Lightly child, lightly

hand-water

Seven of us, and one dog, are aboard the boat. […] So we become, for the afternoon, sea creatures ourselves. How light our bodies feel as we lounge against the planks and trail our hands in the water. Ahead is the sandy point of our destination, and between us and it not a single apportioning marker but the wide water’s drowsy lap and slide, its abundance and gleam. We stroll on its surface freely, citizens of the water world. How different from the foot on the stone, the hand opening the gate, the gravel path of the garden, the trudge through loose sand, the heel sticking into the clay of the field! Such weight, on the earth, is on our shoulders: gravity keeping us at home. But on the water we shake off the harness of weight; we glide; we are passengers of a sleek ocean bird with its single white wing filled with wind.

~ Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings


Notes:

  • Image Source: modest-epiphanies.
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

One of life’s most exquisite moments

coffee-winter-cold

People can’t agree on where coffee’s secret lies: opinions range from the smell, the color, the taste, the  consistency, the blend, the cardamom, the roast, to the shape of the cup and a  number of other things. For me, it’s the timing. The great thing about a perfectly   timed cup of coffee is that it’s in your hand the instant you crave it. One of life’s most exquisite moments is that in which a small luxury becomes a necessity.

Mourid Barghouti, from I Was Born There, I Was Born Here


Credits: Photo from Your Eyes Blaze Out. Poem via The Journey of Words

 

 

MMM*: And you say, what?

turned-sheet-gerhard-richter-art

Poets must read and study, but also they must learn to tilt and whisper, shout, or dance, each in his or her own way, or we might just as well copy the old books. But, no, that would never do, for always the new self swimming around in the old world feels itself uniquely verbal. And that is just the point: how the world, moist and bountiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. “Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?” This book is my comment.

~ Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings


Notes: 1) MMM* = Monday Morning Mantra. 2) Turned Sheet (1965) by Gerhard Richter via vjeranski

Lightly child, lightly

woman-back-black-and-white

I am a prophet of the past.
And how do you see and foresee the future?
As when a man sees a woman with a beautiful body
walking before him in the street
and looks at her with desire,
but she doesn’t turn to look back,
just smooths her skirt a little,
pulls her blouse tight,
fixes the back of her hair,
then without turning toward the man’s gaze
quickens her step.
That’s what the future is like.

Yehuda Amichai,  section 5 of “I Foretell the Days of Yore,” Open Closed Open


Notes:

  • Yehuda Amichai (1924 – 2000) was an Israeli poet. Amichai is considered by many, both in Israel and internationally, as Israel’s greatest modern poet. Find his book on Amazon: Open Closed Open
  • Poem Source: The Journey of Words. Image Source: sexykinkyfunny&curly.
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Sunday Morning: As if this quiet day

hazy-day-ocean-landscape-black-and-white

Only a beige slat of sun above the horizon,
like a shade pulled not quite down.
Otherwise, clouds.
Sea rippled here and there.
Birds reluctant to fly.

The mind wants a shaft of sun
to stir the grey porridge of clouds,
an osprey to stitch sea to sky with its barred wings,
some dramatic music: a symphony,
perhaps a Chinese gong.

But the mind always wants more than it has –
one more bright day of sun,
one more clear night in bed with the moon;
one more hour to get the words right;
one more chance for the heart in hiding
to emerge from its thicket in dried grasses –
as if this quiet day
with its tentative light weren’t enough,
as if joy weren’t strewn all around.

– Holly Hughes, Dancing with Joy: 99 Poems


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly

black and white,photography

Where do they come from, thoughts?
Like wrens, out of the sky.
They arrive.
Noisy, hungry, perfectly themselves.

~ Peter Behrens, The Law of Dreams

Notes:

  • Credit: Quote – Schonwieder. Image Source: poly-gr.
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Linguini. Now.

