Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Of this earth

It cannot save us

from ourselves,

but it will

salvage the pieces.


It’s not the bad things that happen. It’s where someone reaches out in a human way

to someone else that seems to be charged.

I’m concerned with work that lets us be passively engaged with it because right now there’s enough in the world that does that.

I don’t think that’s what poetry is about.

Nick Flynn, interview, citation misplaced


The point of connection is always the same,

thought aside that is—we connect

essentially in action, in exchange, in movement,

spontaneous, unique, shared

even in difference, co-extending

currents of connections.

The poem, says Bill Stafford,

is that group of words

that catches the reader’s attention,

just so…


Getting it “right is not about thought.


The priest performed the service at the shrine of his deceased child

every morning, at dawn

…for years. He did not ask

for any comforting but said

the printed words of the sutras

and poured fresh tea

into the images’ cups, then looked

out at the sea and sky

and turned to his daily work

of telling the living to live

and the dead ones to rest in peace.

Edith Shiffert, from The Kyoto Years


Aspen leaves quiver

in thin morning light, practice

before the sunrise.


I can’t say if this

is what my teachers had in mind,

only that it is mine.


I believe what my whole life says.

William Stafford 2/16/82

Is this vocation?

Seems lately that all I’ve left is words

that lead me endlessly,

albeit beautifully,


run their course, leave me

naked, a singular pulse

in the world spread large,


in the close-abiding silence

some call home

to the poem,

with nothing left

but to give myself

to it.


Butterfly wings, white

on white, flutter the courtyard—

shadows illumined.


Afternoon lies bright

on the deck overlooking

the high end of this small valley,

carrying light

the children’s voices

from the field aside the school,

organized play

made reckless and free,

affirmed as such.


San Pedro County Park

My path or yours?

The question was never posed.

The cat, lying large, center trail

in the sun, simply rose

and disappeared, leaving me there,

alone and glad.


The poet Buson

laments any day empty

of poems—possible?


Dreams are stories not yet lived.

Recollections sometimes speak of authentic innocence.

Each can be weighed in stories

now being told, adjustments made in their living.


First principles

The first principle at work is joy,

straight-forward residual of doing willingly

for others--the heart spreads, the mind rests,

each feeling more true

the matters at hand.

Though I’ve sympathy

for many named movements,

these I trust most.


It’s the light touch

that does us well, steady,


doing what it does,

as it does, we right there

at the rise of every breath.


Attentiveness is

not what we lack,

but who we are, bundles

of attentive receptors

responsively learning our way

the current shows

across the myriad pebbles,

among the rocks

against the smoothing banks,

the truest of our voices

always rising forth.