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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

I love what Wendell Berry writes of in this poem.  A Mother’s love
that is so willing to rest always in love.  No matter what little or big
things come up, that love remains.  In other words, those things
that can come up — she ‘pays it no mind’.

Believing in someone is always a force for the good.  It is to merge
Heaven on Earth, as Wendell Berry brilliantly reflects in this tribute
to his Mother.  Enjoy and Happy Mother’s Day!

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To My Mother

I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.

So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,

prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,

and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
to see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it

already given. And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,

where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.

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Buddha Shovels Snow

people-shoveling-snow-600x600

It’s been a long time since I posted any poetry from Billy Collins.  He’s an interesting poet – irreverent at times, addressing life even in its difficulty with equal parts depth and humor.   His poetry is accessible to even those who don’t like poetry.
I was having an online conversation with a Northern Michigan friend, speaking in metaphors about how even the most mundane, repetitive work can be honored as sacred.  She began to tell me how much this mirrored her day shoveling snow, and I was immediately reminded of this poem.  So for all my friends out there who weathered the snow and frigid temperatures lately, this is for you:
Shoveling Snow With Buddha

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

~Billy Collins~

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FullSizeRender

This poem is one of my personal favorites that I’ve written. I wrote it after having gone in and through a particularly difficult time. It continues to bring me solace today.

past the borders of happiness and unhappiness
a rim of fire oaks bid me on the blue horizon

smooth hand like leaves held me there
while the first hard rain fell

I kneeled and leaned into the heady fragrance
of an ancient wisdom revealed
beneath the old rough timber

it spoke of the delicate balance in being
at once firmly rooted while gently yielding
whenever the fall winds swept through

I heard of the necessity of winter’s annual arrival
for stillness is the silent cathedral of the earth

I learned that what drops away gives rise to rich black loam
so that nothing that is cherished ever perishes

listening intently now, the old knowing timber whispered
how it never seeks to contain what cuts deep

no, you give it up to the low slung clouds overhead
to be carried on the wings of the air

©heartsdeesire

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house20of20belonging20-2

 

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned,
if you can know despair or see it in others,
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes,
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living,
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

~David Whyte~
RIVER FlOW: New and Selected Poems

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Satellite

 

Everywhere

soft breeze warm sunshine

the same calm

even the withered trees

on the dark cliff

are blossoming

I tried to find

where Subhuti*

meditates

but suddenly in the shadow

of mist and fog

the path split a thousand ways.

~ Muso Soseki ~
Music of the Sky: An Anthology of Spiritual Poetry

*Subhūti was one of the Ten Great Śrāvakas of Śākyamuni Buddha, and foremost in the understanding of emptiness.

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swinging

Don’t go anywhere without me.
Let nothing happen in the sky apart from me,
or on the ground, in this world or that world,
without my being in its happening.
Vision, see nothing I don’t see.
Language, say nothing.
The way the night knows itself with the moon,
be that with me. Be the rose
nearest to the thorn that I am.

I want to feel myself in you when you taste food,
in the arc of your mallet when you work,
when you visit friends, when you go
up on the roof by yourself at night.

There’s nothing worse than to walk out along the street
without you. I don’t know where I’m going.
You’re the road and knower of roads,
more than maps, more than love.

~Rumi~

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morning_daises

Yup, it could have been a haiku.  I tried, before I scrapped it all and wrote this instead …once again on the subject of spring and hope and optimism, and not just for a weather pattern.

rain flowers streaked the veined grass
while she smiled daisies
overhead a rainbow’s untrimmable light
and still, she smiled daisies
——
I want to contain her, bottle her
and then release her everywhere
——
No, she says, I am everywhere
when you look at the heart of a lotus petal
there you will find me and you.
——
Did you want to contain that?
——
No, I answer.
——
I ask only for reverence, wonder, curiosity, and hope,
dear precious hope
to perpetually bubble up until it spills
into ever-wideneing circles of rainbows.
——
Then I want to go to the highest skies and ask the rainbows:
I bid you please share your sage wisdom with me
——
Ah, they say, be here, silent, smiling daisies,
you’re closer now than you’ve ever been.
©heartsdeesire

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