Saturday, September 14, 2019

love window






There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling.

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.

Breathe into me.

Close the language door
and open the love-window.

The moon won't use the door,
only the window.





Rumi
photo:  Peter Bowers







Tuesday, September 3, 2019

home



reciting poems in the moonlight,

riding a painted boat...

every place the wind carries me is home.  





Yu Xuanji (A.D. 843-868)
tr. Jane Hirshfield
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Saturday, August 3, 2019

angels



This is how an angel comes
out of the earth, upwards
from the underworld
when everybody thought
they came from the light wings
of the sky - no

they are massive -
on nights of rain and sleet, split
the soil, splash and muddy the grass
wingspans wide as lakes

wearing mud armour, they crawl
full length up rivers and streams
dam ditches, seep through drains
penetrate walls, barns, chicken coops

unsettle bats with wing-beats
that shake down trees -
remind us, cradled in our prayers
how we like to remain dry,  sheltered.

This is how angels come
mouths full of earth
spitting verses
of poetry.






Miriam Darlington
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Wednesday, June 26, 2019

long before we ever tried




To meditate
is to realize
what has always
been meditating,
the vast and empty sky
in which the clouds
of meditating
and not meditating
appear and
then disappear.

To meditate
is to realize this sky
that kissed the clouds
long before
we ever tried
to love what is.





John Astin
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Saturday, May 11, 2019

keeping quiet




Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.



Pablo Neruda
photo:  Peter Bowers






Saturday, May 4, 2019

be ahead of all parting

Be ahead of all parting, as if it had already happened,
like winter, which even now is passing.
For beneath the winter is a winter so endless
that to survive it at all is a triumph of the heart.

Be forever dead in Eurydice, and climb back singing.
Climb praising as you return to connection.
Here among the disappearing, in the realm of the transient,
be a ringing glass that shatters as it rings.

Be. And know as well the need to not be:
let that ground of all that changes
bring you to completion now.

To all that has run its course, and to the vast unsayable
numbers of beings abounding in Nature,
add yourself gladly, and cancel the cost.





Rainer Maria Rilke
A Year With Rilke
Sonnets to Orpheus II, 13
Translation by Joanna Macy & Anita Barrows
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Friday, March 22, 2019

love is ...



Love is what gives joy to creatures.
Love is what provides all sorts of happiness.
We were not born from women; love gave birth to us.
A hundred blessings and praises to our mothers ! 





Rumi 


Sade Helen Koskelo 
June 22, 1940 - March 9, 2019






Thursday, March 21, 2019

the departure of the prodigal son



To go forth now
from all the entanglement
that is ours and yet not ours,
that, like the water in an old well,
reflects us in fragments, distorts what we are.

From all that clings like burrs and brambles—
to go forth
and see for once, close up, afresh,
what we had ceased to see—
so familiar it had become.
To glimpse how vast and how impersonal
is the suffering that filled your childhood.

Yes, to go forth, hand pulling away from hand.
Go forth to what? To uncertainty,
to a country with no connections to us
and indifferent to the dramas of our life.

What drives you to go forth? Impatience, instinct,
a dark need, the incapacity to understand.

To bow to all this.
To let go—
even if you have to die alone.
Is this the start of a new life?





Rainer Maria Rilke
Translation by Joanna Macy & Anita Barrows
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Friday, February 22, 2019

millennium blessing ... this

There is a grace approaching
that we shun as much as death,
it is the completion of our birth.

It does not come in time,
       but in timelessness
when the mind sinks into the heart
and we remember.

It is insistent grace that draws us
to the edge and beckons us surrender
safe territory and enter our enormity.

We know we must pass
       beyond knowing
and fear the shedding.

But we are pulled upward
       none-the-less
through forgotten ghosts
       and unexpected angels,
luminous.

And there is nothing left to say
but we are That.

And that is what we sing about.

Stephen Levine
Photos:  Peter Bowers



And there is nothing left to say
but we are This.

And this is what we sing about.








Saturday, February 16, 2019

Maya



Buddha points to the earth
Zen master points to the moon
Arjuna points to the target
Mary points to her child
Jesus points to the heart
Rumi points to Shams

We all look
until we see






Ellen Grace O'Brian
Photo:  Peter Bowers
with thanks: Poetry Chaikhana







Friday, February 8, 2019

Vanishing Point



How am I a self
when I am
constantly disappearing?
A traveling venue
of water
and sinew.
I am a story
I made up
in my head:
Looks good in hats.
Won't eat oysters.
Fears infirmity.

Touch me, I am fluid.

In all my transparency
my body is
betraying me,
just as
the plot demanded.
I would deny this
distant progression
of time and cells
if the mirror
were not such a talker.

Kiss me, I am corruptible.

So what
are we
made of?

Stories - 
Just when you think
you could not take

one more
here comes another.
You keep right on

living -
piling up
your stories

like cordwood
and the lying-self
keeps pace

with daily duties:
meals to prepare,
pills to take.

How could you
keep on if you did not
deny your vanishing point?

Look at me, I won't last long.





Tina Schumann
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Sunday, January 20, 2019

white heron rises over blackwater




I wonder
    what it is
        that I will accomplish
            today

if anything
    can be called
        that marvelous word.
            It won't be

my kind of work,
    which is only putting
        words on a page,
            the pencil

haltingly calling up
    the light of the world,
        yet nothing appearing on paper
            half as bright

as the mockingbird's
    verbal hilarity
        in the still unleafed shrub
            in the churchyard -

or the white heron
    rising
        over the swamp
            and the darkness,

his yellow eyes
    and broad wings wearing
        the light of the world
            in the world -

ah yes, I see him.
    He is exactly
        the poem
            I wanted to write.






Mary Oliver
Photo:  Peter Bowers