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Posts Tagged ‘Poems’

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!

Image Locale

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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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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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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Snow

snow

 

Flowers of ice
hide the heavens
no more blue sky
a silver dust
buries all the fields
and sinks the green mountains
Once the sun
comes out on the one
mountaintop
even the cold
that pierces to the bone
is a joy.

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

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This poem is a favorite of mine; I wrote it several years ago.  The first verse is the tag line you see whenever you visit Simply Blessed.  The “Beloved” I refer to here is God or Spirit, Universe, Divine Creator, Supreme Being, Source, All That Is.

image locale

Messiah

I have fallen between the cracks
and landed in the spaces
where love never fails

Beloved, you are my captor
and I am bound by your love

I hear you whisper softly
don’t speak. words fail here, just listen

churning on the seas of your desire
I am the rising and the falling

the beginning and the ending
the fullness and the emptiness

journey to the furthest point of your yearning
I am the anguish and the exaltation

I am the grain of sand awakening the pearl

I am the morsel you are tasting
be it bitter or sweet

quench your deepest thirst here
where you think I’m not

I Am.


©heartsdeesire

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Sometimes

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Sometimes
if you move carefully
through the forest,

breathing
like the ones
in the old stories,

who could cross
a shimmering bed of leaves
without a sound,

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests,

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
and

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

questions
that can make
or unmake
a life,

questions
that have patiently
waited for you,

questions
that have no right
to go away.

~David Whyte~
River Flow: New and Selected Poems

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winter_OK

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every little thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire.

What disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
forgetting
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
forgetting
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
difficulty
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
otherness.

Silence and winter
have led me to that
otherness.

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

We speak
only with the voices of those
we can hear ourselves
and the body has a voice
only for that portion
of the body of the world
it has learned to perceive.

And
here
in the tumult
of the night
I hear the walnut
above the child’s swing
swaying
its dark limbs
in the wind
and the rain now
come to
beat against my window
and somewhere
in this cold night
of wind and stars
the first whispered
opening of
those hidden
and invisible springs
that uncoil
in the still summer air
each yet
to be imagined
rose.

~David Whyte~
River Flow: New and Selected Poems

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grains4

 

This week’s inquiry … courtesy of my teacher and mentor, Jean Haner.  Months ago, she posted it on her Facebook page as part of a longer piece.  The question felt so compelling that I wrote it down, and thought to share it with you today.

“What if the only thing wrong with you, is that you think something is wrong with you?”

Partnering today’s question is the following quote from David Whyte*:

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

*stay tuned, as my next post later this week, will be the poem, in its entirety, that this was pulled from.

 

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