Saturday, October 17, 2015

listening






My father could hear a little animal step,
or a moth in the dark against the screen,
and every far sound pulled the listening out
into places the rest of us had never been.

More spoke to him from the soft wild night
than came to our porch for the family on the wind;
we watched him listen, and his face go keen,
till the walls of the world flared, widened.

My father brought in so much that we still stand
inviting the quiet by turning the face,
waiting for the time when the soft wild night
will reach to us here, from that other place.





~ William Stafford 
from West of your City


what difference







Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.




~ William Stafford
from Ask Me


Thursday, October 15, 2015

in space







In space
(the experiment
suggested by two fifth graders),
a Canadian astronaut
wrings water out of a towel.

It stays by the towel,
horizontal
transparent isinglass,
a hyaline column.

Then begins to cover his hands,
his wrists,
stays on them
until he passes it to another towel.

On earth
some who watch this
recognize the wrung, irrational soul.

How it does not leave
but stays close,
outside the cleaning twist-fate but close--

fear  desire  anger
joy  irritation 
mourning

wet stuff
that is shining, that cannot go from us,
having nowhere other to fall.



~ Jane Hirshfield
from The Beauty



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

no one






No one home.
fallen pine needles
scattered at the door.




~ Zen Master Ryokan
from Sky Above, Great Wind 
The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan
by Kazuaki Tanahashi

Sunday, October 11, 2015

what is happening







Instant to instant
we ask, what is happening?

The sound of shattering everywhere,
is it the world, fragmenting at last,
or our own hearts cracking,
the final break-up of ice?



~ Dorothy Walters
from Marrow of Flame


how much









~  Beth Cioffoletti
 louie louie blog


this moment this love





This moment this love comes to rest in me,
many beings in one being.
In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks.
Inside the needle's eye, a turning night of stars.



Listen, if you can stand to.
Union with the friend
means not being who you have been,
being instead silence, a place,
a view where language is inside seeing.



From the wet source
someone cuts a reed to make a flute
The reed sips breath like wine,
sips more, practicing. Now drunk,
it starts the high clear notes.



There is a path from me to you
that I am constantly looking for,
so I try to keep clear and still
as water does with the moon.



We do not have to follow the pressure-flow of wanting.
We can be led by the guide.
Wishes may or may not come true
in this house of disappointment.
Let's push the door open together and leave.



My essence is like the essence of a red wine.
My body is a cup that grieves because it is inside time.
Glass after glass of wine go into my head.
Finally, my head goes into the wine.




~ Rumi
translation by Coleman Barks
from The Big Red Book



A clear midnight




This is thy hour O soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.





~ Walt Whitman





Friday, October 9, 2015

the wild earth







Even through these trivial crowded days,
I never lose sight of the wild earth on which I live,
of the ravishing perfection of its beauty.
I stand before infinity and look out over a virgin wilderness.

The potential for reproducing fragments
of this in a form worthy of it are endless.



~ Harlan Hubbard
from his journal, January 15, 1987




the wild





In the empty lot - a place
not natural, but wild - among
the trash of human absence,

the slough and shamble
of the city's seasons, a few
old locusts bloom.

A few woods birds
fly and sing
in the new foliage
 - warblers and tanagers, birds
wild as leaves; in a million
each one would be rare,

new to the eyes.  A man
couldn't make a habit
of such color,

such flight and singing.
But they are the habit of this 
wasted place.  In them

the ground is wise.  They are
its remembrance of what it is.


~ Wendell Berry
from The Selected Poems



wild elegance







Beauty invites us towards profound elegance of soul.  It reminds us that we are heirs to elegance and nobility of spirit and encourages us to awaken the divinity within us.  We are no longer trapped in mental frames of self-reduction or self-denunciation.

Instead, we feel the desire to celebrate, to give ourselves over to the dance of joy and delight.   The overwhelming beauty which is God pervades the texture of our soul, transforming all smallness, limitation and self-division.  The mystics speak of the excitement of such unity.  This is how Marguerite Porete describes it: 'Such a Soul, says Love swims in the sea of joy, that is in the sea of delights, flowing and running out of the Divinity.  And so she feels no joy, for she is joy itself.  She swims and flows in Joy... for she dwells in Joy and Joy dwells in her.'   

When we acknowledge the wild beauty of God, we begin to glimpse the potential holiness of our neglected wildness.  As humans, citizens and believers, we have become domesticated beyond belief.  We have fallen out of rhythm with our natural wildness.  What we now call 'being wild' is often misshapen, destructive and violent.  The natural wildness as the fluency of the soul at one with beauty is foreign to us.  

The call of the wild is a call to the elemental levels of the soul, the places of intuition, kinship, swiftness, fluency and the consolation of the lonesome that is not lonely.  Our fear of our own wildness derives in part from our fear of the formless; but the wild is not the formless - it holds immense refinement and, indeed, clarity.  The wild has a profound simplicity that carries none of the false burdens of brokenness or self-conflict; it flows naturally as one, elegant and seamless.  






