Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Love letters


.
.
Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though, they should learn
How to read the love letters sent by the wind
and rain, the snow and moon.
.
~ Ikkyu
(Ikkyu and the Crazy Cloud Anthology,
 trans. by Sonya Arutzen)
.

from: Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front






Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias. 

Say that your main crop is the forest 
that you did not plant, 
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. 
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees 
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear 
close, and hear the faint chattering 
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful 
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child? 
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields. 
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is highest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn't go.
Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction. 
Practice resurrection.




~ Wendell Berry
from Collected Poems

Look it Over



.
I leave behind even
my walking stick.  My knife
is in my pocket, but that
I have forgot.  I bring
no car, no cell phone,
no computer, no camera,
no CD player, no fax, no
TV, not even a book. I go
into the woods.  I sit on
a log provided at no cost.
It is the earth I've come to,
the earth itself, sadly
abused by the stupidity
only humans are capable of
but, as ever, itself. Free.
A bargain!  Get it while it lasts.
.
~ Wendell Berry
(Leavings)
.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What you can learn



.
Gangaji: What you can learn, what is learnable, is the A, B, & C of how you re-identify. You cannot learn the Self. You cannot learn consciousness. You cannot learn love. You cannot learn trust. But you can learn how you deny all of that. For this denial, there are techniques and strategies. There is either indulgence or repression, and with both there is an avoidance of simply experiencing the power and the immensity of the moment.

There is a power; a force, that when it is experienced is then a force of light. It is a force of love, of consciousness, meeting itself here, deeper than ever before experienced. If it is denied or repressed, it is just the same old habit. When it is indulged, it is just the same old violence. We are speaking of a certain kind of addiction; the addiction to a pattern.

With addiction there has to come a point when you see that the desire is out of your control. Maybe the addiction is physiological. Maybe it has been practiced for so long that it has its own groove. But what is in your control, absolutely, is the willingness to not move when the desire appears. The willingness neither to indulge nor repress but to not move in the fire of this impulse of thousands of years. Have you ever experienced this?

Questioner: Yes.

Gangaji: Then you know the beauty of this fire. You know that in this moment, there is actually a willingness to die. Because the addiction to mind or to habits can be so strong that there is the sense if you don't feed the addiction, you will die. Eventually, through the maturity of the soul, there is a willingness to say, "Okay, if I die I will die. But I am not going to follow this demon down this road again."

This, too, is the mind, but it is the mind in service to what was betrayed. Vigilance was betrayed, and the mind humbled by this. It feels like a descent into hell because with any addiction, the impulse is strong to get rid of the craving, to get rid of the fire. How? How? How? There are millions of ways how, but to not get rid of it, to not go numb with it, to let it burn - this is the fire. This is the Buddha and the temptations of Mara. This is Christ in the desert. Everyone has to experience this - Oh my god, I am dying. Okay, so I am dying. I surrender. I surrender - and there is peace, there is freedom. You recognize what has never left. You recognize what is always here. In that moment, there is a break in the habit pattern. The habit may reappear, but there is something bigger than it, so it does not have the same hold on you. Do you follow this?

I want you to recognize that there are many moments before the acting out. There are many choices. They happen very fast. But if you will slow them down in your mind, just slow the film of this movie down, you will see where the choices were made.

Justification can arise, and a kind of thrill from the adrenaline and the power that comes with justification. There can be quick excuse making, such as, "Well, so-and-so did it," or, "It doesn't matter," or, "We're all one, it is all the Self," but this is all thought. It is all the sirens saying, "Come, come back, back into where you were all-powerful, where you were in control, where you were God, where you got to say what happens." Don't follow any of it. DON'T MOVE. And an exquisite experience is revealed that can never be taken from you.

Questioner: Yes, but those moments have happened, and the thoughts still come back. As you said, it is a conditional pattern.

Gangaji: Yes, good! This means that there is something still unseen, which is even more deeply humbling for the mind. Because all we are speaking of is the humbling of the mind. This is what the fire is. It is the resistance, the friction of the mind constantly seeking control of a particular situation. The refusal to follow the mind creates the fire, the burning, and if it comes back, well good! Then there must be more here to see.

Questioner: But there is a lot of suffering at that moment.

Gangaji: Yes, but it is conscious suffering. This is very different from attempting to delay suffering. This is very different from following, indulging, or discharging suffering. Then suffering is spread out over time, and the suffering of the misidentification continues.

