Wednesday, October 29, 2014

memories








~ Maya Beiser

middle of the way






1

I wake in the night,
An old ache in the shoulder blades.
I lie amazed under the trees
That creak a little in the dark,
The giant trees of the world.

I lie on earth the way
Flames lie in the woodpile,
Or as an imprint, in sperm or egg, of what is to be.
I love the earth, and always
In its darkness I am a stranger.

2

6 A.M. Water frozen again. Melted it and made tea. Ate a raw egg and the last orange. Refreshed by a long sleep. the trail practically indistinguishable under 8" of snow. 9:30 A.M. Snow up to my knees in places. Sweat begins freezing under my shirt when I stop to rest. The woods are filled, anyway, with the windy noise of the first streams. 10:30 A.M. the sun at last. The snow starts to melt off the boughs at once, falling with little ticking sounds. Mist clouds are lying in the valleys. 11:45 A.M. Slow, glittering breakers roll in on the beaches ten miles away, very blue and calm. 12 noon. An inexplicable sense of joy, as if some happy news had been transmitted to me directly, by-passing the brain. 2 P.M. From the top of Gauldy I looked back into Hebo valley. Castle Rock sticks into a cloud. A cool breeze comes up from the valley, it is a fresh, earthly wind and tastes of snow and trees. It is not like those transcendental breezes that make the heart ache. It bring happiness. 2:30 P.M. Lost the trail. A woodpecker watches me wade about through the snow trying to locate it. The sun has gone back of the trees. 3:10 P.M. Still hunting for the trail. Getting cold. From an elevation I have an open view to the SE, a world of timberless, white hills, rolling, weirdly wrinkled. Above them a pale half moon. 3:45 P.M. Going on by map and compass. A minute ago a deer fled touching down every fifteen feet or so. 7:30 P.M. Made camp near the heart of Alder Creek. Trampled a bed into the snow and filled it with boughs. Concocted a little fire in the darkness. Ate pork and beans. A slug or two of whiskey burnt my throat. The night very clear. Very cold. That half moon is up there and a lot of stars have come out among the treetops. The fire has fallen to coals.


3

The coals go out,
The last smoke weaves up
Losing itself in the stars.
This is my first night to lie
In the uncreating dark.

In the heart of a man
There sleeps a green worm
That has spun the heart about itself,
And that shall dream itself black wings
One day to break free into the beautiful black sky.

I leave my eyes open,
I lie here and forget our life,
All I see is we float out
Into the emptiness, among the great stars,’
On this little vessel without lights.

I know that I love the day,
The sun on the mountain, the Pacific
Shiny and accomplishing itself in breakers,
But I know I live half alive in the world,
Half my life belongs to the wild darkness.




~ Galway Kinnell
who died today, at home in Sheffield, Vt. at age 87.


Monday, October 27, 2014

be the mystery






Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.






~ Rainer Maria Rilke
from Sonnets of Orpheus II, 29
translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows







Friday, October 10, 2014

to the happy few






Do you know who you are 

O you forever listed
under some other heading
when you are listed at all 

you whose addresses
when you have them
are never sold except
for another reason
something else that is
supposed to identify you 

who carry no card
stating that you are—
what would it say you were
to someone turning it over
looking perhaps for
a date or for
anything to go by 

you with no secret handshake
no proof of membership
no way to prove such a thing
even to yourselves 

you without a word
of explanation
and only yourselves
as evidence



~ W.S. Merwin
 from Collected Poems
photo by ansel adams






Saturday, September 13, 2014

imagination, paths of spirit







~ John O'Donohue



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

one light






‘I’ and ‘you’ are but the lattices,
in the niches of a lamp,
through which the One Light shines.
‘I’ and ‘you’ are the veil
between heaven and earth;
lift this veil and you will see
no longer the bonds of sects and creeds.
When ‘I’ and ‘you’ do not exist,
what is mosque, what is synagogue?
What is the Temple of Fire?



~ Mahmud Shabistari




Mahmud Shabistari was one of Sufi’s greatest poets of the 14th Century. Like Rumi, Shabistari lived in turbulent times. This period was often fraught with dangers, in particular the Mongol invasions brought much devastation. However Shabistari was able to write much poetry and synthesise much of the Sufi wisdom. He had a style similar to Ibn Arabi and expressed Sufi philosophy in a moving and simple language. As David Fieldler says of Shabistari

“ Shabistari possessed a unique genius for summarizing the profound and often complex teachings of Sufism in a beautiful, aphoristic, and concise fashion, which often leaves the reader speechless when the deeper meanings of his verse are grasped. “


The Secret Rose Garden by Shabistari Shabistari (1317 A.D.) must be reckoned among the greatest mystical poetry of any time or land. Treating such themes as the Self and the One, The Spiritual Journey, Time and this Dream-World, and the ecstasy of Divine Inebriation, Shabistari’s work is a perennial witness to the capabilities and destiny of humanity. Stressing the One Light that exists at the heart of all religious traditions, Shabistari's work is one of the clearest and most concise guides to the inner meaning of Sufism, and offers a stunningly direct exposition of Sufi mystical thought in poetic form.

