One day you’ll see:
~ Kapka Kassabova ~
(Poem via CliveJames.com)
One day you’ll see:
~ Kapka Kassabova ~
(Poem via CliveJames.com)
~ Charles Wright - Lonesome Pine Special ~
There’s lots of Small Stones in Bruce’s work.
Kitchen floor in the evening tossin' my little babies high
Mary's smiling but she's watching me out of the corner of her eye
Seems you can't get any more than half free
I step out onto the front porch and suck the cold air deep inside of me
~ Bruce Springsteen “Straight Time” ~
Preamble: Life has all these little feeder streams flowing into that one big fat channel rolling along to the sea. Some of those little feeders get blocked over time by rocks, fallen trees, heartbreak, neglect, what have you. Then, things happen - they can even seem small and unimportant at the time - and those little tributaries can open up and once again you are awash in the particularities they contribute to the main flow.. You’ll know it when it happens to you..
And so - more about reading the world:
The world is a magic book, and we its sentences.
We close it and turn the page down
And never come back,
~ Charles Wright - Closing lines to “Buffalo Yoga” ~
It was all the clods at once become
precious; it was the barn, and the shed,
and the windmill, my hands,the crack
Arlie made in the ax handle: oh,let me stay
here humbly, forgotten,to rejoice in it all;
let the sun casually rise and set.
If I have not found the right place,
teach me; for somewhere inside, the clods are
vaulted mansions, lines through the barn sing
for the saints forever, the shed and windmill
rear so glorious the sun shudders like a gong.
Now I know why people worship, carry around
magic emblems, wake up talking dreams
they teach to their children: the world speaks.
The world speaks everything to us.
It is our only friend.
~ William Stafford ~
There is a country to cross you will
~ William Stafford ~
The Price of Experience
It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
(poem Via Whiskey River)
~ Barbara Crooker ~
which, with its panels windows and sagging crossbeams,
seems both ghost of the life that happened there
wind seeks and sings every wound in the wood
shatter me God into my thousand sounds . . .
At times like these - with Obie enacting a killin plan so blood red even John Boehner likes it - a heartfelt prayer to Jesus' Dad can't hurt our righteous cause..
In fact - I would go so far as to say that It always helps to have The Big Guy on our side when we're preparing to lay some people to waste.
So - with that in mind - here is a bit of Mark Twain's "War Prayer" written in 1905.
Please stand, remove your hats and place your hands over your hearts as we recite our holy pleadings to the Lord.
See y'all in church on Sunday.
it flows thru
the death of me
like a river
~ Inscription on Gregory Corso's headstone ~
(quote found in One Bird, One Stone: 108 Zen Stories)
After you get comfy in your pew on Sunday - read 'Meditation.'
Really sit with it.
Don't reach for the too-easy and hackneyed bromides of "He loves us and He suffers right along with us." or "We aren't capable of seeing or understanding God's plan."
Reread. Let 'Meditation' sink in - then see how the rest of the hymns and communal prayers feel tripping off your tongue.
"We praise You and we bless You." seems a bit overmuch for performance rendered to date.
(Poem via the glowing Meetingbrook)
Via Whiskey River
This quest is not spiritual.
It is not religious.
It is life itself.
(Quote via Whiskey River)
When I Met My Muse
~ William Stafford ~
You Must Revise Your Life - William Stafford
This week for Digital Prayer Flag Friday, I offer you Kindness.
Although some may look upon kindness as rather small, the Dalai Lama has said that kindness is his very religion.
And - as you'll see in the amazing poem below by Naomi Shihab Nye, in this world, 'it is only kindness that makes sense anymore.'
Thank you to the multitudes who've have been kind to me.
Happy Friday y'all!
Thanks to the amazing site "Brain Pickings" for the posting about my almost-brother Jack Kerouac's Birthday today. The beautiful video above is a letter Jack wrote to his wife in which he mentioned "The Golden Eternity.
"The Golden Eternity" is a slim little book of short aphorisms (kinda like the Tao Te Ching). Once upon a time, i read it, fell in love with the kind expression of the Dharma it contained, and hand copied the entire book into a small black notebook that I still lug around with me (below).
How last-century is that?
Happy Birthday Jack, my almost-brother…."actually not 'beat'…but strange solitary Catholic mystic."
I carry this ratty, stained, folded up piece of paper in my wallet,
a handwritten copy of William Stafford's poem
"A Ritual to Read to Each Other."
