Lightly Child, Lightly

Drifting, what am I like?

A gull between earth and sky.

—  Du Fu, (712- 770). “Thoughts While Traveling At Night”, trans. by Vikram Seth, in Three Chinese Poets: Wang Wei, Li Bai, and Du Fu


Notes:

  • Photo – DK @ Cove Island Park on March 21, 2022. Quote via antigonick
  • 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.”

do not walk by without pausing to attend to this rather ridiculous performance

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

—  Mary Oliver, “Invitation” in  A Thousand Mornings (New York: Penguin Books, 2013).


Photo by Joshua J. Cotten of male goldfinch, Backyard, Cordova, TN, USA in October 2021 via unsplash

And then, there was Snow.

Come to my quietness I shall cover you with it,

like a white sheet that has blown all day in the sun,

like a mountain lake filled with spring,

it shall slip over you…

—  Diane di Prima, Selected Poems, 1956-1975


Notes:

  • Photos: DK @ Daybreak. 6:30 to 6:50 am, Feb 13, 2022. Snow & Snowing. 29° F, feels like 22° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.
  • Poem, Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels.

I touch her (them) with the eyes of my skin


  • Photo: Backyard Visitors. DK  @ Daybreak. 7:35 a.m. this morning.
  • Post Title & Inspiration:
    The way a deer emerges from a thicket
    is the opposite of a wound.

    Like the moon in the morning —
    all firmament, beautiful, about to vanish.

    Each morning I walk out my apartment
    & wonder what is going to become of me.

    —  Devin Kelly, “Deer on the Side of an American Highway,” published in drDOCTOR (via bostonpoetryslam)

  • And also inspired by:

    We move within the snow-chromed world—: Like-animal. Like-deer. An alphabet. Along a street white as lamp light into the winter, walking—: like language, a new text. I touch her with the eyes of my skin.

    ~ Natalie Diaz, from ‘Between the Palm and the Ear” (Boston Review)

Monday Morning

The slow overture of rain,
each drop breaking
without breaking into
the next, describes
the unrelenting, syncopated
mind. Not unlike
the hummingbirds
imagining their wings
to be their heart, and swallows
believing the horizon
to be a line they lift
and drop.

Jorie Graham, from “Mind,” in Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts.


Notes: Poem via The Vale of Soul-Making. Photo: pan xiaozhen @zhenhappy via Unsplash

Walking. On the Edge…

+ 6:10 a.m. Saturday. 41°. Calm, light drizzle. Cove Island Park Walk. + The Body is pulled to this part of The Cove, and it softens along the gentle, sloping embankment at the estuary of the Noroton River and the Long Island Sound. There is Something about this spot that’s magic. William Stafford in his book “Even in Quiet Places“, in his poem “Time for Serenity, Anyone?“, describes it: “It stretches out there shivering toward its own creation, and I’m part of it. Even my breathing enters into this elaborate give-and-take.” And there I stand. Soft rain falls on me, the Mind rests, and I breathe it all in.  + Speaking of breathing, COVID cases have surged in Connecticut, up 50%. This in a state where vaccinations and masks are religion. Fodder for the idiots spouting that masks and vaccinations don’t work, ignoring that 75% of hospitalizations are among those not fully vaccinated. NY Times front page story this morning: “Despair Sets In As Cases Bury Hospital Staffs. Medical Workers Feel Crisis Has No End.” Hospital workers back living on the edge… Aerosmith’s Living on the Edge: “There’s something wrong with the world today / I don’t know what it is / Something’s wrong with our eyes / We’re seeing things in a different way / And God knows it ain’t his… / The light bulb’s getting dim.” + I near the end of my walk. Gulls stand in low tide, in ice cold water, preening.  Something about this act of their preening that soothes me. These beautiful creatures, with their little heart beats, and wings that keep them aloft. Yet here we are. Seemingly grounded, as the world burns.  Patricia Highsmith: “Such is the human mind with no hand on the steering wheel.


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 6:23 a.m. & 7:05 a.m. & Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. 41°. Calm. Light Drizzle.
  • Stafford quote, thank you Whiskey River.

No religion except…

…No religion except whatever Mary Oliver had going on.


Notes:

  • Quote: Monkcore.
  • T-Shirt: Online Ceramics
  • Inspired by: “Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these— the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?” —  Mary Oliver, from “Mindful” in “Why I Wake Early” (via Alive on All Channels)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

The part of life
devoted to contemplation
was at odds with the part
committed to action…

Life, my sister said,
is like a torch passed now
from the body to the mind.
Sadly, she went on, the mind is not
there to receive it.

Louise Glück, from “Autumn” in “Winter Recipes from the Collective: Poems” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 26, 2021)


Portrait: Louise Gluck via The Atlantic

That’s how this machine works

There’s how I don’t answer the phone, and how I sometimes like to lie down on the floor in the kitchen and pretend I’m not home when people knock. There’s daytime silent when I stare, and a nighttime silent when I do things. There’s shower silent and bath silent and […] car silent and then there’s the silence that comes back, a million times bigger than me, sneaks into my bones and wails and wails and wails until I can’t be quiet anymore. That’s how this machine works.

Ada Limón, excerpt from “The Quiet Machine”, in Bright Dead Things: Poems 


Notes: Portrait by Lucas Marquardt @ About Ada. Passage via antigonick

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Sometimes I get tired of the everythingness of everything, so I retreat to my bed and read. I read and let time fly like a bird that’s hit by a truck, and I’m in a place where peace is timeless. I overthink about doing everything that I need to do all at once, that I drown in the anxiety of heaviness. Reading is coming up to the surface to breathe, and I am learning to perceive before I judge. I am learning to refine my mind before taking action, and I am learning to think with my heart. Because literature, fantasy, and getting my mind caught in the clouds … these are the things that inspire me to live better in reality. And so I close my book, draw the curtains and let the light in everything I’m supposed to do and let the chapter of today be enough.”

