Thursday, February 4, 2016

I cradle your heart

Two Tendernesses

while I shovel
and fold clothes and wash
bowls and chop
yellow peppers, all day with both hands
I cradle your heart


while I am walking
you are all around me,
you go on as far as I can see —
I have no stars to offer you,
you hold me, anyway

Rosemerry Trommer


"...unless that underground level of the self is preserved as a verified and verifying element in your make-up, you are going to be in danger of settling into whatever profile the world prepares for you and accepting whatever profile the world provides for you. You’ll be in danger of molding yourselves in accordance with laws of growth other than those of your own intuitive being.

The true and durable path into and through experience involves being true to the actual givens of your lives. True to your own solitude, true to your own secret knowledge. Because oddly enough, it is that intimate, deeply personal knowledge that links us most vitally and keeps us most reliably connected to one another.

Calling a spade a spade may be a bit reductive but calling a wooden spoon a wooden spoon is the beginning of wisdom. And you will be sure to keep going in life on a far steadier keel and with far more radiant individuality if you navigate by that principle."

Seamus Heaney


"I have come to understand, hard-won things mean something entirely different. Better.

The thing about struggle, is that it inversely affects entitlement. It engenders gratitude and increases value. It gives shape and provides context. And yet we live in this culture that espouses ease and convenience above all else."

The Happiest Day

It was early May, I think
a moment of lilac or dogwood
when so many promises are made
it hardly matters if a few are broken.

My mother and father still hovered
in the background, part of the scenery
like the houses I had grown up in,
and if they would be torn down later
that was something I knew
but didn't believe. Our children were asleep
or playing, the youngest as new
as the new smell of the lilacs,
and how could I have guessed
their roots were shallow
and would be easily transplanted.

I didn't even guess that I was happy.

The small irritations that are like salt
on melon were what I dwelt on,
though in truth they simply
made the fruit taste sweeter.

So we sat on the porch
in the cool morning, sipping
hot coffee. Behind the news of the day—
strikes and small wars, a fire somewhere—
I could see the top of your dark head
and thought not of public conflagrations
but of how it would feel on my bare shoulder.

If someone could stop the camera then…
if someone could only stop the camera
and ask me: are you happy?
perhaps I would have noticed
how the morning shone in the reflected
color of lilac. Yes, I might have said
and offered a steaming cup of coffee.

Linda Pastan



Not knowing
how to pray, I learn to practice

Nine Common Places of Wonder
Rosemerry Trommer


What Love Cannot Do
January Gill O'Neil

It cannot save itself when it expires
like a tire’s slow leak. It cannot bring back
the greediness of youth

mouth on mouth,
skin on skin, that gnawing,
that longing you carried

until the next time
and then there is no next time.

You never see it coming but always see it leaving.

It waits by the door, bags packed,
full of stones from your life.

What it can do is mark
the distance between Point A and Point B,

which feels like a galaxy,
every star you ever wished upon
imploding before your eyes.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Keeping the Truth Up-front

"If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.

On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clich├ęs, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness.

Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need even more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on."

David Foster Wallace


​One of those things no one warns you about

On my bookshelf I spot a book
That I was supposed to give you,
Many months ago.

Then we broke up before
I could give you the book.

Now the book is a spirit in limbo.
Keeping it on my shelf
Would be sentimental.
But giving it away would be
Another goodbye.

This is one of those things
No one warns you about
The end of love.
One says goodbye not once
But several times.

Philip John,

Saturday, January 23, 2016


The older I get, the more I understand the importance of having multiple sources of energy -  especially sources outside human relationships. Like solitude, paying attention to the universe. Like sunlight through leaves, trees changing with the seasons, the delight of birdsong, the abundant joy of squirrels, the dreaminess of cows - :) :) - not to mention music, poetry, art, gardening - anything that helps you create or experience beauty, peace. Anything that lifts you out of your ponderous self.

"When love first happens, the individuals are giving each other energy unconsciously and both people feel buoyant and elated. That's the incredible high we call being ‘in love.’

Unfortunately, once they expect this feeling to come from another person, they cut themselves off from the energy in the universe and begin to rely even more on the energy from each other -- only now there doesn’t seem to be enough and so they stop giving each other energy and fall back into their dramas in an attempt to control each other and force the other’s energy their way."

