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Tag Archives: eloquent questions

One Hundred and Eighty Degrees

As I read the opening lines to this poem, I realized I often hold on to thoughts as if they are real. They give me a false sense of certainty that the world and others are  controllable and manageable. I wed myself to my thoughts. They become lonely and serve as my reality.

What if I turned 180 degrees and understood what I believe is not right? In that sense, I become another person who, if he continues to turn, experiences the world differently and anew at each turn.

Frederico Moramarco challenges me to think in different terms and treat thoughts as phantoms that drift in and out of my mind. They are not real and really there as they float away like wisps of smoke on a breeze.

When I am mindful and attentive to the world and others, I take steps and my thoughts do not control me, my words, and actions. I become comfortable with the uncertainty and unpredictability always surrounding me.

Have you considered the possibility
that everything you believe is wrong,
not merely off a bit, but totally wrong,
nothing like things as they really are?
If you’ve done this, you know how durably fragile
those phantoms we hold in our heads are,
those wisps of thought that people die and kill for,
betray lovers for, give up lifelong friendships for.
If you’ve not done this, you probably don’t understand this poem,
or think it’s not even a poem, but a bit of opaque nonsense,
occupying too much of your day’s time,
so you probably should stop reading it here, now.
But if you’ve arrived at this line,
maybe, just maybe, you’re open to that possibility,
the possibility of being absolutely completely wrong,
about everything that matters.
How different the world seems then:
everyone who was your enemy is your friend,
everything you hated, you now love,
and everything you love slips through your fingers like sand.

The Door

When we go to the door, do we know what lays beyond? That is a question of wonder, full of wonder and wonderful. Miroslav Holub suggests we go and open the door. Opening the door, we are not sure what to expect. Is there a magic city, a picture of a picture, or the sound of the darkness ticking waiting for light to break through?

What drew me to the poem was the very last word: “draught.” It is an uncommon word, suggesting when I open the door a breeze will pass through the house. Somehow, the breeze relieves me of the stuffiness and certainty of what I think is inside. The wind blows gently and clears the clutter of certitude from my mind.

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city.

Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog’s rummaging.
Maybe you’ll see a face,
or an eye,
or the picture
of a picture.

Go and open the door.
If there’s a fog
it will clear.

Go and open the door.
Even if there’s only
the darkness ticking,
even if there’s only
the hollow wind,
even if
nothing
is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there’ll be
a draught.

I Am the Tree

Where do the boundaries between the subjective and objective worlds end and begin? Is there a boundary between our inner and outer worlds?

Etta Blum writes a poem that asks those questions. There is a continuous moving between the inner and outer worlds. Parker Palmer uses the metaphor of a Möbius strip with an inner ant outer edge. When we run our fingers along the edge, we can do so seamlessly without lifting our fingers.

We are like a tree with a bird at the top. Each of us is part of the world we each live in and, if there is a boundary between each of us and it, it is thin and permeable as to appear non-existent. In a sense, we are the world and it is each of us. Like the bird in that tree, we have a niche where we thrive and live most fully. We return there to feel that sense of being and purpose.

I am the tree ascending.
At the topmost branch
I’ve become the bird,
starting from tip to
climb into above.
After-
ward, cloud.
Why not?
My purposes are clear.

 

A Light Breather

Theodore Roethke wrote poems that attempted to connect the inner and outer worlds we inhabit simultaneously. While exploring the outer world, it is important we find quiet in the inner world. In those quiet moments, moving back and forth we find ourselves staying.

The metaphor comparing this movement to that of a snail challenges me to think deeply about what living and breathing mindfully is. What do I notice? And, who and what notices me? As I move, am I sensitive to the world that I move through? Or, do I walk heavily chasing those who which to join me away?

The spirit moves,
Yet stays:
Stirs as a blossom stirs,
Still wet from its bud-sheath,
Slowly unfolding,
Turning in the light with its tendrils;
Plays as a minnow plays,
Tethered to a limp weed, swinging,
Tail around, nosing in and out of the current,
Its shadows loose, a watery finger;
Moves, like the snail,
Still inward,
Taking and embracing its surroundings,
Never wishing itself away,
Unafraid of what it is,
A music in a hood,
A small thing,
Singing.

The Invitation

I am not familiar with Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s poetry, but, when I found this poem, it reached out and called me.

What questions do I ask myself, that I cannot answer. There is an eloquence in those questions that leads me to new questions, without knowing the answers. When I sense the world in one way or another, I am unable to sense it in any other way.

What if I live the wildness of life and I allow myself some abandon, not carelessness? I can dance with that wildness and not care about what others may think, hopefully making the world a better place.

When we open our hearts to the other, their standing in life is about who they are as a person rather than what identifies them: their job, their age, where they live, etc. When we open our hears to the other, it is an invitation to be human and humane with them.

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day.

And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

 

 

Love After Love

Derek Walcott wrote this poem that describes how, when mindful, we experience the fullness and richness of life. Perhaps it is only, when we older, that we have wisdom to sit, take it all in, and just be good with what life is.

Who is the person, the self, that looks back from the mirror? Or, greets me at the door? The answers are only questions in a new form, as the answers cannot be fully formed.

When we engage in conversation with ourself, we must be present to the person we speak and listen to. When we ask eloquent questions that cannot be answered, we allow those questions to remain unanswered and guide the conversation.

The time will come

When, with elation,

You will greet yourself arriving

At your own door, in your own mirror,

And each will smile at the other’s welcome,

And say, sit here, Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

To itself, to the stranger who has loved you

All your life, whom you ignored

For another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

The photographs, the desperate notes,

Peel your image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

 

The Methodology for Happy

“It is not possible to live happily if one does not lead a beautiful, righteous and wise life, or to lead a beautiful, righteous and wise life if one is not happy.”  Epicurus (341-270 B…

Source: The Methodology for Happy

The linked post is a wonderful, concise description of happiness beginning when we help others without expectation of something in return. Aristotle spoke about doing good for one’s self and others as the greatest Good. We each have ethical responsiblity for all sentient beings, non-sentient things, and the world we co-inhabit.

Harlon provided a short list which help me understand what it takes to be happy. It is not a recipe, as I need to be mindful and attentive, always asking questions. What are the necessary and unnecessary desires in my life?

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