Sunday, October 13, 2013

surprised by evening

There is unknown dust that is near us 
Waves breaking on shores just over the hill 
Trees full of birds that we have never seen 
Nets drawn with dark fish.

The evening arrives; we look up and it is there 
It has come through the nets of the stars 
Through the tissues of the grass 
Walking quietly over the asylums of the waters.

The day shall never end we think:
We have hair that seemed born for the daylight;
But at last the quiet waters of the night will rise 
And our skin shall see far off as it does under water.

~ Robert Bly

the gate of heaven is everywhere

~ Cynthia Bourgeault

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sophia in Nature - Robert Bly interviewed by Roar Bjonnes

Roar Bjonnes is editor of Prout Journal.The nature of the discourse is in poetic terms.

Bly: According to the Gnostic religion, Sophia looked down upon this planet of ours and decided to descend into it. She entered inside the stones, the trees, the birds, and the water. She went into fire and air. This is the story of Sophia.

Bjonnes: This reminds me of the Tantric concept of Shakti.

Bly: Yes, exactly. Sophia--like Shakti--is an active, powerful force, all-encompassing and all-pervading energy in nature. 

Bly: The ecology movement, then, is a response to the inability of the capitalist world to understand that Sophia is also in the rain-forest  Through the loss of the story of Sophia, the Christian Church has given permission to the capitalists to destroy nature. This was done partly by translating the word "Sophia" as "wisdom". This destroys the story and takes away the feminine quality. There have been many such errors in translating the Old Testament, and we are suffering from those mistakes today.


A scent of ripeness from over a wall.
And come to leave the routine road
And look for what had made me stall,
There sure enough was an apple tree
That had eased itself of its summer load,
And of all but its trivial foliage free,
Now breathed as light as a lady's fan.
For there had been an apple fall
As complete as the apple had given man.
The ground was one circle of solid red.

May something go always unharvested!
May much stay out of our stated plan,
Apples or something forgotten and left,
So smelling their sweetness would be no theft.

~ Robert Frost
from The Collected Poems
found at writers almanac

Friday, October 4, 2013

see ourselves as we are

Relationship is the mirror in which we can see ourselves as we are. All life is a movement in relationship. There is no living thing on earth which is not related to something or other. Even the hermit, a man who goes off to a lonely spot, is related to the past, is related to those who are around him. There is no escape from relationship. In that relationship which is the mirror in which we can see ourselves, we can discover what we are, our reactions, our prejudices, our fears, depression, anxieties, loneliness, sorrow, pain, grief. We can also discover whether we love or there is no such thing as love. 

J. Krishnamurti
from Mind Without Measure

Thursday, September 19, 2013

opening the heart through ecstatic poetry

~ Rumi
with Coleman Barks and David Darling

Friday, September 6, 2013


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 all 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

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Perhaps peace is not, after all, something you work for,
or "fight for."  It is indeed "fighting for peace" that starts all 
the wars.  What, after all, are the pretexts of all these Cold
War crisis, but "fighting for peace"?  Peace is something you have
or do not have.  If you are yourself at peace, then there is at least 
some peace in the world.  Then share your peace with everyone,
and everyone will be at peace.  Of course I realize that arguments
 like this can be used as a pretext for passivity, for indifferent 
acceptance of every iniquity.  Quietism leads to war as surely as 
anything does.  But I am not speaking of quietism, because quietism 
is not peace, nor is it the way to peace.

~ Thomas Merton
from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander


Pardon all runners,
All speechless, alien winds,
All mad waters.

Pardon their impulses,
Their wild attitudes,
Their young flights, their reticence.

When a message has no clothes on
How can it be spoken.

~ Thomas Merton
from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton

Monday, July 15, 2013






(inquiry before snow

e.e. cummings

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Which shouldn’t exist
in this world,
the one who forgets
or the one
who is forgotten?

Which is better,
to love
one who has died
or not to see
each other when you are alive?

Which is better,
the distant lover
you long for
or the one you see daily
without desire?

Which is the least unreliable
among fickle things—
the swift rapids,
a flowing river,
or this human world?

~ Izumi Shikibu
 translation by Jane Hirshfield
from  The Ink Dark Moon

~ Jane Hirshfield
from the San Francisco International Poetry Festival

Saturday, April 27, 2013

there is none

Many have gone mad looking for a solid center,
but there is none.
We think of centering as only a continual narrowing
of focus until we touch the pearl
but in practice it is often a continual expansion
of focus until we become the ocean.

Our center is vast space, boundless awareness
indistinguishable from unconditional love.

Of course I play the fool when I dare allow
consciousness to describe itself!  Isn't that the birth
of the ego, the "I am this" that closed behind us
when we entered the body?

~ Stephen Levine


It is also good to love: because love is difficult. 
For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps 
the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, 
the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which
 all other work is merely preparation. 

That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, 
are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn. 
With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered around their solitary, 
anxious, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. 
But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and therefore loving, 
for a long time ahead and far on into life, is: solitude, a heightened 
and deepened kind of aloneness for the person who loves. 

Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person 
(for what would a union be of two people who are unclarified, unfinished, and still incoherent?),
 it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, 
to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; 
it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him 
and calls him to vast distances. 

Only in this sense, as the task of working on themselves 
("to hearken and to hammer day and night"), may young people 
use the love that is given to them. Merging and surrendering and 
every kind of communion is not for them (who must still, 
for a long, long time, save and gather themselves); it is the ultimate, 
is perhaps that for which human lives are as yet barely large enough.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke
from Letter to a Young Poet, #7
art by picasso