Thursday, February 28, 2019

Looking, Walking, Being





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The World is not something to
look at, it is something to be in.

—Mark Rudman


...


I look and look.
Looking's a way of being: one becomes,
sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.

The eyes
dig and burrow into the world.
They touch
fanfare, howl, madrigal, clamor.
World and the past of it,
not only
visible present, solid and shadow
that looks at one looking.

And language? Rhythms
of echo and interruption?
That's
a way of breathing.

breathing to sustain
looking,
walking and looking,
through the world,
in it.


—Denise Levertov


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life is






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life is a garden,
not a road

we enter and exit
through the same gate

wandering,
where we go matters less
than what we notice


—Bokonon

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just now





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In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever believe
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks


—W.S. Merwin

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

be the mystery

 



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Be the mystery.
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



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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

song of my(self





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Now I will do nothing but listen,
To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it.

I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames,
clack of sticks cooking my meals,
I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice,
I hear all sounds running together, combined, fused or following,
Sounds of the city and sounds out of the city, sounds of the day and night,
Talkative young ones to those that like them, the loud laugh of
work-people at their meals,
The angry base of disjointed friendship, the faint tones of the sick,
The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips pronouncing
a death-sentence,
The heave’e’yo of stevedores unlading ships by the wharves, the
refrain of the anchor-lifters,
The ring of alarm-bells, the cry of fire, the whirr of swift-streaking
engines and hose-carts with premonitory tinkles and color’d lights,
The steam-whistle, the solid roll of the train of approaching cars,
The slow march play’d at the head of the association marching two and two,
(They go to guard some corpse, the flag-tops are draped with black muslin.)
I hear the violoncello, (’tis the young man’s heart’s complaint,)
I hear the key’d cornet, it glides quickly in through my ears,
It shakes mad-sweet pangs through my belly and breast.

I hear the chorus, it is a grand opera,
Ah this indeed is music — this suits me.

A tenor large and fresh as the creation fills me,
The orbic flex of his mouth is pouring and filling me full.

I hear the train’d soprano (what work with hers is this?)
The orchestra whirls me wider than Uranus flies,
It wrenches such ardors from me I did not know I possess’d them,
It sails me, I dab with bare feet, they are lick’d by the indolent waves,
I am cut by bitter and angry hail, I lose my breath,
Steep’d amid honey’d morphine, my windpipe throttled in fakes of death,
At length let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles,
And that we call Being.


—Walt Whitman
song of myself
Section 26








Monday, February 25, 2019

look








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We are bees of the invisible.

Passionately we plunder the honey of the visible
in order to gather it in the great golden hive of the invisible.


—Rainer Maria Rilke
from a letter to Witold Hulewicz
November 13, 1925


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Saturday, February 23, 2019

You are a little soul carrying around a corpse. —Epictetus





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At a certain point you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world’s word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence. Nature does not utter a peep - just this one. The birds and insects, the meadows and swamps and rivers and stones and mountains and clouds: they all do it; they all don’t do it. There is a vibrancy to the silence, a suppression, as if someone were gagging the world. But you wait, you give your life’s length to listening, and nothing happens. The ice rolls up, the ice rolls back, and still that single note obtains. The tension, or lack of it, is intolerable. The silence is not actually suppression; instead, it is all there is.

—Annie Dillard
Teaching a Stone to Talk, excerpt







 

this is what I believe





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This is what I believe: That I am I.

That my soul is a dark forest.

That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest.

That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back.

That I must have the courage to let them come and go.



—D. H. Lawrence


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Photo Beth Moon,
Ancient Trees: Portraits Of Time 

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Flavia






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Thinking and prayer are much the same thing anyway, when you stop to think about it ... Prayer goes up and thought comes down—or so it seems. As far as I can tell, that's the only difference.


—Alan Bradley
A Red Herring Without Mustard
(binge reading, me)


...



Certain thoughts are prayers.

There are moments when,
whatever be the attitude of the body,

the soul is on its knees.


—Victor Hugo



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listen





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Wind blows the wheat down.

He calls it prayer.


—Dan Beachy-Quick


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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

utter(ance




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Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence


—W.S. Merwin

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in the beginning was the word






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God is a sound.

The creator of the cosmos is a sound.

Everything begins with the sound.


—Thich Nhat Hanh


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hush






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The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstractions, interwoven and inter-dependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind.

Words create words, reality is silent.


—Nisargadatta

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

tweets





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The language of birds is very ancient, and like other ancient modes of speech, very elliptical; little is said, but much is meant and understood.

