Poetry

 

I Believe in All that has Never been Spoken     Rilke

 

I believe in all that has never been spoken.

I want to free what waits within me

so that what no one has dared to wish for;

may for once spring clear

without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,

but this is what I need to say.

May what I do flow from me like a river,

no forcing and no holding back,

the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,

these deepening tides moving out, returning,

I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels

into the open sea.

The Guest House

 

This being human is a guest house.

every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, depression, meannness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of furniture.

Still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

 

Rumi translated by Coleman Barks

BirdWings

 

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror

up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,

here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.

if it were always a fist or always stretched open,

you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting

and expanding,

The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated

as birdwings.

 

Who Can Know What Truth Is?

 

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf.

Remember, it was you in that faraway country.

Who is this riding on a donkey?

Was it you that spilled red wine

On the white tablecloth,

So animated with your story?

Remember who the “dear” is in

The salutation.

Return to who and what you love.

Tell one story that is true,

The embroidered version that

Stands up and calls you back

To what is real.

Who can know what the truth is?

Does truth change, does it grow

Buds and flower?

Does wisdom wilt in winter?

The love letters hold a truth that can be known,

And a grace filled mystery

Only hinted at.

 

J. Gary Trantham – 6-11-14

Humiliation

 

There is a lovely root to the word humiliation - from the latin word humus, meaning soil or ground. When we are humiliated, we are in effect returning to the ground of our being.

Shedding the carapace we have been building so assiduously on the surface, we must by definition give up exactly what we thought was necessary to protect us from further harm. The outlaw is the radical, the one close to the roots of existence. The one who refuses to forget their humanity and in remembering,  helps everyone else remember too.

To die inside, is to rob our outside life of any sense of arrival from that interior. Our work is to make ourselves visible in the world. This is the soul's individual journey, and the soul would much rather fail at its own life than succeed at someone else's.

 

~ David Whyte

THE HOUSE OF BELONGING – David Whyte

 

I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
day
like any other.

But
the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
and
I thought

it must have been the quiet
candlelight
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

And
I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the black day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

 

John O’Donohue – from the book To Bless the Space Between Us

 

“Behind each face there is a unique world that no one else can see.  This is the mystery of individuality.  The shape of each soul is different.  No one else feels your life the way you do.  No one else sees or hears the world as you do.  The creation of the individual is a divine masterpiece.  We were dreamed for a long time before we were born.  Our souls, minds, and hearts fashioned in the divine imagination.  Such care and attention went into the creation of each person.  Given the uniqueness of each of us, it should not be surprising that one of the greatest challenges is to inhabit our own individuality and to discover which life-form best expresses it.

The Summer Day

 

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, 

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-‐

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should l have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

 

- Mary Oliver, The House of Light, Beacon Press, Boston, 1990.

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken. I want to free what waits within me so that what no one has dared to wish for may for once spring clear without my contriving.

 

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me, but this is what I need to say. May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.

 

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents, these deepening tides moving out, returning, I will sing you as no one ever has, streaming through widening channels into the open sea.

 

  • Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God (Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

Lost

 

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, and you must treat it as a powerful stranger, must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, you are surely lost.

Stand still. The forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.

 

~David Wagoner

 

The Way it is

 

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread.

 

~William Stafford.

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