The sun is perfect and you woke this morning

hand-photography-black and white

The sun is perfect and you woke this morning.
You have enough language in your mouth to be understood.
You have a name, and someone wants to call it.
Five fingers on your hand and someone wants to hold it.
If we just start there,
every beautiful thing that has and will ever exist is possible.
If we start there, everything, for a moment, is right in the world.

~ Warsan Shire


Warsan Shire, 26, was born in 1988 in Kenya to Somali parents. She later emigrated to London. Shire thereafter began writing poetry as a way to connect with her Somali heritage and her roots in Somalia.


Credits:

Ungraspable

galaxy-universe-travel-light


I’m outside with Zeke.
It’s dark. Still. Quiet.
We’re both calm.
I look up.
He’s sniffing.
Yes, I sense it too.
Something bigger, much bigger here.


In quietness,
the sound of eternity
can at times be heard—
the stars somehow closer and
a sense of the earth’s moving.

~ Michael Boiano


Milky Way Fact Source: Thank you Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers

Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing can be pleasing

leaf-falling-gif
Again I resume the long lesson:
how small a thing can be pleasing,
how little in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind and bring it to its rest.

Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed light,
a few leaves fall of their own weight.

The sky is gray.
It begins in mist almost at the ground
and rises forever.
The trees rise in silence
almost natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but not quite.

What more did I think I wanted?
Here is what has always been.
Here is what will always be.
Even in me,
the Maker of all this returns in rest,
even to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly falling,
and is pleased.

Wendell Berry


Notes:

Memento Mori

camera-gif-photograph

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

— Susan Sontag


Notes:

Miracles

internet
Back in June, I shared a post on how I had come to be reading books written by John Updike, John Steinbeck and other literary Titans. The post was titled: Lit Boy. My college Professor, John Vande Zande, is responsible. Sadly, I learned that he had passed away.

On Monday, two months after I had written the post, an email settles gently in my inbox among a stack of 30 or 40 others. I see the surname on the email address. My eyes lock-on “from Vande Zande.” My mind whirs back to the Lit Boy post. I read the email.

Dear David,

Thank you for the lovely tribute to my father, John Vande Zande, on your blog. I also had him as a teacher, but I’m not sure a son appreciates this the way a stranger does. Thank you for letting me see him through your eyes. It would mean a great deal to him to know that he inspired you so much. He was always skeptical of his role as a professor. He would say, “What business do I, a kid from Big Bay, have in being in front of a college classroom?” I think the best profs do doubt their business in being in front of a room of students. It keeps them humble and it keeps them trying. The worse profs are probably the ones who doubt the business of their students being in the room.

Thanks again,

Jeff Vande Zande
www.jeffvandezande.com

John Vande Zande had a Son. He’s a English Professor. He’s a writer. (A published writer). And a poet and a screenwriter. (How proud would his Dad be of him today.)

And as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story:
[Read more...]

Sunday Morning: Taste it

morning-sunrise-river
When you are a young person, you are like a young creek, and you meet many rocks, many obstacles and difficulties on your way. You hurry to get past these obstacles and get to the ocean. But as the creek moves down through the fields, it becomes larger and calmer and it can enjoy the reflection of the sky. It’s wonderful. You will arrive at the sea anyway so enjoy the journey. Enjoy the sunshine, the sunset, the moon, the birds, the trees, and the many beauties along the way. Taste every moment of your daily life.

Thich Nhat Hanh 


Sources: Photograph: Peter in Buscot, England, UK. Quote: Thank you Karen @ Tearinyourhand

 

There’s Joy. There’s Exaltation. There’s You.

Rachel - five - swimming
22 years ago, you came in our lives.
Here you are at five.
We couldn’t imagine our lives without you.
Happy Birthday Honey.

Mom & Dad


The tick-tick-tick

fireworks

How can this human life
be anything other than astonishing?
The tick-tick-tick of pleasure’s ignition

~ Sigman Byrd“The Beginner” 


Credits:

But my miracle was different

sunrise

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”

~ John Green, Paper Towns

Or, let’s change up the last sentence with an alternate version:
[Read more...]

