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ON HOW TO PICK AND EAT POEMS

Phyllis Cole-Dai wrote this wonderful poem that offers so much advice about how to live life more fully. When I stand still and just am in the moment, it is there that I can live most fully. Poems grow there and, just like finding something wonderful in nature, we can bow to it as we read it and let it soak in.

Stop whatever it is you’re doing.
Come down from the attic.
Grab a bucket or a basket and head for light.
That’s where the best poems grow, and in the dappled dark.

Go slow. Watch out for thorns and bears.
When you find a good bush, bow to it, or take off your shoes.
Then pluck. This poem. That poem. Any poem.
It should come off the stem easy, just a little tickle.
No need to sniff first, judge the color, test the firmness.
You’ll only know it’s ripe if you taste.

So put a poem upon your lips. Chew its pulp.
Let its juice spill over your tongue.
Let your reading of it teach you
what sort of creature you are
and the nature of the ground you walk upon.
Bring your whole life out loud to this one poem.
Eating one poem can save you, if you’re hungry enough.

When birds and deer beat you to your favorite patch,
smile at their familiar appetite, and ramble on.
Somewhere another crop waits for harvest.
And if your eye should ever light upon a cluster of poems
hanging on a single stem, cup your hand around them
and pull, without greed or clinging.
Some will slip off in your palm.
None will go to waste.

Take those you adore poem-picking when you can,
even to the wild and hidden places.
Reach into brambles for their sake,
stain your skin some shade of red or blue,
mash words against your teeth, for love.
And always leave some poems within easy reach
for the next picker, in kinship with the unknown.

If you ever carry away more than you need,
go on home to your kitchen, and make good jam.
No need to rush, the poems will keep.
Some will even taste better with age,
a rich batch of preserves.

Store up jars and jars of jam. Plenty for friends.
Plenty for the long, howling winter. Plenty for strangers.
Plenty for all the bread in this broken world.

An Appalachian Wedding

This is my first post since getting back at it. It has been a great few months. I did not go far from my computer, but my efforts focused on dissertation writing. That is off the table for about a month as the committee members read and offer feedback. When that is done, I hope to be into research.

Thomas Berry was a Catholic priest and environmentalist who wrote the book The Dream of the Earth. He approached his environmentalism in a very holistic manner, incorporating a variety of traditions: Judeo-Christian, Eastern philosophies, and Indigenous people.

I feel that many people have moved away from the holistic relationship they subjectively and objectively engage in the world/ universe. We are not separate but part of a complex dynamic that is always incomplete and unpredictable.

Look up at the sky
the heavens so blue
the sun so radiant
the clouds so playful
the soaring raptors
woodland creatures
meadows in bloom
rivers singing their
way to the sea
wolfsong on the land
whalesong in the sea
celebration everywhere
wild, riotous
immense as a monsoon
lifting an ocean of joy
then spilling it down over
the Appalachian landscape
drenching us all
in a deluge of delight
as we open our arms and
rush toward each other
all of us moved by that vast
compassionate curve
that brings all things together
in intimate celebration
celebration that is
the universe itself.

Sabbatical Time

I intended to this a couple of weeks ago, but put it off. I spend 10-14 hours a day on dissertation writing, so there is no time to blog.

I will likely pop on one day a week with a poem and check comments. When I took one break, I had over a 100 spam comments. I don’t want to experience that again.

I will likely be back on more full-time in late June or early July.

The Coffee Shop

I spend time in the local coffee shops, read, and write. I did a lot of my blogging in that venue; however this summer I rearranged my schedule and blog at home. I notice a gentle energy in these settings and in a busy world it is a place to take time and just be.

The coffee shop;

Misnamed I think–

I sip tea

I try just be present.

We gather;

It is about talk–

A communal space,

Congregate and converse.

Companionship’s richness;

Found in quality

I cannot assign a number

It is a fool’s errand.

It is in laughter,

The reminiscing,

The sharing,

We find ourselves.

I Believe in All That Has Never Yet Been Spoken

I am getting back into a groove after my first full week home. I let things flow a bit this week. Rilke suggested letting go or not contriving in this poem. When I don’t over plan, I find I am more open and accept the flow of things much like the beginner’s mind of a child. Watching children engrossed in play is a reminder that can happen for me as an adult and, as it does, the river widens and flows in every widening channels. Life becomes somehow larger, but not in an explainable way.

Posting images of our trip through Glacier National Park is believing in all that has never yet been spoken. Nature allows me to speak without using words. It is a palette of creation which speaks without speaking and shares without words. It just is and teaches through its presence.

The role of sabbath is to rest on the swelling and ebbing currents and rest in each moment. Perhaps, as I do, I take an expanded mind and soul into next week.

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 those 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.

 

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

I was reading blogs and came across a quote which, in turn, led me to this beautiful poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I enjoy the mystery of the universe around me. Part of that mystery is the role we play and how we come to learn it or, for that matter, accept it. Thomas Merton, the Trappist Monk, in No Man is an Island, wrote some people are called and hear their call clearly. We are this person, this being, and are called to serve the world in these roles. He quipped for some the calling is to search and never find a calling. Hopkins and Merton were influenced by various schools of mysticism and this takes me back to the mystery of life as I head off on my digital sabbath.

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;

As tumbled over rim in roundy wells

Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s

Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

I say móre: the just man justices;

Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;

Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —

Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,

Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his

To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Creativity

I am grateful for the comments I received. The link to the radio show is not working today.  I made minor changes, but still did not get through. I will work on this and see what I can do to correct the problem.

I believe the Internet is a place to build community, enhance conversations, and create relationships previously impossible. I think it requires a mindful approach, and serial single tasking to do this, but it is doable. There are creative spaces in any community that makes all this possible.

A pause,

A whisper,

A gentle voice,

In that gap–

Mindful response to stimulus.

The gap grows–

A mindfully tended space

Nourished and fed,

Attended, become aware

Sow with care.

Blossoms ready themselves–

Creativity appears at the door

Heartfelt listening

There senses merge into one

Receive that gentle lady.

She is a visitor–

Long awaited;

Not chased after–

In that spaciousness

There creativity wraps me in her arms.

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