pasta,linguini,dinner,food,fork

It was always linguini between us.
Linguini with white sauce, or
red sauce, sauce with basil snatched from
the garden, oregano rubbed between
our palms, a single bay leaf adrift amidst
plum tomatoes. Linguini with meatballs,
sausage, a side of brascioli. Like lovers
trying positions, we enjoyed it every way
we could-artichokes, mushrooms, little
neck clams, mussels, and calamari-linguini
twining and braiding us each to each.
Linguini knew of the kisses, the smooches,
the molti baci. It was never spaghetti
between us, not cappellini, nor farfalle,
vermicelli, pappardelle, fettucini, perciatelli,
or even tagliarini. Linguini we stabbed, pitched,
and twirled on forks, spun round and round
on silver spoons. Long, smooth, and always
al dente. In dark trattorias, we broke crusty panera,
toasted each other—La dolce vita!—and sipped
Amarone, wrapped ourselves in linguini,
briskly boiled, lightly oiled, salted, and lavished
with sauce. Bellissimo, paradisio, belle gente!
Linguini witnessed our slurping, pulling, and
sucking, our unraveling and raveling, chins
glistening, napkins tucked like bibs in collars,
linguini stuck to lips, hips, and bellies, cheeks
flecked with formaggio—parmesan, romano,
and shaved pecorino—strands of linguini flung
around our necks like two fine silk scarves.

~ Diane Lockward, Linguini, What Feeds Us


Notes:

Absolutely pure

bird-winds-soar-blue-sky

This world –
absolutely pure
As is.
Behind the fear,
Vulnerability.
Behind that,
Sadness,
then compassion
And behind that the vast sky.

~ Rick Fields


Notes:

Red’s Wish. My Wish Too.

To stand at the helm of your destiny. I want that, one more time. I want to be in the Piazza del Campo in Siena. To feel the surge as 10 racehorses go thundering by. I want another meal in Paris, at L’Ambroisie, at the Place des Vosges. I want another bottle of wine. And then another. I want the warmth of a woman and a cool set of sheets. One more night of jazz at the Vanguard. I want to stand on the summits and smoke Cubans and feel the sun on my face for as long as I can. Walk on the Wall again. Climb the Tower. Ride the River. Stare at the Frescos. I want to sit in the garden and read one more good book. Most of all I want to sleep. I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy. Give me that, just one time…

— Raymond “Red” Reddington, The Blacklist


Source: Thank you Kurt @ Cultural Offering

Some days I do this again and again

sunlight, sun

Now I carry those days
in a tiny box wherever I go.
I open the lid like this
and let the light glimpse
and then glance away.
There is a sigh
like my breath when I do this.
Some days I do this again and again.

~ William Stafford, closing strophe to “Remembering”


Credits: Poem – Memory’s Landcape. Photograph: catching light by karin.krn via eikadan

 

The lines eventually blur

match-partrick-stewart

I love my life,
I regret my life.
The lines eventually blur
and it’s just my life.

~ Tobi (Patrick Stewart) in Match


Match. See the movie. Highly recommended.


Photograph: Dailyuw

 

Cold stove of 4:00 a.m., black iron

cast-iron-stove

Cold stove of 4:00 a.m., black iron, the lids in place on everyone but me, and down the chimney, through the damper’s pinch, the distant hoo-hoo-hooing of an owl. And soon, among the sticks of kindling in the box of words, the mouselike scritching of my pen.

~ Ted Kooser, February. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Photo Credit: The Wild Free Spirit

About right….

IMG_0019

…well.
I am filled with snow.
There’s nothing to do now
but wait.

Jill Osier, from “Snow Becoming Light by Morning.”


The Weather Channel: SNOW. 22° F. Feels like 12° F.  Snow is accumulating rapidly. (12 inches and counting)


Credits:

Saturday Morning: No deadlines. No failures. Just sleep and sleep.

dog-cute-sleeping-peek-adorable-pet

Start the night before. Don’t set the alarm.
Consider setting it, perhaps, but decide against.
Shut the blinds before you lie down at night.
Turn the plastic rod so the blinds are tight.
When the inevitable light forms in lines
and brightens your room anyway, turn away.
Close your eyes again and see if that helps.
When closing your eyes doesn’t help,
pull the covers over your head. Grab them
in a way that you can tighten them all around.
Like, as a child who believed in witches,
you blocked their prying searches for you.
Get comfortable again. Adjust your under-the-covers
pillows. Wiggle your shoulders into new,
less scrunched positions. Let your arms rest
where they will.
Think lovely thoughts. Really. Go all Mary Poppins,
or if you prefer, Mr. Rogers.
Put on a metaphorical cardigan and slippers.
Enter the world of make believe.
There is no car here, no highway,
no bumper-to-bumper, no boss,
no deadlines, no failures,
just sleep and sleep and dreams.