For a moment life suddenly feels lighter

Gene-Kelly-1 Gene-Kelly-2
Gene-Kelly-3 Gene-Kelly-4
“I firmly believe in small gestures: pay for their coffee, hold the door for strangers, over tip, smile or try to be kind even when you don’t feel like it, pay compliments, chase the kid’s runaway ball down the sidewalk and throw it back to him, try to be larger than you are— particularly when it’s difficult. People do notice, people appreciate. I appreciate it when it’s done to (for) me. Small gestures can be an effort, or actually go against our grain (‘I’m not a big one for paying compliments…’), but the irony is that almost every time you make them, you feel better about yourself. For a moment life suddenly feels lighter, a bit more Gene Kelly dancing in the rain.”

Jonathan Carroll 


Notes:

But there is no going back

woman_back_black_and_white

“But to preserve something is to delay that act indefinitely. Maybe preserves are where a historian’s urges meet a cook’s capacities. I wish that I could put up yesterday’s evening sky for all posterity, could preserve a night of love, the sound of a mountain stream, a realization as it sets my mind afire, a day of harmony, ten thousand glorious days of clouds that will instead vanish and never be seen again, line them up in jars where they might be admired in the interim and tasted again as needed. My historian’s nature regards with dismay that all these things arise and perish, though there will always be more clouds and more days, if not for me or for you. Photographs preserve a little of this, and I’ve kept tens of thousands of e-mails and letters, but there is no going back.”

—Rebecca Solnit, from The Faraway Nearby


Notes:

Wow, I’m getting overheated

running-gif
I have never taken such care with anything. That is my problem with life, I rush through it, like I’m being chased. Even things whose whole point is slowness like drinking relaxing tea. When I drink relaxing tea, I suck it down as if I’m in a contest for who can drink relaxing tea the quickest. Or if I’m in a hot tub with some other people and we’re all looking up at the stars, I’ll be the first to say, It’s so beautiful here. The sooner you say, It’s so beautiful here, the quicker you can say, Wow, I’m getting overheated.

~ Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You


Credits:

Monday Morning Meditation

art-breathe-face

breathe,meditation


Source: Nezart Design 1 and Nezart Design 2.

Sunday Morning: The Human


There are places in and around our great cities, where the natural world has all but disappeared. You can make out streets and sidewalks, autos, parking garages, advertising billboards, monuments of glass and steel. But not a tree, or a blade of grass or any animal, besides of course, the Humans. There are lot’s of Humans. Only when you look up straight up through the skyscraper canyons, can you make out a star or a patch of blue. Reminders of what was there long before humans came to be. It’s not hard going to work every day in such a place to be impressed with ourselves. How we’ve transformed the earth for our benefit and convenience. But a few hundred miles up or down, there are no humans, our impact on the universe is nil. In the last 10,000 years, an instant in our long history, we’ve abandoned the nomadic life. We’ve domesticated the plants and animals. Why chase the food, when you can make it come to you? For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. There are now people on every continent and the remotest islands. From pole to pole. From Mount Everest to the Dead Sea. On the ocean bottoms, and even, occasionally in residence two miles up. Humans, like the Gods of old, living in the sky. These days there seems no where left to explore. Victims of their very success, the explorers now, pretty much, stay home.


Riding Metro-North. With The Gremlin.

train-gif

It’s Tuesday morning. A great night’s sleep. I’m Regenerated. I rise. I rise. I rise.

I walk to the train station to catch the 5:40. 62° F. The Air is still. The Birds are singing. Blue skies.

It’s Quiet.

The Train pulls up. 5:39am. Second train of the day. It’s packed.

I wedge past another commuter and take the window seat.

A Lady, mid-60’s, is facing me.  She’s in a 3-seater, on a full train, with her purse blocking the seat to her right and a bottle of Poland Springs water blocking the left.  “Prickly.” She has a cup of coffee in an unmarked styrofoam cup in her left hand and she’s pecking away on a crossword puzzle on an iPad. She does not lift her head as I pass.

It’s Quiet. The soft hum of the electric current powering the train. The clickety-clack of the tracks. And the Lady snorting and re-snorting phlegm up her nasal passages. Is she swallowing it?

The Conductor breaks the silence on the P.A.: Good morning! I have an important announcement. He pauses. The heads in the car all bob up to listen. Today’s Danny’s last day after 20 years with MetroNorth. He’s covering the middle cars. Danny, we all wish you good luck in your retirement. God Speed. [Read more...]

