Thursday, December 31, 2015

Snowflakes


Like snowflakes, we find a lighter way
to say the things we say,
as we approach the hallowed ground.

One by one our names are called,
in each new means to peace for all.

Then the sun comes out, and a child shouts,
as we silently touch down.



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Canvas 608



Canvas 608

December 30, 2015




As if almost


Clear and cold. I peeled and cut an onion yesterday,
and, despite all the washing, my fingers still smell.

A bird, through the window, wishes me well.

Her eye, sent by heaven, from heaven,
through heaven, arrives in heaven, all to be still.

A frozen field, where once were walls.

Loveliness, astonishment,
the everyday business of ghosts.

A stray thread on a coat.

An unexplained feeling of hope.

A boundless sea, in need of my very small boat.

And everything else a grave never holds.

As if, almost, the bird says, Oh!



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Still Standing: A List of the Books I Read in 2015





If there is one thing living has taught me, it is that the calendar is a poor judge of the beginnings and endings that pass within. Thought ripens in its own time. Loneliness and grief fall away when their uses have been fulfilled. Undue harshness towards ourselves fades in the light of self-understanding. Love, there all along, astonishes when we least expect it with the unfolding of her wings. Suddenly we see truth and joy have no basis in the weary thing called Time. For every page torn from the calendar, countless are inscribed in the heart. Behold your hands and face. See what is written there, some of it quickly, some of it slowly, none of it ambiguous, all of it artistic, subtle, and sure.

Now, it might be safely and sanely asked what any of this has to do with this year’s reading list. My answer, of course, is, everything. For in 2015, no day has passed in which I have not read. The very act is my grateful prayer of the predawn hours, and many other hours besides. Reading is my rhythm, my companion, my faithful, illuminating guide. Through it, inches become miles, hours days, days years, years lifetimes.

Along the way, my own writing and drawing constitutes a kind of running commentary, an extended marginalia which, though not always traceable to any given work, is enough to suggest the thoughts, ideas, and transformation thereby aroused.

This year, too, I rearranged my reading space to accommodate a big library-style dictionary ever open at my side, and made a habit of looking up every word doubtful in meaning or pronunciation. This steady, gentle exercise has had its rewards, the focusing of attention and the cultivating of patience not least among them.

Following, then, is a complete list of the seventy-four books I read this year. The very last, a little volume I picked up recently, I am not quite done with, but expect, if I live, to finish before year’s end. All but one are vintage hardcovers, pictures of which I have shared on occasion. The photo above is of the old Carnegie library in my hometown. Sadly, it is no longer standing. But I am. For now.


~

The Waverley Novels
by Sir Walter Scott

Unusually Illustrated
In twenty-seven Volumes

Adam & Charles Black
Edinburgh

(1900)

Edition de Luxe
Limited to Five Hundred Registered and Numbered Copies. Number 90.

~

Volume I
Waverley

Volume II
Guy Mannering

Volume III
The Antiquary

Volume IV
Rob Roy

Volume V
Old Mortality

Volume VI
The Black Dwarf and A Legend of Montrose

Volume VII – Volume VIII
The Heart of Midlothian

Volume IX
The Bride of Lammermoor

Volume X
Ivanhoe

Volume XI
The Monastery

Volume XII
The Abbot

Volume XIII
Kenilworth

Volume XIV
The Pirate

Volume XV
The Fortunes of Nigel

Volume XVI-Volume XVII
Peveril of the Peak

Volume XVIII
Quentin Durward

Volume XIX
St. Ronan’s Well

Volume XX
Redgauntlet

Volume XXI
The Betrothed
(Novel)
The Highland Widow
(Chronicles of the Canongate)

Volume XXII
The Talisman
(Novel)
The Two Drovers
My Aunt Margaret’s Mirror
The Tapestried Chamber
The Laird’s Jock
(Chronicles of the Canongate)

Volume XXIII
Woodstock

Volume XXIV
The Fair Maid of Perth

Volume XXV
Anne of Geierstein

Volume XXVI
Count Robert of Paris

Volume XXVII
The Surgeon’s Daughter
Castle Dangerous
Index and Glossary
Characters Introduced and Principal Incidents

~

The Poems of Sir Walter Scott

Unusually Illustrated
In two Volumes

Merrill & Baker
London

(1900)

Edition de Luxe
Limited to Five Hundred Registered and Numbered Copies. Number 90.

