Tuesday, October 17, 2017


In an Hour We Live a Lifetime

Walking the world of dry leaves
and rickety bridges,
there as in old letters,
we marvel at the things
we once knew that we have
just recently discovered—
How new it all is again.

How we orbit the same sun
every day and still
can be astonished
by the way things

Rosemerry Trommer

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Caring, an Act of Rebellion

We are Mad You are Sane

Do you know what I
Love most about you?
That you care.

That you care fanatically
About those things the rest of us
Have forgotten or sold our souls on.

In a world deadened
By cynicism, by laziness,
By emotional detachment
That passes off as wisdom,
Your kind of obsessive caring
Is an act of rebellion.

Don’t ever think
Or let anyone tell you
That you’re oversensitive.

I sometimes think you may be
The only sane one among us.;
Guarding your heart from
An epidemic of elasticity;
Elastic explanations.
Elastic ambitions.
Elastic morals.

So this is what I want to tell
You this morning:
We are easy-spirited
Because we have lost our way.

You are heavy-hearted
Because you are holding your ground.
We are mad.
You are sane.

Never change.

Philip John


A wealth not dependent on possessions

Journeying god
Traditional (Ghana)

Journeying god,
pitch your tent with mine
so that I may not become deterred
by hardship, strangeness, doubt.

Show me the movement I must make
towards a wealth not dependent on possessions,
towards a wisdom not based on books,
towards a strength not bolstered by might,
towards a god not confined to heaven.

Help me to find myself as I walk in others' shoes.

Prayer song from Ghana, traditional, translator unknown

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On a Day when Hostility Rules the News

And even as the countries aim their missiles at each other
and dangle threats and hurl names, the woman
in the hair salon gives you a deal because
in an hour you’ve shared dreams, shared fears.

And the bus driver helps you find your way.
And the tall man in the grocery store sees you reaching
for a box on the top shelf and offers to hand it to you.

Even as the congress argues and quarrels and stalls,
the little blonde boy you barely know snuggles into your lap
and tells you he loves you. Kindness continues to thrive,
Kindness breeds more kindnesses. Kindness

reminds you again that wherever you are,
you are home, that the world you most want
to live in is right here at the kitchen table,
right here on the noisy, crowded street.
Rosemerry Trommer


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Be ignited, or be gone


What I Have Learned So Far

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.

Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don't think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.

Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of -- indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

Mary Oliver

Saturday, August 5, 2017


"It's not just children who are childlike. Adults, too, are - beneath the bluster - intermittently playful, silly, fanciful, vulnerable, hysterical, terrified, pitiful and in search of consolation and forgiveness.

We're well versed at seeing the sweet and the fragile in children and offering them help and comfort accordingly. Around them, we know how to put aside the worst of our compulsions, vindictiveness and fury. We can recalibrate our expectations and demand a little less than we normally do; we're slower to anger and a bit more aware of unrealized potential.

We readily treat children with a degree of kindness that we are oddly and woefully reluctant to show to our peers.

It is a wonderful thing to live in a world where so many people are nice to children. It would be even better if we lived in one where we were a little nicer to the childlike sides of one another. "

Page 119, 'The Course of Love', Alain de Botton

Thursday, August 3, 2017


​"The child teaches the adult something else about love: that genuine love should involve a constant attempt to interpret with maximum generosity what might be going on, at any time, beneath the surface of difficult and unappealing behaviours.

The parent has to second-guess what the cry, the kick, the grief and the anger is really about. And what marks out this project of interpretation - and makes it so different from what occurs in the average adult relationship - is its charity.

Parents are apt to proceed from the assumption that their children, though they may be troubled or in pain, are fundamentally good. As soon as the particular pin that is jabbing them is correctly identified, they will be restored to native innocence. When children cry, we don't accuse them of being mean or self-pitying, we wonder what has upset them. When they bite, we know they must be frightened or momentarily vexed. We are alive to the insidious effects that hunger, a tricky digestive tract or a lack of sleep may have on mood.

How kind we would be if we managed to import even a little of this instinct into adult relationships - if here, too, we could look past the grumpiness and viciousness and recognize the fear, confusion and exhaustion which almost invariably underlie them. This is what it would mean to gaze upon the human race with love."​

Page 110, 'The Course of Love', Alain de Botton

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Caretake This Moment

Caretake this moment.
Immerse yourself in its particulars.
Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed.
Quit the evasions.
Stop giving yourself needless trouble.

