Tuesday, November 02, 2010
I've been lax and low-energy since returning from the visit home, with a sadness outlining my days and interrupting my flow. This poem was delivered directly to my heart this morning. I sat with it and pondered it, considering the ways that hope can encourage and assist and spur me on. I so needed this:
It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.
It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
it is the motion that runs the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.
It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.
It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.
~ Lisel Mueller ~
(Alive Together: New and Selected Poems)
Lisel Mueller was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1924. Among her several books of poetry are Alive Together: New & Selected Poems, 1996, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and The Need to Hold Still, 1980, which received the National Book Award.
She has also published several volumes of translation, most recently Circe's Mountain by Marie Luise Kaschnitz. 1990. Her honors include the Carl Sandburg Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She lives in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Her poems are extremely accessible, yet intricate and layered. While at times whimsical and possessing a sly humor, there is an underlying sadness in much of her work.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
My returns from voyages of discovery tend to send me on further inward journeying. I will try to blog about Ani Pema Chodron soon, but today will be a "time out" as I continue the "adjust, adapt, accomodate" process that my teacher, Swami Satchidananda says is a constant in our lives.
This piece that came to me this morning, by Rainer Maria Rilke, captures so much of what I'm feeling right now that I decided to quickly share it before "signing off." With the election ahead and so much turmoil and chaos around us in the world, the need to surrender "to earth's intelligence" is everywhere apparent.
The image reminds me of Bolinas, a coastal village just north of San Francisco, where I walked on the bluffs this visit (the same bluffs where ashes of my brother and my best male friend are scattered).
How surely gravity's law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the strongest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.
Each thing -
each stone, blossom, child -
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we belong to
for some empty freedom.
If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.
Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.
So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God's heart;
they have never left him.
This is what the things can teach us:
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)
Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 â€“ 29 December 1926) was a Bohemianâ€“Austrian poet and art critic. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.
He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. Among English-language readers, his best-known work is the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He also wrote more than 400 poems in French, dedicated to his homeland of choice, the canton of Valais in Switzerland.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
This wonderful poem of Longfellow's, a strong affirmation to life, arrived this morning, as I prepare to depart for San Francisco (airport tomorrow morning at 6:00am) to attend a teaching of the venerable Pema Chodron www.smileatfear.com and then have several days with dear friends in the Bay Area, heading back to AR Oct 25. There will be a PJ party at Sandra's tonight (c'mon...the more the merrier!) to begin this wonderful adventure! She has graciously offered to drop me at the airport at that ungodly hour...AND pick me up as well!
Me'n my dear friend Sandra5898 in the primroses
"To act, that each tomorrow find us farther than today," and yes, "time is fleeting," we all know that we should "trust no Future, howe'er pleasant...all these thoughts from the poem, among others, reminded me of the ever-present recollections of this summer's adventure...as I travel now again, this time airbound. Here are three random glimpses of the sublime summer, still a fresh part of my REAL ongoing celebration of life--
Yellow Springs, OH was big enough to contain me'n WildHoneyPie1 (AND PudleCrazy!)...just barely
My home for three months is hiding out in southern IN
With our Treks on a ferry on Lake Champlain, FrancescaNaz and I are heading to Burlington, VT to meet DokeyOkey for a biking adventure
As we all bounce between the dualities of life...the joy and the sadness, laughter and tears, heat and cold (you get the picture), the underlying vibration of Longfellow's words carry us forward through it all. I offer today's gift from Panhala to us all, as my "hasta luego."
People of Chile celebrating the rescue of the 33 miners!
A PSALM OF LIFE
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!--
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,-- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~
(Voices of the Night)
Friday, October 08, 2010
While we affluent overweight Americans -- as well as those of us from other industrialized nations -- try to resist heaping another portion of dinner on our plates or buying an ice cream cone, street children in Thailand beg for money to buy food to survive. This week's KarmaTube offering about the children of the trains puts things in perspective....
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