Browsing Category "Poems"
15 Feb
2018
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Maybe We’re Necessary to Each Other

Finally all of the web files have been moved to the new server, so both Dharma Town and I are back up and running!

I’ve missed these postings. I hope you have too. Which brings to mind this poem:

A Music
by Wendell Berry

I employ the blind mandolin player
in the tunnel of the Metro. I pay him
a coin as hard as his notes,
and maybe he has employed me, and pays me
with his playing to hear him play.

Maybe we’re necessary to each other,
and this vacant place has need of us both
— it’s vacant, I mean, of dwellers,
is populated by passages and absences.

By some fate or knack he has chosen
to play his music in this cavity
where there’s nothing to look at
and blindness costs him nothing.
Nothing was here before he came.

His music goes out among the sounds
of footsteps passing. The tunnel is the resonance
and meaning of what he plays.
It’s his music, not the place, I go by.

In this light, which is just a fact, like darkness
or the edge or end of what you may be
going toward, he turns his cap up on his knees
and leaves it there to ask and wait, and holds up
his mandolin, the lantern of his world;

his fingers make their pattern on the wires.
This is not the pursuing rhythm
of a blind cane pecking in the sun,
but a singing in a dark place.

21 Dec
2017
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Through This to That

blessing the boats
by Lucille Clifton

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back     may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

20 Dec
2017
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To Live in This World

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
go,
to let it go.

***

(for my sister whose beloved dog — Max — has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer) 

18 Dec
2017
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Everyone’s and No One’s

The Work of Presence
by Mark Nepo

When “I can’t”
breaks down
into “Tell me who I am,”

When “I have no choice”
unravels
into “How can I help,”

When the tongue stuck in no
tires into yes,

the weight of everything
will explode into surprise,

and the pain of our knowing
will birth a love of strangers,
and the tools of tomorrow
will form safely
in the hearts
of our day.

When all we can do is freed
from all that has been done,
a presence that is everyone’s
and no one’s will keep
the inner time alive
the way the hearts
of young animals
beating while asleep
keep all the stars
in place.

14 Dec
2017
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I Want To Be….

Famous
by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

13 Dec
2017
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One of the Doors

Today
by Mary Oliver

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

8 Dec
2017
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Trust the Music

Attempts
by Mark Nepo

When the old life is
burning, everything will
smell like ash for a while.
So trust your heart,
not your nose.

Trust the music of the
ages to surface what’s left
way inside. Wait like a
cello for each rub to
bring you closer.

Learn how to ask for
what you need, only to
practice accepting what
you’re given This is our
journey on Earth.

7 Dec
2017
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Nevertheless

My Mind Is
by e. e. cummings

my mind is
a big hunk of irrevocable nothing which touch and
taste and smell and hearing and sight keep hitting and
chipping with sharp fatal tools
in an agony of sensual chisels i perform squirms of
chrome and execute strides of cobalt
nevertheless i
feel that i cleverly am being altered that i slightly am
becoming something a little different, in fact
myself
Hereupon helpless i utter lilac shrieks and scarlet
bellowings.

4 Dec
2017
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With Each Falling Leaf

Coleman’s Bed (excerpt)
by David Whyte

Be taught now, among the trees and rocks,
how the discarded is woven into shelter,
learn the way things hidden and unspoken
slowly proclaim their voice in the world.
Find that far inward symmetry
to all outward appearances, apprentice
yourself to yourself, begin to welcome back
all you sent away, be a new annunciation,
make yourself a door through which
to be hospitable, even to the stranger in you.

See with every turning day,
how each season makes a child
of you again, wants you to become
a seeker after rainfall and birdsong,
watch now, how it weathers you
to a testing in the tried and true,
admonishes you with each falling leaf,
to be courageous, to be something
that has come through, to be the last thing
you want to see before you leave the world.

29 Nov
2017
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Only Then

Acequia
by Mark Nepo

Only when the fish let go
their dreams of having arms
did they grow their magnificent fins.