Saturday, December 22, 2018

for you






.


You have no idea how hard I've looked
for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
 

What's the point of bringing gold
to the gold mine, or water to the ocean.
Everything I came up with was like
taking spices to the Orient.
 

It's no good giving my heart and my soul
because you already have these.
 

So I've brought you a mirror.
Look at yourself and remember me.



—Jalal al-Din Rumi


 .




Friday, December 21, 2018

Shapechangers in Winter





.


This is the Solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future,
the place of caught breath

—Margaret Atwood 
Eating Fire


.





Thursday, December 20, 2018

winter trees






.


All the complicated details

of the attiring and

the disattiring are completed!

A liquid moon

moves gently among

the long branches.

Thus having prepared their buds

against a sure winter

the wise trees

stand sleeping in the cold.


–William Carlos Williams


.





beautiful icelandic words



 

.



afdrif, the fate of somebody
afturganga, a ghost, “one who walks again”
álfadans, dance of the elves
átt, the direction of the wind
augabragð, the twinkling of an eye
álfatrú, belief in fairies
bíldóttur, having black spots around the eyes of animals
blámóða, blue mist
blika, a cover of clouds, often foreboding storm or rain
blær, soft, calm wind
draugagangur, the walking of ghosts, a haunting
draumaland, land of dreams
dúnalogn, calm as death
dýjamosi, bright green moss growing in quagmires
fenna, to fill with snow
fjallavættur, a mountain spirit
fjúka, carried away by the wind
flygja, a ghost who accompanies a certain person
föl, a thick film of snow covering the ground
galdraöld, the age of magic
grængolandi, deep and dark green
gullbúinn, adorned with gold
hlakka, the cry of a bird of prey
hrafnagervi, the outward form of ravens
huldurdalur, hidden valley
kaf, to plunge into deep water
kollgáta, the true answer to the riddle
kossleit, looking for kisses
leirskáld, a bad poet
lumma, a pancake, or, the palm of a small hand
mói, ground covered with heather
morgungyðja, the goddess of the morning
mosavaxinn, overgrown with moss
náttúrufegurð, the beauty of nature
norðankaldi, a light breeze from the north
rammgöldróttur, full of witchcraft and wizardry 
rósóttur, with a design of roses
selslíki, the shape of a seal
sjódraugur, the ghost of a drowned man
smáminnka, getting smaller and smaller
sólskin, sunshine
stirndur, set full of stars
sumarsól, the sun in the summer
sæbrattur, rising steeply out of the sea
sælurdalur, the valley of bliss
undirsæng, a soft feather mattress
veturnætur, a few days before the first day of winter



.






the snow man





.



One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.



–Wallace Stevens



.






Saturday, March 24, 2018

a glossary of chickens





 .


There should be a word for the way
they look with just one eye, neck bent,
for beetle or worm or strewn grain.
“Gleaning,” maybe, between “gizzard”
and “grit.” 

And for the way they run toward
someone they trust, their skirts
hiked, their plump bodies wobbling:
“bobbling,” let’s call it, inserted
after “blowout” and before “bloom.”

There should be terms, too, for things
they do not do—like urinate or chew—
but perhaps there already are.

I’d want a word for the way they drink,
head thrown back, throat wriggling,
like an old woman swallowing
a pill; a word beginning with “S,”
coming after “sex feather” and before “shank.”

And one for the sweetness of hens
but not roosters.

We think that by naming we can understand,
as if the tongue were more than muscle.


–Gary Whitehead



.

Friday, March 23, 2018

what makes life worth living





.




when faces called flowers float out of the ground






.



when faces called flowers float out of the ground

and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-

but keeping is downward and doubting and never

-it’s april(yes,april;my darling)it’s spring!

yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly

yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be

(yes the mountains are dancing together)


when every leaf opens without any sound

and wishing is having and having is giving-

but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense

-alive;we’re alive,dear:it’s(kiss me now)spring!

now the pretty birds hover so she and so he

now the little fish quiver so you and so i

(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)


when more than was lost has been found has been found

and having is giving and giving is living-

but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing

-it’s spring(all our night becomes day)o,it’s spring!

all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky

all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea

(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)


–E. E. Cummings


.
 




Thursday, March 22, 2018

707





.



The Grace–Myself–might not obtain–

Confer upon My flower–

Refracted but a Countenance–

For I–inhabit Her–


—Emily Dickinson




.




grace(ful





.


The time of judging
Who is drunk or sober,
Who is right and who is wrong,
Who is closer to god, and who is farther away,
All that is over.

This caravan is led instead by a great delight,
The simple joy that sits with us now.

That is the grace.


–Hafiz

.




Wednesday, March 21, 2018

just one for day





.

For a day, just for one day,
Talk about that which disturbs no one
And bring some peace into your
Beautiful eyes.


—Hafiz

.





Tuesday, March 20, 2018

needful things





.


Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.


—Wu Men
Stephen Mitchell translation.


.



💗



.


Poor, dear, silly Spring,
preparing her annual surprise!

–Wallace Stevens


.




Sunday, March 18, 2018

imagine






.


Imagine if all the tumult of the body were to quiet down,
along with our busy thoughts.
 
