Tuesday, December 24, 2019

lute song



The Earth will be going on a long time
Before it finally freezes;
Men will be on it; they will take names,
Give their deeds reasons.
We will be here only
As chemical constituents—
A small franchise indeed.
Right now we have lives,
Corpuscles, Ambitions, Caresses,
Like everybody had once—

Here at the year’s end, at the feast
Of birth, let us bring to each other
The gifts brought once west through deserts—
The precious metal of our mingled hair,
The frankincense of enraptured arms and legs,
The myrrh of desperate, invincible kisses—

Let us celebrate the daily
Recurrent nativity of love,
The endless epiphany of our fluent selves,
While the earth rolls away under us
Into unknown snows and summers,
Into untraveled spaces of the stars.






Kenneth Rexroth







Saturday, December 21, 2019

i am a little church




i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
—i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains

i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
—i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)





e.e.cummings
photo:  Peter Bowers







Monday, December 16, 2019

soaked in honey


A friend told me she'd been with her aunt.
They'd just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt's powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon's spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?





Ellen Bass
excerpt "If You Knew"
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Fire in the Earth


And we know, when Moses was told
      in the way that he was told,
"Take off your shoes," he grew pale from that simple

reminder of fire in the dusty earth.
      He never recovered
his complicated way of loving again

and was free to love in the same way
      the fire licking at his heels loved him.
As if the lion earth could roar

and take him in one movement.
      Every step he took
from there was carefully placed.

Everything he said mattered as if he knew
      the constant witness of the ground
and remembered his own face in the dust

the moment before revelation.
      Since then thousands have felt
the same immobile tongue with which he tried to speak.

Like the moment you too saw, for the first time,
      your own house turned to ashes.
Everything consumed so the road could open again.

Your entire presence in your eyes
      and the world turning slowly
into a single branch of flame.





David Whyte
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Saturday, October 12, 2019

where you are quiet

There is a place you can go
where you are quiet,
a place of water and the light

on the water. Trees are there,
leaves, and the light
on leaves moved by air.

Birds, singing, move
among leaves, in leaf shadow.
After many years you have come

to no thought of these,
but they are themselves
your thoughts. There seems to be

little to say, less and less.
Here they are.  Here you are.
Here as though gone.

None of us stays, but in the hush
where each leaf in the speech
of leaves is sufficient syllable

the passing light finds out
surpassing freedom of its way.




Wendell Berry
Sabbaths 1998, VII
photo:  Peter Bowers







Sunday, October 6, 2019

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in


i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                            i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)





e.e. cummings
photo:  Peter Bowers






Friday, September 27, 2019

this is it







This is It
and I am It
and You are It
and so is That
and He is It
and She is It
and It is It
and That is That

O it is This
and it is Thus
and it is Them
and it is Us
and it is Now
and Here It is
and Here We are
so This is It





James Broughton






Thursday, September 26, 2019

of being



I know this happiness
is provisional:

     the looming presences —
     great suffering, great fear —

     withdraw only 
     into peripheral vision:

but ineluctable this shimmering 
of wind in the blue leaves:

this flood of stillness 
widening the lake of sky:

this need to dance, 
this need to kneel: 
         this mystery:





Denise Levertov
Photo:  Peter Bowers












Wednesday, September 25, 2019

late fragment


And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.





Raymond Carver
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Tuesday, September 24, 2019

yes, we can talk



Having loved enough and lost enough,
I'm no longer searching
just opening,

no longer trying to make sense of pain
but trying to be a soft and sturdy home
in which real things can land.

These are the irritations
that rub into a pearl.

So we can talk for a while
but then we must listen,
the way rocks listen to the sea.

And we can churn at all that goes wrong
but then we must lay all distractions
down and water every living seed.

And yes, on nights like tonight
I too feel alone. But seldom do I
face it squarely enough
to see that it's a door
into the endless breath
that has no breather,
into the surf that human
shells call God.





Mark Nepo
Photo:  Peter Bowers






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