I remember the
mountains as giants;
that they were
sleeping, covered in graves,
blankets, and trees.
I felt this way:
a sleeping giant with my blanket
of trees, of green in my grave,
of dirt. My heart sank
on the floor of Big Sur,
colossus next to the sea.
I dreamt myself
buried and slept,
feet in cool water.
What damp giant, body of dirt.
- Katie Nealon
I have scarcely left you
when you go in me, crystalline,
or uneasy, wounded by me
or overwhelmed with love, as when your eyes
close upon the gift of life
that without cease I give you.
we have found each other
thirsty and we have
drunk up all the water and the blood,
we found each other
and we bit each other
as fire bites,
leaving wounds in us.
But wait for me,
keep for me your sweetness.
I will give you too
- Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)
Just don't tell me about the issues.
I can see the pale spider-belly head of the
newborn who lies on the lawn, the web of
veins at the surface of her scalp, her skin
grey and gleaming, the clean line of the
bayonet down the center of her chest.
I see her mother's face, beaten and
beaten into the shape of a plant,
a cactus with grey spines and broad
dark maroon blooms.
I see her arm stretched out across her baby,
wrist resting, heavily, still, across the
Don't speak to me about
politics. I've got eyes, man.
- Sharon Olds (1942-)
One by one, sodium streetlamps purr
& click off as my neighbor's half-ton coughs & revs, coughs
& finally turns over & he heads off: gravel tire-churn
a gangsta rap bass-line thumping from the cab, circling out
like pond water after a stone's plunk. In the end, it's all
a question of ear, says Kierkegaard, meaning in the next life:
the next life as pure music, heaven's harmonic resolve to Being's
sour arpeggio. But for now, suburbia is tuned
to dream's white noise, that octave three steps above
wakefulness, the one right before the clock radio
bleeps on, the percolator auto-grinds, & the front door rehearses its slam.
- Joshua Robbins
Startle them slowly.
Pinch the ripe apple
of each exposed cheek.
Drape lace down
bare windows here lips
have already pressed ghosts
into chilled corners of glass.
No one will predict you
billowing in overnight,
an eccentric aunt mantling
a flurry of safety pins and scarves
through the air. You issued
warning--the frozen coins
of ponds and lakes chattering
in the hush of your woolen pockets.
If that isn't enough,
wait for footprints to crease
the front lawn. Splinter
the knuckles of oaks
into the earth's palm.
Then, when no one is looking,
blindfold the world.
- Michael Boccardo
Don’t try so hard to hear,
and perhaps you will.
Travel to where noise goes to die,
the silence of space.
Live the gift of your deafness,
and hear what others miss,
The sound of a smile that has not yet come,
The echo of love beyond harsh words spoke,
The whisper of possibility as the soul speaks through pain.
Hear the movement of the clouds
across a winter sky,
The music of the wind
before it comes,
The stirring of the sea beneath the depths.
Listen to the quiet
as you would a master or scholar.
Hear the sun rise and pass through the horizon.
Hear where there is no sound
and translate to those who have yet to hear
the wisdom of the quiet.
Surrender to your deafness
and it will set you free.
Spend time in the pauses of life,
the places where people rush through,
where true gifts are born and found.
Stop trying to hear the words
or being a part of the conversation,
and hear within the pause of words,
within the pauses of life.
Stop, listen, reflect.
Your life will not be “normal” or like it was,
this is the path of loss.
Listen to how it is
without grasping for how it was.
Listen to how it is to be,
the moments of unfolding,
without fear of what may come.
Hear through listening.
Listen within the moments before things happen,
The moment before the sun hits the ground,
The moment before a heart heals,
The moment before a person goes Home
The moment before a first breath of life.
Hear within what you see,
The sound behind your lovers eyes,
The sound of your children dreaming,
The sound of you waking up to love.
Hear within the pause.
Hear before the beginning and after the end.
Hear the voice of eternity
speak the language of kindness.
Don’t try so hard to hear
and discover the gifts your deafness brings.
- Lee Jampolsky (1960-)
The seasons send their ruin as they go,
For in the spring the narciss shows its head
Nor withers till the rose has flamed to red,
And in the autumn purple violets blow,
And the slim crocus stirs the winter snow;
Wherefore yon leafless trees will bloom again
And this grey land grow green with summer rain
And send up cowslips for some boy to mow.
But what of life whose bitter hungry sea
Flows at our heels, and gloom of sunless night
Covers the days which never more return?
Ambition, love and all the thoughts that burn
We lose too soon, and only find delight
In withered husks of some dead memory.
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Child, how happy you are sitting in the dust, playing with a broken twig all the morning!
I smile at your play with that little bit of a broken twig.
I am busy with my accounts, adding up figures by the hour.
Perhaps you glance at me and think, "What a stupid fame to spoil your morning with!"
Child, I have forgotten the art of being absorbed in sticks and mudpies.
I seek out costly playthings, and gather lumps of gold and silver.
With whatever you find you create your glad games. I spend both my time and my strength over things I can never obtain.
In my frail canoe I struggle to cross the sea of desire, and forget that I too am playing a game.
- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
The mind is an ocean... I and so many worlds
are rolling there, mysterious, dimly seen!
And our bodies? Our body is a cup, floating
on the ocean; soon it will fill, and sink...
Not one bubble will show where it went
The spirit is so near that you can't see it!
But reach for it... don't be a jar
full of water, whose rim is always dry.
Don't be the rider who gallops all night
and never sees the horse that is beneath him.
- Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273)
Bridegroom, dear to my heart
Goodly is your beauty
Lion, dear to my heart
Goodly is your beauty
You have captivated me,
Let me stand tremblingly before you.
Bridegroom, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber
you have captivated me,
let me stand tremblingly before you.
Lion, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber.
Bridegroom, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey,
in the bedchamber, honey-filled
let me enjoy your goodly beauty,
Lion, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey.
Bridegroom, you have taken your pleasure of me,
Tell my mother, she will give you delicacies,
My father, he will give you gifts.
Your spirit, I know where to cheer your spirit,
Bridegroom, sleep in our house until dawn,
Your heart, I know where to gladden your heart,
Lion, sleep in our house until dawn.
You, because you love me
Give me pray of your caress,
My lord god, my lord protector,
My Shu-Sin who gladdens Enlil’s heart
give my pray of your caress
Your place goodly as honey
pray lay your hand on it
bring your hand over like a gishban-garment
cup your hand over it like a gishban-sikin-garment.
- (2050 b.c.e.?)
How steep the stairs within Kings' houses are
for exile-wearied feet as mine to tread,
And O how salt and bitter is the bread
Which falls from this Hound's table,-- better far
That I had died in the red ways of war,
Or that the gate of Florence bare my head,
Than to live thus, by all things comraded
Which seek the essence of my soul to mar.
'Curse God and die: what better hope than this?
He hath forgotten thee in all the bliss
Of his gold city, and eternal day'--
Nay peace: behind my prison's blinded bars
I do possess what none can take away
My love, and all the glory of the stars.
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art!-
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors -
No -yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever -or else swoon to death.
- John Keats (1795-1821)