To get to paradise there has to be a descent into the hell created by the mind so that you recognize you are more than that. It can be a scary descent. There is the tendency to think, No, no, I don't have to do that. It is all Self. It doesn't matter. It is all just a movie. Well that is great if it is true, but if it is just another strategy, or a covering, then the habit patterns continue. If it is all Self, then what have you got to lose?

When you discover that in the midst of hell, here is God, radiant, then hell itself is liberated. Your demons, the hungry ghosts that have been haunting you and waking you up at four in the morning, get liberated. Self-criticism, self-hatred, and self-torture are liberated. The Self is not liberated. It was never bound. What gets liberated are the demons of your mind, as well as the gods of your mind. Set them all free. You are sick of them. You are sick of playing with them and being played by them. The way to set them free is to be willing to not play the game.

This willingness takes enormous resolve. Resolve is a little different from vigilance. Resolve comes after vigilance has been betrayed, after re-identification has set in. It is the mind's resolve to recognize the hell that has once again been created and to be here, to burn here, and in that burning, there is naturally redemption. No one is needed to come and redeem you. Redemption happens naturally.

You recognize that it is all a movie, God's movie, a huge movie, and it has corners, and surprises and slopes that are undreamed of, unheard of, that even our greatest movie makers and playwrights have never touched. It is your life.

Questioner: If consciousness is playing this movie, why is consciousness making me go through this suffering?

Gangaji: Why not? In every movie there is someone suffering. Would you really be interested in a story if there was no suffering? The resolution occurs when there is suffering. Suffering and the resistance to suffering are one and the same. Isn't this what the Buddha said, "Life is suffering, and there is a way out"? The way out is in. Meet the suffering directly, consciously. Christ said, "If you know how to suffer, you do not suffer."

If you will recognize how it is you suffer, you will not suffer. But this must be recognized. Questioning "why" is an avoidance of knowing "how" it is that the suffering continues.

Right here, in this universe, patterns of war still appear, and war is what we are talking about, right? Even though you have tasted peace, even though this universe has tasted peace on earth, how is it that conflict still has its way? This is true of every mindstream, especially in humans. War is inbred, and it has gone unmet. Now war is being made on war, and the child of that is more war. So meet that war within yourself consciously, awake, refusing to budge. In meeting war, you will find peace. If you have tasted it, then you know it is so. If you have not tasted it, it may seem impossible, but taste it anyway and see. Just take one moment in the midst of one attacking pattern and don't budge.

Beneath the behavior is the energy of an emotion, and that emotion is fueled by some thought of protection from being wounded or hurt or not being seen. In the willingness to experience that wounded or hurt or not being seen, to really be wounded, really be hurt, really not be seen, then it is no big deal. Then the wound is nothing, the hurt is nothing, and you realize that you will never be seen. You are the Self. You cannot be seen. You are not an object.
.
~ Gangaji, 
(excerpt from the Meeting, Immovable Resolve, San Diego, CA, January 18, 2001)
.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

As the web issues out of the spider




.
.
As the web issues out of the spider
And is withdrawn, as plants sprout
from the earth,
As hair grows from the body, even so,
The sages say, this universe springs from
The deathless Self, the source of life.
.
~ Mundaka Upanishad
.

Friday, June 25, 2010

As a caterpillar


.
.
As a caterpillar, having come to the end of 
one blade of grass, draws itself together and 
reaches out for the next, so the Self, having 
come to the end of one life and dispelled 
all ignorance, gathers in his faculties and 
reaches out from the old body to a new.
~ The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
.

Always in the distance



.
Always in the distance
the sound of cars is passing
on the road, that simplest form
going only two ways,
both ways away.  And I 
have been there in that going.
.
But now I rest and am 
apart, a part of the form
of the woods always arriving
from all directions home,
this cell of wild sound,
the hush of the trees, singers
hidden among the leaves -
.
a form whose history is old,
needful, unknown, and bright
as the history of the stars
that tremble in the sky at night
like leaves of a great tree.
.
~ Wendell Berry
(A Timbered Choir)
.

