Monday, August 22, 2016

The Morning Like a Hiroshige Print

























Raining, after the driest October
in twenty years, citizens hustle
across the street to take cover.

I join in, cross the street with my bags
from the market soaked by the rain, hurry
to beat the light turning red.
A maple leaf falls, another.

At the same time, she stokes
the fire with branches
as thin as her wrists, sets
the kettle on the stove—

waits to remove my clothes,
to sit me in front of the fire
with a blanket draped
over my shoulders, to pull the kitchen
knife from the drawer
to cut the gouda, to slice the Fujis
in half, to warm a loaf of bread.

Mark Heinlein

Photo from here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Unhappiness

Unhappiness comes to man
Through two doorways

The first doorway is named
Not getting what you want.

The name of the second doorway is
Getting what you want.

Either takes you there;
The former faster
Than the latter.

The former teaches
The futility of willfulness.

The latter teaches the foolishness
Of believing that
Satisfaction and happiness are the same.

Excerpt from Wu Hsin, 'Aphorisms for Thirsty Fish (The Lost Writings of Wu Hsin Book 1)'

Thanks, K.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Here





















"So we have to be patient with ourselves. Over and over again we think we need to be somewhere else, and we must find the truth right here, right now; we must find our joy here, now. How seductive it is, the thought of tomorrow. We must find our understanding here. We must find it here; it is always here; this is where the grass is green."

John Tarrant

http://calmthings.blogspot.in/2016/08/come-lonesome-one.html

Stillness


























"If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with."

Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
 
From The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere
by Pico Iyer

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Gift



























Hitchhiker

The hitch-hiker I
remember best
was someone you
might call a hobo.

Lord knows what he'd
been through, to receive
a gift that some folks get
who've borne so much.

He traveled light.
He owned a little pack,
a little dog;
that's all.

I drove for fifty miles
before he turned
his head to me
and said,

“I think
I'll get out here.
I like the way
the grass looks,
way up
on that hill.

The way the light
falls on it.”

Max Reif

Monday, August 1, 2016

The measure of your life

























"The measure of your life is the amount of beauty and happiness of which you are aware."

Agnes Martin

From here.

Shallow

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths but a great fear of shallow living.”

Anais Ni

Loneliness

"Loneliness, in its quintessential form, is of a nature that is incommunicable by the one who suffers it. Nor, unlike other non-communicable emotional experiences, can it be shared via empathy. It may well be that the second person's empathic abilities are obstructed by the anxiety-arousing quality of the mere emanations of the first person's loneliness."

When I read those lines, I remembered sitting, years back, outside a train station in the south of England, waiting for my father. It was a sunny day, and I had a book I was enjoying. After a while, an elderly man sat down next to me and tried repeatedly to strike up conversation. I didn't want to talk and after a brief exchange of pleasantries I began to respond more tersely until eventually, still smiling, he got up and wandered away.

I've never stopped feeling ashamed about my unkindness, and nor have I ever forgotten how it felt to have the force field of his loneliness pressed up against me: an overwhelming, unmeetable need for attention and affection, to be heard and touched and seen."

Page 25, 'The Lonely City, Adventures in the Art of Being Alone', Olivia Laing

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Deep




















Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human or even divine ingredients can.

Hafiz

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tattered Kaddish




















"Kaddish is a prayer found in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God's name.The term "Kaddish" is often used to refer specifically to "The Mourners' Kaddish", said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services as well as at funerals and memorials. When mention is made of "saying Kaddish", this unambiguously denotes the rituals of mourning."

Tattered Kaddish
Adrienne Rich

Taurean reaper of the wild apple field
messenger from earthmire gleaning
transcripts of fog
in the nineteenth year and the eleventh month
speak your tattered Kaddish for all suicides:

Praise to life though it crumbled in like a tunnel
on ones we knew and loved

Praise to life though its windows blew shut
on the breathing-room of ones we knew and loved

Praise to life though ones we knew and loved
loved it badly, too well, and not enough

Praise to life though it tightened like a knot
on the hearts of ones we thought we knew loved us

Praise to life giving room and reason
to ones we knew and loved who felt unpraisable

Praise to them, how they loved it, when they could.

Monday, June 20, 2016

To take what is given

 
















 

"What do I know?

But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example – I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch –

the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
daisies for the field.”

Mary Oliver

From here.

​​Light

No, my friends
darkness is not everywhere
for here and there
I find faces illuminated
from within.

Japanese lanterns
floating
among dark trees.

Carol Ann Borges

The Effort to Return

 


















"That we go numb along the way is to be expected. Even the bravest among us, who give their lives to care for others, go numb with fatigue, when the heart can take in no more, when we need time to digest all we meet. Overloaded and overwhelmed, we start to pull back from the world, so we can internalize what the world keeps giving us.

Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to return: to open our hearts once they’ve closed, to open our souls once they’ve shied away, to soften our minds once they’ve been hardened by the storms of our day."

 Mark Nepo, "Hearing the Cries of the World"

http://calmthings.blogspot.in/2016/06/the-effort-to-return.html

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hunger

























We suffer, often unknowingly, from wanting to be in two places at once, from wanting to experience more than one person can. This is a form of greed, of wanting everything. Feeling like we're missing something or that we're being left out, we want it all. But being human, we can't have it all. The tension of all this can lead to an insatiable search, where our passion for life is stirred, but never satisfied.

When caught in this mindset, no amount of travel is enough, no amount of love is enough, no amount of success is enough...

The truth is that one experience taken to heart will satisfy our hunger. "

Mark Nepo

100 Butterflies (excerpt)

Where you are going
and the place you stay
come to the same thing.

What you long for
and what you've left behind
are as useless as your name.

Just one time, walk out
into the field and look
at that towering oak --
an acorn still beating at its heart.

Peter Levitt

A Real Measure of Peace

"On yet another level, silence means listening. We follow the Rule of St. Benedict and the first word of that Rule is "Listen." That's the great ethical element of silence: to check my words and listen to another point of view. I'll never have any real peace should my sense of well-being depend on soundless peace.

When I can learn the patience of receiving, in an un-threatened way, what I'd rather not hear, then I can have a real measure of peace in any situation."

How Silence Works: Emailed Conversations With Four Trappist Monks
Jeremy Mesiano-Crookston

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