Saturday, December 1, 2018

December



"December" - what a poetic way to mark time - a collective, artistic flourish to capture the timeless.  If you asked anyone, they'd just say, "now".  But they'd have said that anyway, even for "July" or "September".  The timeless takes on "December" for a bit, then another name,  and another, but behind the names, behind the seasons, just Now.





Joan Ruvinsky
Photo:  Peter Bowers







What is Left to Say




The self steps out of the circle;
it stops wanting to be
the farmer, the wife, and the child.

It stops trying to please
by learning everyone's dialect;
it finds it can live, after all,
in a world of strangers.

It sends itself fewer flowers;
it stops preserving its tears in amber.

How splendidly arrogant it was
when it believed the gold-filled tomb
of language awaited its raids!
Now it frequents the junkyards
knowing all words are secondhand.

It has not chosen its poverty,
this new frugality.
It did not want to fall out of love
with itself. Young,
it celebrated itself
and richly sang itself,
seeing only itself
in the mirror of the world.

It cannot return. It assumes
its place in the universe of stars
that do not see it. Even the dead
no longer need it to be at peace.
Its function is to applaud.





Lisel Mueller
Photo:  Peter Bowers
with thanks:  Poetry Chaikhana






Wednesday, November 7, 2018

deciding



One mine the Indians worked had
gold so good they left it there
for God to keep.

At night sometimes you think
your way that far, that deep,
or almost.

You hold all things or not, depending
not on greed but whether they suit what
life begins to mean.

Like those workers you study what
moves,
what stays.  You bow, and then, like them,
you know -

What's God, what's world, what's gold. 





William Stafford
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Sunday, October 7, 2018

entering fully


Life is a boundless matrix of dynamic relationships. 
Ultimately, every action reverberates throughout the universe. 
I responding to you. 
You responding to me. 
This responding to that. 
That responding to this.

Responsiveness is the living heart of being and becoming. 
Atoms, molecules, organs and organisms, families and societies; 
entire ecosystems, biospheres, planets and galaxies; 
all shifting, responding, constantly changing.
Each birthing of this is a dying of that.
Each dying of that is a birthing of this. 
Responsive change is the very nature and fabric of what is.
Permanence is a mental abstraction; a hope, a need, 
a convenient but potentially deadening freezing 
of the actual creative dynamic of all our lives in action.

Suffering arises through trying to fix or make permanent 
what is essentially a seamless fluid process.

May we cease grasping at permanence and
with heartful confidence, love, enthusiasm and wide awake sensitivity, 
enter fully the great birthing/dying matrix of responsive relating;
this ineffable, un-pin-down-able, present blessing of now.







With thanks: Tarchin Hearn
Green Dharma Treasury
Photo: Peter Bowers







Thursday, October 4, 2018

lightly my darling

It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.

I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.
When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic.
No rhetoric, no tremolos,
no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell.
And of course, no theology, no metaphysics.
Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.

So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
completely unencumbered.






Aldous Huxley
Island
Photo:  Peter Bowers









Monday, August 20, 2018

Miracle Fair



Commonplace miracle:
that so many commonplace miracles happen.

An ordinary miracle:
in the dead of night
the barking of invisible dogs.

One miracle out of many:
 a small, airy cloud
yet it can block a large and heavy moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder tree reflected in the water,
and that it's backward and left to right
and that it grows there, crown down
and never reaches bottom,
even though the water is shallow.

An everyday miracle:
winds weak to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

First among equal miracles:
cows are cows.
Second to none:
just this orchard
from just that seed.

A miracle without a cape and top hat:
scattering white doves.

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.

A miracle, less surprising than it should be:
even though the hand has fewer than six fingers,
it still has more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.

An additional miracle, as everything is additional:
the unthinkable
is thinkable.





Wislawa Szymborska
Photo:  Peter Bowers













Tuesday, August 14, 2018

innocence



My gaze is clear as a sunflower.
My way is to walk the roads
Looking right and left
And sometimes looking behind me...
What I see at each moment
Is that which I never
Caught sight of before.

I have the knack of full awareness
The knack of essential astonishment
That an infant might experience
If at birth he were aware
That he was actually born!
I feel myself born at each moment
Into the everlasting newness
of the world.

I believe in the world
As I believe in a daisy
Because I see it.
But I do not think about it
Because to think is to not-understand.
The world was not made
For us to think about it
(To think is to have sick vision)
But for us to look at it and assent.

I have no philosophy: I have senses ...
If I talk of nature, that is not because
I know what nature is
But because I love it, and love is for this only:
For he who loves never knows what he loves
Or why he loves, or what love is.

Loving is eternal innocence
And the only innocence is not-thinking.





Fernando Pessoa
from The Keeper of the Flocks
translated by Thomas Merton







Thursday, August 2, 2018

Unmarked Boxes (excerpt)



God's joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,
from cell to cell. As rainwater, down into flowerbed.
As roses, up from ground. 
Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish, 
now a cliff covered with vines, 
now a horse being saddled.
It hides within these, 
till one day it cracks them open.





Rumi
Photo:  Peter Bowers













Monday, July 9, 2018

Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond










As for life,
I'm humbled,
I'm without words
sufficient to say
how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond,
both of these
and over and over,
and long pale afternoons besides,
and so many mysteries
beautiful as eggs in a nest,
still unhatched
though warm and watched over
by something I have never seen -
a tree angel, perhaps,
or a ghost of holiness.

Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
It suffices, it is all comfort -
along with human love,
dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about
stopping, and lying down at last
to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
yet to come, when
time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,
and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.

As for death,
I can't wait to be the hummingbird,
can you?





Mary Oliver
Photo: Peter Bowers











Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Messenger




My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird  —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still  and learning to be
 astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.








Mary Oliver
Photos:  Peter Bowers







Sunday, June 10, 2018

letters from God























I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his
                            own funeral drest in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of
                            the earth,
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds
                            the learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young man
                            following it may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the
                            wheel’d universe,
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and
                            composed before a million universes.


And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God,
For I who am curious about each am not curious about God,
(No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about
                            God and about death.)


I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not
                            in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than
                            myself.


Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and
                            each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own
                            face in the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is
                            sign’d by God’s name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe’er
                            I go
Others will punctually come for ever and ever.






Walt Whitman
Song of Myself, 48
photo:  Peter Bowers








Monday, June 4, 2018

Laughter



What is laughter? What is laughter?
It is God waking up!  O it is God waking up! 
It is the sun poking its sweet head out
From behind a cloud
You have been carrying too long,
Veiling your eyes and heart

It is Light breaking ground for a great Structure
That is your Real body - called Truth.

It is happiness applauding itself and then taking flight
To embrace everyone and everything in this world.

Laughter is the polestar
Held in the sky by our Beloved,
Who eternally says,

"Yes, dear ones, come this way,
Come this way toward Me and Love!

Come with your tender mouths moving
And your beautiful tongues conducting songs
And with your movements - your magic movements
Of hands and feet and glands and cells - Dancing! 


Know that to God's Eye, 
All movement is a Wondrous Language,
And Music - such exquisite, wild Music!"

O what is laughter, Hafiz?
What is this precious love and laughter
Budding in our hearts?

It is the glorious sound
Of a soul waking up! 





Hafiz
I Heard God Laughing 
Daniel Ladinsky
Photo:  Peter Bowers