— Juansen Dizon, “A Diary Entry about Reading” from The Boy Who Cries Wolf


Notes:

  • Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels
  • Photo Credit
  • Post inspired by: “There is no better use of my time than to write, second only to reading. As I write, sequential time alters. The usual clock face of seconds marching into minutes, and those minutes adding up to hours, fails to operate in that way for me. Time takes on elasticity and springiness. It seems to stretch so much that I lose track of those passing seconds. It seems to jump from its linear march so high and so far that one moment it is such and such a time, and the next an entire hour has elapsed.” —  Fred D’Aguiar, Year of Plagues: A Memoir of 2020 (Harper, August 3, 2021)
  • 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.”

…his long neck folded

All winter
the blue heron
slept among the horses.
I do not know
the custom of herons,
do not know
if the solitary habit
is their way,
or if he listened for
some missing one—
not knowing even
that was what he did—
in the blowing
sounds in the dark,
I know that
hope is the hardest
love we carry.
He slept
with his long neck
folded, like a letter
put away.

— Jane Hirshfield, “Hope and Love” from “The Lives of the Heart: Poems


Photo: DK @ Daybreak. Heron. 6:03 am, August 22, 2021. 75° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. 

Lightly Child, Lightly.

I am trying to teach my mind
to bear the long, slow growth
of the fields, and to sing
of its passing while it waits.

The farm must be made a form,
endlessly bringing together
heaven and earth, light
and rain building back again
the shapes and actions of the ground.

~ Wendell Berry, from “From The Crest” in “Quest for Place. The Poetry of Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry.”


Notes:

  • Quote: Thank you Make Believe Boutique
  • Photo: Aleksander Kanizaj via Expressions-of-Nature
  • 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.

All we ever talk of is light—
let there be light, there was light then,

good light—but what I consider
dawn is darker than all that.

So many hours between the day
receding and what we recognize

as morning, the sun cresting
like a wave that won’t break

over us—as if  light were protective,
as if  no hearts were flayed,

no bodies broken on a day
like today. In any film,

the sunrise tells us everything
will be all right. Danger wouldn’t

dare show up now, dragging
its shadow across the screen.

We talk so much of  light, please
let me speak on behalf

of  the good dark. Let us
talk more of how dark

the beginning of a day is.

Maggie Smith, “How Dark the Beginning


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. July 14, 2021. 4:45 a.m.
  • 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.”

Insomnia

All over the world people can’t sleep.
In different times zones they’re lying awake
Bodies still, minds trudging along…
some are too cold, some too hot…
Some under bridges…
some hungry, some in pain…
Some get up
Others stay in bed
They eat oreos, or drink wine
Or both
Many read…
Some check their email
They try sleep tapes, hypnosis, drugs
They listen to their clocks tick…
hoping to catch a ride on the steady sleep breath of the other
to be carried like a seed on the body of one who is able.
Right now in Japan dawn is coming, and everyone who’s been up all night is relieved;
they can stop trying In Guatemala though the insomniacs are just getting started
and have the whole night ahead of them.
It’s like a wave at the baseball stadium,
hands around the world.
So here’s a prayer for the wakeful
The souls who can’t rest
as you lie with your eyes open
or closed
May something comfort you—a mockingbird, a breeze,
the smell of crushed mint
rain on the roof,
Chopin’s Nocturnes
your child’s birth
a kiss,
or even me—in my chilly kitchen
with my coat on—thinking of you

~Ellen Bass, from “Insomnia” in Mules of Love 


Photo: “Insomnia” by Alice Rose Photography. Poem, thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels)

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Watching the first sunlight
touch the tops of the palms
what could I ask […]

I dream I am here
in the morning
and the dream is its own time […]

There I am
morning clouds
in the east wind

No one is in the garden
the autumn daisies
have the day to themselves […]

I needed my mistakes
in their own order
to get me here […]

I call that singing bird my friend
though I know nothing else about him
and he does not know I exist […]

In my youth I believed in somewhere else
I put faith in travel
now I am becoming my own tree. »

W.S. Merwin, “Wild Oats” in The Moon Before Morning


Notes:

  • Quote via Alive on All Channels via exhaled-spirals. Photo: Jose Kevo – Caribbean Sunrise
  • 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.

Why does this light force me back
to my childhood? I wore a yellow
summer dress, and the skirt
made a perfect circle.
Turning and turning
until it flared to the limit
was irresistible . . . . The grass and trees,
my outstretched arms, and the skirt
whirled in the ochre light
of any early June evening.
And I knew then
that I would live,
and go on living: what sorrow it was;
and still what sorrow ignites
but does not consume
my heart.

Jane Kenyon, from “The Evening Sun” in Collected Poems


Notes:

  • 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.”
  • Photo Credit

And then I feel the sun itself…

And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire —
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.

— Mary Oliver, ”The Buddha’s Last Instruction,” from House of Light.


Notes:

i am alive, and by god i’m tired of being awakened, but unlived. i step outside.


Notes:

 

 

Spring Night

The few minutes of a Spring night are worth ten thousand pieces of gold.

The perfume of the flowers is so pure.

The shadows of the moon are so black.

Su Dongpo, (1037-1101) from “Spring Night” in “One Hundred Poems from the Chinese.” Trans. Kenneth Rexroth.

 


Notes:

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Nothing but light —

scalding, aortal light —

in which we are washed and washed out of our bones.

—  Mary Oliver, from “White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field” in “House of Light

 


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 5:23 am, March 11, 2021. 40° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.
  • Poem via Poems That I Love
  • 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.”
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