The world of machines



The world of machines is running
Beyond the world of trees
Where only a leaf is turning
In a small high breeze.
.
~ Wendell Berry
(A Timbered Choir)
.
photo by: Kathleen Connally
.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Of all that God has shown me



.
Of all that God has shown me
I can speak just the smallest word,
Not more than a honey bee
Takes on his foot
From an overspilling jar.
.
~ Mechtild of Magdeburg
.

True love in every moment



.
True love in every moment praises God.
Longing love brings a sorrow sweet to the pure.
Seeking love belongs to itself alone.
Understanding love gives itself equally to all.
Enlightened love is mingled with the sadness of the world.
But selfless love bears an effortless fruit,
Working so quietly even the body cannot say how it comes and goes.
.
~ Mechtild of Magdeburg
.

The desert has many teachings


.
.
In the desert,
Turn toward emptiness,
Fleeing the self.
.
Stand alone
Ask no one's help,
And your being will quiet,
Free from the bondage of things.
.
Those who cling to the world,
endeavor to free them;
Those who are free, praise.
.
Care for the sick,
But live alone,
Happy to drink from the waters of sorrow,
To kindle Love's fire
With the twigs of a simple life.
.
Thus you will live in the desert.
.
Mechtild of Magdeburg (1207?-1282? or 1297?)
.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

THIS-HERE-NOW



.
Every time you try to name THIS-HERE-NOW you are an eye trying to see itself.  You cannot objectify THIS WHICH-YOU-ARE, and that which you can objectify is THAT-WHICH-YOU-ARE-NOT.
.
THIS which is seeking is THAT which is sought, and
THAT which is sought is THIS which is seeking.
.
When Bodhidharma told Hui K'o to bring him his mind so that he might tranquillise it, and Hui K'o failed to find it, Bodhidharma said "There you see - I have tranquillised it for you," what then enlightened Hui K'o?  He saw that the sought was the Seeker, and that the seeker was the Sought.
.
~ Wei Wu Wei
(All Else is Bondage)
.

perception



.
...perception is the first stage of the conceptualisation process, and the two elements -perception and conception - form one whole, and that one whole is the mechanism whereby we create samsara.
.
What we are required to do is the contrary, to lay everything down, to be nothing, to know that we are nothing, and thereby leave behind the whole process of conceptualisation.  So-doing we cease to be that which we never were, are not, and never could be.
.
That, no doubt, is nirvana, ... at that moment we are sitting in a state of perfect availability.  We re-become integrally that which we always were, are, and forever must be.
.
...because THIS can never be thought or spoken, for this, being purely non-objective, is in a different "direction of measurement" from any conceptual dimension, being the source of all dimensionality and phenomenality.
.
~ Wei Wu Wei
(All Else is Bondage)
.

Cry Out in Your Weakness





.
A dragon was pulling a bear into its terrible mouth.
.
A courageous man went and rescued the bear.
There are such helpers in the world, who rush to save
anyone who cries out. Like Mercy itself,
they run toward the screaming.
.
And they can't be bought off.
If you were to ask one of those, "Why did you come
so quickly?" he or she would say, "Because I heard
your helplessness."
.
Where lowland is,
that's where water goes. All medicine wants
is pain to cure.
.
And don't just ask for one mercy.
Let them flood in. Let the sky open under your feet.
Take the cotton out of your ears, the cotton
of consolations, so you can hear the sphere-music.
.
Push the hair out of your eyes.
Blow the phlegm from your nose,
and from your brain.
.
Let the wind breeze through.
Leave no residue in yourself from that bilious fever.
Take the cure for impotence,
that your manhood may shoot forth,
and a hundred new beings come of your coming.
.
Tear the binding from around the foot
of your soul, and let it race around the track
in front of the crowd. Loosen the knot of greed
so tight on your neck. Accept your new good luck.
.
Give your weakness
to one who helps.
.
Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
is wait to hear her child.
.
Just a little beginning-whimper,
and she's there.
.
God created the child, that is your wanting,
so that it might cry out, so that milk might come.
.
Cry out! Don't be stolid and silent
with your pain. Lament! And let the milk
of loving flow into you.
.
The hard rain and wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.
.
Be patient.
Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.
.
Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death. 
.
~ Rumi
.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

They come singly


.
.
They come singly, the little streams,
Out of their solitude.  They bear
In their rough fall a spate of gleams
That glance and dance in morning air.
.
They com singly, and coming go
Ever downward toward the river
Into whose dark abiding flow
They come, now quieted, together.
.
In dark they mingle and are made
At one with light in highest flood
Embodied and inhabited,
The budded branch as red as blood.
.
~ Wendell Berry 
(Given)
.