~ Comments from Poet Seers



Monday, June 30, 2014

reply to a letter







In the bottom drawer I find a letter which arrived for the first time twenty- six years ago. A letter written in panic, which continues to breathe when it arrives for the second time.
A house has five windows; through four of them daylight shines clear and still. The fifth window faces a dark sky, thunder and storm. I stand by the fifth window. The letter.
Sometimes a wide abyss separates Tuesday from Wednesday, but twenty-six years may pass in a moment. Time is no straight line. but rather a labyrinth. and if you press yourself against the wall, at the right spot, you can hear the hurrying steps and the voices, you can hear yourself walking past on the other side.
Was that letter ever answered? l don't remember, it was a long time ago. The innumerable thresholds of the sea continued to wander. The heart continued to leap from second to second, like the toad in the wet grass of a night in August.
The unanswered letters gather up above, like cirrostratus clouds foreboding a storm. They dim the rays of the sun. One day l shall reply. One day when I am dead and at last free to collect my thoughts. Or at least so far away from here that l can rediscover myself. When recently arrived I walk in the great city. On 25th Street, on the windy streets of dancing garbage. I who love to stroll and merge with the crowd, a capital letter T in the infinite body of text.





~ Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Göran Malmqvist
from The Blue House
art by emile claus



Saturday, June 28, 2014

tribute








~ Jane Goodall

Thursday, June 26, 2014

the blue house






It is night with glaring sunshine. I stand in the woods and look towards my house with its misty blue walls. As though I were recently dead and saw the house from a new angle.

It has stood for more than eighty summers. Its timber has been impregnated, four times with joy and three times with sorrow. When someone who has lived in the house dies it is repainted. The dead person paints it himself, without a brush, from the inside.

On the other side is open terrain. Formerly a garden, now wilderness. A still surf of weed, pagodas of weed, an unfurling body of text, Upanishads of weed, a Viking fleet of weed, dragon heads, lances, an empire of weed.

Above the overgrown garden flutters the shadow of a boomerang, thrown again and again. It is related to someone who lived in the house long before my time. Almost a child. An impulse issues from him, a thought, a thought of will: “create. . .draw. ..” In order to escape his destiny in time.

The house resembles a child’s drawing. A deputizing childishness which grew forth because someone prematurely renounced the charge of being a child. Open the doors, enter! Inside unrest dwells in the ceiling and peace in the walls. Above the bed there hangs an amateur painting representing a ship with seventeen sails, rough sea and a wind which the gilded frame cannot subdue.

It is always so early in here, it is before the crossroads, before the irrevocable choices. I am grateful for this life! And yet I miss the alternatives. All sketches wish to be real.

A motor far out on the water extends the horizon of the summer night. Both joy and sorrow swell in the magnifying glass of the dew. We do not actually know it, but we sense it: our life has a sister vessel which plies an entirely different route. While the sun burns behind the islands.





~ Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Göran Malmqvist


Sunday, June 22, 2014

a blaze of light








There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah


~ Leonard Cohen





My eyes so fix
upon your image
that whatever I gaze at
I imagine you.



~ Fakhruddin Iraqi
from Divine Flashes



Thursday, June 19, 2014

after work






I stop the car along the pasture edge,
gather up bags of corncobs from the back,
and get out.
Two whistles, one for each,
and familiar sounds draw close in darkness—
cadence of hoof on hardened bottomland,
twinned blowing of air through nostrils curious, flared.
They come deepened and muscular movements
conjured out of sleep: each small noise and scent
heavy with earth, simple beyond communion,
beyond the stretched-out hand from which they calmly
take corncobs, pulling away as I hold
until the mid-points snap.
They are careful of my fingers,
offering that animal-knowledge,
the respect which is due to strangers;
and in the night, their mares' eyes shine, reflecting stars,
the entire, outer light of the world here.




~ Jane Hirshfield 
from Of Gravity and Angels



Sunday, June 15, 2014

reflected





Reflected
in the dragonfly's eye -
mountains.




Kobayashi Issa
(1763-1828)
from Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter
translated by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto





Friday, June 13, 2014

sea foam











Moment by moment you await understanding, 
spiritual perception, peace and good to arrive from nonexistence. 
Nonexistence, then, is God's factory from which He continually produces goods.

He has caused what is nonexistent to appear magnificently existent,
 while the truly existent He has caused to appear as nonexistent.
He has hidden the Sea, yet made the foam visible;
He has concealed the Wind, but displayed the dust.

The dust whirls in the air higher than a minaret: does it rise by itself? 
You see the dust borne high, but the Wind you don't see, although you can surmise it.

You see the white-capped waves tumbling in every direction, 
but without the Sea the foam has no way to move.
You see the foam by sense perception and the Sea by induction:
just as speech is manifest and thought is hidden.


~ Rumi
art by O'Keeffe


Saturday, June 7, 2014

the "I" creature and the moon






There’s a moon in my body, but I can't see it!
A moon and a sun.
A drum never touched by hands, beating, and I can’t hear it! 

As long as a human being worries about when he will die,
and what he has that is his, all of his works are zero.

When affection for the I-creature and what it owns is dead,
then the work of the Teacher is over.

The purpose of labor is to learn;
when you know it, the labor is over.

The apple blossom exists to create fruit; when that
comes, the petal falls.

The musk is inside the deer, but the deer does not
look for it: it wanders around looking for grass.



~ Kabir



no problem







The problem is there is no problem and
the problem solvers have nothing to do
so they start creating problems out
of thin air, out of nothing. Then the problem
is not to see that there are big problems
everywhere and it is woe unto
him or her who cannot see or who will
not acknowledge the problems—they become
part of the problem, a big part of it,
their apathy or obstinacy holding
progress back until they are educated
to the fact that, one, there are big problems,
and, two, if you are not part of solving
them then you represent the problem
the problem solvers have been talking about
all along. So you see now how it is:
there is no problem worse than no problem.





~ Kevin McCaffrey
 from Laughing Cult