Imagine if all things that are perishable grew still.
 
And imagine if that moment were to go on and on,
leaving behind all other sights and sounds but this one vision which ravishes and absorbs and fixes the beholder
in joy,
 
so that the rest of eternal life were like that moment of
illumination, which leaves us
breathless.


—Saint Augustine


.




Saturday, March 17, 2018

a winter night





.


The storm puts its lips to the house
and blows to make a sound.
I sleep restlessly, turn over, with closed
eyes read the book of the storm.

But the child's eyes grow huge in the dark
and the storm whimpers for the child.
Both love to see the swinging lamp.
Both are halfway toward speech.

Storms have childlike hands and wings.
The caravan bolts off toward Lapland
and the house senses the constellation of nails
holding its wall together.

The night is quiet above our floor
(where all the died-away footsteps
are lying like sunken leaves in a pond)
but outside the night is wild!

A more serious storm is moving over us all.
It puts its lips to our soul
and blows to make a sound. We're afraid
the storm will blow everything inside us away.



–Tomas Tranströmer
Robert Bly translation


.





foraging for food on the mountain





.


The wild up here is not creatures, wooded,
tangled wild. It is absence wild.
Barren, empty, stone wild. Worn-away wild.
Only the smell of weeds and hot air.
But a place where differences are clear.
Between the mind’s severity and its harshness.
Between honesty and the failure of belief.
A man said no person is educated who knows
only one language, for he cannot distinguish
between his thought and the English version.
Up here he is translated to a place where it is
possible to discriminate between age and sorrow.



–Jack Gilbert


.




Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry. —W.B. Yeats





.


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.


–Wendell Berry
how to be a poet (to remind myself)








this alone



Water doesn’t react, it flows
Even a rock changes over time
Eroded by the elements
Permanence of any kind is a myth




.



That which speech does not illumine, but which illumines speech:
know that alone to be the Brahman, not this which people worship here.

That which cannot be thought by mind, but by which, they say, mind is able to think: know that alone to be the Brahman, not this which people worship here.

That which is not seen by the eye, but by which the eye is able to see: know that alone to be the Brahman, not this which people worship here.

That which cannot be heard by the ear, but by which the ear is able to hear: know that alone to be Brahman, not this which people worship here.

That which none breathes with the breath, but by which breath is in–breathed: know that alone to be the Brahman, not this which people worship here.


–The Kena Upanishad

.




Friday, March 16, 2018

say i am






.



All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?
Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here, will have to take me home.

This poetry. I never know what I’m going to say.
I don’t plan it.
When I’m outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.



–Rumi
Coleman Barks version


.





i am that





.


Watching my hand; He is moving it.
Hearing my voice; He is speaking...
Walking from room to room --
No one here but Him.


–Rumi
Andrew Harvey version


...


Staying very still in the darkness, I became less and less convinced of the fact that I actually existed.


–Haruki Murakami


.





Thursday, March 15, 2018

love letters





.


Every day, priests minutely examine the Law

And endlessly chant complicated sutras.

Before doing that, though, they should learn

How to read the love letters sent by the wind

and rain, the snow and moon.


–Ikkyu
Sonya Arutzen translation.


.




yes






.


It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could, you know. That's why we wake
and look out -- no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.


—William Stafford


.





Wednesday, March 14, 2018

my dear





 .


Run, my dear,
from anything that may not strengthen
your precious budding wings,
Run like hell, my dear,
from anyone likely to put a sharp knife
into the sacred, tender vision
of your beautiful heart.

We have a duty to befriend
those aspects of obedience
that stand outside of our house
and shout to our reason
"oh please, oh please
come out and play!"

For we have not come here to take prisoners,
or to confine our wondrous spirits,
But to experience ever and ever more deeply
our divine courage, freedom,
and Light.

–Hafiz


.




Thursday, March 8, 2018

questions





.


I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
How are you?

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
What is God?

If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,
If you think that the Sun and the Ocean
Can pass through that tiny opening Called the mouth,
O someone should start laughing!
 
Someone should start wildly Laughing Now!


–Hafiz


.




Wednesday, March 7, 2018

hush





.



If you are silent, be silent out of love.

If you speak, speak out of love.


—Saint Augustine




.





I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. –The Little Prince





.


By a single thought that comes into the mind,

in one moment a hundred worlds are overturned.


—Rumi


.




Saturday, March 3, 2018

my heart







.



My heart, sit only with those
who know and understand you.

Sit only under a tree
that is full of blossoms.

In the bazaar of herbs and potions
don't wander aimlessly,
find the shop with a potion that is sweet.

If you don't have a measure
people will rob you in no time.

You will take counterfeit coins
thinking they are real.

Don't fill your bowl with food from
every boiling pot you see.

Not every joke is humorous, so don't search
for meaning where there isn't one.

Not every eye can see,
not every sea is full of pearls.

My heart, sing the song of longing,
like nightingale.

The sound of your voice casts a spell
on every stone, on every thorn.

First, lay down your head,
then one by one
let go of all distractions.

Embrace the light and let it guide you
beyond the winds of desire.

There you will find a spring and
nourished by its sweet waters
like a tree you will bear fruit forever.


 –Rumi



.