~

Life of Sir Walter Scott

by J.G. Lockhart

Unusually Illustrated
In four Volumes

Merrill & Baker
London

(1900)

Edition de Luxe
Limited to Five Hundred Registered and Numbered Copies. Number 90.

~

The Book-bills of Narcissus
by Richard Le Gallienne

The Quest for Corvo : An Experiment in Biography
by A.J.A. Symons

Alfred de Musset : A Biography
by Henry Dwight Sedgwick

The Intimate Journal of George Sand
translated and edited by Marie Jenney Howe

Balzac
by Frederick Lawton

Spiritual Adventures
by Arthur Symons

The Life of Algernon Charles Swinburne
by Sir Edmund Gosse

The Life and Letters of Sir Edmund Gosse
by Evan Charteris

The Letters of Algernon Charles Swinburne
edited by Sir Edmund Gosse and Thomas Wise

A Study of Shakespeare
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson,
1834-1872
(Two Volumes)

The Painting of You
by William Michaelian

Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle
(Two Volumes)

Arthur Conan Doyle : A Life in Letters
edited by Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower, & Charles Foley

Letters of James Russell Lowell
edited by Charles Eliot Norton
(Two Volumes)

James Russell Lowell : A Biography
by Horace Elisha Scudder
(Two Volumes)

James Russell Lowell and His Friends
by Edward Everett Hale

~

Standard Library Edition
The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson
With a General Index and a Memoir
by James Elliott Cabot
With Steel Portraits and Etchings
In Fourteen Volumes

~

Volume I
Nature, Addresses, and Lectures

Volume II
Essays : First Series

Volume III
Essays : Second Series

Volume IV
Representative Men : Seven Lectures

Volume V
English Traits

Volume VI
The Conduct of Life

Volume VII
Society and Solitude : Twelve Chapters

Volume VIII
Letters and Social Aims

Volume IX
Poems

Volume X
Lectures and Biographical Sketches

Volume XI
Miscellanies

Volume XII
Natural History of Intellect and Other Papers

Volumes XIII and XIV
A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson
by James Elliot Cabot

~

The Confessions of St. Augustine
Translated by Edward Bouverie Pusey

The Imitation of Christ
by Thomas à Kempis
Translated by William Benham

The Pilgrim’s Progress
by John Bunyan

The Complete Poems of John Milton
Written in English

Lowell & His Poetry
by William Henry Hudson



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Eyes as windows


When these grand heavens first felt their need, I know not;
that eyes, as windows, should open and close at their behest and trust,
ancient then as now do ours; sight, spiritual; bones, as so much dust;
sails the wind through wild forests springing, yields both to touch;
as the first dove seeks mate to love; I know not but to bow,
and kneel, and shout; open, shut, ’t is not my will,
nor the grace that comes to fill yours,
these windows still, now waking;
or how the sun comes up,
the other stars quiet
but not forsaking;
I know not,

only that I find them waiting.



Friday, December 25, 2015

Which shows so well


Alive in the knowledge that less is more,
and that wanting nothing is having everything,
a hungry bird, thus sure, comes out to sing,
and thereby sweetly calls your name;
by any word or little thing secured,
a ribbon, say, or bow, a seed
dropped on the ground,
her song a poem,
or daylight
ringing
bell,

which shows so well, the love that binds us all.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

We as poets


It does not need words to show
we might never reach the end of our sentence,
that our very presence is a message
of greeting and farewell.

