Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Speaking peace

New Year’s Wishes 2010-2011

Friends and family, your continuing love for the world is my inspiration.

Here’s to doing just a little bit more, together, a little bit better in the days ahead.

Speaking peace at year’s end

Mists of incense thin

in the silence of a single lamp.

Outside, barely discernable

from here, drips

recall the night rains, street gutters rush

to overflow and underground basins gurgle

with abundance—real-time sutras

spoken on the native tongue of peace,

broken by a single pane of glass.

Stitches of sounds, of disquieting voices,

somehow from somewhere

out there.


And yet, and yes, praise is due. And when offered

there is no end to possibilities

yet to be conceived…

…where despite

all we have done wrong

the golden light of October

falls through the turning leaves.

from Wendell Berry's "Sabbaths IX"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Musings 2010

Winter Solstice

All but alone

in the wintered sky,

all but alone, the fulsome moon

breathes—wandering sisters,

lingering dreams.


Days with names

Days with names pass so easily

as to be completely missed, brief swirls in streams

marked and forgotten in an inhale.

Some carrying implications true enough for our living,

a loose curve or a sharp one, rapids,

long smooth stretches of quiet—you know

Mondays are not Wednesdays, nor are they Thursday;

Saturdays and Sundays, a category all their own.

But as we’ve seen, as all has changed,

the arcs and turns of time have their own way.

The days I have in mind have real names,

taken of themselves--unforgettable.

Like that day in Jersey, in fall

we buried my dad--that crisp sky, the distant blue

touch of sun. The snow outside the window

the evening my mother left.

And the morning in the darkened hospital hallway,

the nurse extending to me our first born.

And that day in Hawaii, soon after we met you wore

that loose fitting shift, green pin stripes on white.

That day. And so many more.


Children’s voices,

up from the neighbor’s yard.



As the sun drops behind the mountain,

shadows race with twilight

to see which will carry longest

playing children’s voices.


prayer and praise

--spontaneous breath-play


I know nothing of the formal structure of psalms,

but believe I might tell them by their music,

the same, if not mistaken, that flowers sing to sun rise

on the quickened breath of earth’s return to light.


So why not just ride

the light-glittering stream

as what it so easily carries?


The point is joy

and joy deliverance

and the song understood

in the singing…


Though the chill has eased,

the furnace wakes at daybreak

to soft tapping rains.


so quiet the earth

in hours dark leaves

light returns so seamless

notes can neither touch

nor tell, so traceless

the earth in its way

and yet, and still

it is here

we have our place


Checking my own pulse

—how redundant!


Jane Imamura

Her words of the camps,

laced with love, pain strung through

with love of Buddha’s love,

page by page, pulse by pulse

in pulse.



The Wife

Neither difficult, nor easy, she said,

“it’s the way we live.”


Considering the unconsidered

The body knows, always knows and does its all

without prompt, within conditions given

Sending signals of every encounter, ever,

to all concerned

The body knows, as does earth and air and all else

--the restless foot reaching

Meets waiting earth’s harmonies heard

by everyone, then handed to habit

As so for air and lungs, heart and blood,

light and the eyes and the ears and all that whispers

All this, the stuff and sustenance of the mind

that finds itself there

All this work, all this play

for who?


Routine cataract surgery and a detached retina

How smug I was

in those corporate years,

so clear the entitled sense

of the young.

But for the ancients, far senior

to this one, clouds need only be illumined,

not removed, and the real fool

revealed here, not there.