Coach? Bah! Hmmmm. Yah.

portrait-close-up-man

It’s Saturday morning. I’m flicking through Netflix and there it was – “Recommended for me: The Legend of Bagger Vance.” It was ten, maybe eleven years ago. The Executive Coach assigned to me recommended the book. An Executive Coach from Little Rock, Arkansas. Hired and paid for by the Firm. “Good for my career,” they said. (Good for my career? I didn’t need help with my career. My team’s results were exceptional. Employee Survey scores ranked my team’s morale #1, with no one remotely close.  Little Rock, Arkansas? Come on. You’ve got to be kidding.)

The first meeting was scheduled. Big Cat was tired, wary and his fur was up. (Last thing I need is some corporate shrink dishing out pablum that I wouldn’t eat and then reporting back to management that I was a head-case. What can he possibly teach me? “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”)

He outlined the program. Clinical. To-the-point. No wasted words. No wasted movement. He explained that he wanted to conduct a 360-survey with my direct reports, colleagues and key partners. Get me the names, and we’ll get started. He was in and out.

Session 3, the survey feedback comes in. Big 4-inch ringed binder.  I’m flipping through the pages. I skip the strengths. I know what they are. Eyes scan the charts, and land on the categories hitting the low points. (Memory is hazy…but I remember thinking Holy Sh*t as a read through the color commentary: “Ambitious. Would roll me if I missed. Aggressive. Relentless. Tough. Standards unrealistically high. ‘Always on.’ Don’t really know him. An enigma, can be hard and soft, therefore difficult to read. And Trust.” I gently closed the binder to trap the words in – dropping my head and tasting the bitters of stomach acid.) [Read more...]

I’m still standing. The odds were stacked against us.


“NBA Star Kevin Durant told everyone just how much his mom means to him — just days before Mother’s Day — by thanking her in a tear-jerking speech as he accepted the award for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.”


Quote Source & Find More @ ABCNews.com

Wooed by mandarin eyes

pigeon-beach-maui

I’m slumped on a beach chair.
Earbuds are pumping in music, partially muffling the surf.
My baseball cap is pulled down low.
My Kindle is in my right hand, blocking the sun, and the rest of me.
Unrecognizable. Unapproachable. Body language spewing “Prickly Man. No Talking.”

She ambles within 3 feet.
She inches closer, determined to get my attention.
I peak out from under my hat.
Her iris’ are mandarin oranges circling jet black darkness.
And both eyes are locked on mine.
She stares. And stares. And stares.
I go back to reading.
She inches closer. And begins to preen her tail feathers.

Middle Aged Man has managed to repel all bikini clad women.
And, now he’s getting hit on by a Pigeon.  What a Stud! [Read more...]

Is it not by his high superfluousness we know Our God?

dandelion

Too often we start with seeing what is wrong with this world.
We wallow in ‘what’s wrong.’
We need to instead ‘celebrate what’s right with the world.’
And adopt this as our perspective. Our frame of focus.

The lights dimmed after his introductory remarks. Dewitt Jones is one of America’s top freelance photographers. He has worked for the National Geographic magazine for 20 years. He is the author of nine books on nature and leadership. And he’s an inspirational speaker.

Hundreds of us sat, hushed, in the dark, awaiting light to be beamed from three large projection screens. He then flashed up a photograph.

See this untamed field of green, dotted by bright yellow dandelions.
This is the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia.

I was dialed in. Selkirk Mountains. My mountains. My British Columbia. My Canada. What were the odds that he would have picked this shot and this story? [Read more...]

We are gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in

David Kanigan:

And there is nothing to add to THIS…full stop.

Originally posted on Radiating Blossom ~ Flowers & Words:

“As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, ‘It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.’ How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and…

View original 66 more words

The shimmering bliss. A gift bestowed and unappreciated.

by Philippe Halsman

“I became aware of the world’s tenderness, the profound beneficence of all that surrounded me, the blissful bond between me and all of creation, and I realized that the joy I sought in you was not only secreted within you, but breathed around me everywhere, in the speeding street sounds, in the hem of a comically lifted skirt, in the metallic yet tender drone of the wind, in the autumn clouds bloated with rain. I realized that the world does not represent a struggle at all, or a predaceous sequence of chance events, but the shimmering bliss, beneficent trepidation, a gift bestowed upon us and unappreciated.”