Things will go where they're supposed to go


.
.
Things will go where they're supposed to go 
if you just let them take their natural course. 
Despite your best efforts, people are going to be hurt 
when it's time for them to be hurt. 
Life is like that. 
I know I sound like I'm preaching from a podium, 
but it's about time for you to learn to live like this. 
You try too hard to make life fit your way of doing things. 
If you don't want to spend time in an insane asylum, 
you have to open up a little more 
and let yourself go with life's natural flow.
.
~ Haruki Murakami
(Norwegian Wood)
.
.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

at night



.
at night,
deep in the mountains,
I breathe...
everything is still,
all thoughts emptied
into the night.
my robe has become
a garment of frost.
suddenly, above the
highest peak,
the full moon appears.
.
~ Ryokan
.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Eating Together





.
In the steamer is the trout
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil.
We shall eat it with rice for lunch,
brothers, sister, my mother who will
taste the sweetest meat of the head,
holding it between her fingers
deftly, the way my father did
weeks ago. Then he lay down
to sleep like a snow-covered road
winding through pines older than him,
without any travelers, and lonely for no one.
.
~ Li-Young Lee
(Rose)
.

The Hammock






When I lay my head in my mother's lap
I think how day hides the stars,
the way I lay hidden once, waiting
inside my mother's singing to herself. And I remember 
how she carried me on her back
between home and the kindergarten,
once each morning and once each afternoon.

I don't know what my mother's thinking.

When my son lays his head in my lap, I wonder:
Do his father's kisses keep his father's worries
from becoming his? I think, Dear God, and remember
there are stars we haven't heard from yet:
They have so far to arrive. Amen,
I think, and I feel almost comforted.

I've no idea what my child is thinking.

Between two unknowns, I live my life.
Between my mother's hopes, older than I am
by coming before me, and my child's wishes, older than I am
by outliving me. And what's it like?
Is it a door, and good-bye on either side?
A window, and eternity on either side?
Yes, and a little singing between two great rests.




~ Li-Young Lee
(Book of My Nights)

We were standing by the road

.


.
IV.
We were standing by the road,
seven of us and a small boy.
We had just rescued a yellow swallowtail
disabled on the pavement when a car
approached too fast.  I turned to make sure
of the boy, and my old border collie
Nell, too slow coming across,
was hit, broken all to pieces, and died
at once, while the car sped on.
And I cried, not thinking what
I meant, "God damn!" And I wish
all automobiles in Hell,
where perhaps they already are.
.
V.
Nell's small grave, opening
at the garden's edge to receive her
out of this world's sight forever,
reopens many graves.  Digging,
the old man grieves for his old dog
with all the grief he knows,
which seems again to be approaching
enough, though he knows there is more.
.
VI.
How simple to be dead! - the only
simplification there is, in fact, Thoreau
to the contrary notwithstanding.
Nell lay in her grave utterly still
under the falling earth, the world
all astir above, a million leaves
alive in the wind, and what do we know?
.
~ Wendell Berry
(Leavings, Sabbaths, 2005)
.

The Man with the Blue Guitar






I

The man bent over his guitar, 
A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.

They said, "You have a blue guitar, 
You do not play things as they are."

The man replied, "Things as they are 
Are changed upon the blue guitar."

And they said then, "But play, you must, 
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,

A tune upon the blue guitar 
Of things exactly as they are."

II

I cannot bring a world quite round, 
Although I patch it as I can.

I sing a hero'd head, large eye 
And bearded bronze, but not a man,

Although I patch him as I can 
And reach through him almost to man.

If to serenade almost to man 
Is to miss, by that, things as they are,

Say that it is the serenade 
Of a man that plays a blue guitar.

III

Ah, but to play man number one, 
To drive the dagger in his heart,

To lay his brain upon the board 
And pick the acrid colors out,

To nail his thought across the door, 
Its wings spread wide to rain and snow,

To strike his living hi and ho, 
To tick it, tock it, turn it true,

To bang it from a savage blue, 
Jangling the metal of the strings...

IV

So that's life, then: things are they are? 
It picks its way on the blue guitar.

A million people on one string? 
And all their manner in the thing,

And all their manner, right and wrong, 
And all their manner, weak and strong?

