Tuesday, July 7, 2020

a community at peace with itself

The first discipline of non-violence is to honor every human
being as a unique soul-body, refusing to identify them by
race, gender, religion, or political party.

Yet just as much as right-wing movements, today's "progressive"
movement often promotes conflict and division by labeling
individual Persons by their group identity. Some of us who
talk about "diversity" actually stifle it, because real diversity
is not to promote tribalism or nationalism, but to recognize
the incomparable unique Personhood of individuals.
As it also says in the Declaration of Independence.

It is much easier to hate a category than a Person, whether
your animosity is toward Muslims or Christians, "black people",
or "white people", liberals or conservatives.

The beginning of world peace is to free each human soul-body
from racial, political, or religious abstractions. Our incidental
association with a group is not who we really are.

I do not identify my Self Eternal Being as a color, as rich
or poor, capitalist or socialist, Republican or Democrat,
Christian or Pagan or American. I am neither "good" nor
"evil." Those are just conceptual chains with which your mind
attempts to enthrall me. But I am not your concept of me:
you are.

If you want to superimpose a group identity on me, that is your
act of violence against the singularity of my Personhood. You
are free to label me, but I am also free... I refuse to identify with
your label...
I Am who I Am...

~ Fred LaMotte
 art by Picasso 
  with thanks to mystic meanderings

 We adopt the means of nonviolence because
 our end is a community at peace with itself.

 ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

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

~ Charles Bukowski



By making peace with the present moment....That present moment
 is the field on which the game of life happens. 
It cannot happen anywhere else. 

 Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, 
what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. 

There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living,
 the secret of all success and happiness: 
One With Life.
 Being one with life is being one with now. 
You then realize that you don't live your life,
 but life lives you. Life is the dancer,
 and you are the dance.

~ Eckhart Tolle
from A New Earth

Monday, July 6, 2020

the exhibit

My uncle in East Germany
points to the unicorn in the painting
and explains it is now extinct.
We correct him, say such a creature
never existed. He does not argue,
but we know he does not believe us.
He is certain power and gentleness
must have gone hand in hand
once. A prisoner of war
even after the war was over,
my uncle needs to believe in something
that could not be captured except by love,
whose single luminous horn
redeemed the murderous forest
and, dipped into foul water,
would turn it pure. This world,
this terrible world we live in,
is not the only possible one,
his eighty-year-old eyes insist,
dry wells that fill so easily now.

 ~  Lisel Mueller
from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems

art: tapestry from the middle ages. Designed in Paris about 1500,
 are considered to be some of the greatest surviving masterpieces
 of medieval European art. They depict a lady flanked by a lion
 and a unicorn, surrounded by an enchanting world of animals, 
trees and flowers. One of the most intriguing aspects of these
 six large-scale artworks is the mystery of their origin and meaning.
with thanks to whiskey river



Whatever happens. Whatever
What is is is what
I want.  Only that.  But that.

~  Galway Kinnell

another night in the ruins


How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren't, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes, 
that for us
as we go up in flames, our one work
to open ourselves, to be
the flames?

Galway Kinnell
 from Three Books

Sunday, July 5, 2020

lines written in the days of growing darkness

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out 

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married 

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do 

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?
So let us go on 

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

~ Mary Oliver
photo by Eliot Porter

more kind?

Once a man came to me and spoke for hours about
“His great visions of God” he felt he was having.

He asked me for confirmation, saying,
Are these wondrous dreams true?”

I replied, “How many goats do you have?”
He looked surprised and said,
“I am speaking of sublime visions
And you ask
About goats!”

And I spoke again saying,
“Yes, brother – how many do you have?”

“Well, Hafiz, I have sixty-two.”

“And how many wives?”

Again he looked surprised, then said,

“How many rose bushes in your garden,
How many children,
Are your parents still alive,
Do you feed the birds in winter?”

And to all he answered.