 – Vladimir Nabokov [Read more...]

Me, I’d like to think I’d take the long way home

The Long Way Home from Co.MISSION on Vimeo.


If life were measured in steps, I fear that many would hoard them for as long as possible, going nowhere, tasting nothing. Simply being alive, but never living.”


{ The meaning of life }

David Kanigan:

Here’s the “Meaning of Life.” ~9,000,000 people have watched this video in the past 2 weeks and seem to agree. I’m one of them. I was moved by this short film. (Be sure to check out Ana’s wonderful blog. She’s from Portugal. Her blog’s name is “Sol de Dezembro” (“December Sun”).

Originally posted on Sol de Dezembro:

View original

4 Box

chart-grid-graph-Now-4-box


Source: Paul


why i feed the birds

bird-in-hand

once
i saw my grandmother hold out
her hand cupping a small offering
of seed to one of the wild sparrows
that frequented the bird bath she
filled with fresh water every day

she stood still
maybe stopped breathing
while the sparrow looked
at her, then the seed
then back as if he was
judging her character

he jumped into her hand
began to eat
she smiled 

a woman holding
a small god 

~ Richard Vargas, why i feed the birds

 


Image Credit. Poem Credit. Poem from Vargas’ book Guernica at Amazon here.

This is a bit of an epic fail

planets-earth-girl-bubbles

Steve Layman’s shares “7 Questions About the Universe That No One Has Answered“:

…There’s also so much mess after 4.5 billion years of geophysics that some of our best information about the planet’s origins come from meteorites and the cratering of other worlds — outsourced. Speaking of other worlds, we’re not even sure we understand where the Moon came from, maybe it was a giant impact, maybe not. For an allegedly clever species on a small rocky planet this is a bit of an epic fail…

There’s an awful lot we don’t know (far more than just the examples here). But the point is not to get despondent, because this ignorance is a beautiful thing. It’s what ultimately drives science, and it’s what makes the universe truly awe-inspiring. After the hundreds of thousands of years that Homo sapienshas loped around, the cosmos can still elude our fidgety, inquisitive minds, easily outracing our considerable imaginations. How wonderful.

~ Caleb A. Scharf, Scientific American


Image Credit. Thank you Steve Layman.


18 Simple Things

Till My Teeth Rattle

face-photography-portrait-color-woman

There’s no remedy, I suppose — this body
just made from the beginning to be shocked,
constantly surprised, perpetually stunned,
poked and prodded, shaken awake,
shaken again and again roughly, rudely,
then left, even more bewildered,
even more amazed.

Pattiann Rogers, closing lines to “Till My Teeth Rattle.”



Yes to Less

things,materialistic,peace,want,need,money



Yes, all that

woman-beach-portrait-sand

Suddenly, I wonder – is all hardness justified because we are so slow in realizing that life was meant to be heroic? Greatness is required of us. That is life’s aim and justification, and we poor fools have for centuries been trying to make it convenient, manageable, pliant to our will. It is also peaceful and tender and funny and dull. Yes, all that.

~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, The Measure of My Days


Image Credit

We may have a ticket, but it is a valid for a ridiculously brief time

INSPIRATION,

“The world, whatever we might think about it, terrified by its vastness and by our helplessness in the face of it, embittered by its indifference to individual suffering – of people, animals, and perhaps also plants, for how can we be sure that plants are free of suffering; whatever we might think about its spaces pierced by the radiation of stars, stars around which we now have begun to discover planets, already dead? still dead? – we don’t know; whatever we might think about this immense theater, to which we may have a ticket, but it is valid for a ridiculously brief time, limited by two decisive dates; whatever else we might think about this world – it is amazing.”

~ Wisława Szymborska


Wisława Szymborska-Włodek (1923 – 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist and translator.  She was described as a “Mozart of Poetry”. Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”.

The Three Oddest Words: “When I pronounce the word Future, the first syllable already belongs to the past. When I pronounce the word Silence, I destroy it.  When I pronounce the word Nothing, I make something no nonbeing can hold.” 

The Sky: “My distinguishing marks are wonder and despair.”

Quote Source: Whiskey River; Image Source: Gifs Tumblr

We must look wider than what hurts

yellow throat,bird,

“We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.

Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day – the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?

It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.

When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.

In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.”

~ Mark Nepo


Quote Source: Whiskeyriver. Image credit of Common Yellow Throat

Ever changing beauty almost ignored

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“The enchantment of the sky, ever changing beauty almost ignored. Beyond words, without fixed form, not to be understood, or stated. It ravished away dullness, worry, even pain. It graces life when nothing else does. It is the first marvel of the day. Even when leaden grey it is still a friend, withdrawn for a time.”

~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, Measure of My Days


Image Credit: Natgeo

A feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air…

light-photography-nature-trees

Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then — the glory — so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.

~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden


Last night I had the strangest dream

blue,face,portrait,art,photography

Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in a laboratory with Dr. Boas and he was talking to me and a group of other people about religion, insisting that life must have a meaning, that man couldn’t live without that. Then he made a mass of jelly-like stuff of the most beautiful blue I had ever seen — and he seemed to be asking us all what to do with it. I remember thinking it was very beautiful but wondering helplessly what it was for. People came and went making absurd suggestions. Somehow Dr. Boas tried to carry them out — but always the people went away angry, or disappointed — and finally after we’d been up all night they had all disappeared and there were just the two of us. He looked at me and said, appealingly “Touch it.” I took some of the astonishingly blue beauty in my hand, and felt with a great thrill that it was living matter. I said “Why it’s life — and that’s enough” — and he looked so pleased that I had found the answer — and said yes “It’s life and that is wonder enough.”

~ Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

 


Quote Source: Brain Pickings – Life Is Like Blue Jelly: Margaret Mead Discovers the Meaning of Existence in a Dream. Image: Unknown.

Perhaps because the winter is so long

red-bird

Still, for whatever reason—
perhaps because the winter is so long
and the sky so black-blue,

or perhaps because the heart narrows
as often as it opens—
I am grateful

that red bird comes all winter
firing up the landscape
as nothing else can do.

Mary Oliver, closing lines to “Red Bird,” from Red Bird


Sources: Photograph – Thank you Carol for photo by Raja Daja. Poem – A Poet Reflects


With the sigh of a man who has seen all and been redeemed

raspberries
I eat these
wild red raspberries
still warm from the sun
and smelling faintly of jewelweed
in memory of my father

tucking the napkin
under his chin and bending
over an ironstone bowl
of the bright drupelets
awash in cream

my father
with the sigh of a man
who has seen all and been redeemed
said time after time
as he lifted his spoon

men kill for this.

~ Maxine Kumin, Appetite


Maxine Kumin (June 6, 1925 – February 6, 2014) was an American poet and author. Born Maxine Winokur in Philadelphia, the daughter of Jewish parents, she attended a Catholic kindergarten and primary school. She received her B.A. in 1946 and her M.A. in 1948 from Radcliffe College. From 1976 until her death in February 2014, she and her husband lived on a farm in Warner, New Hampshire, where they bred Arabian and quarter horses. Kumin’s many awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1973) for Up Country: Poems of New England.


Credits: Watercolor painting by Peter Krobath (“Awe Raspberries II”, watercolor, 8″x7″) via The Sensual Starfish. Poem: Poem-Locker. Bio: Wiki.

The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles. Every 92 minutes.

hadfield,astronaut

“The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles. Every 92 minutes, another sunrise: a layer cake that starts with orange, then a thick wedge of blue, then the richest, darkest icing decorated with stars. The secret patterns of our planet are revealed: mountains bump up rudely from orderly plains, forests are green gashes edged with snow, rivers glint in the sunlight, twisting and turning like silvery worms. Continents splay themselves out whole, surrounded by islands sprinkled across the sea like delicate shards of shattered eggshells.”

~ Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield


Pleasures

book-pages

The first look out of the window in the morning
The old book found again
Enthusiastic faces 
Snow, the change of the seasons
The newspaper
The dog
Dialectics
Taking showers, swimming
Old music
Comfortable shoes
Taking things in
New music
Writing, planting
Travelling 
Singing
Being friendly.