And that's life, then" things as they are, 
This buzzing of the blue guitar.

V

Do not speak to us of the greatness of poetry, 
Of the torches wisping in the underground,

Of the structure of vaults upon a point of light. 
There are no shadows in our sun,

Day is desire and night is sleep. 
There are no shadows anywhere.

The earth, for us, is flat and bare. 
There are no shadows. Poetry

Exceeding music must take the place 
Of empty heaven and its hymns,

Ourselves in poetry must take their place, 
Even in the chattering of your guitar.

VI

A tune beyond us as we are, 
Yet nothing changed by the blue guitar;

Ourselves in the tune as if in space, 
Yet nothing changed, except the place

Of things as they are and only the place 
As you play them, on the blue guitar,

Placed so, beyond the compass of change, 
Perceived in a final atmosphere;

For a moment final, in the way 
The thinking of art seems final when

The thinking of god is smoky dew. 
The tune is space. The blue guitar

Becomes the place of things as they are, 
A composing of senses of the guitar.

VII

It is the sun that shares our works. 
The moon shares nothing. It is a sea.

When shall I come to say of the sun, 
It is a sea; it shares nothing;

The sun no longer shares our works 
And the earth is alive with creeping men,

Mechanical beetles never quite warm? 
And shall I then stand in the sun, as now

I stand in the moon, and call it good, 
the immaculate, the merciful good,

Detached from us, from things as they are? 
Not to be part of the sun? To stand

Remote and call it merciful? 
The strings are cold on the blue guitar.

VIII

The vivid, florid, turgid sky, 
The drenching thunder rolling by,

The morning deluged still by night, 
The clouds tumultuously bright

And the feeling heavy in cold chords 
Struggling toward impassioned choirs,

Crying among the clouds, enraged 
By gold antagonists in air--

I know my lazy, leaden twang 
Is like the reason in a storm;

And yet it brings the storm to bear. 
I twang it out and leave it there.

IX

And the color, the overcast blue 
Of the air, in which the blue guitar

Is a form, described but difficult, 
And I am merely a shadow hunched

Above the arrowy, still string, 
The maker of a thing yet to be made;

The color like a thought that grows 
Out of a mood, the tragic robe

Of the actor, half his gesture, half 
His speech, the dress of his meaning, silk

Sodden with his melancholy words, 
The weather of his stage, himself.

X

Raise reddest columns. Toll a bell 
And clap the hollows full of tin.

Throw papers in the streets, the wills 
Of the dead, majestic in their seals.

And the beautiful trombones--behold 
The approach of him whom none believes,

Whom all believe that all believe, 
A pagan in a varnished car.

Roll a drum upon the blue guitar. 
Lean from the steeple. Cry aloud,

"Here am I, my adversary, that 
Confront you, hoo-ing the slick trombones,

Yet with a petty misery 
At heart, a petty misery,

Ever the prelude to your end, 
The touch that topples men and rock."

XI

Slowly the ivy on the stones 
Becomes the stones. Women become

The cities, children become the fields 
And men in waves become the sea.

It is the chord that flasifies. 
The sea returns upon the men,

The fields entrap the children, brick 
Is a weed and all the flies are caught,

Wingless and withered, but living alive. 
The discord merely magnified.

Deeper within the belly's dark 
Of time, time grows upon the rock.

XII

Tom-tom, c'est moi. the blue guitar 
And I are one. The orchestra

Fills the high hall with shuffling men 
High as the hall. The whirling noise

Of a multitude dwindles, all said, 
To his breath that lies awake at night.

I know that timid breathing. Where 
Do I begin and end? And where,

As I strum the thing, do I pick up 
That which momentously declares

Itself not to be I and yet 
Must be. It could be nothing else.

XIII

The pale intrusions into blue 
Are corrupting pallors...ay di mi,

Blue buds of pitchy blooms. Be content-- 
Expansions, diffusions--content to be

The unspotted imbecile revery, 
The heraldic center of the world

Of blue, blue sleek with a hundred chins, 
The amorist Adjective aflame...

XIV

First one beam, then another, then 
A thousand are radiant in the sky.

Each is both star and orb; and day 
Is the riches of their atmosphere.

The sea appends its tattery hues. 
The shores are banks of muffling mist.

One says a German chandelier-- 
A candle is enough to light the world.

