Thursday, September 27, 2012


~ Dolano

you said is

you said Is
there anything which
is dead or alive more beautiful
than my body,to have in your fingers
(trembling ever so little)?
Looking into
your eyes Nothing,i said,except the
air of spring smelling of never and forever.

….and through the lattice which moved as
if a hand is touched by a
moved as though
fingers touch a girl’s
Do you believe in always,the wind
said to the rain
I am too busy with
my flowers to believe,the rain answered

e.e. cummings
from his Complete Poems (1904-1962)
with thanks to life love yoga

mirrors of perfection

The master bonesetter will pay his call
where there is someone with a broken leg.

When there's no sickly patient, how then can
the beauty of the healing arts be known?

And how can alchemy be seen if copper's
low-grade, inferior nature is not known?

Deficiencies are mirrors of perfection;
the vilest things are mirrors of His glory.

For opposites make known their opposites
as honey's taste is known is vinegar.

Whoever understands his own defects
has galloped to perfection with ten horses.

And why is he not flying to his Lord
is that he thinks himself already perfect.

There is no sickness of the soul that's worse
than being convinced of your perfection, sir!

Much blood must flow out of your heart and eyes
until this smugness takes its leave of you.

~ Rumi
from the Masnavi-ye Ma'navi
excerpt from Joseph and his guest
translation by alan williams
art by gustav klimt

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The mystery does not get clearer by repeating the questions,
nor is it bought with going to amazing places.

Until you've kept your eyes
and your wanting still for years,
you don't begin to cross over from confusion.

~ Rumi
from The Essential Rumi
translations by Coleman Barks and John Moyne

Monday, September 24, 2012

News of the Universe

The first film to explore Bly’s long and prolific life - 
as poet, translator, mythologist, guiding light of men's work, 
antiwar activist and cultural gadfly.

~ Robert Bly

a shared language through metaphor

~ Jane Hirshfield

Sunday, September 23, 2012

religion means

I think the word religion means gathering together
all energy at all levels, physical, moral, spiritual,
at all levels, gathering all this energy which will bring
about a great attention. And from there move.
To me that is the meaning of that word.

The gathering of total energy to understand
what thought cannot possibly capture.

Thought is never new, never free, and therefore
it's always conditioned, fragmentary, and so on.

So religion is not a thing put together by Thought,
or by fear, or by the pursuit of satisfaction and pleasure.
But something totally beyond all this, which isn't romanticism,
speculative belief, or sentimentality. And I think if we
could keep to the meaning of that word, putting aside
all the superstitious nonsense that is going on in the world
in the name of religion.


~ J. Krishnamurti

Friday, September 21, 2012


You are woken in the night
by something that cannot speak
in daylight, that has no purchase
in the hard currency of your life.

Outside is the shallow well
of a sleeping town; electric lights
peek faintly into black space,
and the lithe ghost of the dark

slips into the only house that
bids it welcome. Your husband
lies snoring, dreams of another
world, offers you rough the gift

of aloneness. Know this:
what arrives here cannot
be other than itself, and
has no care for you. It

has no words, and no respect
for yours, so finds your body,
colonizes your spine, feeds
you up into the sea of stars. You

may think you are changing,
or hope; but you are simply
failing to forget, allowing
stillness to be recognized.

You are momentarily disappearing,
to enter your own voice, see
with your own eyes, become
the body you gave birth to;

you have returned to
your own faithfulness,
your own unimaginable

~ Andrew Colliver
from the unpublished manuscript A Day of Light


it rained in my sleep
and in the morning the fields were wet

I dreamed of artillery
of the thunder of horses

in the morning the fields were strewn
with twigs and leaves

as if after a battle
or a sudden journey

I went to sleep in the summer
I dreamed of rain

in the morning the fields were wet
and it was autumn

~ Linda Pastan
from Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems
with thanks to the mark on the wall

new rooms

The mind must
set itself up
wherever it goes
and it would be
most convenient
to impose its
old rooms — just
tack them up
like an interior
tent. Oh but
the new holes
aren't where
the windows

