Lightly Child, Lightly.

Come back to earth…

dwell on the shortness of life.

Lift up your dark heart and sing a song about

how time drifts past you like the gentlest, almost imperceptible breeze.

Jim Harrison, from “Cold Poem” in “Saving Daylight.”


Note:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. January 26, 2023. 6:35 a.m.
  • Poem: Thank you Whiskey River
  • 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.”

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

This idea that there’s something Posh about culture really upsets me. It really upsets me because the liberating nature of a beautiful piece of art, whether it’s music, whether it’s paint on canvas, whether it’s a poem, whether it’s a book, or whether it’s a play. It’s plays that I first plugged into as a kid. It’s so immensely important to your mental health, the simple ability to step outside your own brain. It’s meditative. It’s quasi-religious. It’s an ability to step outside the quotidian, The Daily Grind, to actually rise above the minutiae of your daily existence and soar into Uncharted Territory. It is a thing of absolute Beauty. And if you are laughing at me now, that is tragic because it means you don’t know what I’m talking about, which means you’ve never had that experience, which, means you’ve never been lucky enough to have a teacher or a parent or a friend or an accidental encounter with some music, you’ve never had that experience. Maybe some people get it at the football, actually at an amazing sporting event, which can be a mixture of religious and Theatrical, when you feel yourself soaring… I had a spiritual experience but I’ve had that experience in theaters and I’ve had that experience in my own home listening to a certain piece of music or reading a book. And why why why in this country are the words I have just said in any way emblematic of something that is linked to social class. Why I do not get it, I do not get it at all… Why is this country a place where we are told from a very early age, that the inner life, the imagination, the magic of art and culture, is something that is the sole Preserve of the wealthy, or the privileged. Where does that come from? …it breaks my heart.

— James O’Brien, from “This idea that there’s something posh about culture really upsets me” (LBC, Friday November 11, 2022)

Monday Afternoon Wake-Up Call

A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.

—  Czeslaw Milosz, “Gift” from New and Collected Poems, 1931-2001( Ecco; April 4, 2017)


DK Photo @ 6:15am on October 23, 2022. More photos from yesterday’s morning walk at Cove Island Park here.

T.G.I.F. I want our summers…

…So be it. Maybe all this baking will quiet
the angry voices next door, if only

for a brief whiff. I want our summers

to always be like this—a kitchen wrecked with love,
a table overflowing with baked goods
warming the already warm air. After all the pots

are stacked, the goodies cooled, and all the counters
wiped clean—let us never be rescued from this mess.


Photo: Louis Hansel (via Unsplash)

T.G.I.F. a little sunshine…


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 5:15, 5:25 am, July 22, 2022. 73° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. A few more pictures from this morning here and here.
  • Poem Source: liriostigre

I thank you for the smallest sound…I thank you, light, again…To know that I am here.

 

David Whyte’s “Blessing” poems are interpreted through a visual journey across the Irish landscape in this short film by Emmy-winning filmmaker Andrew Hinton. Musician and composer Owen Ó Súilleabháin, who has collaborated with David Whyte for over a decade, offers a reflection on the music that inspired the creation of this short film. (via Gratefulness.org)

BLESSING FOR SOUND
from The Bell and the Blackbird by David Whyte

I thank you,
for the smallest sound,
for the way my ears open
even before my eyes,
as if to remember
the way everything began
with an original, vibrant, note,
and I thank you for this
everyday original music,
always being rehearsed,
always being played,
always being remembered
as something new
and arriving, a tram line
below in the city street,
gull cries, or a ship’s horn
in the distant harbour,
so that in waking I hear voices
even where there is no voice
and invitations where
there is no invitation
so that I can wake with you
by the ocean, in summer
or in the deepest seemingly
quietest winter,
and be with you
so that I can hear you
even with my eyes closed,
even with my heart closed,
even before I fully wake.

BLESSING FOR THE LIGHT
from The Bell and the Blackbird by David Whyte

I thank you, light, again,
for helping me to find
the outline of my daughter’s face,
I thank you light,
for the subtle way
your merest touch gives shape
to such things I could
only learn to love
through your delicate instruction,
and I thank you, this morning
waking again,
most intimately and secretly
for your visible invisibility,
the way you make me look
at the face of the world
so that everything becomes
an eye to everything else
and so that strangely,
I also see myself being seen,
so that I can be born again
in that sight, so that
I can have this one other way
along with every other way,
to know that I am here.


Thank you Lori for sharing. Moved.

TGIF: Come Collect Me

I think the trees are firework taxidermy.
A steady reminder of celebration and light.
How quiet. I’m a collaps-
ing house. Come collect me.

—  Dalton Day, from “Stepping Out of Sorrow,” published in Souvenir: a Journal. Fall 2015


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 4:43 a.m. 68° F. June 17, 2022. Other pictures from this morning’s walk here.
  • Poem via The Vale of Soul-Making)

Monday Morning

The plan is obvious. Earth will become more and more beautiful until I can’t stand it. Then I will vanish.

—  D. Nurkse, from his poem ‘A Clearing on Ruth Island’, published in Sangam House, March 2022


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Cove Island Park @ Daybreak. 5:03 am. 59° F. May 30, 2022.  See more photos from today’s glorious morning here.
  • Poem Source: indeskidgepoetry
  • And a final thought…the biggest thought fluttering around (more like cutting) —  today being Memorial Day, a day we remember and honor those who sacrificed everything for our freedoms – – those Patriots who vanished before they were able to see another moment of our Earth’s beauty.  I am grateful for them and honor them today. And perhaps there is a bigger, grander plan, for the wars, for the children slaughtered at elementary schools, for the incomprehensible racist killings at our neighborhood grocery stores – – because I can’t see any plan that includes killing fields in schools and grocery stores.  Thomas Friedman: “But with every passing day, every mass shooting, every racist dog whistle, every defund-the-police initiative, every nation-sundering Supreme Court ruling, every speaker run off a campus, every bogus claim of election fraud, I wonder if he can bring us back together. I wonder if it’s too late. I fear that we’re going to break something very valuable very soon. And once we break it, it will be gone — and we may never be able to get it back…We are staring into that abyss right now.”

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.”
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