~ John O'Donohue
from The Invisible Embrace, Beauty
photo by Eliot Porter



inner wildness






Our bodies are wild. The involuntary quick turn of the head at a shout, the vertigo at looking off a precipice, the heart-in-the-throat in a moment of danger, the catch of the breath, the quiet moments relaxing, staring, reflecting – all universal responses of this mammal body… The body does not require the intercession of some conscious intellect to make it breathe, to keep the heart beating. It is to a great extent self-regulating, it is a life of its own. The world is our consciousness, and it surrounds us. There are more things in the mind, in the imagination, than ‘you’ can keep track of – thoughts, memories, images, angers, delights, rise unbidden. The depths of the mind, the unconscious, are our inner wilderness areas, and that is where a bobcat is right now. I do not mean personal bobcats in personal psyches, but the bobcat that roams from dream to dream. The conscious agenda-planning ego occupies a very tiny territory, a little cubicle somewhere near the gate, keeping track of some of what goes in and out, and the rest takes care of itself. The body is, so to speak, in the mind. They are both wild.




~ Gary Snyder
from The Practice of the Wild


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

readings










~ William Stafford



silent journal







Inaudible consonant inaudible vowel 
The word continues to fall 
in splendor around us 
Window half shadow window half moon 
back yard like a book of snow 
That holds nothing and that nothing holds 
Immaculate text 
not too prescient not too true



~ Charles Wright
from Xionia

forgetting words







A water egret planes down like a page of blank paper
Toward the edge of the noon sky.
Let me, like him, find an island of white reeds
To settle down on, under the wind, forgetting words.



~ Charles Wright
 from T’ang Notebook,
 The Other Side of the River: Poems


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

it is










Almost noon, the meadow 
Waiting for someone to change it into an other. Not me. 
The horses, Monte and Littlefoot, 
Like it the way it is. 
And this morning, so do I.




~ Charles Wright
from Lightfoot


a looking








silence
.is
a
looking

bird:the

turn
ing;edge,of
life

(inquiry before snow



~ e. e. cummings
with thanks to Love is a Place


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Not Everyone Can See the Truth, But He Can Be It








Take off your traveling clothes and 
lay down your luggage, 

Pilgrim, shed your nakedness. 
Only the fire is absorbed by the Holy of Holies.
 
Let it shine.



~ Charles Wright
from Chickamauga


the night watch







Outdoors, like a false morning,
 Fog washes the pine trees. It 
 Shoulders against the windows,
 Spreading across their surface
 On its way upward. In this 
 Moment between sleep and thought 

 This holding back, I can hear 
 The fog start to rise, the slow 
 Memory of an ocean, 

 And I, like a ship, begin 
 To stir, to lurch in its swell, 
 And to move outward, beyond 

 The steel jetty, the lighthouse, 
 The red-flagged channel buoys,
 --Beyond, at last, sleep even--

 Into a deeper water,
 Pale, oracular, its waves
 Motionless, seagulls absent. 




~ Charles Wright
art by andrew wyeth




wind










There is an otherness inside us 
We never touch, 
no matter how far down our hands reach. 
It is the past, 
with its good looks and Anytime, Anywhere ... 
Our prayers go out to it, our arms go out to it 
Year after year, 
But who can ever remember enough?

...

The life of this world is wind 
Windblown we come, and windblown we go away. 
All that we look on is windfall. 
All we remember is wind.




~ Charles Wright
from The Southern Cross


Saturday, October 3, 2015

open







What I want is to open up. I want to know what's inside me. I want everybody to open up. I'm like an imbecile with a can-opener in his hand, wondering where to begin - to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I'm sure of it.

I know it because I feel so marvelous myself most of the time. And when I feel that way everybody seems marvelous … everybody and everything … even pebbles and pieces of cardboard … a match stick lying in the gutter . . . anything . . . a goat's beard, if you like. That's what I want to write about … and then we're all going to see clearly, see what a staggering, wonderful, beautiful world it is.




~ Henry Miller
from Sexus


Friday, October 2, 2015

identify yourself with the consciousness and life







This is the essential experience of any mystical realization. 

You die to your flesh and are born into your spirit. 
You identify yourself with the consciousness and life of which your body is but the vehicle. 
You die to the vehicle and become identified…
with that of which the vehicle is but the carrier. 



~ Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers
from The Power of Myth
with thanks to Death Deconstructed

Thursday, October 1, 2015

full surrender






The art of living is based on rhythm - on give and take, ebb and flow, light and dark, life and death. By acceptance of all aspects of life, good and bad, right and wrong, yours and mine, the static, defensive life, which is what most people are cursed with, is converted into a dance, ‘the dance of life,’ metamorphosis. One can dance to sorrow or to joy; one can even dance abstractly. But the point is that, by the mere act of dancing, the elements which compose it are transformed; the dance is an end in itself, just like life. The acceptance of the situation, any situation, brings about a flow, a rhythmic impulse towards self-expression. To relax is, of course, the first thing a dancer has to learn. It is also the first thing a patient has to learn when he confronts the analyst. It is the first thing any one has to learn in order to live. It is extremely difficult, because it means surrender, full surrender. 



~  Henry Miller
from The Wisdom of the Heart
with thanks to whiskey river


haunted pilgrims













Fashioned from clay, we carry the memory of the earth. Ancient, forgotten things stir within our hearts, memories from the time before the mind was born. Within us are depths that keep watch. These are depths that no words can trawl or light unriddle. Our neon times have neglected and evaded the depth-kingdoms of interiority in favor of the ghost realms of cyberspace. We have unlearned the patience and attention of lingering at the thresholds where the unknown awaits us. We have become haunted pilgrims addicted to distraction and driven by the speed and color of images.



~ John O'Donohue
from Beauty: The Invisible Embrace