Monday, April 25, 2016

silently if, out of not knowable







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silently if, out of not knowable
night's utmost nothing,wanders a little guess
(only which is this world)more my life does
not leap than with the mystery your smile
sings or if(spiralling as luminous
they climb oblivion)voices who are dreams,
less into heaven certainly earth swims
than each my deeper death becomes your kiss
losing through you what seemed myself,i find
selves unimaginably mine;beyond
sorrow's own joys and hoping's very fears
yours is the light by which my spirit's born:
yours is the darkness of my soul's return
-you are my sun,my moon,and all my stars


–E. E. Cummings



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Ars Magnetica





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From so much loving and journeying, books emerge.
And if they don’t contain kisses or landscapes,
if they don’t contain a man with his hands full,
if they don’t contain a woman in every drop,
hunger, desire, anger, roads,
they are no use as a shield or a bell:
they have no eyes, and won’t be able to open them,
they have the dead sound of precepts.

I loved the entangling of flesh,
and out of blood and love I carved my poems.
In hard earth I brought a rose to flower,
fought over by fire and dew.

That’s how I could keep on singing.


–Pablo Neruda



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Put out my eyes, and I can see you still;
slam my ears to, and I can hear you yet;
and without any feet can go to you;
and tongueless, I can conjure you at will.

Break off my arms, I shall take hold of you
and grasp you with my heart as with a hand;
arrest my heart, my brain will beat as true;
and if you set this brain of mine afire,
upon my blood I then will carry you.



–Rainer Maria Rilke
from The Book of Hours



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The Over-Soul, excerpt






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The heart in thee is the heart of all; not a valve, not a wall, not an intersection is there anywhere in nature, but one blood rolls uninterruptedly an endless circulation through all… as the water of the globe is all one sea, and, truly seen, its tide is one.


–Ralph Waldo Emerson


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to kiss a forehead is to erase worry





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To kiss a forehead is to erase worry.
I kiss your forehead.

To kiss the eyes is to lift sleeplessness.
I kiss your eyes.

To kiss the lips is to drink water.
I kiss your lips.

To kiss a forehead is to erase memory.
I kiss your forehead.


–Marina Tsvetaeva



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Sorrow Arrow, excerpt






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You sit in your body, quietly making blood
Wild blood
Bird of the world


–Emily Kendal Frey


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feast





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Sons and daughters of the earth, steep yourself in the sea of matter, bathe in its fiery waters, for it is the source of your life and your youthfulness.
You thought you could do without it because the power of thought has been kindled in you? You hoped that the more thoroughly you rejected the tangible, the closer you would be to spirit: that you would be more divine if you lived in the world of pure thought, or at least more angelic if you fled the corporeal? Well, you were like to have perished of hunger.
You must have oil for your limbs, blood for your veins, water for your soul, the world of reality for your intellect: do you not see that the very law of your own nature makes these a necessity for you?


–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin



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Sunday, April 24, 2016

for the time being





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Ours is a planet sown in beings. Our generations overlap like shingles. We don't fall in rows like hay, but we fall. Once we get here, we spend forever on the globe, most of it tucked under. While we breathe, we open time like a path in the grass. We open time as a boat's stem slits the crest of the present.
 
Annie Dillard

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intimate space






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What birds plunge through is not the intimate space,
in which you see all Forms intensified.
(In the Open, denied, you would lose yourself,
would disappear into that vastness.)

Space reaches from us and translates Things:
to become the very essence of a tree,
throw inner space around it, from that space
that lives in you. 
Encircle it with restraint.
It has no limits. For the first time, shaped
in your renouncing, it becomes fully tree.


–Rainer Maria Rilke
Gabriel Caffrey translation





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this is what I believe





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This is what I believe: That I am I.

That my soul is a dark forest.

That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest.

That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back.

That I must have the courage to let them come and go.



—D. H. Lawrence



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Photo Beth Moon,
Ancient Trees: Portraits Of Time 

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Friday, April 22, 2016

when faces called flowers float out of the ground







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when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it’s april(yes,april;my darling)it’s spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving-
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
-alive;we’re alive,dear:it’s(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it’s spring(all our night becomes day)o,it’s spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)


–E. E. Cummings



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not to worry





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Live with skillful nonchalance and ceaseless concern.

