Sunday, July 30, 2017

excerpt from: September 1st, 1939









All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, 
The romantic lie in the brain 
Of the sensual man-in-the-street 
And the lie of Authority 
Whose buildings grope the sky: 
There is no such thing as the State 
And no one exists alone; 
Hunger allows no choice 
To the citizen or the police; 
We must love one another or die.


~ W. H. Auden
 from Another Time
 art by picasso

kindness

.



Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
Like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be 
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crown of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.


~ Naomi Shihab Nye
from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
 
.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

the unknown flute









I know the sound of the ecstatic flute,
but I don't know whose flute it is.

A lamp burns and has neither wick nor oil.

A lily pad blossoms and is not attached to the bottom! 

When one flower opens, ordinarily dozens open.

The moon bird's head is filled with nothing but thoughts of the moon,
and when the next rain will come is all that the rain bird thinks of.

Who is it we spend our entire life loving? 



~ Kabir 
 

Sssh






Sssh the sea says
Sssh the small waves at the shore say, sssh
Not so violent, not
So haughty, not
So remarkable
Sssh
Say the tips of the waves
Crowding around the headland's
Surf. Sssh
They say to people
This is our earth,
Our eternity.



~ Rolf Jacobsen
from The Soul is here for its own Joy
edited by Robert Bly 
photo by Eliot Porter 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

pain and pleasure








Human beings try to avoid pain by setting up permanent zones of pleasure. 
The mind is always seeking to create permanent territories of pleasure to avoid pain. 
But these zones, what we might call 'zones of safety' don't last. 
They always fall apart, and because they are fleeting, 
then we scramble to find another zone of pleasure to help us forget our pain. 
This going round and round is what we mean by samsara. 
Hell is just resistance to life. It's counter-intuitive, but if we stop, 
become curious about the pain, learn to befriend it 
and work with it, actually learn how to be genuine friends 
of ourselves, then the pleasures of life become authentic pleasures 
as opposed to numbing agents, anesthetizing us from our genuine experience.
 
 

~ Pema Chodron, 
Dharma talk, Karma Dzong, Boulder, Colorado, 1999
 art by Edvard Munch
 

the waiting






The death of self of which the great writers speak is no violent act. 

It is merely the joining of the great rock heart of the earth in its roll.
 It is merely the slow cessation of the will's spirits and the intellect's chatter: 
it is waiting like a hollow bell with a stilled tongue. 

The waiting itself is the thing.


- Annie Dillard
from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek