Monday, April 1, 2024

gift of form

The specific forms that love take in our lives arise and pass in time, 
for this is the way of form. Time is the great dissolver. 
But love itself is that which never comes and goes.

We never know what form love will choose to take in the future, 
for there is no love in the future. Love is only now.
 But it can take a cleansing of perception to see through the veil,
 behind the scenes where love is always at work…
 giving birth to one of its forms, one of its children,
 while recycling and dissolving another.

If we become too fused with a specific form we believe 
we need love to take—a particular person or way 
of finding purpose and meaning—our heart will inevitably
 break when love obliterates that form for something new, 
which it always will. This shattering is the great gift of form,
evidence not of error and mistake,
 but of wholeness and profound compassion.

This dissolution and reorganization is a special kind of grace
 that the conventional mind struggles to know.
 But the heart knows. The body knows.

Matt Licata
from A Healing Space
with thanks the beauty we love
photo  Peter Bowers

Monday, January 1, 2024

the dance

At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards;
At the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance,
And there is only the dance.

T. S. Eliot

...we clasp the hands of those who go before us, and the hands of those who come after us;
we enter the little circle of each other's arms,
and the larger circle of lovers whose hands are joined in a dance,
and the larger circle of all creatures, passing in and out of life, who move also in a dance, to a music so subtle and vast that no ear hears it except in fragments.

Wendell Berry
excerpt: Healing
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Sunday, December 31, 2023

lute music

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
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Thursday, December 28, 2023

precious gift

No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That's the armour everyone puts on
to pretend they had a purpose in the world. 

Naomi Shihab Nye
excerpt: Red Brocade

The most precious gift you can give
to the one you love is your true presence. 

Do you have enough time to love?

My dear, I am here for you.  

Thich Nhat Hanh
True Love 

... Why not become the one who lives
with the full moon in each eye
that is always saying
with that sweet moon language 
what every other eye in this
world is dying to hear.

Photo:  Peter Bowers

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

between going and staying

Between going and staying
the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters.  Motionless,
I stay and go:  I am a pause.

Octavio Paz
Translated by Eliot Weinberger
Photo: Peter Bowers


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

the last verse

not pretending to know
not pretending to not know
with no place to stand
she steps into her shoes

photo: Peter Bowers


They were like two mirrors facing each other.  
Who sees, who is seen?
Seeing each other like this, 
they experienced the recognition everyone craves  - 
to be seen exactly as we are, 
nothing more, 
and nothing less.
Seen like this, 
all the many forms in the world 
are the same 
as one's own hand,
one's own face.

the iron grinder, Liu Tiemo (780-859)
Women of the Way
 Sallie Tisdale

Photo:  Peter Bowers

Saturday, October 7, 2023


for WCW

I wish I understood the beauty
in leaves falling. To whom
are we beautiful
as we go?

I lie in the field
still, absorbing the stars
and silently throwing off
their presence. Silently
I breathe and die
by turns.

He was ripe 
and fell to the ground
from a bough
out where the wind
is free
of the branches

David Ignatow


Attempting to answer David Ignatow's question

I wish I understood the beauty
in leaves falling. To whom 
are we beautiful
as we go?

We are beautiful to the Mother as we go.
There are mysterious roads in jade that
Old men follow,
Routes that migratory birds walk on,
The circle dances
Iron filings do,
The things we cannot say.
Salmon find their way to old beds;
Sleeping bodies are not alone.

Robert Bly
thank you beauty we love 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

whatever happens

Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

Galway Kinnell

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

a song on the end of the world

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now...

Czeslaw Milosz
The Collected Poems 1931-1987

Thursday, July 20, 2023

the life of a day

Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well-adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.

Tom Hennen
from Darkness Sticks to Everything:
Collected and New Poems
Photo: Peter Bowers


Your task is not to seek for love, 

but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.

Photo:  Peter Bowers