James Redfield

Milosz says it best:

A day so happy:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The capacity to love

Andrei Tarkovsky:

“I see it as my duty to stimulate reflection on what is essentially human and eternal in each individual soul, and which all too often a person will pass by, even though his fate lies in his hands. He is too busy chasing after phantoms and bowing down to idols.

In the end, everything can be reduced to the one simple element which is all a person can count upon in his existence: the capacity to love. That element can grow within the soul to become the supreme factor which determines the meaning of a person's life.

My function is to make whoever sees my films aware of his need to love and to give his love, and aware that beauty is summoning him.”

Walking into yourself

I have been thinking a lot about how people choose between denial and looking at things square in the face -  how and why they decide to choose the tougher, or easier option. The stories they tell themselves to justify the choice, the stories they are afraid to let go. And how when patterns form in your head, you are no longer conscious of the choice being made.

"You can try to cover up depression in many ways. You can listen to Bach's compositions for the organ in Our Saviour's Church. You can arrange a line of good cheer in powder form on a pocket mirror with a razor blade and ingest it with a straw. You can call for help. For instance, by telephone, so that you know who's listening.

That's the European method. Hoping to work your way out of your problems through action.

I take the Greenlandic way. It consists of walking into yourself in the dark mood. Putting your defeat under a microscope and dwelling on the sight."

from 'Smilla's Sense of Snow' by Peter Hoeg (1988), translated from Danish by Tina Nunnally

Let's find a Way today

Piglet's Song

Let's find a Way today,
that can take us to tomorrow.
We'll follow that Way,
A Way like flowing water.

Let's leave behind,
the things that do not matter.
And we'll turn our lives,
to a more important chapter.

Let's take the time and try to find,
what real life has to offer.
And maybe then we'll find again,
what we had long forgotten.
Like a friend, true 'til the end,
it will help us onward.

The sun is high, the road is wide,
and it starts where we are standing.
No one knows how far it goes,
for the road is never-ending.

It goes away,
beyond what we have thought of.
It flows away,
Away like flowing water.

Benjamin Hoff, 'The Te of Piglet'

You are enough

Everything I Know of What I Want to Say

Talking with you I dream into being all I hold precious of words I discover
through your finding them in my saying.

When I am with you there is nowhere on earth I flow better or am more myself
breathing now with every cell I own.

I see steel in you but also the fragility of the snowflake transforming
the world around it with others similarly tenacious.

Take it into your heart that I believe in you fully and taste amazing possibility
in the riot of your laughter.

You are enough and are enough and will be enough.
I place you in the light and find you coming into being, the world fresh on your shoulders.

You stun me with your hope. It glows in the ache of your greeting, your morning eyes
thick with sleep and shining.

Anthony Wilson,


The sky hangs up its starry pictures: a swan,
a crab, a horse. And even though you’re
three hundred miles away, I know you see
them, too. Right now, my side
of the bed is empty, a clear blue lake
of flannel. The distance yawns and stretches.

It’s hard to remember we swim in an ocean
of great love, so easy to fall into bickering
like little birds at the feeder fighting over proso
and millet, unaware of how large the bag of grain is,
a river of golden seeds, that the harvest was plentiful,
the corn is in the barn, and whenever we’re hungry,
a dipperful of just what we need will be spilled . . .

Barbara Crooker

The Functions of Mythology

​"The first function of a mythology is to reconcile waking consciousness to the mysterium tremendum et fascinans of this universe as it is: the second being to render an interpretive total image of the same, as known to contemporary consciousness. Shakespeare's definition of the function of his art, "to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature," is thus equally a definition of mythology. It is the revelation to waking consciousness of the powers of its own sustaining source.

A third function, however, is the enforcement of a moral order: the shaping of the individual to the requirements of his geographically and historically conditioned social group, and here an actual break from nature may ensue, as for instance (extremely) in the case of a castrato. Circumcisions, subincisions, scarifications, tattoos, and so forth are socially ordered brands and croppings, to join the merely human body in membership to a larger, more enduring, cultural body, of which it is required to become an organ - the mind and feelings being imprinted simultaneously with a correlative mythology. And not nature, but society, is the alpha and omega of this lesson."

Page 4, 'Experience and Authority', from 'The Masks of God: Creative Mythology', by Joseph Campbell

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