–Gilbert White
from Letter XLIII, Selborne, 9 September 1778
The Natural History of Selborne (1789)


...


(all) creatures have territories ...
for some birds, their song is a fence.

–Wendell Berry




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The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart, excerpt





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How astonishing it is that language can almost mean, and frightening that it does not quite. 
What we feel most has no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses and birds.

—Jack Gilbert


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Monday, February 18, 2019

i am so afraid of people's words






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I am so afraid of people's words.
They describe so distinctly everything:
And this they call dog and that they call house,
here the start and there the end.
I worry about their mockery with words,
they know everything, what will be, what was;
no mountain is still miraculous;
and their house and yard lead right up to God.

I want to warn and object: Let the things be!
I enjoy listening to the sound they are making.
But you always touch: and they hush and stand still.
This is how you kill.


–Rainer Maria Rilke
Annemarie S. Kidder translation


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whoever you are





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You have long been bound thinking:
‘I am a person’.
Let the knowledge: ‘I am Awareness alone’
be the sword that frees you.



–Ashtavakra Gita


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Whoever you are: in the evening step out
of your room, where you know everything;
yours is the last house before the far-off:
whoever you are.

With your eyes, which in their weariness
barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold,
you lift very slowly one black tree
and place it against the sky: slender, alone.

And you have made the world. And it is huge
and like a word which grows ripe in silence.
And as your will seizes on its meaning,
tenderly your eyes let it go…


–Rainer Maria Rilke
The Book of Images



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Sunday, February 17, 2019

pebble





 
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The pebble
is a perfect creature
equal to itself
mindful of its limits  
filled exactly
with a pebbly meaning
 
with a scent that does not remind one of anything
does not frighten anything away does not arouse desire
 
its ardour and coldness
are just and full of dignity
 
I feel a heavy remorse
when I hold it in my hand
and its noble body
is permeated by false warmth
 
- Pebbles cannot be tamed -
to the end they will look at us
with a calm and very clear eye



–Zbigniew Herbert
Peter Dale Scott/
Czesław Miłosz translation


...


Everything in the world has a hidden meaning.
Men, animals, trees, stars, they are all hieroglyphics.

When you see them you do not understand them.
You think they are really men, animals, trees, stars.

It is only years later that you understand.


–Nikos Kazantzakis


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question







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You ask me how to pray to someone who is not.
All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge
And walking it we are aloft, as on a springboard,
Above landscapes the color of ripe gold
Transformed by a magic stopping of the sun.

That bridge leads to the shore of Reversal
Where everything is just the opposite and the word 'is'
Unveils a meaning we hardly envisioned.

Notice: I say we; there, every one, separately,
Feels compassion for others entangled in the flesh
And knows that if there is no other shore.
We will walk that aerial bridge all the same.


–Czesław Miłosz
Robert Hass translation

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Tee-a-Wee








.
link to this treasure from
brainpickings

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running on air and water






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Every year a given tree creates absolutely from scratch ninety-nine percent of its living parts. 

Water lifting up tree trunks can climb one hundred and fifty feet an hour; in full summer a tree can, and does, heave a ton of water every day. 

A big elm in a single season might make as many as six million leaves, wholly intricate, without budging an inch; I couldn't make one. 

A tree stands there, accumulating deadwood,  mute and rigid as an obelisk, but secretly it seethes, it splits, sucks and stretches; it heaves up tons and hurls them out in a green, fringed fling. 

No person taps this free power; the dynamo in the tulip tree pumps out even more tulip tree, and it runs on rain and air.


Annie Dillard
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


...


The day is real; the sky clicks securely into place over the mountains, locks round the islands, slaps slap on the bay. Air fits flush on farm roofs; it rises inside the doors of barns and rubs at yellow barn windows. Air clicks up my hand cloven into fingers and wells in my ears' holes, whole and entire. I call it simplicity, the way matter is smooth and alone.

–Annie Dillard
Holy the Firm








Friday, February 15, 2019

Becoming: From zygote to tadpole, in six stunning minutes





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There is a force within
Which gives you life –
seek That.

In your body
Lies a priceless gem –
seek That.

O wandering Sufi,
if you want to find
the greatest treasure
Don’t look outside,
Look inside, and seek That.


–Rumi
Star/Shiva version



.
Jan van Ijken
buffleheadcabin

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

if we lose our way






 




invitation





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Let us look for secret things
somewhere in the world
on the blue shores of silence.


...

I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.


–Pablo Neruda


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