Monday, May 28, 2012

no poem

no poem
no song
no ritual
captures the simple beingness of a stone 
let alone a mountain of stone

but let the stone write the poem 
let the mountain sing in your heart
let the rituals fall like gentle rain to nourish the gods
 inside every stone 
and every mountain
let your soul rise above the mountain 
above the rain
above the clouds
the journey home requires no effort
only willingness to release your claw like grip
on the familiar ground 

then the stone speaks unspeakable truth
then the mountain fills your heart with a silent song
of peace
and rituals sprout wings of surrender in your soul
and you arrive


Sunday, May 27, 2012

the summer day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean - 
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down - 
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. 
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious life? 

Mary Oliver
photo:  Peter Bowers

may my heart always be open to little

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young 

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

e.e. cummings

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When your life looks back

When your life looks back - 
as it will, at itself, at you - what will it say ? 

Inch of colored ribbon cut from the spool.
Flame curl, blue-consuming the log it flares from.
Bay leaf.  Oak leaf.  Cricket.  One among many.

Your life will carry you as it did always,
with ten fingers and both palms,
with horizontal ribs and upright spine,
with its filling and emptying heart,
that wanted only your own heart, emptying, filled,
in return.
You gave it.  What else could you do?

Immersed in air or in water.
Immersed in hunger or anger.
Curious even when bored.
Longing even when running away.

"What will happen next ?" - 
the question hinged in your knees, your ankles,
in the in-breaths even of weeping.

Strongest of magnets, the future impartial drew you in.
Whatever direction you turned toward was face to face.
No back of the world existed,
no unseen corner, no test.  No other earth to prepare for.  

This, your life had said, its only pronoun.
Here, your life had said, its only house. 
Let, your life had said, its only order. 

And did you have a choice in this?  You did - 

Sleeping and waking, 
The horses around you, the mountains around you, 
The buildings with their tall, hydraulic shafts.
Those of  your own kind around you - 

A few times, you stood on your head.
A few times, you chose not to be frightened.
A few times, you found yourself held beyond any measure.

Mortal, your life will say,
As if tasting something delicious, as if in envy.
Your immortal life will say this, as it is leaving.  

Jane Hirshfield
image:  Peter Bowers

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What's in the Temple?

In the quiet spaces of my mind a thought lies still, but ready to spring. 
It begs me to open the door so it can walk about.
The poets speak in obscure terms pointing madly at the unsayable.
The sages say nothing, but walk ahead patting their thigh calling for us to follow.
The monk sits pen in hand poised to explain the cloud of unknowing. 
The seeker seeks, just around the corner from the truth.
If she stands still it will catch up with her.
Pause with us here a while.
Put your ear to the wall of your heart.
Listen for the whisper of knowing there.
Love will touch you if you are very still.

If I say the word God, people run away.
They've been frightened - sat on 'till the spirit cried "uncle."
Now they play hide and seek with somebody they can't name.
They know he's out there looking for them, and they want to be found,
But there is all this stuff in the way.

I can't talk about God and make any sense,
And I can't not talk about God and make any sense.
So we talk about the weather, and we are talking about God.

I miss the old temples where you could hang out with God.
Still, we have pet pounds where you can feel love draped in warm fur,
And sense the whole tragedy of life and death.
You see there the consequences of carelessness,
And you feel there the yapping urgency of life that wants to be lived.
The only things lacking are the frankincense and myrrh.

We don't build many temples anymore.
Maybe we learned that the sacred can't be contained.
Or maybe it can't be sustained inside a building.
Buildings crumble.
It's the spirit that lives on.

If you had a temple in the secret spaces of your heart,
What would you worship there?
What would you bring to sacrifice?
What would be behind the curtain in the holy of holies?

Go there now.   

Tom Barrett
image:  Peter Bowers

Friday, May 18, 2012

nothing in life is trivial

Nothing in life is trivial.
Life is whole wherever and whenever
we touch it, and
one moment or event is 
not less sacred than another.

Vimala Thakar

Thursday, May 17, 2012

whatever i say...

Whatever I say to describe and explain love,
when I come face to face with love, I am embarrassed by my statement.
Although verbal explanation clarifies the matter,
love not verbalized is even clearer.

The Art of Loving
Translations by Rasoul Shams 

It is a strange and magical fact...

It is a strange and magical fact to be here,
walking around in a body,
to have a whole world within you
and a world at your fingertips outside you.

It is an immense privilege,
and it is incredible that humans 
manage to forget the miracle of being here...

It is uncanny how social reality can deaden and numb us
so that the mystical wonder of 
our lives goes totally unnoticed.

We are here.

We are wildly and dangerously free.

John O'Donohue
Anam Cara 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

in love...

In love, there are no lower or higher positions,
neither stupidity nor cleverness,
no preachers, masters or disciples, either.
Love is the freedom of spirit - humbleness and bravery together.

The Art of Loving
Translations by Rasoul Shams

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

sweet water

My restless heart journeyed all over the world
to find the water of life to cure me.
In the end that sweet water 
burst out from the granite of my own heart.

The Art of Loving 
Translations by Rasoul Shams 

rejoicing without the future

Here we are, rejoicing even without wine.
Every morning we wake up glowing;
  every evening we go to bed gratified.
They say, "There is no future for you."
Here we are, rejoicing without the future!

The Art of Loving
Translations by Rasoul Shams