green and smoking blue.
We were two figures in a wood.
We said we stood alone.

It was when I said.
"Words are not forms of a single word.
In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts.
The world must be measured by the eye";

It was when you said,
"The idols have seen lots of poverty,
Snakes and gold and lice,
But not the truth";

It was at that time, that the silence was largest
And longest, the night was roundest,
The fragrance of the autumn warmest,
Closest and strongest.




~ Wallace Stevens


The Snow Man

.
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
.
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
.
Of the January sun ; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
.
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
.
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
.
~ Wallace Stevens

Animals

.

At dawn a knot of sea-lions lies off the shore
In the slow swell between the rock and the cliff,
Sharp flippers lifted, or great-eyed heads, as they roll in the sea,
Bigger than draft-horses, and barking like dogs
Their all-night song. It makes me wonder a little
That life near kin to human, intelligent, hot-blooded, idle and 
     singing, can float at ease
In the ice-cold midwinter water. Then, yellow dawn
Colors the south, I think about the rapid and furious lives
     in the sun :
They have little to do with ours; they have nothing to do with
     oxygen and salted water ; they would look monstrous
If we could see them : the beautiful passionate bodies of living
    flame, batlike flapping and screaming,
Tortured with burning lust and acute awareness, that ride the
     storm-tides
Of the great fire-globe. They are animals, as we are. There are
     many other chemistries of animal life
Besides the slow oxidation of carbohydrates and amino-acids.
.
~ Robinson Jeffers

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

seeker of truth
follow no path
all paths lead where
truth is here

~ e.e. cummings

I dwell in Possibility

.
I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous of Windows--
Superior--for Doors--
.
Of Chambers as the Cedars--
Impregnable of Eye--
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky--
.
Of Visitors--the fairest--
For Occupation--This--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise--
.
~ Emily Dickinson

music is discovered in every moment



.


No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve in quality as it goes along or that the whole object of playing it is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same I feel with the greater part of our lives and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

.
~ Alan Watts

Thoreau's Journal

...
The obstacles which the heart meets with are like granite blocks which one alone cannot move. She who was as the morning light to me is now neither the morning star nor the evening star. We meet but to find each other further asunder, and the oftener we meet the more rapid our divergence. So a star of the first magnitude pales in the heavens, not from any fault in the observer’s eye nor from any fault in itself, perchance, but because its progress in its own system has put a greater distance between.
...
~ Henry David Thoreau

Come Forth

.
I dreamed of my father when he was old.
We went to see some horses  in a field;
they were sorrels, as red almost as blood,
the light gold on their shoulders and haunches.
Though they came to us, all a-tremble
with curiosity and snorty with caution,
they had never known bridle or harness.
My father walked among them, admiring,
for he was a knower of horses, and these were fine.
.
He leaned on a cane and dragged his feet
along the ground in hurried little steps
so theat I called to him to take care, take care,
as the horses stamped and frolicked around him.
But while I warned, he siezed the mane
of the nearest one. "It'll be all right,"
he said, and then from his broken stance
he leapt astride, and sat lithe and straight
and strong in the sun's unshadowed excellence.
.
~ Wendell Berry

The Storm

.
We lay in our bed as in a tomb
awakened by thunder to the dark
in which our house was one with night,
and then light came as if the black
roof of the world had cracked open,
as if the night of all time had broken,
and out our window we glimpsed the world
birthwet and shining, as even
the sun at noon had never made it shine.
.
~ Wendell Berry

.

Monday, October 26, 2009

magic words



In the very earliest time,

when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen—
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody can explain this:
That's the way it was.




~ after Nalungiaq

from The Angelic Poems

.
Before they ripen into diffused spirits
angels are leaf-stalks
and their wings begonia leaves
with dark surfaces
and red glitterings within.
Slowly, very slowly, they emerge out of the flower-pot
of the body,
take on the face of Bill or Bob,
pierce through the cool bower 
of the world and ascend like the promise
of a harmonious end;
on their lips shine
the last bubbles of our breathing,
those droplets 
of our unrelieved loneliness.
.
~ Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Her Longing



Before this longing,
I lived serene as a fish
At one with the plants in the pond,
The mare's tail, the floating frogbite,
Among my eight-legged friends,
Open like a pool, a lesser parsnip,
Like a leech, looping myself along,
A bug-eyed edible one,
A mouth like a stickleback,-
A thing quiescent!


But now-
The wild stream, the sea itself cannot contain me:
I dive with the black hag, the cormorant,
Or walk the pebbly shore with the humpbacked heron,
Shaking out my catch in the morning sunlight,
Or rise with the gar-eagle, the great-winged condor,
Floating over the mountains,
Pitting my breast against the rushing air,
A phoenix, sure of my body,
Perpetually rising out of myself,
My wings hovering over the shorebirds,
Or beating against the black clouds of the storm,
Protecting the sea-cliffs.






~ Theodore Roethke

The Heart of Herakles


Lying under the stars,
In the summer night,
Late while the autumn
Constellations climb the sky,
As the Cluster of Hercules
Falls down the west
I put the telescope by 
And watch Deneb
Move towards the zenith
My body is asleep. Only
My eyes and brain are awake.
The stars stand around me
Like gold eyes. I can no longer
Tell where I begin and leave off.
The faint breeze in the dark pines,
And the invisible grass,
The tipping earth, the swarming stars
Have an eye that sees itself.




