I was professionally developed today. I am tired and struggled to find a poem that I wanted to write or post. I perused my library and found this Shel Silverstein poem. I wonder if I had shown up with a dirty face if I could have answered with such wonderful words? And, when I got to the last line, would someone scold me? Oh, do I need to find out? Is it just that teachers just want to have fun?
Category Archives: Synchronicity
I came across this provocative poem today by Lisel Mueller. It reminded me life is less about certainty and more about uncertainty. Today, I find beauty and wisdom in the uncertainty that I refused to acknowledge in my youth. Then, I desired an impossible certainty in life I could not be promised. When I sat down and wrote today and post, I was certain it would be a one of my poems, but this one spoke to me more clearly. It found a space to enter my world that I would not allow for in my youthful days. In uncertainty, questions are unanswered and answers have a hazy quality similar to haloes around streetlights in Paris. What does the future hold? What a beautiful question which is only be answered moment by moment.
Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
We changed the tires on my car today. An acquaintance has a mobile tire service and comes over each season. I opened the big garage door to retrieve the tires. When I closed the door, Kathy moved a bag out-of-the-way and retrieved a book from it by Leonard Nimoy called Will I Think of You. Nimoy writes poetry and this is one of his books of poetry.
I chose this poem, because it reminded me that each day is special when I am with those who care for and love me. It reminded me that I sometimes take those people for granted, but they make each day special.
Only on special days
And other days….
When those who
Give to each other
And live for each other
For hours or day
Or for an instant
When we commemorate
The Special days
Of a life of love
Then and especially then
Because the day is special
As your glorious being
I will think of you
Only when we’re together
And I can think of nothing else
And everything else
Because we together
And our togetherness is
Then as always
I will think of you
Kathy and I escaped Phoenix relatively unscathed. We love bookstores and on several occasions we bought extra suitcases to carry trophies home.
Despite escaping relatively unscathed, there was still a close call and it found its way into a poem.
There it sat
I had sensed it
Even heard it call my name
Oh so furtively and seductively.
There it was
I knew it was close by
It sat in the back corner
A harsh piece of asphalt
Yet, so compelling and inviting.
Some might even say I scurried
But, I heard a cautionary voice
Some might even say threatening
“You only get one!”
“That is your allowance!”
I entered that sanctuary
That quiet, hallowed place
Ah, a bookstore
Not just some Internet siren
It was a real live bookstore
What a treat!
Kathy and I made it to Phoenix, but it was quite a day. The flight was delayed for four hours due to mechanical problems. Considering the alternative, I am grateful, but it made for an incredibly long day including a time change. I leave you with a short, poignant John O’Donohue poem which echoes Life is a River.
What does it mean to be radical? The word radical comes from Old English and means going to one’s origins or roots. When I read this poem, it reminds me of the possibilities in a radical life. I can seek out my roots, the wisdom of those who came before me, and lived on the land. I love the second stanza and it just carries on from there for the rest of the poem.
Do something that does not compute, make many tracks, and sometimes confuse the world of where I go. Go against the grain.
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
I sat today and was going to post a Lao Tzu poem, The Uses of Not. I typed a short preamble and realized it was a Sabbath poem. Sometimes it is in paradox I find the most sense. It is in questions that I deepen conversations. I am in service of the questions. Earlier this week, I said I spent much of my life chasing answers. This is an echo of Father Richard Rohr who says maturity leads us to stop chasing certainty. I seek eloquent questions with no ready answers: and invite others into conversations. I might have used pirate, but I began reading Shambhala:The Path of the Sacred Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa recently and it offered a new understanding, for me, of the word warrior.
Seemingly incompatible tempest
Space invites space
Forms a spacious meadow.
Without ready answers;
But, eloquent questions
Be open, surprised.
A warrior’s quest–
Lighten the load
Be grateful and receive the gifts
Serve the journey.
Ready each step
Because it is right
And not fully known.
I ready for my Sabbath break. Yesterday morning, this Bizarro cartoon was in my blog reader. Todd’s posts are short and provocative, so the link is to his site for those who have not been there before. He gives me pause to think.
I shared this cartoon with a circle of acquaintance. We discussed the Most Interesting Man in the World advertisements for an adult beverage. I am an abstainer so the ads are humourous, but there is no chance I will buy the product.
What about a broader message? Instead of closing with “Stay Thirsty My Friends” or “Stay Filthy My Friend”, we could say, “Stay Human my Friends”?
Thich Nhat Hanh reminds me, “find the ordinary in the extraordinary.” I often miss those things which make me most alive and human. I find, in the ordinary so often missed, the extraordinary and live a mindful life.
Stay human my friends
Be one with the universe
We were hit by a somewhat unexpected winter storm today. The forecasters predicted it for parts of northern Alberta, but it slumped towards Edmonton. Driving was slow, but I took my time and arrived on time, just when I was supposed to arrive. Sometimes in the fog or blizzard of life’s busyness, I lose my way. We are into report cards and we have the latest system designed just for us. I was not very happy yesterday and was letting stress get to me. Today, I took a message from nature and slowed down and it got done.
A winter storm
I felt unsure
I let go
I arrive on time
In the very moment that just arrived.