It makes it clear. Even at noon 
It glistens in essential dark.

At night, it lights the fruit and wine, 
The book and bread, things as they are,

In a chiaroscuro where 
One sits and plays the blue guitar.

XV

Is this picture of Picasso's, this "hoard 
Of destructions," a picture of ourselves,

Now, an image of our society? 
Do I sit, deformed, a naked egg,

Catching at Good-bye, harvest moon, 
Without seeing the harvest or the moon?

Things as they are have been destroyed. 
Have I? Am I a man that is dead

At a table on which the food is cold? 
Is my thought a memory, not alive?

Is the spot on the floor, there, wine or blood 
And whichever it may be, is it mine?

XVI

The earth is not earth but a stone, 
Not the mother that held men as they fell

But stone, but like a stone, no: not 
The mother, but an oppressor, but like

An oppressor that grudges them their death, 
As it grudges the living that they live.

To live in war, to live at war, 
To chop the sullen psaltery,

To improve the sewers in Jerusalem, 
To electrify the nimbuses--

Place honey on the altars and die, 
You lovers that are bitter at heart.

XVII

The person has a mould. But not 
Its animal. The angelic ones

Speak of the soul, the mind. It is 
An animal The blue guitar--

On that its claws propound, its fangs 
Articulate its desert days.

The blue guitar a mould? That shell? 
Well, after all, the north wind blows

A horn, on which its victory 
Is a worm composing on a straw.

XVIII

A dream (to call it a dream) in which 
I can believe, in face of the object,

A dream no longer a dream, a thing, 
Of things as they are, as the blue guitar

After long strumming on certain nights 
Gives the touch of the senses, not of the hand,

But the very senses as they touch 
The wind-gloss. Or as daylight comes,

Like light in a mirroring of cliffs, 
Rising upward from a sea of ex.

XIX

That I may reduce the monster to 
Myself, and then may be myself

In face of the monster, be more than part 
Of it, more than the monstrous player of

One of its monstrous lutes, not be 
Alone, but reduce the monster and be,

Two things, the two together as one, 
And play of the monster and of myself,

Or better not of myself at all, 
But of that as its intelligence,

Being the lion in the lute 
Before the lion locked in stone.

XX

What is there in life except one's ideas. 
Good air, good friend, what is there in life?

Is it ideas that I believe? 
Good air, my only friend, believe,

Believe would be a brother full 
Of love, believe would be a friend

Friendlier than my only friend, 
Good air. Poor pale, poor pale guitar...

XXI

A substitute for all the gods: 
This self, not that gold self aloft,

Alone, one's shadow magnified, 
Lord of the body, looking down,

As now and called most high, 
The shadow of Chocorua

In an immenser heaven, aloft, 
Alone, lord of the land and lord

Of the men that live in the land, high lord. 
One's self and the mountains of one's land,

Without shadows, without magnificence, 
The flesh, the bone, the dirt, the stone.

XXII

Poetry is the subject of the poem, 
From this the poem issues and

To this returns. Between the two, 
Between issue and return, there is

An absence in reality, 
Things as they are. Or so we say.

But are these separate? Is it 
An absence for the poem, which acquires

Its true appearances there, sun's green, 
Cloud's red, earth feeling, sky that thinks?

From these it takes. Perhaps it gives, 
In the universal intercourse.

XXIII

A few final solutions, like a duet 
With the undertaker: a voice in the clouds,

Another on earth, the one a voice 
Of ether, the other smelling of drink.

The voice of ether prevailing, the swell 
Of the undertaker's song in the snow

Apostrophizing wreaths, the voice 
In the clouds serene and final, next

The grunted breath serene and final, 
The imagined and the real, thought

And the truth, Dichtung und Wahrheit, all 
Confusion solved, as in a refrain

One keeps on playing year by year, 
Concerning the nature of things as they are.

XXIV

A poem like a missal found 
In the mud, a missal for that young man,

That scholar hungriest for that book, 
The very book, or, less, a page

Or, at the least, a phrase, that phrase, 
A hawk of life, that latined phrase:

To know; a missal for brooding-sight. 
To meet that hawk's eye and to flinch

Not a the eye but at the joy of it. 
I play. But this is what I think.

XXV

He held the world upon his nose 
And this-a-way he gave a fling.