–Prajnaparamita Sutra



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you are that





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Be a good animal, true to your instincts.

–D. H. Lawrence
The White Peacock



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something grand

 



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The sun and stars that float in the open air... the appleshaped earth and we upon it... surely the drift of them is something grand;

I do not know what it is except that it is grand, and that it is happiness,
And that the enclosing purport of us here is not a speculation, or bon-mot or reconnoissance,

And that it is not something which by luck may turn out well for us, and without luck must be a failure for us,

And not something which may yet be retracted in a certain contingency.


–Walt Whitman



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strive for this


 




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Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;

Your life will bring heaven to earth.


–The Sutta-Nipāta



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so much love





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The earth turned to bring us closer,
it spun on itself and within us,
and finally joined us together in this dream
as written in the Symposium.
Nights passed by, snowfalls and solstices;
time passed in minutes and millennia.
An ox cart that was on its way to Nineveh
arrived in Nebraska.

A rooster was singing some distance from the world,
in one of the thousand pre-lives of our fathers.
The earth was spinning with its music
carrying us on board;

it didn't stop turning a single moment
as if so much love, so much that's miraculous
was only an adagio written long ago
in the Symposium's score.

–Eugenio Montejo
Peter Boyle translation



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inevitable





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Each of us inevitable,
Each of us limitless --

Each of us with his or her
right upon the earth,

Each of us allow'd
the eternal purports
of the earth,

Each of us here
as divinely as any is here.

 

–Walt Whitman



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be light

 



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be light.
as minerals in the ground rise inside trees
and become tree,
as plant faces an animal
and enters the animal,

so a human
can put down the heavy
body baggage and
be light.


–Rumi
Coleman Barks version



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note to self





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Heaven and Earth are impartial;
they treat all of creation as straw dogs.
The Master doesn't take sides;
she treats everyone like a straw dog.

The space between Heaven and Earth is like a bellows;
it is empty, yet has not lost its power.
The more it is used, the more it produces;
the more you talk of it, the less you comprehend.

It is better not to speak of things you do not understand.



–Lao Tzu
from the Tao Te Ching
J. H. McDonald translation


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Thursday, April 21, 2016

the first dream






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The Wind is ghosting around the house tonight
and as I lean against the door of sleep
I begin to think about the first person to dream,

how quiet he must have seemed the next morning
as the others stood around the fire
draped in the skins of animals
talking to each other only in vowels,
for this was long before the invention of consonants.

He might have gone off by himself to sit
on a rock and look into the mist of a lake
as he tried to tell himself what had happened,
how he had gone somewhere without going,

how he had put his arms around the neck
of a beast that the others could touch
only after they had killed it with stones,
how he felt its breath on his bare neck.

Then again, the first dream could have come
to a woman, though she would behave,
I suppose, much the same way,
moving off by herself to be alone near water,

except that the curve of her young shoulders
and the tilt of her downcast head
would make her appear to be terribly alone,
and if you were there to notice this,

you might have gone down as the first person
to ever fall in love with the sadness of another.

–Billy Collins



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wilderness





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There is a wolf in me . . . fangs pointed for tearing gashes . . . a red tongue for raw meat . . . and the hot lapping of blood—I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go.    


There is a fox in me . . . a silver-gray fox . . . I sniff and guess . . . I pick things out of the wind and air . . . I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers . . . I circle and loop and double-cross.


There is a hog in me . . . a snout and a belly . . . a machinery for eating and grunting . . . a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun—I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not let it go.


There is a fish in me . . . I know I came from salt-blue water-gates . . . I scurried with shoals of herring . . . I blew waterspouts with porpoises . . . before land was . . . before the water went down . . . before Noah . . . before the first chapter of Genesis.


There is a baboon in me . . . clambering-clawed . . . dog-faced . . . yawping a galoot’s hunger . . . hairy under the armpits . . . here are the hawk-eyed hankering men . . . here are the blonde and blue-eyed women . . . here they hide curled asleep waiting . . . ready to snarl and kill . . . ready to sing and give milk . . . waiting—I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so.


There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird . . . and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want . . . and the mockingbird warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes—And I got the eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.

O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve heart—and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where—For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness.


–Carl Sandburg



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the way it is






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In the very earliest time, when both people and animals lived on earth, a person could become an animal if he wanted to and an animal could become a human being.