~ Kay Ryan 
from Poetry July/August 2012
with thanks to whiskey river

Friday, September 7, 2012


First, forget what time it is
for an hour
do it regularly every day

then forget what day of the week it is
and do this regularly for a week
then forget what country you are in
and practice doing it in company
for a week
and then do them together
for a week
with as few breaks as possible 

follow these by forgetting to add

or to subtract
it makes no difference
you can change them
around after a week
both will help you later
to forget how to count 

forget how to count
starting with your own age
starting with how to count backwards
starting with even numbers
with Roman numerals
starting with fractions of Roman numerals
with the old calendar
going on to the old alphabet
going on to the alphabet
forgetting it all until everything
is continuous again 

go on to forgetting elements
starting with water
proceeding to earth
rising in fire 

forget fire 

~ W.S. Merwin
from Migration: New and Selected Poems
 with thanks to love is a place
photo by Ellis Nadler

Thursday, September 6, 2012

the last watch

At the high-tide of night, when the first breath of dawn came upon the wind, the Forerunner, he who calls himself echo to a voice yet unheard, left his bed-chamber and ascended to the roof of his house.  Long he stood and looked down upon the slumbering city.  Then he raised his head, and even as if the sleepless spirits of all those asleep had gathered around him, he opened his lips and spoke, and he said:

“My friends and my neighbors and you who daily pass my gate, I would speak to you in your sleep, and in the valley of your dreams I would walk naked and unrestrained;  far heedless are your waking hours and deaf are your sound-burdened ears.

“Long did I love you and overmuch.

“I love the one among you as though he were all, and all as if you were one.  And in the spring of my heart I sang in your gardens, and in the summer of my heart I watched at your threshing-floors.

“Yea, I loved you all, the giant and the pygmy, the leper and the anointed, and him who gropes in the dark even as him who dances his days upon the mountains.

“You, the strong, have I loved, though the marks of your iron hoofs are yet upon my flesh; and you the weak, though you have drained my faith and wasted my patience.

“You, the rich have I loved, while bitter was your honey to my mouth; and you the poor, though you knew my empty-handed shame.

“You the poet with the borrowed lute and blind fingers, you have I loved in self indulgence; and you the scholar, ever gathering rotted shrouds in potters’ fields.

“You the priest I have loved, who sit in the silences of yesterday questioning the fate of my tomorrow; and you the worshipers of gods the images of your own desires.

“You the thirsting woman whose cup is ever full, I have loved you in understanding; and you the woman of restless nights, you too I have loved in pity.

“You the talkative have I loved, saying, ‘Life hath much to say’; and you the dumb have I loved, whispering to myself, ‘Says he not in silence that which I fain would hear in words?’

“And you the judge and the critic, I have loved also; yet when you have seen me crucified, you said, ‘He bleeds rhythmically, and the pattern his blood makes upon his white skin is beautiful to behold.’

“Yea, I have loved you all, the young and the old, the trembling reed and the oak.

“But alas! It was the over-abundance of my heart that turned you from me.  You would drink love from a cup, but not from a surging river.  You would hear love’s faint murmur, but when love shouts you would muffle your ears.

“And because I have loved you all you have said, ‘Too soft and yielding is his heart, and too undiscerning is his path.  It is the love of a needy one, who picks crumbs even as he sits at kingly feasts.  And it is the love of a weakling, for the strong loves only the strong.’

“And because I have loved you overmuch you have said, ‘It is but the love of a blind man who knows not the beauty of one nor the ugliness of another.  And it is the love of the tasteless who drinks vinegar even as wine. And it is the love of the impertinent and the overweening, for what stranger could be our mother and father and sister and brother?

“This you have said, and more.  For often in the marketplace you pointed your fingers at me and said mockingly, ‘There goes the ageless one, the man without season, who at the moon hour plays games with our children and at eventide sits with our elders and assumes wisdom and understanding.’

“And I said ‘I will love them more.  Aye, even more.  I will hide my love with seeming to hate, and disguise my tenderness as bitterness. I will wear an iron mask, and only when armed and mailed shall I seek them.’
“Then I laid a heavy hand upon your bruises, and like a tempest in the night I thundered in your ears.