His robes and symbols, ai-yi-yi-- 
And that-a-way he twirled the thing.

Sombre as fir-trees, liquid cats 
Moved in the grass without a sound.

They did not know the grass went round. 
The cats had cats and the grass turned gray

And the world had worlds, ai, this-a-way: 
The grass turned green and the grass turned gray.

And the nose is eternal, that-a-way. 
Things as they were, things as they are,

Things as they will be by and by... 
A fat thumb beats out ai-yi-yi.

XXVI

The world washed in his imagination, 
The world was a shore, whether sound or form

Or light, the relic of farewells, 
Rock, of valedictory echoings,

To which his imagination returned, 
From which it sped, a bar in space,

Sand heaped in the clouds, giant that fought 
Against the murderous alphabet:

The swarm of thoughts, the swarm of dreams 
Of inaccessible Utopia.

A mountainous music always seemed 
To be falling and to be passing away.

XXVII

It is the sea that whitens the roof. 
The sea drifts through the winter air.

It is the sea that the north wind makes. 
The sea is in the falling snow.

This gloom is the darkness of the sea. 
Geographers and philosophers,

Regard. But for that salty cup, 
But for the icicles on the eaves--

The sea is a form of ridicule. 
The iceberg settings satirize

The demon that cannot be himself, 
That tours to shift the shifting scene.

XXVIII

I am a native in this world 
And think in it as a native thinks,

Gesu, not native of a mind 
Thinking the thoughts I call my own,

Native, a native in the world 
And like a native think in it.

It could not be a mind, the wave 
In which the watery grasses flow

And yet are fixed as a photograph, 
The wind in which the dead leaves blow.

Here I inhale profounder strength 
And as I am, I speak and move

And things are as I think they are 
And say they are on the blue guitar.

XXIX

In the cathedral, I sat there, and read, 
Alone, a lean Review and said,

"These degustations in the vaults 
Oppose the past and the festival.

What is beyond the cathedral, outside, 
Balances with nuptial song.

So it is to sit and to balance things 
To and to and to the point of still,

To say of one mask it is like, 
To say of another it is like,

To know that the balance does not quite rest, 
That the mask is strange, however like."

The shapes are wrong and the sounds are false. 
The bells are the bellowing of bulls.

Yet Franciscan don was never more 
Himself than in this fertile glass.

XXX

From this I shall evolve a man. 
This is his essence: the old fantoche

Hanging his shawl upon the wind, 
Like something on the stage, puffed out,

His strutting studied through centuries. 
At last, in spite of his manner, his eye

A-cock at the cross-piece on a pole 
Supporting heavy cables, slung

Through Oxidia, banal suburb, 
One-half of all its installments paid.

Dew-dapper clapper-traps, blazing 
From crusty stacks above machines.

Ecce, Oxidia is the seed 
Dropped out of this amber-ember pod,

Oxidia is the soot of fire, 
Oxidia is Olympia.

XXXI

How long and late the pheasant sleeps... 
The employer and employee contend,

Combat, compose their droll affair. 
The bubbling sun will bubble up,

Spring sparkle and the cock-bird shriek. 
The employer and employee will hear

And continue their affair. The shriek 
Will rack the thickets. There is no place,

Here, for the lark fixed in the mind, 
In the museum of the sky. The cock

Will claw sleep. Mourning is not sun, 
It is this posture of the nerves,

As if a blunted player clutched 
The nuances of the blue guitar.

It must be this rhapsody or none, 
The rhapsody of things as they are.

XXXII

Throw away the lights, the definitions, 
And say of what you see in the dark

That it is this or that it is that, 
But do not use the rotted names.

How should you walk in that space and know 
Nothing of the madness of space,

Nothing of its jocular procreations? 
Throw the lights away. Nothing must stand

Between you and the shapes you take 
When the crust of shape has been destroyed.

You as you are? You are yourself. 
The blue guitar surprises you.

XXXIII

That generation's dream, availed 
In the mud, in Monday's dirty light,

That's it, the only dream they knew, 
Time in its final block, not time

To come, a wrangling of two dreams. 
Here is the bread of time to come,

Here is its actual stone. The bread 
Will be our bread, the stone will be

Our bed and we shall sleep by night. 
We shall forget by day, except

The moments when we choose to play 
The imagined pine, the imagined jay.




~ Wallace Stevens
(The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens)