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Category Archives: Poetry

SOLITUDE

via SOLITUDE

Lara provides wonderful images of her neighbourhood, gardens, and pets. This post is one with a single picture and a Khalil Gibran quote about solitude.

Solitude is not loneliness. Teaching can be a lonely profession often done in solitude, largely away from other adults. I was fortunate. For most of my career, I taught in proximity to other adults and this provided rich conversations and insights for reflection to improve my teaching.

Gibran wrote a poem about children, reminding me students I taught were not my children. My favourite line is “their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow.” As a teacher, I only promised I would do my best to prepare students for tomorrow.

In French, the word retirer means to draw back, like an archer. It is in healthy solitude I gather myself, draw back, and find stability in teaching the next generation.

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.

     And he said:

     Your children are not your children.

     They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

     They come through you but not from you,

     And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

     You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

     For they have their own thoughts.

     You may house their bodies but not their souls,

     For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

     You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

     For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

     You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

     The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

     Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

     For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Where do we find solitude? I find it in Nature, in writing, in reading, in teaching, and in living. It is not a place. It is a relationship to life, others, and things.

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Kathy took this picture in Jasper National Park. The roots of the trees form steps and a path up from the water falls we were visiting.

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….and Mary Oliver spoke

via ….and Mary Oliver spoke

Udo posted this quote from Mary Oliver‘s poem, The Summer Day. It is my favourite line from all of her wonderful poetry and challenges me to reflect on and act on the purpose and calling of my life’s vocation.

Mary Oliver reminds me life and its many callings are not filled with certainty and fixed paths. Instead, I wander and wonder as I take detours and hope I find my way.

I share this line teaching and presenting, as a reminder life is about unexpected and, sometimes, we have to permit ourselves to stop and experience what we often drive by and take-for-granted.

Robson

On trips to visit in British Columbia, Mt. Robson is a favourite stopping place. The mountain is a sentinal over the valley, with wilderness gems to experience and revel in as I live my one and wild life.

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The waterfalls are located in the Crowsnest Pass. Like Mt. Robson, I gave myself permission to pause and experience being in nature and not just a visitor.

Dance of the reef heron…

via Dance of the reef heron…

Sriram shares beautiful photos from nature along with poetry and quotes to complement.

Wendell Berry reminds me nature is a place of refuge among the wild things we share the universe with. It is in those spaces we dance with the heron and others.

Nadia Janice provokes me to pause and experience what I imagine as flight. Here, I imagine in ways the universe becomes even more than I experience it in my senses.

Several years ago, I wrote a class paper sharing how the Psalmists and Psalms resonated God’s voice and vision of the universe humans live in with all other creatures and natural phenonmenon. Our anscestors understood the universe as a place of wonder and imagined how it spoke to them and revealed itself in divine ways.

Leonard Cohen

We did not get a chance to see Leonard Cohen live, but I have listened to him for a long time. I bought Songs of Leonard Cohen a couple of years after it was released.

One of the songs on the album was Sisters of Mercy, which Cohen wrote here in Edmonton. As he told the story, he sat in his hotel room, looking out the window, and below he saw nuns walking to and from their convent. He determined they belonged to the Sisters of Mercy and wrote this song.

Leonard Cohen also wrote Hallelujah. My favourite version is by kd lang, another Canadian artist. We have many songs from various stages of her career.

Kathy and I have attended concerts by kd lang (another great Canadian artist) and her version is spell-binding. She has a pure voice and sings with so much power I have goose bumps.

A Poet is …..

via A Poet is …..

There is no shortage of quotes in this post by Penumbra Haiku, so I will not go through them.

Although she did not describe writing poetry in this quote, I add one from Mary Oliver: “I want to think of dangerous and noble things/I want to be light and frolicsome/I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.”

When I write poetry, I want to be light, frolicsome, and play with language as my dangerous and noble thoughts take form and flight. In those moments, I appreciate living in the midst of wilderness that has no words, but is expressed somehow.

I took this video of the Spokane Falls two years ago, during a period of record high water flow. It reminds me that, even in the middle of a city, I am in the midst of my own wilderness seeking to be expressed.

All One

via All One

Bela posted a lovely poem with a series of beautiful photos related to memories and re-membering. When we re-member, we make things whole with all members in place without surrendering mystery we cannot fully understand. Like a community, each member is related to one another.

The picture of the gnarled trees drew me. The trees remind me moving through time is not a fixed and linear path. Instead, beauty reveals itself in the detours and crags, re-membered as I reflect on where I have soujourned, joyous and painful. I am marked by joy and pain I experience.

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I took this picture in Jasper National Park several years ago. The roots in random ways have emerged from the stones, offering a path up the hill amongst the trees they are connected to.

Yes Mary. Everything Does. And Too Soon. Way Too Soon. (RIP)

via Yes Mary. Everything Does. And Too Soon. Way Too Soon. (RIP)

David shared Mary Oliver’s poem Summer in this post.

This poem poses many questions from its opening line to the closing. Who creates life and nature? How will I live my one wild and wonderful life? These questions are about the essence and mystery of life and living.

At the end of his post, David shared from another Mary Oliver poem, When Death Comes: “When it’s over, I want to say all my life/ I was a bride married to amazement.” If I only live a small portion of my life in amazement, I can fulfill what calls me to live most fully.

One of the amazing things about Mary Oliver’s poetry is, although she is physically removed, her voice remains alive and vibrant in the words she so eloquently shared with us.

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I took this picture in Jasper National Park several years ago. The flow of the river as it narrows becomes wilder and reminds me of the wildness I seek in life.

 

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