— catthy barber, How to Stay in Bed


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly

chameleon-cute-hair


Notes:

  • Image Source: jaimejustelaphoto.
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

MMM*: Follow the thread

thread-blue

Lately, when people ask me what I’m doing, the most honest reply (manifest in my daily writing, prayer, meditation, contemplation & conversations) would be to say I am following my thread. It’s a reference to this small, spectacular poem by William Stafford that is taped to my bathroom mirror. Whatever our “thread” is – a question, an invitation, an awareness of what matters most – it always takes us home to ourselves, to our belonging in this world, to the Infinite Love that holds & keeps us. These days, I become aware that I can hold & follow my thread in a variety of places – washing dishes or buying groceries; in solitude or with others; in the city or the forest. Mostly, I admit, the key for me to following my thread is to slow down. Rushing makes me lose awareness of the thread I hold. As the work week begins, let’s consider together: How do I hold the thread that guides me?

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer


The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

~ William Stafford


Notes:

Saturday Morning: You think you’ll never forget.

January 24, 2015, Connecticut

Our first major snowfall arrived overnight.

soon will the winter be on us, snow-hushed and heavy. (Sara Teasdale)

…suppose we did our work like the snow, quietly, quietly, leaving nothing out. (Wendell Berry)

…The country seems bigger, for you can see through the bare trees. There are times when the woods is absolutely still and quiet. The house holds warmth. A wet snow comes in the night and covers the ground and clings to the trees, making the whole world white. For a while in the morning the world is perfect and beautiful. You think you will never forget… (Wendell Berry)


 

Release

breathe-relax-rest-fatigue-let-go

The spintop wobbles after a dizzying week. It spins, the revolutions breathless. It turns, slower now, spinning on wisps of the remaining adrenaline.

He’s got it half right. It is the steady pounding of days that is our undoing.

I’ve seen what’s to come—
it is the days,
the steady pounding of days,
like gentle rain,
that will be our undoing.

— John Philip Johnson, from “There Have Come Soft Rains,” Rattle (No. 45)

And it’s Yoko Ono’s memories of the Summer of 1961 that beckon. “Stand in the evening light until you become transparent or until you fall asleep.”

Let it go.

Release.

Evaporate into the night.

Bring on the grace of Saturday morning.


Credits:

  • Find John Philip Johnson’s entire poem here: There Have Come Soft Rains. And be sure to note the poet’s wonderful comment below.
  • Photograph – Maria Stolan (Blue Lights Wake Me)
  • Yoko Ono, 1961 Summer, “Body Piece” from “Grapefruit.”

 

MMM*: Yes. Go ahead. Do it.

book-reading

Take your time getting dressed this morning;
read a book,
make yourself some breakfast.
The world can wait.

~ The art of recovery


Notes:

The winter will fly swiftly

rain-blue-gif

The winter will fly swiftly,
then will be the spring —
think of nothing but hope —
heed nothing but anticipation…

– Emily Dickinson, in a letter to Austin Dickinson, November 16, 1851


Notes: Dickinson quote via Lit Verve. Photograph: We-Love-Rain via Through Dreams

You don’t have 180 sec to watch? Yes you do. Yes you do.


MM*: A dull ache. A gentle humming.

jump-release-let-go

every now and again,
you will feel a dull ache in your soul.
a gentle humming around your heart.
a longing for something without a name.
if i ever told you to obey anything,
this would be it.

listen to the call of your authentic self.
that part of you that lives just outside of your own skin.
let it have its way with you.

i have died a hundred times trying to ignore it.

~ Mia Hollow


Notes:

32 years and counting.

afghan-reading

It’s 5′ x 7′, that is five by seven feet. Unlike contemporary, machine-made models, which are much shorter and cheaper to produce, there is ample cover to reach the tippy-toes of my 6′ 1″ frame.

It has survived 32 winters.
It has served 6 homes, and is now working its 7th.
It has outlasted 10 automobiles.
And, yet here it is, working, in pristine condition, with a new car smell.

Besides our tableware, which should be replaced, it is the only wedding gift that has survived. She has long since passed, but her afghan lives on.

Is an afghan knitted or crocheted? Are they stitches or loops?  I have no idea.
Eric calculated 38,260 individual loops. 38,260 hand made loops.

It is brown, green, and two shades of blue. Why these colors? The earth? Its plants and forests?  Her hope for a God, for heavens? Why didn’t you ask her when she lived? [Read more…]

Word, Please

tired-fatigue-woman-portrait

Your body aches.
You can feel yourself sighing all the way to your knees.
Now tell me:
what is the word for that.

— shinji-moon, from A Physician’s Handbook


Notes: Photography:maja via eikadan. Quotes: tohs–kah

 

 

Driving I-95 S & N. Kooser. In the Head.

moon-iphone
It’s 5:45 am.
It started tracking me yesterday morning.
I’m driving to work. Dark is lifting to dusk.
I’m returning to the office after an extended vacation.
My head is tumbling with To-Do’s.
I round the corner for the last 1/2 mile stretch and there it was.
Full. Bright. Beaming. Silent.
I stare, and enter a few second refuge before pulling into the garage.

It’s 6:40 pm.
I’m done with my first day back, of meetings back to back.
I’m in my re-entry. Decompression? Gone.
I accelerate down the exit ramp and there it is.
Full. Bright. Beaming. Silent.
It’s tracking me the entire ride home up I-95 N.
And gracefully nudging me from exhaustion, to fatigue and softly settling me into calm.

Yes, Mr. Kooser.
I have missed so many. The count is well into the thousands.
But, no Sir. No Sir.
I didn’t miss this one.

[Read more…]

So fill your glass. Here’s tae us.

footprints-in-snow

Remember, the time of year
when the future appears
like a blank sheet of paper
a clean calendar, a new chance.
On thick white snow

you vow fresh footprints
then watch them go
with the wind’s hearty gust.
So fill your glass. Here’s tae us.
Promises
made to be broken, made to last.

Jackie Kay, “Promise”


Notes:

  1. About Jackie Kay: Jackie Kay (b. 1961) is an award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and plays, whose subtle investigation into the complexities of identity have been informed by her own life. Born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father, she was adopted as a baby by a white couple. Kay’s awareness of her different heritages inspired her first book of poetry, The Adoption Papers, which dramatises her experience through the creation of three contrasting narrators: an adoptive mother, a birth mother and a daughter.
  2. Photographer: Matt Wyles. Poem Source: litverve
  3. Find this poem in Jackie Kay’s Book: Life Mask or in Poems on the Underground by Judith Chernaik

A road leads into the new year

wedding-dress-running

A little snap at one side of the room
and an answering snap at the other:
Stiff from the cold and idleness,
the old house cracking it knuckles.
Then the great yawn of the furnace.
Even the lampshade is drowsy,
its belly full of a warm yellow light.

Out under the moon, though,
there is at least one wish
against this winter sleep:
A road leads into the new year,
deliberate as a bride
in her sparkling white dress of new snow.

~ Ted Kooser. “December 26. Clear and Cold.” Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison


Photograph: {peace&love♥} at lullabyexile via raspberrytart.tumblr.com

 

A Small Golden Light

small-light

I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.

And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, “It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.”

And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, “This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.”

~ Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You

Notes: Image: icanpaintarainbow. Quote: Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

Each hour’s a gift to those who take it up.

lights-christmas-dreamy

A pane of glass is a kind of compression of distance, enabling us to get up close to what we want but not permitting us to take it into our hands. We want it all, this life before us: the miniature Christmas village lit by a steady joy; the doll that in our arms would never grow old; the tiny train that, tooting, speeds away and always returns. Yet our lives are not beyond this breath there on the chilly glass, but of that breath, and in this life the hands in our mittens are never really empty. It is all around us, free, this wonderful life: clear jingle of tire chains, the laughter of ice that breaks under our boots. Each hour’s a gift to those who take it up.

~ Ted Kooser, “December.The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Stillness Arises


Wonderful. Watch. Wow!

I just want to rise so high that no one can reach me and nothing to prove. I just want to get where you just awaken your body and soul to something. Stillness arises within me. Nature brought me to stillness.

Find full transcript full below. [Read more…]

Anemoia: So clear and still you can see your own reflection.


anemoia – n. nostalgia for a time you’ve never known

Imagine stepping through the frame into a sepia-tinted haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals passing by. Who lived and died before any of us arrived here, who sleep in some of the same houses we do, who look up at the same moon, who breathe the same air, feel the same blood in their veins—and live in a completely different world.

Don’t miss full transcript below…
[Read more…]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

winter

so winter begins 
in the heart of a sparrow 
shouting at the sky


Credits: Photograph: Gighy.com. Poem: Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

Cold Rain

rain-gif

After fifty years of tracking clouds
I’ve become cold rain upon my life.
How odd to see the mist so clearly.

~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry


Image: zero-void

 

Se viene conmigo / Is Coming With Me


I’m just a step away
And for the first time
I don’t want to keep walking
I’m fine here
I’m this
I’ve gotten used to this
And this has gotten used to me
I don’t mean that after this step I’ll stop being this
But the fear to the next chapter
The fear to my character walking over to the other side of this imaginary line overwhelms me
It gives me the creeps and the premature nostalgia overtakes my body

This is how I am, because here I walk
But who knows how I will be over other asphalts
I find myself on one side of the line
The one from the present, with a past behind
This is everything that has filled my bag during this time
This is what I am
And I like it

But even if it were not so
I could not escape
There’s no emergency exit to escape from one’s self fire
On the other end of the stripe is my next time
With ambitions, dreams and promises to fill another bag
With other people, other places, other flavors and sounds
I”m afraid of stepping beyond the line
I’m afraid of leaving this asphalt, grey, in which nothing stands out
I’m afraid of changing the color of my nights, thought I never liked this light
I’m afraid of putting out this fire. Of smelling no memories.
I’m afraid of losing this form. I’m afraid of transforming myself.

I am this face.
I am this floor I step on
I am this land, tilled by others.
I am this weather.
I am this wine.
I am this square.
I am this plain.
I am this river.
And this city.
I am the street.
I am what my body oozes because of this I fed it.
And wherever I will be, this broth I carry it with me
This is what I am
And no matter how many lines I cross, my essence
Is coming with me

~ Maria Strada


I find them evenly lit

mark-strand12

NY Times: Mark Strand, 80, Dies; Pulitzer-Winning Poet Laureate:

Mark Strand, whose spare, deceptively simple investigations of rootlessness, alienation and the ineffable strangeness of life made him one of America’s most hauntingly meditative poets, died on Saturday at his daughter’s home in Brooklyn. He was 80. Mr. Strand, who was named poet laureate of the United States in 1990 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1999 for his collection “Blizzard of One,” made an early impression with short, often surreal lyric poems that imparted an unsettling sense of personal dislocation — what the poet and critic Richard Howard called “the working of the divided self.”…“He is not a religious poet on the face of it, but he fits into a long tradition of meditation and contemplation,” said David Kirby…He makes you see how trivial the things of this world are, and how expansive the self is, once you unhook it from flat-screen TVs and iPhones.” Reading Mr. Strand, he said, “We learn what a big party solitude is.”…To critics who complained that his poems, with their emphasis on death, despair and dissolution, were too dark, he replied, “I find them evenly lit.”

He has too many favorite poems to share…so I have shared links to short excerpts, morsels, to enable you to feel the genius of this man.

  • Luminism: “And though it was brief, and slight, and nothing / To have been held onto so long, I remember it…”
  • Black Maps: “…A scar remembers the wound.” 
  • The Guardian: Why do I love what fades?”
  • The Triumph of the Infinite“All I could hear was my heart pumping and pumping.”
  • The Coming of Light: “..Even this late it happens: the coming of love, the coming of light.”
  • Dark Harbor: “…Sending up stars of salt, loud clouds of spume.”
  • The Continuous Life: “…You are slipping away with nothing completed, nothing / To prove you existed.”
  • Not Dying: “…On windless summer nights I feel those kisses…”
  • Sleeping With One Eye Open: “…We all have reasons for moving. I move to keep things whole.”
  • Lines for Winter: “…Tell yourself in that final flowing of cold through your limbs that you love what you are.” 
  • The Remains: “…The hours have done their job. I say my own name. I say goodbye.”

Credits: Photo – jrbenjamin.com

You don’t believe? Not possible.

sequoia-tree-light-sunrise

We live on a blue planet
that circles around a ball of fire
next to a moon that moves the sea,
and you don’t believe in miracles?

~ bohemian-vibes


Photograph: From the Land of Giants. The early morning air in the Grant Grove of giant sequoias in Kings Canyon National Park on Sequoia Road. Photographer: larrygerbrandt. Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom.

