A temple – or a green field – a place to enter, and in which to feel.


Whitman kept me from the swamps of a worse uncertainty, and I lived many hours within the lit circle of his certainty, and his bravado. Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs! And there was the passion which he invested in the poems. The metaphysical curiosity! The oracular tenderness with which he viewed the world— its roughness, its differences, the stars, the spider— nothing was outside the range of his interest. I reveled in the specificity of his words. And his faith— that kept my spirit buoyant surely, though his faith was without a name that I ever heard of. Do you guess I have some intricate purpose? Well I have . . . for the April rain has, and the mica on the side of a rock has.

But first and foremost, I learned from Whitman that the poem is a temple— or a green field— a place to enter, and in which to feel. Only in a secondary way is it an intellectual thing— an artifact, a moment of seemly and robust wordiness— wonderful as that part of it is. I learned that the poem was made not just to exist, but to speak— to be company. It was everything that was needed, when everything was needed. I remember the delicate, rumpled way into the woods, and the weight of the books in my pack. I remember the rambling, and the loafing— the wonderful days when, with Whitman, I tucked my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time.

~ Mary Oliver, from “My Friend Walt Whitman” in Upstream, Selected Essays


Running. With a Red Butterfly.


I run. I write. I post. In that order. With few gaps. Typically. But not Saturday. No. No. No. Disbelief. Fatigue on overdrive. Just not real. 

I marinated in it for days.

And then Rilke prods: “ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: ‘must I write?’ Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple ‘I must,’ then build your life according to this necessity.”

So I must.

And I write.

A series of interlocking coincidences which only rose to consciousness after a replay of events played forward from daybreak.

5 a.m.

A short reading. It was Leonard Bernstein, from Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein:

I am frequently visited by a white moth or a white butterfly. Quite amazingly frequently. And I know it’s Felicia. I remember that when she died, her coffin was in our living room in East Hampton … and just a few of us were there—the family and a rabbi and a priest, because she’d been brought up in a convent in Chile. We were playing the Mozart Requiem on the phonograph. Everyone was absolutely silent. And then this white butterfly flew in from God knows where—it just appeared from under the coffin and flew around, alighting on everybody in the room—on each of the children, on the rabbi, on the priest, on her brother-in-law and two of her sisters, on me … and then it was gone … though there was nothing open. And this has also happened to me here, sitting outside in my garden. … White.

The appearance of a white moth. Or white butterfly…White.

7 a.m.

From somewhere, an unbeknownst longing for a punishing trail run. It had been months. I’m in the car. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning


Love, these lines
accompany our want, nameless
or otherwise, and our waiting.
And since we’ve not learned
how not to want,
we’ve had to learn,
by waiting, how to wait.

—Li-Young Lee, from “The Waiting” in The City In Which I Love You

Notes: Poem: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Gif: Newthom

Summer Flashback


Source: Julian Stratenschulte via wsj.com. A boy jumps into a swimming pool in Hanover, Germany. 


Summer Breeze

photography,black and white

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune…

Listen to Jason Mraz’s cover of Seals & Crofts’ classic here: 


Photo Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out



I took a sideboard breakfast of scrambled eggs, thick-cut bacon, sausage, grits, peaches, figs, grapefruit, tomato juice, milk, and pumpkin muffins…

From my table I looked through long windows onto a tomato patch from the year before; a meadowlark let loose a piece of plaintive song in the mist, and a recognition moved in my memory as if I’d been here before.

~ William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways: A Journey into America.

Notes: Photo – Philip L. Hinton in Kent, UK with Early Morning Mist

Saturday Morning


I’d like to walk there again.
It was so lonely — a nice kind of loneliness,
and all grass and clover and soft sea air.

– C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Chronicles of Narnia

Source: Quote – Schonwiener. Photo: Newthom

Lightly child, lightly.

This is what I want.
I want to keep the past like a pearl on my tongue,
to inherit the salt in my skin. I want to learn how horizon can curve
back into itself so I can say what ocean says of wreckage: Dive into
my chest, stay as long as you can breathe, chart this hull of bones.

Bryce Emley, from “Everything All at Once (My Self as Ocean)


  • Photo – mennyfox55. Poem: Memory’s Landscape
  • 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.”


Lightly child, lightly.


And those light breezes of the early morning
move the white, waving curtain
of my wide-open window …

~ Juan Ramón Jiménez, from “Lightness,” Fifty Spanish Poems


  • Photo – lamaisongray. Poem: The Distance Between Two Doors
  • 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.”



Anne Sila, 26, is a French singer and cellist. She came to prominence in 2015 in season 4 of the talent show: The Voice, the most beautiful voice.

Inspired by a share by Memory’s Landscape:

“A photograph is a fragment–a glimpse. We accumulate glimpses, fragments. All of us mentally stock hundreds of photographic images, subject to instant recall. All photographs aspire to the condition of being memorable–that is, unforgettable.”

~ Susan Sontag, from “Photography: A Little Summa,” At the Same Time: Essays & Speeches

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