~ Kenneth Rexroth

Two Look at Two

.
Love and forgetting might have carried them
A little further up the mountainside
With night so near, but not much further up.
They muct have halted soon in any case
With thoughts of the path back, how rough it was
With rock and washout, and unsafe in darkness;
When they were halted by a tumbled wall
With barbed-wire binding. They stood facing this,
Spending what onward impulse they still had
In one last look the way they must not go,
On up the failing path, where, if a stone
Or earthslide moved at night, it moved itself;
No footstep moved it. "This is all," they sighed,
"Good-night to woods." But not so; there was more.
A doe from round a spruce stood looking at them
Across the wall, as near the wall as they.
She saw them in their field, they her in hers.
The difficulty of seeing what stood still,
Like some up-ended boulder split in tow,
Was in her clouded eyes: they saw no fear there.
She sighed and passed unscared along the wall.
"This, then is all. What more is there to ask?"
But no, not yet. A snort to bid them wait.
A buck from round the spruce stood looking at them
Across the wall, as near the wall as they.
This was an antlered buck of lusty nostril,
Not the same doe come back into her place.
He viewed them quizzically with jerks of head,
As if to ask, "Why don't you make some motion?
Or give some sign of life? Because you can't.
I doubt if you're living as you look."
Thus till he had them almost feeling dared
To stretch a proffering hand-and a spell-breaking.
Then he too passed uncsared along the wall.
Two had seen two, whichever side you spoke from.
"This must be all." It was all. Still they stood,
A great wave from it going over them,
As if the earth in one unlooked-for favor
Had made them certain earth returned their love.
.
~ Robert Frost
.

We come unsighted


.

We come, unsighted, in the dark,
to the great feast of lovers
where nothing is withheld.
That we are there we know
by touch, by inner sight.
They all are here, who by
their giving take, by taking
give, who by their living
love, and by loving live.
.
~ Wendell Berry

Saturday, October 24, 2009

To a Stranger


Passing stranger! you do not know
How longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking,
Or she I was seeking
(It comes to me as a dream)

I have somewhere surely
Lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall'd as we flit by each other,
Fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,

You grew up with me,
Were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become
not yours only nor left my body mine only,

You give me the pleasure of your eyes,
face, flesh as we pass,
You take of my beard, breast, hands,
in return,

I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you
when I sit alone or wake at night, alone
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

~ Walt Whitman


Thursday, October 22, 2009

oh what is that beautiful thing that just happened?



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



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Seventh Day Seventh Month

.
Tangle together like painted
Clouds on a screen, then,
Thighs enlaced, heads together
On the pillow we sing softly
To the full moon and watch time pass.
The declining moon marks the hours.
Suddenly we are seized by grief and fear.
Three o’clock in the morning
Has gone by but we cannot
Get enough of one another. Insatiable
Passion, night swift as the shuttle
In the loom. Oh heaven, what is
Your price for one more hour?


~ Kuan Yun She

Being peace

.

.
If we are peaceful.
If we are happy.
We can smile and blossom
Like a flower.
.
And everyone
In our family,
Our entire society
Will benefit
From our peace.
.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Our deepest fear

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 are all meant to shine, as children do.
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.


~ Marianne Williamson


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

For you to hear me


.

For you to hear me
my words
thin themselves out, at times,
like the trails of gulls on the shore.
A necklace of bones, a crazed rattle
for your fingers smooth as grapes.
And I look at my words from a distance.
More than mine they are yours.
Like tendrils they climb my ancient suffering.
They climb, like this, inside damp walls.
It is you the guilty one in this blood-wet round.
They are escaping from my dark covert.
You pervade everything, you, pervade everything.
They live, before you, in the solitude you enter,
and are accustomed, more than you, to my sadnesses.
Now I want them to say what I want them to tell you,
for you to hear as I want you to hear me.
The winds of misery may still bring them down.
Hurricanes of dream may still make them tumble.
You attend other voices, in my voice of pain,
Cries, of ancient mouths: blood, of ancient pleas.
Love me. Don’t leave me, friend. Follow me.
Follow me, friend, in this wave of misery.
They go on being miserly, with your love, my words.
You enter everything, you, enter everything.
I make, out of all this, an infinite necklace,
for your white fingers, smooth as grapes.
.
~ Pablo Neruda


Give me your hand

.


Give me your hand
Make room for me
to lead and follow
you
beyond this rage of poetry.

Let others have
the privacy of
touching words
and love of loss
of love.

For me
Give me your hand.

.
~ Maya Angelou 
.

When you are old and grey

.


When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
.
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
.
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
.
~ William Butler Yeats

.

prayer


Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace


~ The Upanishads

sublime generosity

.
I was dead, then alive.
Weeping, then laughing.
.
The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.
.
He said, "You're not mad enough.
You don't belong in this house."
.
I went wild and had to be tied up.
He said, "Still not wild enough
to stay with us!"
.
I broke though another layer
into joyfulness.
.
He said, "It's not enough."
I died.
.
He said, "You're a clever little man,
full of fantasy and doubting."
.
I plucked out my feathers and became a fool.
He said, "Now you're the candle
for this assembly."
.
But I'm no candle. Look!
I'm scattered smoke.
.
He said, "You are the sheikh, the guide."
But I'm not a teacher. I have not power.
.
He said, "You already have wings.
I cannot give you wings."
.
But I wanted his wings.
I felt like some flightless chicken.
.
Then nw events said to me,
"Don't move. A sublime generosity is
coming toward you."
.
And old love said, "Stay with me."
.
I said, "I will."
.
You are the fountain of the sun's light.
I am a willow shadow on the ground.
You make my raggedness silky.
.
The soul at dawn is like darkened water
that slowly begins to say Thank you, thank you.
.
Then at sunset, again, Venus gradually
changes into the moon and then the whole nightsky.
.
This comes of smiling back
at your smile.
.
The chess master says nothing,
other than moving the silent chess piece.
.
That I am part of the ploys
of this game makes me
amazingly happy.
.
~ Rumi
.