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Posts from the ‘Poetry’ Category

The Path

“The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.” – Saint Teresa of Avila

Some of the path is paved. Much needs to be broken. May we keep moving down the path with our eye on moving through, moving on and reaching new destinations that come from forward motion. No looking back but only to not return. Eyes ahead, open to new paths, to new discoveries, to new self.

Journey Into The Interior
by Theodore Roethke

In the long journey out of the self,

There are many detours, washed-out interrupted raw places

Where the shale slides dangerously

And the back wheels hang almost over the edge

At the sudden veering, the moment of turning.

Better to hug close, wary of rubble and falling stones.

The arroyo cracking the road, the wind-bitten buttes, the canyons,

Creeks swollen in midsummer from the flash-flood roaring into the narrow valley.

Reeds beaten flat by wind and rain,

Grey from the long winter, burnt at the base in late summer.

— Or the path narrowing,

Winding upward toward the stream with its sharp stones,

The upland of alder and birchtrees,

Through the swamp alive with quicksand,

The way blocked at last by a fallen fir-tree,

The thickets darkening,

The ravines ugly.

Exclamat!on Po!nts!

i “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.” – Buddha

“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.” – Walt Whitman

What punctuation are you using to define your story? Commas, question marks, periods? How about weaving more exclamation points into the narrative of your daily life, especially right now in this very moment.

We pause and stop too soon, starting a sentence but not finishing the paragraph. Your story is not over yet. You have the pen so keep writing, first drafts, second drafts, final edits to launch.

If you need prompts, inspiration, watch the natural expression of flowers in full bloom, dancing with delight, in exclamation and celebration.

“The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.” – Ecouchard Le Brun

Another Voice

“It doesn’t have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t

a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.”

Praying — Mary Oliver, Thirst

As we wander through this desert journey, pay attention. We long for the familiar oasis of certainty and the way it used to be. We are not going back and we will get through with hope, patience and resilience. Desert to oasis. Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

A few simple words of prayer allowing a “silence in which another voice may speak.” Listen.

Fresh Water

“Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?” – Alice Walker

“For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.” – D. H. Lawrence

No special occasion. No waiting on someone else. On the weekly grocery list. I buy flowers for myself like I buy lettuce. Nutrition for the soul to savor the fragrant brilliance found only in a party of fresh blooms. Each one unique, brimming with beauty. Showing off as they should. Unapologetic.

A florist once advised me that to make the flowers last longer, freshen the water daily. Solid advice for living too. Dump out the stale, clouded water and begin each day a new. Fresh water, fresh blooms.

 

Where Heaven Meets Earth

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” – C. S. Lewis

“The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.” – James Gates Percival

The water touches the sky:
Heaven meets earth;
Waves roll in natural rhythm;
Ebb and flow;
The horizon expands beyond our thoughts;
Poetry, dance and sparkle;
Lifted and grounded as Heaven meets earth.

Rise

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure,  joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

Optimism is rooted in resilience and grit. It’s knowing that things aren’t perfect, days are tough, the past can be heavy and still choosing to look at the world with new and hopeful eyes. Fully aware that each of us is going through challenges with others, work hassles, health concerns, disappointments, we can still rise.

Karma – what you send out, returns to you. Day 4 of positive vibes and wide-eyed optimism – cast light. Join me and invite others to the party.

Still I Rise

BY MAYA ANGELOU

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems.  Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.  Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)

Neutral

Life goes from full throttle, twists and turns, to slow and steady, to stalling in neutral. So many chapters we would never have written ourselves. And yet we are right in the middle of the story with nowhere to go but to write the next chapter as best we can.

Each season has its purpose. Neutral, seemingly fruitless ones so often bear the most fruit. Neutral allows us to observe, to shift our attention, to rest our spirit, to examine our assumptions, to grow patience with a side of resilience and trust. And then suddenly, hidden in plain sight of the ordinary dailiness of life are beautiful, wondrous mysteries taking us deeper to new meaning and astonishment.

Look! Amen.

Mysteries, Yes by Mary Oliver

“Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.”

Give Into It

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb. (Don’t Hesitate)”

― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

Poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Oliver passed away last week on January 17th. Grateful for her beautiful words and observations that inspire reflection and attention to what is before us right now.

Read poetry, write poetry, live poetry. Give into daily joy. In this very moment.

The Pond, The River, The Harbor

Mornings at Blackwater by Mary Oliver, Red Bird

“For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.

And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.
And live
your life.”

Fill your mind and heart with beauty and light to stay positive, to live positive and to never succumb to the magnet of negativity. Guard your heart, keep it soft. Fill your thoughts with love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding – those things that make absolutely no sense and are not warranted. And yet there is no peace without them.

Fight the good fight and live YOUR life. No regrets, unrelenting joy and a peace that passes all understanding.

The Journey

Poetry, music, a sunset all have the power to put everything in perspective slowly and then suddenly. Tune out the voices that produce no fruit. Focus on thoughts and activities that drive you on the journey to your purpose. For when we live out our purpose daily, we make the world a better place.

“One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice —

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voice behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do —

determined to save

the only life that you could save.” – Mary Oliver, The Journey

 

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