Archive for August, 2014

I was sad all day, and why not. There I was, books piled
on both sides of the table, paper stacked up, words
falling off my tongue.

The robins had been a long time singing, and now it
was beginning to rain.

What are we sure of? Happiness isn’t a town on a map,
or an early arrival, or a job well done, but good work
ongoing. Which is not likely to be the trifling around
with a poem.

Then it began raining hard, and the flowers in the yard
were full of lively fragrance.

You have had days like this, no doubt. And wasn’t it
wonderful, finally, to leave the room? Ah, what a

As for myself, I swung the door open. And there was
the wordless, singing world. And I ran for my life.

Mary Oliver
New and Selected Poems, Vol. II

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Because the bees flew toward light the color of honey, she couldn’t see them
but heard their hum, deep thrum of the colony come out of the hive, comb
dripping with loss and the smoke her father used to subdue, to pacify
the fear that might spur an attack. It wasn’t until her brother began to cry
that she noticed her hair was moving, undulating like water
easing from a rapids, alive with an energy she recognized

As the gentle buzzing of hundreds and hundreds of bees.
They swelled along the strands of her hair, remaking the small world
that floated in front of her eyes, as even more bees curled around her face.
She’d seen the woman at the fair who made a beard of bees
for the crowd of farmers and their families. She read about the love
and patience the woman told the newsman was necessary

As their legs and translucent wings crept and fluttered across
the tender flesh under the chin, fanning cheekbones, slipping
over the helix of the outer ear. Like earrings cut into the loveliest
shapes, with colors of burnished gold and copper,
the bees poured over the girl’s scalp, some finding their way down
the collarbone, onto arms and breasts, abdomens pulsing in time

to the electricity along the hind legs that captured the pollen
for the journey back to the hive. She found it impossible to hold still,
unless she thought of that bearded-bee woman, the affection
that transfixes the body as even more bees conceal the feet
and shins, the knees and thighs, until a girl vanishes, and in her place
a glistening, winged seraph takes to the sky.

Todd Davis
Rattle 45

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Enter with riches. Let your image wear
brocade of fantasy, and bear your part
with all the actor’s art and arrogance.
Your eager bride, the flickering moth that burns
upon your mouth, brings to your dark reserve
a glittering dowry of desire and dreams.

These leaves of lightness and these weighty boughs
that move alive to every living wind,
dews, flowers, fruit, and bitter rind of life,
the savor of the sea, all sentient gifts,
you will receive, deserve due ritual;
eloquent, just, and mighty one, adorn
your look at last with sorrow and with fire.
Enter with riches, enviable prince.

Denise Levertov
The Double Image (1946)

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Summer Water-Song


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DSC02093 - Version 2






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In my early years I hid my tears
And passed my days alone
Adrift on an ocean of loneliness
My dreams like nets were thrown
To catch the love that I’d heard of
In books and films and songs
Now there’s a world of illusion and fantasy
In the place where the real world belongs

Still I look for the beauty in songs
To fill my head and lead me on
Though my dreams have come up torn and empty
As many times as love has come and gone

To those gentle ones my memory runs
To the laughter we shared at the meals
I filled their kitchens and living rooms
With my schemes and my broken wheels
It was never clear how far or near
The gates to my citadel lay
They were cutting from stone some dreams of their own
But they listened to mine anyway

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say
It could be I’ve lost my way
Though I keep a watch over the distance
Heaven’s no closer than it was yesterday

And the angels are older
They know not to wait up for the sun
They look over my shoulder
At the maps and the drawings of the journey I’ve begun

Now the distance leads me farther on
Though the reasons I once had are gone
I keep thinking I’ll find what I’m looking for
In the sand beneath the dawn

But the angels are older
They can see that the sun’s setting fast
They look over my shoulder
At the vision of paradise contained in the light of the past
And they lay down behind me
To sleep beside the road till the morning has come
Where they know they will find me
With my maps and my faith in the distance
Moving farther on

Jackson Browne
“Farther On”

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Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
’cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn’t a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

David L. Weatherford

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Just as a normal man can climb
a high mountain
and on a clear day
see for many miles around,

Hafiz can stand on a blessed peak
inside his heart
and see for hundreds of years
in all directions.


In the morning
when I began to wake,
it happened again–

that feeling
that you, Beloved,
had stood over me all night
keeping watch,

that feeling
that as soon as I began to stir

you put your lips on my forehead
and lit the Holy Lamp
inside my heart.


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Forget every idea of right and wrong
any classroom ever taught you

an empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear

are always the testimony
you have been completely fooled!

Turn your back on those
who would imprison your wondrous spirit
with deceit and lies.

Come, join the honest company
of the King’s beggars –
those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns
and those astonishing fair courtesans
who need Divine Love every night.

Come, join the courageous
who have no choice
but to bet their entire world
that indeed,
indeed, God is Real.

I will lead you into the circle
of the Beloved’s cunning thieves,
those playful royal rogues–
the ones you can trust for true guidance–
who can aid you
In this blessed calamity of life.

trans. Daniel Ladinsky

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Wisdom is a wild bird, once caged, now free.
Wisdom is an owl that sees in the dark. 

Wisdom is a dancing girl
who reads late at night. 

Wisdom is a runner,
fleet-of-foot on the sand.

Wisdom makes fear a servant
and takes counsel with Joy. 

Wisdom walks with God
and makes necessary sacrifices. 

Wisdom does not give up.

Wisdom builds with a hammer and chisel.
Wisdom waters and weeds, digs and dungs. 

Wisdom refines with fire
and sings with a clear voice.

Wisdom nurses the young
with milk from her own breast. 

Wisdom kisses the foreheads of her children—
and where her lips have touched them, 

a star shines out

Jane Beal



“We walk by faith and not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word.”
Romans 10:17



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Do you know how beautiful you are?

I think not, my dear.

For as you talk of God,
I see great parades with wildly colorful bands
streaming from your mind and heart,
carrying wonderful and secret messages
to every corner of this world.

I see saints bowing in the mountains
hundreds of miles away
to the wonder of sounds
that break into light
from your most common words.

Speak to me of your mother,
your cousins and your friends.

Tell me of the squirrels and birds you know.
Awaken your legion of nightingales —
let them soar wild and free in the sky

and begin to sing of God.
Let’s all begin to sing to God!

Do you know how beautiful you are?

trans. Daniel Ladinsky

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I wish I could show you
when you are lonely or in darkness
the Astonishing Light
of your own being!

We Should Talk about this Problem

There is a beautiful creature
living in a hole you have dug.

So at night
I set fruit and grains
and little pots of wine and milk
beside your soft earthen mounds

and I often sing.

But still, my dear,
you do not come out.

I have fallen in love with Someone
who hides inside you.

We should talk about this problem–
otherwise, I will never leave you alone.

I Heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz
trans. Daniel Ladinsky

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Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

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Ocean winds
gentle breezes
find their way through the bars —
through the bars
a sparrow sings
and its mellifluous melody
is all about love …

Spoon Jackson
in Judith Tannenbaum’s Disguised as a Poem

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