~ Bertolt Brecht, “Pleasures”


Sources/References:

We want the spring to come

hair,mist,fog

We want the spring to come
and the winter to pass.
We want whoever to call
or not call,
a letter,
a kiss —
we want more and more and then more of it.
But there are moments,
walking,
when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store,
and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep
for my own blowing hair,
chapped face,
and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living …

~ Marie Howe


Sources/References:

Related Post:


The Biggest Thing There Is

moon,photography,sky,blue,winter,Nebraska

INTERVIEWER:

There’s a sense of great space in your poems. Would you trace that to growing up in Kansas?

STAFFORD:

I sometimes have thought about that, yes. In our world at least half of the world was sky; that is the way I’ve sometimes phrased it to myself. I mean, there’s the land, but it isn’t as big as the sky. Someone told me a wonderful story about a woman who came out from Nebraska and wanted to see the Pacific Ocean. The motel person said, Yes, you can see it if you walk down to the end of the road. This visitor stood there a few moments on the beach, and then walked back, and the motel person said, What do you think of it? And she said, Well, it’s all right, but I can’t help but think it isn’t as big as I thought it would be. This was the Pacific Ocean! Well, she was from Nebraska, I know about that. That’s the biggest thing there is—the sky! It’s there, and it’s an abiding puzzle, presence, and invitation.

—William Stafford, from “The Art of Poetry No. 67,” The Paris Review (Winter 1993, No. 129)


Credits:


You can never have too much sky

blue-colors

You can never have too much sky.
You can fall asleep
and wake up drunk on sky,
and sky can keep you safe when you are sad.
Here there is too much sadness
and not enough sky.
Butterflies are too few
and so are flowers
and most things that are beautiful.
Still we take what we can get and make the best of it.

— Sandra Cisneros


Credits: Image – A Poet Reflects. Poem: Stalwart Reader from The House on Mango Street


I would hear the word whispered to me in simple moments

woman-red-hair-winter

“…Instead, I found that in quiet, ordinary, every day life, I would hear the word whispered to me in simple moments: give that car the room to merge ahead; give that person your full attention – remain quiet and let them talk; spend a few moments in conversation with the building custodian when leaving work, give that compliment to the woman in line ahead of you with the gorgeous hair; tell the person who helped you that they made an impact; express gratitude to the ones who are there for you all the time; give a moment a chance to happen instead of taking over…”

~ Bonnie, “How Will I Be Changed” @ PageKeeper


Credits: Thank you Bonnie.  Read full post @ “How Will I Be Changed.” Image Credit: Dear Caffeine

In his house slippers dancing alone in his bedroom, humming step over step

paul celan

“In his youth, he worked in a factory, though everyone said he looked more like a professor of classical languages than a factory worker. He walked to work as if moving under water. He was a beautiful man with a slender body which moved in a mixture of grace and sharp geometrical precision. His face had an imprint of laugher on it, as if no other emotion ever touched his skin. Even in his fifties, the nineteen-year-old girls winked at him in trains or trolley-busses, asking for his phone number. Seven years after his death, I saw Celan in his house slippers dancing alone in his bedroom, humming step over step. He did not mind being a character in my stories in a language he never learned. That night, I saw him sitting on a rooftop, searching for Venus, reciting Brodsky to himself. He asked if his past existed at all.”

— Ilya Kaminsky on Paul Celan in “Traveling Musicians”


Paul Celan (1920 – 1970) was a Romanian poet and translator becoming one of the major German-language poets of the post-World War II era.

Poet Ilya Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union city of Odessa. He lost most of his hearing at the age of four after a doctor misdiagnosed mumps as a cold, and his family was granted political asylum by the United States in 1993, settling in Rochester, New York. After his father’s death in 1994, Kaminsky began to write poems in English: “I chose English because no one in my family or friends knew it—no one I spoke to could read what I wrote. I myself did not know the language. It was a parallel reality, an insanely beautiful freedom. It still is.”


Image Credit. Quote Credit: ounu via Schonwieder. Bios: Wiki and Poetry Foundation.


T.G.I.F.: We choose to be happy!

happy,smile,cute


Source: Themetapicture.com

I now imagine they are lanterns from the past, casting light on what’s ahead

winter,snow,street,street lights, street

Wonderful story by Chris Huntington in the New York Times on Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss:

On regretting missed opportunities:

“I’m constantly aware of lost opportunities. I used to think such lost opportunities were beautiful towns flashing by my train windows, but now I imagine they are lanterns from the past, casting light on what’s ahead.”