Work: Pull like water buffalo

black and white,photography

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

~ Marge Piercy, To Be Of Use


Notes:

Love Paper

photography, fall

From Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers: Love Paper

A tree gave its life for what you are about to attempt. Don’t let the silicon chip or computer monitor cause you to forget this. That ex-tree material stacked in your printer is so dead as you begin to write that its bark-skinned, earth-eating, oxygen-producing, bird-supporting, squirrel-housing body has been reduced to an inert blank expanse of white. To find the life of language and lay that life down on the paper is to redeem the sacrificed life of the tree…

David James Duncan

If you write, blog and/or read, DON’T MISS the entire post: Love Paper

Photograph: skubmic titled Autumn Lines


There’s that split second moment

photography,black and white

you know when someone asks you a general question like “how are you” or jokingly says something like “do you ever even sleep” and there’s that split-second moment where you consider actually telling them things

like whether they’re good or bad things whether they’re sad or happy or anything at all you just

think about telling them

everything 

but you don’t

~ jackfrost.co


Credits: Photograph – Drowned in Daydreams. Quote Source – mirrior.

We never think about the glories of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs

breathe-mist-breathe-black and white

All That Is Glorious Around Us
is not, for me, these grand vistas, sublime peaks, mist-filled
overlooks, towering clouds, but doing errands on a day
of driving rain, staying dry inside the silver skin of the car,
160,000 miles, still running just fine. Or later,
sitting in a café warmed by the steam
from white chicken chili, two cups of dark coffee,
watching the red and gold leaves race down the street,
confetti from autumn’s bright parade. And I think
of how my mother struggles to breathe, how few good days
she has now, how we never think about the glories
of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs,
simple as the journey of water over a rock. It is the nature
of stone / to be satisfied / writes Mary Oliver, It is the nature
of water / to want to be somewhere else, rushing down
a rocky tor or high escarpment, the panoramic landscape
boundless behind it. But everything glorious is around
us already: black and blue graffiti shining in the rain’s
bright glaze, the small rainbows of oil on the pavement,
where the last car to park has left its mark on the glistening
street, this radiant world.

– Barbara Crooker, “All That Is Glorious Around Us” from Radiance


Notes:

Awakening

photography,black and white

How heavy it is, this bucket
drawn out of the lake of sleep
with a dream slipping over,
so heavy that on some mornings
you can’t quite pull it free
so let it slip back under,
back into the darkness where
the water is warm, even warmer,
but the dream, like a minnow,
has swum away and is merely
a flash in the murky distance,
and the weight of waking up
seems even heavier. But somehow
you lift it again, its handle
biting into your fingers,
and haul it out and set it down
still rippling, a weighty thing
like life itself, in which you dip
the leaky cup of your hands
and drink.

~ Ted Kooser, “Awakening“, Splitting an Order.


Image Source: Michalina Wozniak

Words

sleep-dream-art
Looming and phosphorescent against the dark,
Words, always words.

— Charles Wright


Credits:

  • Image: Sleepless by Vanessa @ ésotérique
  • Poem: metaphorformetaphor from Charles Wright’s opening lines to opening lines to “Cryopexy,” The Other Side of the River (Vintage Books, 1984)

 

Received it with a kind of wonder, and kept it on our lips through the afternoon

woman-face-eye-black-and-white

Some of us were arriving, hungry
impatient, while others had eaten
and were leaving, bidding goodbye
to our friends, and among us
stood a pretty woman, blind,
her perfect fingers interwoven
about the top of her cane,
and she was bending forward,
open eyed, to find the knotted lips
of a man whose disfigured face
had been assembled out of scars
and who was leaving, hurrying off,
and though their kiss was brief
and askew and awkwardly pursed,
we all received it with a kind of
wonder, and kept it on our lips
through the afternoon.

~ Ted Kooser, “At Arby’s, At Noon“. Splitting an Order (Cooper Canyon Press, 2014)


Mr. Awesomeness aka Ted Kooser.  In less than 100 words, he puts you at the scene at Arby’s and makes you feel. 


Image Source: TheSensualStarfish

Monday Gotta

woman-portrait-hand

You can change your clothes, but you gotta love your bones, baby.

- Jessica Blankenship, How To Not Fail At Your New Years Resolution


Notes:

 

Coffee

coffee

And coffee, for one who knows it as I do, means making it with your own hands and not having it come to you on a tray, because the bringer of the tray is also the bearer of talk, and the first coffee, the virgin of the silent morning, is spoiled by the first words. Dawn, my dawn, is antithetical to chatter. The aroma of coffee can absorb sounds and will go rancid, even if these sounds are nothing more than a gentle “Good morning!”

