Sunday, September 22, 2013

I worried








I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers 
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn 
as it was taught, and if not how shall 
I correct it? 

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, 
can I do better? 

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows 
can do it and I am, well, 
hopeless. 

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it, 
am I going to get rheumatism, 
lockjaw, dementia? 

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing. 
And gave it up. And took my old body 
and went out into the morning, 
and sang.



~ Mary Oliver
from Swan: Poems and Prose Poems



Thursday, September 19, 2013

opening the heart through ecstatic poetry







~ Rumi
with Coleman Barks and David Darling


Friday, September 6, 2013

at war



.


.
There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse. 

The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important. Another man, standing alongside the road, shouts, 'Where are you going?" and the first man replies, I don't know! Ask the horse!" This is also our story. We are riding a horse, we don't know where we are going, and we can't stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless. 

We are always running, and it has become a habit. 
We struggle all the time, even during our sleep. 
We are at war within ourselves, and we can easily start a war with others.
.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh
from "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching"
.

fear



At the root of all war is fear, not so much the fear men have of one another as the fear they have of everything. It is not merely that they do not trust one another. They do not even trust themselves.... They cannot trust anything because they have ceased to know  God.

It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above an our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this that makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves....

As if this were not enough, we make the situation much worse by artificially intensifying our sense of evil, and by increasing our propensity to feel guilt even for things that are not in themselves wrong. In all these ways, we build up such an obsession with evil, both in ourselves and in others, that we waste all our mental energy trying to account for this evil, to punish it, to exorcise it, or to get rid of it in any way we can.






~ Thomas Merton
excerpt from his 1962 essay: The Root of War is Fear

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

one sand grain among the others in winter wind





I wake with my hand held over the place of grief in my body.
"Depend on nothing," the voice advises, but even that is useless.
My ears are useless, my familiar and intimate tongue.
My protecting hand is useless, that wants to hold the single leaf to the tree
and say, Not this one, this one will be saved.





~ Jane Hirshfield
from After



Sunday, September 1, 2013

pocket of fog





In the yard next door,
a pocket of fog like a small heard of bison
swallows azaleas, koi pond, the red-and-gold koi.

To be undivided must mean not knowing you are.

The fog grazes here, then there,
all morning browsing the shallows,
leaving no footprint between my fate and the mountain's.




~ Jane Hirshfield
from After