It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.
You are not some disinterested bystander.
Exert yourself.

Respect your partnership with providence.
Ask yourself often, How may I perform this particular deed
such that it would be consistent with and acceptable to the divine will?
Heed the answer and get to work.

When your doors are shut and your room is dark you are not alone.
The will of nature is within you as your natural genius is within.
Listen to its importunings.
Follow its directives.

As concerns the art of living, the material is your own life.
No great thing is created suddenly.
There must be time.
Give your best and always be kind.

Epictetus (Epictetus: The Art of Living a New Interpretation by Sharon Lebell)

Sunday, July 9, 2017



This Morning

I watched the sun moving round the kitchen,
an early spring sun that strengthened and weakened,
coming and going like an old mind.

I watched like one bedridden for a long time
on their first journey back into the world
who finds it enough to be going on with:

the way the sunlight brought each possession in turn
to its attention and made of it a small still life:
the iron frying pan gleaming on its hook like an ancient find,
the powdery green cheek of a bruised clementine.

Though more beautiful still was how the light moved on,
letting go each chair and coffee cup without regret
the way my grandmother, in her final year, received me:

neither surprised by my presence, nor distressed by my leaving,
content, though, while I was there.
Esther Morgan

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Imagine yourself a caterpillar

"Imagine yourself a caterpillar.
There's an awful shrug and, suddenly,

You're beautiful for as long as you live."

Stephen Dunn


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Take the present, the future’s no one’s affair

Ode I. 11

Leucon, no one’s allowed to know his fate,
Not you, not me: don’t ask, don’t hunt for answers
In tea leaves or palms. Be patient with whatever comes.

This could be our last winter, it could be many
More, pounding the Tuscan Sea on these rocks:

Do what you must, be wise, cut your vines
And forget about hope. Time goes running, even
As we talk. Take the present, the future’s no one’s affair.

Horace, 'The Essential Horace', edited and translated by Burton Raffel

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The mind, a squirrel caught crossing Route 80

I Remember Galileo

I remember Galileo describing the mind
as a piece of paper blown around by the wind,
and I loved the sight of it sticking to a tree,
or jumping into the backseat of a car,
and for years I watched paper leap through my cities;

but yesterday I saw the mind was a squirrel caught crossing
Route 80 between the wheels of a giant truck,
dancing back and forth like a thin leaf,
or a frightened string, for only two seconds living
on the white concrete before he got away,
his life shortened by all that terror, his head
jerking, his yellow teeth ground down to dust.

It was the speed of the squirrel and his lowness to the ground,
his great purpose and the alertness of his dancing,
that showed me the difference between him and paper.

Paper will do in theory, when there is time
to sit back in a metal chair and study shadows;
but for this life I need a squirrel,
his clawed feet spread, his whole soul quivering,
the loud noise shaking him from head to tail.

O philosophical mind, O mind of paper, I need a squirrel
finishing his wild dash across the highway,
rushing up his green ungoverned hillside.

Gerald Stern, 'This Time: New and Selected Poems'

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The ground at our feet

A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,

but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,

very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,

and learn to be at home.

Wendell Berry, 'Collected Poems'

Hold, one day more

A Room

A room does not turn its back on grief.
Anger does not excite it.
Before desire, it neither responds
nor draws back in fear.

Without changing expression,
it takes
and gives back;
not a tuft in the mattress alters.

Windowsills evenly welcome
both heat and cold.
Radiators speak or fall silent as they must.
Doors are not equivocal,
floorboards do not hesitate or startle.

Impatience does not stir the curtains,
a bed is neither irritable nor rapacious.
Whatever disquiet we sense in a room
we have brought there.

And so I instruct my ribs each morning,
pointing to hinge and plaster and wood -
You are matter, as they are.

See how perfectly it can be done.
Hold, one day more, what is asked.

Jane Hirshfield, 'The Lives of the Heart'

Saturday, April 22, 2017

There are thirty-one spells for forgiveness, though

Which one to try first?

In the book of spells
I do not find the one
that helps you forget
what you want
to forget.

There is one for
making the bees
come out midwinter
and another to make
the walls speak what
they’ve seen.

There’s a spell for
making minutes go slower,
and a spell to turn a woman’s
skin green.

But no spell
to forget what we wish
not to know.

There are thirty-one spells for
forgiveness, though.

Rosemerry Trommer

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