Yes Mary. Everything Does. And Too Soon. Way Too Soon. (RIP)

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 of 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 (Sept 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019), “Summer”

In her poem “When Death Comes,” Oliver wrote this about the inevitable: “When it’s over, I want to say all my life/ I was a bride married to amazement.”

(Source: NPR – Beloved Poet Mary Oliver, Who Believed Poetry ‘Mustn’t Be Fancy,’ Dies At 83)


Photo Credit

Lightly Child, Lightly.

A poet is someone
Who can pour Light into a spoon,
Then raise it
To nourish
Your beautiful, parched holy mouth.

~ Hafiz, “Your Beautiful, Parched Holy Mouth” in I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy: Renderings of Hafiz (Penguin, 2006)


Notes:

  • Poem: Thank you Make Believe Boutique. Illustration: bakanohealthy
  • 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

Carrying a day
is like carrying a mountain,
Brooding over your own horizon
those endless small words
The silence at the end of sentences.
Come to the bank
Breathe the snow
Put your day down

Terrance Keenan, excerpted and edited from “Lullaby of Crossing the River” in St. Nadie in Winter


Notes: Poem via The Vale of Soul Making. Photo by Patty Maher (The Quiet Storm).

Saturday Morning

What is silence?

Something of the sky in us.

~ Ilya Kaminsky, from “Deaf Republic: 1,” Poetry 


Notes: Poem – The Vale of the Soulmaking. Photo: John White with Blue Sky with small clouds (Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln, South Australia, Australia)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

When the night slides under with the last dimming star
and the red sky lightens between the trees,
and the heron glides tipping heavy wings in the river,
when crows stir and cry out their harsh joy,
and swift creatures of the night run toward their burrows,
and the deer raises her head and sniffs the freshening air,
and the shadows grow more distinct and then shorten,
then we rise into the day still clean as new snow.
The cat washes its paw and greets the day with gratitude.
Every day we find a new sky and a new earth
with which we are trusted like a perfect toy…

We are given the wind within us, the breath
to shape into words that steal time…
Yet holy breath still stretches our lungs to sing.
We are lent for a time these minerals in water
and a morning every day, a morning to wake up,
rejoice and praise life in our spines, our throats,
our knees, our genitals, our brains, our tongues…

We are given passion to rise
like the sun in our minds with the new day
and burn the debris of habit and greed and fear.
We stand in the midst of the burning world
primed to burn with compassionate love and justice,
to turn inward and find holy fire at the core,
to turn outward and see the world that is all
of one flesh with us, see under the trash, through
the smog, the furry bee in the apple blossom,
the trout leaping, the candles our ancestors lit for us…

Let silence still us so you may show us your shining
and we can out of that stillness rise and praise.

~ Marge Piercy, from “Nishmat in “Available Light


Notes: Poem – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: Marta Navarro

It’s been a long day

Some days are like this:

you can’t move.

Can’t be moved.

What growth there is, is imperceptible.

A slow efflorescence.

— Thomas Centolella, from “Setsubun”, in Terra Firma


Notes:

Walking in place. Saturday Morning.

“I like things I can see as much as things I can’t (see)…that inner light was drawing me in.”

It was an innocuous line by Murakami in Killing Commendatore, but for some reason I couldn’t, I can’t, let it go.

And then it’s Baader-Meinhof. You are shopping for a new car, you fall in love with a particular model, and then suddenly you begin to see it everywhere. But the what is what I can’t see.

Murakami is followed by a passage I read by Immanuel Kant:

“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.”

And it’s early Saturday morning.  Light rain.

I’m in bed, it’s dark out. The body is spent from the week. The Mind is off on its own, its finger tips touching, exploring, wandering, free, weightless. [Read more…]

Sunday Morning

Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and
makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
spirit, some small god, who abides there.

If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
continuously.
I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this
holiness, which is why I’m so often late coming
back from wherever I went.

Forgive me.

~ Mary Oliver, “Forgive Me” in Blue Horses


Sources: Poem – Thank you Whiskey River. Photo – Lichen by Mathieu Noël

Saturday Morning

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening,
hear what I say with eyes open inward,
asleep with all five senses awake, rain, light steps,
a murmuring of syllables,
air and water, words without weight.

— Octavio Paz, “As One Listens To The Rain“ in A Tree Within


Notes: Quote via korraled. Gif via Your Eyes Blaze Out

Running. With Half Pass.

feet

Iron couplers connect railcars. One to the next, to the next. Synchronicity? Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon?

Terri Gross interviews Leonard Cohen‘s Son, Adam, on a NPR: Fresh Air podcast titled “Leonard Cohen The Poet, Writer, And Father where he talks about his Father: “He was preoccupied with the brokenness of things, the asymmetry of things, as he says forget your perfect offering…or as in his song Anthem…Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

I turn the page in Haruki Murakami’s new novel Killing Commendatore and the title of Chapter 4 flashes and sticks: “From a Distance, Most Things Look Beautiful.”

I’m running to Stamford Cove Park. Off in the distance, a man grips three leashes, two small, white dogs of the same breed on his left (Rat Terriers?), and a larger Mix (Rescue?) on the right.

I approach.

I’m drawn to Mix. All four legs move sideways and forward, a Half Pass dressage. A defect. I slow to follow the pack from a few yards back, the Terriers pull on the leashes, the mix struggles to keep up.

The Mind calls up a passage by Tom Hennen that I came across earlier in the week: “I am struck by the otherness of things rather than their sameness. That each thing on earth has its own soul, its own life, that each tree, each clod is filled with the mud of its own star.” [Read more…]

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