Then I said,
“You asked me if I thought your visions were true,
I would say that they were if they make you become
More human,

More kind to every creature and plant
That you know.

~ Hafiz
from The Gift: Poems by the Great Sufi Master


Saturday, July 4, 2020

cummings and chopin

~ art by e.e. cummings

Friday, July 3, 2020

the skinny birds of non-existence

~ Robert Bly

during a storm

You too are a tree. During a storm of emotions, 
you should not stay at the level of the head or the heart,
 which are like the top of the tree.
 You have to leave the heart, the eye of the storm,
 and come back to the trunk of the tree. 
Your trunk is one centimeter below your navel.
 Focus there, paying attention only to the movement 
of your abdomen, and continue to breathe.

—Thích Nhất Hạnh
 with thanks to love is a place

still morning

It appears now that there is only one
age and it knows
nothing of age as the flying birds know
nothing of the air they are flying through
or of the day that bears them up
through themselves
and I am a child before there are words
arms are holding me up in a shadow
voices murmur in a shadow
as I watch one patch of sunlight moving
across the green carpet
in a building
gone long ago and all the voices
silent and each word they said in that time
silent now
while I go on seeing that patch of sunlight

~ W. S. Merwin
from Collected Poems (1996 - 2011)
art by emile claus

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


Forgiveness is the answer to a child’s dream of a miracle
 by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean.
 The dream explains why we need to be forgiven, and why we must forgive.
 In the presence of God, nothing stands between Him and us - we are forgiven.
 But we cannot feel His presence if anything is allowed
 to stand between ourselves and others.

~ Dag Hammarskjöld 
from Markings
translated by Leif Sjoberg and W.H. Auden.

Hammarskjöld was the second Secretary General of the United Nations, serving from 1953 until his death in a plane crash in 1961. He is the only person to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize posthumously. Markings, a sort of diary of poetry and meditations, was found in his office after his death, along with a letter to Swedish Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Leif Sjoberg, explaining that it may be published if Mr. Sjoberg felt it worth publishing.

from Martin Luther King Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
 only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate;
 only love can do that. 

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world
 that we must love our enemies - or else? 
The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate,
 wars producing more wars - must be broken,
 or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. 

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love
 will have the final word in reality. This is why right,
 temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. 

I have decided to stick with love.
 Hate is too great a burden to bear. 

Love is the only force capable of transforming
 an enemy into friend. 

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.
 He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid 
of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us
 and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this,
 we are less prone to hate our enemies. 

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

my apologies

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity. 
 My apologies to necessity in case I'm mistaken. 
 Don't be angry, happiness, that I take you for my own. 
 May the dead forgive me that their memory's but a flicker. 
 My apologies to time for the quantity of world overlooked per second. 
 My apologies to an old love for treating a new one as the first. 
 Forgive me, far-off wars, for carrying my flowers home. 
 Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger. 
 My apologies for the minuet record, to those calling out from the abyss. 
 My apologies to those in train stations for sleeping soundly at five in the morning. 
 Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing sometimes. 
 Pardon me, deserts, for not rushing in with a spoonful of water. 
 And you, O hawk, the same bird for years in the same cage, 
staring, motionless, always at the same spot, 
 absolve me even if you happen to be stuffed. 
 My apologies to the tree felled for four table legs. 
 My apologies to large questions for small answers. 
 Truth, do not pay me too much attention. 
 Solemnity, be magnanimous toward me. 
 Bear with me, O mystery of being, for pulling threads from your veil. 
 Soul, don't blame me that I've got you so seldom. 
My apologies to everything that I can't be everywhere. 
 My apologies to all for not knowing how to be every man and woman. 
 I know that as long as I live nothing can excuse me, since I am my own obstacle. 
 Do not hold it against me, O speech, that I borrow weighty words, and then labor to make them light. 

~ Wislawa Szymborska
translated by Joanna Trzeciak
photo by agencja gazeta