Sometimes they were people and sometimes animals and there was no difference. All spoke the same language.

That was the time when words were like magic. The human mind had mysterious powers. A word spoken by chance might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive and what people wanted to happen could happen—all you had to do was say it.

Nobody can explain this:
That's the way it was.


–Nalungiaq
Nalungiaq was an Inuit woman interviewed by ethnologist Knud Rasmussen
in the early twentieth century.



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Alex Saberi
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other nations






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Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice,
man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his
knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the
whole image in distortion.
We patronize them for their incompleteness,
for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. 

And therein we err, and greatly err.
For the animal shall not be measured by man. 

In a world older and more complete than ours they move
finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have 
lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. 

They are not brethren, they are not underlings; 
they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

–Henry Beston
The Outermost House 



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I am so afraid of people's words



Adam gives name to the animals
William Blake, 1810





Eve names the birds
 William Blake, 1810



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I am so afraid of people's words.
They describe so distinctly everything:
And this they call dog and that they call house,
here the start and there the end.
I worry about their mockery with words,
they know everything, what will be, what was;
no mountain is still miraculous;
and their house and yard lead right up to God.

I want to warn and object: Let the things be!
I enjoy listening to the sound they are making.
But you always touch: and they hush and stand still.
This is how you kill.


–Rainer Maria Rilke
Annemarie S. Kidder translation




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come into animal presence





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No man is so guileless as
the serpent. The lonely white
rabbit on the roof is a star
twitching its ears at the rain.
The llama intricately
folding its hind legs to be seated
not disdains but mildly
disregards human approval.

What joy when the insouciant
armadillo glances at us and doesn't
quicken his trotting
across the track and into the palm brush.
What is this joy? That no animal
falters, but knows what it must do?
That the snake has no blemish,
that the rabbit inspects his strange surroundings
in white star-silence? The llama
rests in dignity, the armadillo
has some intention to pursue in the palm-forest.

Those who were sacred have remained so,
holiness does not dissolve, it is a presence
of bronze, only the sight that saw it
faltered and turned from it.
An old joy returns in holy presence.


–Denise Levertov
Poems: 1960-1967



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exposed on the cliffs of the heart





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Exposed on the cliffs of the heart. Look, how tiny down there,
look: the last village of words and, higher,
(but how tiny) still one last
farmhouse of feeling. Can you see it?

Exposed on the cliffs of the heart. Stoneground
under your hands. Even here, though,
something can bloom; on a silent cliff-edge
an unknowing plant blooms, singing, into the air.

But the one who knows? Ah, he began to know
and is quiet now, exposed on the cliffs of the heart.
While, with their full awareness,
many sure-footed mountain animals pass
or linger. And the great sheltered birds flies, slowly
circling, around the peak's pure denial. - But
without a shelter, here on the cliffs of the heart...



–Rainer Maria Rilke




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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

promise





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Tender words we spoke
to one another
are sealed
in the secret vaults of heaven.

One day like rain,
they will fall to earth
and grow green
all over the world.


–Rumi



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earth speak

 



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Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.

Rabindranath Tagore


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answers from the elements





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A whole afternoon field inside me from one stem of reed.
The messenger comes running toward me, irritated:
Why be so hard to find?
 

Last night I asked the moon about the Moon, my one question for the visible world, Where is God?

The moon says, I am dust stirred up
when he passed by.

 

The sun, My face is pale yellow
from just now seeing him.

 

Water: I slide on my head and face
like a snake, from a spell
, he said.

Fire: His lightning,
I want to be that restless.


Wind, why so light?
I would burn if I had a choice.

Earth, quiet and thoughtful?
Inside me I have a garden
and an underground spring.
This world hurts my head with its answers,
wine filling my hand, not my glass.
 

If I could wake completely, I would say without speaking
Why I’m ashamed of using words.

 

–Rumi



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failure to see





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Rather the flying bird, leaving no trace
Than the going beast
Marking the earth with his track.

The bird flies by and forgets
(As is only right). The beast
Where he no longer is
(And is therefore no use)
Marks that he was there before
(Which is also no use).

For to remember is to betray
Nature, since the nature of yesterday
Is not nature.
What has been, is nothing.
Remembering
Is failure to see.

Move on, bird, move on, teach me
To move on.



–Fernando Pessoa
Thomas Merton translation



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