“From the housetop I proclaimed you hypocrites, Pharisees, tricksters, false and empty earth-bubbles.

“The short-sighted among you I cursed for blind bats, and those too near the earth I likened to soulless moles.

“The eloquent I pronounced fork-tongued, the silent, stone-lipped, and the simple and artless I called the dead never weary of death.

“The seekers after world knowledge I condemned as offenders of the holy spirit and those who would naught but the spirit I branded as hunters of shadows who cast their nets in flat waters and catch but their own images.

“Thus with my lips have I denounced you, while my heart, bleeding within me, called you tender names.

“It was love lashed by its own self that spoke.  It was pride half slain that fluttered in the dust.  It was my hunger for your love that raged from the housetop, while my own love, kneeling in silence, prayed your forgiveness.

“But behold a miracle!

“It was my disguise that opened your eyes, and my seeming to hate that woke your hearts.
“And now you love me.

“You love the swords that stride you and the arrows that crave your breast.  For it comforts you to be wounded and only when you drink of your own blood can you be intoxicated.

“Like moths that seek destruction in the flame you gather daily in my garden: and with faces uplifted and eyes enchanted you watch me tear the fabric of your days.  And in whispers you say the one to the other, ‘He sees with the light of God.  He speaks like the prophets of old.  He unveils our souls and unlocks our hearts, and like the eagle that knows the way of foxes he knows our ways.’

“Aye, in truth, I know your ways, but only as an eagle knows the ways of his fledglings.  And I fain would disclose my secret.  Yet in my need for your nearness I feign remoteness, and in fear of the ebb-tide of your love I guard the floodgates of my love.”

After saying these things the Forerunner covered his face with his hands and wept bitterly.  For he know in his heart that love humiliated in its nakedness is greater that love that seeks triumph in disguise; and he was ashamed.

But suddenly he raised his head, and like one waking from sleep he outstretched his arms and said, “Night is over, and we children of the night must die when dawn comes leaping upon the hills; and out of our ashes a mightier love shall rise.  And it shall laugh in the sun, and it shall be deathless.”

~ Kahlil Gibran
from Poems, Parables and Drawings

like two negative numbers multiplied by rain

Lie down, you are horizontal.
Stand up, you are not.

I wanted my fate to be human.

Like a perfume
that does not choose the direction it travels,
that cannot be straight or crooked, kept out or kept.

Yes, No, Or
—a day, a life, slips through them,
taking off the third skin,
taking off the fourth.

And the logic of shoes becomes at last simple,
an animal question, scuffing.

Old shoes, old roads—
the questions keep being new ones.
Like two negative numbers multiplied by rain
into oranges and olives.

~ Jane Hirshfield
from Poetry Magazine

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Like the small hole by the path-side something lives in,
in me are lives I do not know the names of,

nor the fates of,
nor the hungers of or what they eat.

They eat of me.
Of small and blemished apples in low fields of me
whose rocky streams and droughts I do not drink.

And in my streets—the narrow ones,
unlabeled on the self-map—
they follow stairs down music ears can’t follow,

and in my tongue borrowed by darkness,
in hours uncounted by the self-clock,
they speak in restless syllables of other losses, other loves.

There too have been the hard extinctions,
missing birds once feasted on and feasting.

There too must be machines
like loud ideas with tungsten bits that grind the day.

A few escape. A mercy.

They leave behind
small holes that something unweighed by the self-scale lives in.

~ Jane Hirshfield

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

illness or invitation

~ Jeff Foster

Sunday, September 2, 2012

meditation on death

Nothing retains its form; new shapes from old.
Nature, the great inventor, ceaselessly
contrives. In all creation, be assured,
there is no death—no death, but only change
and innovation; what we people call birth
is but a different new beginning; death
is but to cease to be the same. Perhaps
this may have moved to that and that to this,
yet still the sum of things remains the same.

Ovid, Metamorphoses
translation by A.D. Melville