When I run into Jesus, I'm just going to press this
into His hand, ask Him to share it with the
Other Two, and walk away.
I think it could end up helping
A Ritual To Read To Each Other
If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
(Quote from the always beautiful Love is a Place)
(thx to brother j.p. for the tip!)
Thx to The Monkey..
Paris Review interview with John Berryman (October 1970)
John Berryman - soulmate. There is absolutely no daylight between him and me on this topic.
I have no illusions about the artistic merit of my own pictures or drawings - so I don't presume to put myself anywhere near the likes of Berryman. However - I have noticed and written about how distress leads to mark-making in my own life.
If I was in that room with the Paris Review interviewer and Mr Berryman in 1970, I would have offered that he didn't need to hope to be crucified. Crucifixion writ small or large comes as part of the standard trim package when you get a human incarnation.
Two years after the Paris Review Interview, Mr Berryman, scholar, teacher, poet, threw himself off the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis. Maybe his prayers for ordeal were answered "in abundance" as we Christians are wont to say. Maybe the abundance of ordeal was actually too much for him to bear - which would give lie to the old saw-treacle "God only gives us what we can handle."
Thanks to my dear Sister H, who really introduced me to Mr Berryman through her most excellent close reading of Dream Song #32 that she shared with me yesterday with the assistance of an oracular Monkey. (before yesterday - i never knew what a close reading was..)
(verses nicked from Love is a Place)
Imagine having a frank discussion with the Divine like Jelaluddin Rumi recounts above in his poem?
Imagine the Divine answering back?
Imagine that you are not imagining the responses - no hallucinations - no pharmaceutical aids - no delusions.
Straight up conversation.
Mind blowing right?
But - how could you ever be certain that you just weren't simply imagining Divine responses?
I once asked Father William Meninger, a Cistercian Monk, how I could know that it was really God speaking to me or if I was simply talking to myself. Father Meninger at the time was an imposing figure. He was a big strapping guy. No spindly little Cistercian, he. Hearing my question, Father's face darkened as he leaned into me and growled "Well - you can never just *know*" With that, he spun on his heels and walked away.
He might not have liked my question - but I sure did like his honesty.
Some folks say that they converse with and experience the Divine through the people they come in contact with or through encounters with the natural world. I can appreciate their point of view - but in my own life when I try to make those substitutions - those proxies - I start remembering and channeling Zen Master De Niro's short Dharma talk "This is this."
Maybe my heart is so shuttered and stony that not even the creator of the universe can penetrate it. Maybe that's why it's been over 50 years of dial-tone.
Maybe I just need to shut up about all this and accept my lot in life...
The Psalmists could not have written a better Lamentation.
This is a poem that looks right into the Abyss and doesn't end with some saccharin assurances to take the sting out of things.
Such a comfort.
~ Wendell Berry ~ (via Whiskey River)
James Parker and The Pilgrims - That was the headline for a packed (and rocking) reading last night at the Brookline Booksmith on Harvard St in Brookline.
The Pilgrims are a group of homeless men and women who have been writing for two years now - sharing their poetry and essays in the literary magazine "The Pilgrim." James Parker is a contributing editor to the Atlantic magazine. Among many other things, James helps the authors develop their voice, shape their work, and get it ready for publication.
Together - James and the Pilgrims form what is better known as the Black Seed Writers Group out of The Cathedral Church of St Paul in Boston. Last night was the Black Seed Writers' second annual public reading.
What a night. Poetry. Stories. Humor. Protest. Laughter. Tears. Anger. Joy. Such lovely, tender, fiery, writing delivered so beautifully by the authors themselves.
You can see more pics from the reading by clicking here.
The Black Seed Writers Group is part of the MANNA (Many Angels Needed Now and Always) project at the Cathedral. Read more about MANNA in this great Faith and Leadership Article.
You can support the Black Seed Writers Group by subscribing to their literary journal "The Pilgrim", published ten times a year. Sign-up for an annual print subscription (only $25) is dead easy. Simply designate your $25.00 gift to the "Monday Lunch Program" on the Cathedral's giving page.
Walking is like
dissolves the circle
into motion; the eye here
and there rests
on a leaf,
gap, or ledge,
sight touches seen:
stop, thought, and
reality snaps back
in, locked hard,
the self, too, then
caught real, clouds
and wind melting
into their directions,
breaking around and
over, down and out,
~ A. R. Ammon ~
(via Whiskey River)