Tuesday, April 28, 2015

go deeper







Go deeper than love, for the soul has greater depths,
love is like the grass, but the heart is deep wild rock
molten, yet dense and permanent.

Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself.
And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.

Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep living heart.

But say, in the dark wild metal of your heart
is there a gem, which came into being between us?
is there a sapphire of mutual trust, a blue spark?
Is there a ruby of fused being, mine and yours, an inward glint?

If there is not, O then leave me, go away.
For I cannot be bullied back into the appearances of love,
any more than August can be bullied to look like March.

Love out of season, especially at the end of the season
is merely ridiculous.
If you insist on it, I insist on departure.

Have you no deep old heart of wild womanhood
self-forgetful, and gemmed with experience,
and swinging in a strange union of power
with the heart of the man you are supposed to have loved?

If you have not, go away.
If you can only sit with a mirror in your hand, an ageing woman
posing on and on as a lover,
in love with a self that now is shallow and withered,
your own self–that has passed like a last summer’s flower–

then go away–

I do not want a woman whom age cannot wither.
She is a made-up lie, a dyed immortelle
of infinite staleness.




~ D. H. Lawrence
from The Complete Poems of D.H. Lawrence



Thursday, April 16, 2015

february 29





An extra day -

Like the painting's fifth cow,
who looks out directly,
straight toward you,
from inside her black and white spots

An extra day -

Accidental, surely:
the made calendar stumbling over the real
as a drunk trips over a threshold
too low to see.

An extra day -
With a second cup of black coffee.
A friendly but businesslike phone call.
A mailed-back package.
Some extra work, but not too much -
just one day's worth, exactly.

An extra day -

Not unlike the space
between a door and its frame
when one room is lit and another is not,
and one changes into the other
as a woman exchanges a scarf.

An extra day -

Extraordinarily like any other.
And still
there is some generosity to it,
like a letter re-readable after its writer has died.




~ Jane Hirshfield
from The Beauty


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

a person protests to fate






A person protests to fate:

"The things you have caused
me most to want
are those that furthest elude me."

Fate nods.
Fate is sympathetic.

To tie the shoes, button a shirt,
are triumphs
for only the very young,
the very old.

During the middle:

conjugating a river
mastering tango
training the cat to stay off the table
preserving a single moment longer than this one
continuing to wake whatever has happened the day before

and the penmanships love practices inside the body.




~ Jane Hirshfield
from The Beauty


Sunday, April 5, 2015

like the small hole by the path-side something lives in






Like the small hole by the path-side something lives in,
in me 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 
from The Beauty
Fremont rock painting from San Raphael Swell
2000-1000 BC Caves Painting



Friday, April 3, 2015

in praise of being peripheral









Without philosophy,
tragedy,
history,

a gray squirrel
looks 
very busy.

Light as a soul
released
from a painting by Bosch,
its greens
and vermilions stripped off it.

He climbs a tree
that is equally ahistoric.

His heart works harder.




~ Jane Hirshfield
from The Beauty




Thursday, April 2, 2015

if someone asks







If someone asks
about the mind of this monk,
say it is no more than 
a passage of wind
in a vast sky.




~ Ryokan
from The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan
by Kazuaki Tanahashi


Friday, March 27, 2015

as one listens to the rain








Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it’s raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt’s shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift—go in,
your shadow covers this page.



~ Octavio Paz
from A Tree Within
Eliot Weinberger translation



clouds






I’d have to be really quick
to describe clouds -
a split second’s enough
for them to start being something else.

Their trademark:
they don’t repeat a single 
shape, shade, pose, arrangement.

Unburdened by memory of any kind, 
they float easily over the facts.

What on earth could they bear witness to? 
They scatter whenever something happens.

Compared to clouds, 
life rests on solid ground, 
practically permanent, almost eternal.

Next to clouds
even a stone seems like a brother, 
someone you can trust, 
while they’re just distant, flighty cousins.

Let people exist if they want,
and then die, one after another:
clouds simply don't care
what they're up to
down there.

And so their haughty fleet
cruises smoothly over your whole life
and mine, still incomplete.

They aren't obliged to vanish when we're gone.
They don't have to be seen while sailing on. 




–Wisława Szymborska
from Monologue of a Dog
Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh translation


Saturday, March 14, 2015

the great self






The universe must be experienced as the Great Self. 

Each is fulfilled in the other: the Great Self is fulfilled in the individual self, the individual self is fulfilled in the Great Self. Alienation is overcome as soon as we experience this surge of energy from the source that has brought the universe through the centuries.

New fields of energy become available to support the human venture. These new energies find expression and support in celebration. For in the end the universe can only be explained in terms of celebration.

It is all an exuberant expression of existence itself.




~ Thomas Berry





Friday, March 13, 2015

reveal your heart










~ Jean Vanier





Thursday, March 12, 2015

language without words








Sick of those who come with words, words but no language,
I make my way to the snow-covered island.

Wilderness has no words. The unwritten pages
stretch out in all directions.

I come across this line of deer-slots in the snow: a language,
language without words.




~ Tomas Tranströmer

translated by Robin Robertson

a message from space






Everything that happens is the message:
you read an event and be one and wait,
like breasting a wave, all the while knowing
by living, though not knowing how to live.

Or workers built an antenna -- a dish
aimed at stars -- and they themselves are its message,
crawling in and out, being worlds that loom,
dot-dash, and sirens, and sustaining beams.

And sometimes no one is calling but we turn up
eye and ear -- suddenly we fall into
sound before it begins, the breathing
so still it waits there under the breath --

And then the green of leaves calls out, hills
where they wait or turn, clouds in their frenzied
stillness unfolding their careful words:
"Everything counts. The message is the world."



~ William Stafford
from The Worth of Local Things

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

one soul






Never forget that the universe is a single living organism 
possessed of one substance and one soul, 
holding all things suspended in a single consciousness and 
creating all things with a single purpose that they might work together 
spinning and weaving and knotting whatever comes to pass.



~ Marcus Aurelius
from Meditations
with thanks to Love is a Place


Monday, March 2, 2015

behind the screen





Love plays its lute behind the screen - 
where is a lover to listen to its tune?

With every breath a new song,
each split second a new string plucked,

The world has spilled Love's secret -
when could music ever hold its tongue?

Every atom babbles the mystery -
Listen yourself, for I'm no tattletale!



~ Fakhruddin Iraqi
from Divine Flashes
photo by Christine de Grancy

Friday, February 27, 2015

wander the pure and simple





HeavenRoot was wandering at BrightAbundance Mountain... 
he met Human NoName and said: 
"Might I ask about bringing order to all beneath heaven?" 

"Get lost!" shouted NoName. "What a slob. 
 How could you ask such trashy questions? 
 I wander the Maker-of-Things and just now stumbled into this human form. 
 When I get tired of this, I'll mount the SubtleConfusion Bird and soar out beyond the six horizons. 
 I'll wander in a village where there's nothing at all, 
dwell in a land where emptiness stretches away forever. 
 So why are you cluttering my mind with your talk about governing all beneath heaven?" 

HeavenRoot asked again. 

"Let your mind wander the pure and simple," replied NoName. 
 "Blend your ch'i into the boundless, follow occurrence appearing of itself in things, 
and don't let selfhood get in the way. 
 Then all beneath heaven will be governed as well."





~ Chuang Tzu 
from Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters
translation by David Hinton
with thanks to http://fivebranchtree.blogspot.com/