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.

photo:  Peter Bowers

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


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


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