Sunday, July 20, 2014

A fierce sanity

"Rilke recommended that when life became turbulent and troublesome, it was wise to stay close to one simple thing in nature. A friend of mine who had great trouble with her mind told me once that she had brought a stone into her apartment, and when she felt her mind going, she would concentrate on the stone.

She said, 'There is a fierce sanity in stone.'"

John O'Donohue from "To bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings"

Look ahead

"Look ahead. You are not expected to complete the task.

Neither are you permitted to lay it down. "

from the 'Talmud'

Walking

"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."

John Muir

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Go transparent. Disappear.

























Innerbird
Barry Spacks

This bird, this Innerbird - she means you well,
but clenches in at times so very small
she’s hard, tight, an acorn, a stomach pain …

in other moods you feel her fluttering
like the purple wide-sleeved garment of a queen,
frantic within you - a wild queen’s will

stirring your farthest reaches till you scheme
to set her free. That wish leads you to know
you’re her idea: this bird invented you;

your purposes and due-dates are her trap,
her cage of concepts, arbitrary as a map
holding Montenegro, Montana, to one special place.

Go transparent. Disappear. And then the bird’s released.
But never give that unbound bird your name,
or again she’s small within you, seed within a cell.

Your absence lets her soar forth at her will -
at last she has no wrappings but the air,
but sweeps out hugely, and is everywhere.


Photo: Ely Cathedral, UK

Supreme Court of Canada Grants Aboriginal title over Tsilhqot'in First Nation land

"A Supreme Court of Canada decision has granted the Tsilhqot'in First Nation of British Columbia Aboriginal title over a wide area of traditional territory. The unanimous 8-0 decision, gives the Tsilhqot'in First Nation rights to more than 1,700 square kilometers of land. The group now has rights to the land, the right to use land and the right to profit from the land.

Reports indicate that this is the Supreme Court's first on Aboriginal title, and can be used as a precedent wherever there are unresolved land claims."

Supreme Court of Canada Grants Aboriginal title over Tsilhqot'in First Nation land
http://natural-justice.blogspot.in/2014/06/supreme-court-of-canada-grants.html

The Tsilhqot'in Language: http://www.terralingua.org/voicesoftheearth/tsilhqotin/

Looking’s a way of being

Looking, Walking, Being
Denise Levertov

“The World is not something to
look at, it is something to be in.”
Mark Rudman

I look and look.
Looking’s a way of being: one becomes,
sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.

The eyes
dig and burrow into the world.
They touch
fanfare, howl, madrigal, clamor.
World and the past of it,
not only
visible present, solid and shadow
that looks at one looking.

And language? Rhythms
of echo and interruption?
That’s
a way of breathing.

breathing to sustain
looking,
walking and looking,
through the world,
in it.

Peonies

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?


Mary Oliver

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Waiting

























"We are waiting for the seasons to change. We are waiting for our time to come around, or that opening to appear in the Tao where we can walk through and touch somebody. Whereas if we had moved before, everything would have been wrong - no point, no effect.

Sometimes the right thing to do is to wait. In the hexagram in the I-Ching about waiting, it says you should enjoy yourself with this kind of waiting, you should eat and drink and be of good cheer.

We do not need to be dour about waiting because we are in tune with the seasons. It is the right time to wait."

John Tarrant

Freedom

"And the artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist must never be a prisoner of [one’s] self, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation, prisoner of a success, etc …

Didn’t the Goncourt brothers write that Japanese artists of the great period changed their names several times during their lives? I like that: they wanted to protect their freedoms.”

Henri Matisse

How the Trees on Summer Nights Turn into a Dark River

How you can never reach it, no matter how hard you try,
walking as fast as you can, but getting nowhere,
arms and legs pumping, sweat drizzling in rivulets;
each year, a little slower, more creaks and aches, less breath.

Ah, but these soft nights, air like a warm bath, the dusky wings
of bats careening crazily overhead, and you'd think the road
goes on forever. Apollinaire wrote, "What isn't given to love
is so much wasted," and I wonder what I haven't given yet.

A thin comma moon rises orange, a skinny slice of melon,
so delicious I could drown in its sweetness. Or eat the whole
thing, down to the rind. Always, this hunger for more.

Barbara Crooker

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I want to believe that the light is everything...

The Ponds
Mary Oliver

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them—

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided—
and that one wears an orange blight—
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away—
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.

A yellow leaf slowly falling

VII
Wendell Berry

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.

Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.

The sky
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
not quite.

What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly
falling, and is pleased.

from 'This Day: Collected and New Sabbath' 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Today I let the rain soak through my shirt

In the Mushroom Summer
David Mason

Colorado turns Kyoto in a shower,
mist in the pines so thick the crows delight
(or seem to), winging in obscurity.

The ineffectual panic of a squirrel
who chattered at my passing gave me pause
to watch his Ponderosa come and go—
long needles scratching cloud. I'd summited
but knew it only by the wildflower meadow,
the muted harebells, paintbrush, gentian,
scattered among the locoweed and sage.

Today my grief abated like water soaking
underground, its scar a little path
of twigs and needles winding ahead of me
downhill to the next bend. Today I let
the rain soak through my shirt and was unharmed.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The deepest well

“The point is, not to resist the flow. You go up when you're supposed to go up and down when you're supposed to go down. When you're supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you're supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom. When there's no flow, stay still. If you resist the flow, everything dries up. If everything dries up, the world is darkness.”

Haruki Murakami, 'The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle'






















Photo from here.

Dharma

The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance -
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Gandhi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following only her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat aside
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she
would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,
if only I were not her god.

Billy Collins, 'Sailing Alone Around the Room'

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