Saturday, April 26, 2014

you live like this






You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.



~ Anaïs Nin
from The Diary of Anaïs Nin


Thursday, April 24, 2014

elegy for a walnut tree






Old friend now there is no one alive
who remembers when you were young
it was high summer when I first saw you
in the blaze of day most of my life ago
with the dry grass whispering in your shade
and already you had lived through wars
and echoes of wars around your silence
through days of parting and seasons of absence
with the house emptying as the years went their way
until it was home to bats and swallows
and still when spring climbed toward summer
you opened once more the curled sleeping fingers
of newborn leaves as though nothing had happened
you and the seasons spoke the same language
and all these years I have looked through your limbs
to the river below and the roofs and the night
and you were the way I saw the world



~ W. S. Merwin




Monday, April 21, 2014

a struggle with water and wind






All my life’s a struggle with water and wind. 
two against one must be my story— 
as I make my way into the earth
 under the waves. There’s no country
 I can call my own. But I’ve learned
 to grow strong by being still. I know
 if I fail I’ll be broken, and all
 that’s part of me will be torn from me. 
Let me find my place 
 among the stones, and be held.



~ Lawrence Raab
from The Word Exchange
Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation


who am i being?








~ Benjamin Zander

Thursday, April 17, 2014

no leaders, please






invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
don't swim in the same slough.
invent yourself and then reinvent yourself and
stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
change your tone and shape so often that they can never categorize you.

reinvigorate yourself and
accept what is
but only on the terms that you have invented
and reinvented.

be self-taught.

and reinvent your life because you must;
it is your life and
its history
and the present
belong only to
you.



~ Charles Bukowski


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

the great way is not difficult






The Great Way is not difficult 
for those who have no preferences. 
When love and hate are both absent 
everything becomes clear and undisguised.

Make the smallest distinction, however 
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.

If you wish to see the truth 
then hold no opinions for or against anything. 
To set up what you like against what you dislike 
is the disease of the mind. 

When the deep meaning of things is not understood 
the minds essential peace is disturbed to no avail. 

The Way is perfect like vast space 
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess. 
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject 
that we do not see the true nature of things. 

Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, 
nor in inner feelings of emptiness.

Be serene in the oneness of things 
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity 
your very effort fills you with activity. 

As long as you remain in one extreme or the other 
you will never know Oneness.



~ Seng-T’san




Monday, April 14, 2014

a friend's umbrella






Ralph Waldo Emerson, toward the end
of his life, found the names
of familiar objects escaping him.
He wanted to say something about a window,
or a table, or a book on a table.

But the word wasn't there,
although other words could still suggest
the shape of what he meant.
Then someone, his wife perhaps,

would understand: "Yes, window! I'm sorry,
is there a draft?" He'd nod.
She'd rise. Once a friend dropped by
to visit, shook out his umbrella
in the hall, remarked upon the rain.

Later the word umbrella
vanished and became
the thing that strangers take away.

Paper, pen, table, book:
was it possible for a man to think
without them? To know
that he was thinking? We remember
that we forget, he'd written once,
before he started to forget.

Three times he was told
that Longfellow had died.

Without the past, the present
lay around him like the sea.
Or like a ship, becalmed,
upon the sea. He smiled

to think he was the captain then,
gazing off into whiteness,
waiting for the wind to rise. 




~ Lawrence Raab
from The History of Forgetting
found here: http://deathdeconstructed.blogspot.com/




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

something unimportant






Happy as something unimportant
and free as a thing unimportant.
As something no one prizes
and which does not prize itself.
As something mocked by all
and which mocks at their mockery.
As laughter without serious reason. 
As a yell able to outyell itself.
Happy as no matter what,
as any no matter what.

Happy
as a dog's tail.



~ Anna Swir
from Talking to my body
translated by Czeslaw Milosz
with thanks to Poetry Chaikhana