Coffee is the morning silence, early and unhurried, the only silence in which you can be at peace with self and things, creative, standing alone with some water that you reach for in lazy solitude and pour into a small copper pot with a mysterious shine—yellow turning to brown—that you place over a low fire. Oh, that it were a wood fire!

Stand back from the fire a little and observe a street that has been rising to search for its bread ever since the ape disentangled himself from the trees and walked on two feet. A street borne along on carts loaded with fruits and vegetables, and vendors’ cries notable for faint praise that turns produce into a mere attribute of price. Stand back a little and breathe air sent by the cool night. Then return to your low fire—If only it were a wood fire!—and watch with love and patience the contact between the two elements, fire colored green and blue and water roiling and breathing out tiny white granules that turn into a fine film and grow. Slowly they expand, then quickly swell into bubbles that grow bigger and bigger, and break. Swelling and breaking, they’re thirsty and ready to swallow two spoonfuls of coarse sugar, which no sooner penetrates than the bubbles calm down to a quiet hiss, only to sizzle again in a cry for a substance that is none other than the coffee itself—a flashy rooster of aroma and Eastern masculinity.

Remove the pot from the low fire to carry on the dialogue of a hand, free of the smell of tobacco and ink, with its first creation, which as of this moment will determine the flavor of your day and the arc of your fortune: whether you’re to work or avoid contact with anyone for the day. What emerges from this first motion and its rhythm, from what shakes it out of a world of sleep rising from the previous day, and from whatever mystery it will uncover in you, will form the identity of your new day.

Because coffee, the first cup of coffee, is the mirror of the hand. And the hand that makes the coffee reveals the person that stirs it. Therefore, coffee is the public reading of the open book of the soul. And it is the enchantress that reveals whatever secrets the day will bring.

 Mahmoud Darwish, from Memory for Forgetfulness (University of California Press, 1990)


Poem Source: The Journey Of Words. Image Source: Melanie Defazio via Coffee-Coffee


Saturday Susurrus

fall-autumn-leaves
  “susurrus [soo-sur-uhs]”

— (noun) As one of the most beautiful words in the English language, susurrusis defined as a soft, murmuring sound. It resembles the rustling symphony of the fallen leaves moving across the pavement or the whispers created by the branches of the trees on a windy, autumn day. Uttering susurrus also simulates the acoustics of nature’s effect; this is one of those rare words where its aesthetic, sound and feel coincide beautifully.


Credits: Photograph: Béatrice Lechtanski via Art Propelled. Quote: Thank you Rudy @ Et in Arcadia Ego*

Splitting an Order

cutting-sandwich

I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half,
maybe an ordinary cold roast beef on whole wheat bread,
no pickles or onion, keeping his shaky hands steady
by placing his forearms firm on the edge of the table
and using both hands, the left to hold the sandwich in place,
and the right to cut it surely, corner to corner,
observing his progress through glasses that moments before
he wiped with his napkin, and then to see him lift half
onto the extra plate that he asked the server to bring,
and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife
while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon,
her knife, and her fork in their proper places,
then smooths the starched white napkin over her knees
and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him.

~ Ted Kooser, Splitting an Order


Image: Dreamstime

Put it back. Put it back.

quartz-arrowhead-rock

By the toe of my boot,
a pebble of quartz,
one drop of the earth’s milk,
dirty and cold.
I held it to the light
and could almost see through it
into the grand explanation.
Put it back, something told me,
put it back and keep walking.

~ Ted Kooser, “On the Road.” Delights & Shadows


 Image Source: Rockpiles

 

Am I the light? The bulb? A bus? A lump of coal?

light-bulb

What am I?
Am I the bulb that carries the light,
or am I the light of which the bulb is a vehicle?

~ Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Notes:

  • Had to think about this one for a bit. May be early.
  • Credits: Photography – Amy Andress. Quote – Schonwieder

4:30 (a.m.) on a starry morning…

newspaper

Four-thirty on a starry morning, and soon our Journal Star carrier will come roaring out of the east in his pickup, headlights like fists on the loose black reins of darkness, the road crunching under his tires, and slow down, stop, and drop the news in the dew-struck weeds under the mailbox. Without a pause he’ll wheel around, the gravel flying, headlights sweeping the yard and house, and roar back east. Such resentment he must feel for us, here at the far end of the news, this house hidden in trees with just one window lit, where someone is up early writing.

~ Ted Kooser, November. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Credits: Photograph – Brenda Anderson