On gratitude:

“When you’re 20, five years is a long time, so they act out. I used to be like that. But now I’m two-thirds done, so every day is taking me closer to the door. When I think like that, I can get up in the morning and smile.”

On love and loss:

“Our son is from Ethiopia, where I once saw a dead horse on the side of the road that resembled an abandoned sofa. I asked a friend if we needed to do something about that, and he said the wild dogs would take care of it.  We took our son far away from all of that five years ago, which may seem like a kindness, except it also hurts. I wish our son could know those dirt roads and the way they looked like chocolate milk in the rain, the way the hillsides were a delicate green, the way our driver would not go into the zoo because he was disgusted by the concrete ugliness of the lion cages. I wish my son’s birth parents could see him swimming. He’s such a good swimmer. I wish they could hear him reading books aloud. I wish he could know them. I wish our son could speak Oromo, the language of his birth. Our story, so full of love, is also full of loss.” [Read more...]

All I could hear was my heart pumping and pumping

icicles,sun,sunset,sunrise,winter

I got up in the night and went to the end of the hall.
Over the door in large letters it said,
“This is the next life. Please come in.”
I opened the door.
Across the room a bearded man in a pale-green suit turned to me and said,
“Better get ready, we’re taking the long way.”
“Now I’ll wake up,” I thought, but I was wrong.
We began our journey over golden tundra and patches of ice.
Then there was nothing for miles around,
and all I could hear was my heart pumping and pumping
so hard I thought I would die all over again.

— Mark Strand, The Triumph of the Infinite

Mark Strand, 79, was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. He is an American Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Blizzard of One. This passage is an excerpt from his new book titled “Almost Invisible” which is comprised of whimsical, prose-style dramas that explore the receding vista of life while posing eloquent, riddle-like conundrums about the human condition. Sometimes appearing as pure prose, sometimes as impure poetry, they are like riddles, their answers vanishing just as they appear within reach. Fable, domestic satire, meditation, joke, and fantasy all come together in what is arguably the liveliest, most entertaining book that Strand has yet written.” (Source: Amazon.  Find the book at this link.

Credits: Poem – Fables of the Reconstruction. Photograph: “Fire & Ice” by Steve Taylor via Elinka. Thank you

This is simply about you. Press play, Smile.


This is not about how to change the world.
Or saying that we should stop fighting
against crime, corruption, poverty, oppression or racism.

This is simply about you.

Yesterday I drove an hour outside of Cape Town
with my family to be with the snow.
A rare occurrence us Cape Townians hardly get to experience.

It was then when it hit me, we need to celebrate more.
But not in a traditional sense.
But in a way to celebrate life and our time on earth,
which we all seem to be rushing through.
For what?

Let’s celebrate being young.
Let’s celebrate love.
Let’s celebrate family.
Let’s celebrate the offering for no reason.
Let’s celebrate the city you live in.
Your home.
Having the ability to be able to watch this video is a privilege.
Having access to internet, celebrate that.

Every day I see these negative things on Facebook
like F*&* my life and stupid rants about pointless sh*t.
Let’s change that to positive appreciations.

Today, I decided to go outside with the purpose of finding positivity and happiness.
This is what I found.

Stop listening to the answer
and just listen to understand that your time here is worth celebrating.
Looking at your life as an outsider,
it’s more beautiful than you can ever imagine.

Embrace it.

~ Dan Mace [Read more...]

There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be

Charles Dickens

“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused—in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened—by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes—of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world who cannot call up such thoughts any day of the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire—fill the glass and send round the song—and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it offhand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it’s no worse.”

— Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz


References and Credits:

  • Misanthrope (n), a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society. Origin mid 16th cent.: from Greek misanthrōpos, from misein ‘to hate’ + anthrōpos ‘man.’
  • Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces published by Charles Dickens in 1836 with illustrations by George Cruikshank. (Wiki)
  • Portrait of Charles Dickens from the Telegraph.  He was photographed at the age of 49 by the London portrait photographer George Herbert Watkins. Watkins took several portraits of Dickens between 1858 and 1861 and they have helped define the enduring image of Dickens as a melancholy, care-worn personality.
  • Dickens quote via fables-of-the-reconstruction. Thank you.

PostSecret

gratitude,blessed,peace,family,holidays,Christmas,postsecret,quotes


Source: Postsecret.com