Thus to embrace, a plum ripe
falls through space, into a hand out held,
where we, ever as poets,
come to dwell.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

For friends missing loved ones


It is good to weep; in truth, I wish you would;
not your sorrow to keep, but to purify the good
that even now doth speak in your darkling mood;
like crackling wood, in a fire that leaps, they wink
for all you can, instead of could, or should;
and that is one way their lives still teach
gratitude for the pain and grief
that makes their absence
presence, where once
they stood.



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Canvas 606



Canvas 606

December 22, 2015




Of each my trial and pain


And when, of each my trial and pain,
I say, Rejoice,

Think me not a Fool; but rather school me
in your Choice,

That keeps your Burden so dear to you;
for I confess,

I have not found the weight I stress
so Noble,

That the Deformity it doth impress
hath not shone through;

Or is the roar of Self so grand,
you mistake

The Sea of Life for the Drop of Sorrow
in your hand?



Monday, December 21, 2015

Speaks thus the storm wind


Not when all you have has fallen away,
but when you have fallen away from all you have,
and fear not whether or where,
you, or they, will land.



Saturday, December 19, 2015

Old Grandpa Moon


I wrote this simple, old-fashioned children’s story many years ago, long before I was a grandpa myself. This is its first, and perhaps last, publication. I do wish it were illustrated. Maybe I should take on that challenge. I might surprise myself. I would have to. Then again, I do so love the pictures in your head. Isn’t that what makes our friendship so easy to imagine, so vital, and so real?



The whole great countryside was asleep. The night was clear and cold, and the stars were winking above the farmhouses and fields.

But inside an old stone cottage, there was one little boy who could not sleep. It was Simon. Simon was still awake, because Grandpa, who always slept beside him, was snoring too loudly.

“Lo-ho, lo-ho,” Grandpa said as he breathed in, and as he breathed out. “Ho-ho, lo-ho.”

It was now very late, and Simon didn’t know what to do. Quietly, he sat up and looked around the room.

Papa was stretched out asleep by the fireplace, and Mama was there beside him.

Grandma, who always seemed so busy during the day, was sound asleep in her chair, cozy beneath her favorite quilt.

Big Brother was asleep, and Sister too.

Even the family’s lazy old dog, Bobo, was asleep.

Everyone was asleep but Simon!

Simon lay back down beside Grandpa, feeling like the only person in the world who was still awake.

Meanwhile, Grandpa went right on snoring. “Lo-ho,” he said. “Lo-ho.”

Simon tried putting his hands over his ears, but he heard the snoring anyway.

Then he rolled himself up into a little ball. But that didn’t do a bit of good.

He unrolled himself and closed his eyes as tight as he could. He whispered the word Sleep over and over. That almost worked, but a few minutes later his eyes popped open by themselves and Simon was more awake than ever.

Well, if Simon couldn’t fall asleep, then he would have to think of some way to make Grandpa stop snoring. At the same time he knew he must not disturb his grandfather, because he worked hard all day and needed his rest.

Simon’s first idea was to poke Grandpa in the stomach with his little finger. He did this, ever so lightly.

But it didn’t work.

“Lo-ho, lo-ho,” Grandpa snored.

Then he remembered how much Grandpa liked ripe tomatoes and fresh green cucumbers. So he whispered softly in his ear, “Grandpa, are you hungry? The tomatoes and cucumbers are ripe.”

But that didn’t work either, and Grandpa kept on snoring.

“Lo-ho, lo-ho,” he said.

Simon couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed. But then he remembered something Grandpa liked even better than tomatoes and cucumbers, and that was Grandma’s raisin pie. Grandma made the best raisin pie in the world.

“Grandpa?” whispered Simon again. “There’s a big raisin pie baking in the oven. I think it’s almost ready.”

“Lo-ho, lo-ho-ho,” answered Grandpa.

Now Simon was beginning to wonder if Grandpa would ever stop snoring. But just then he remembered how much his grandfather liked to go fishing during the summer.

“Grandpa, let’s go fishing,” Simon whispered hopefully.

But, “Lo-ho-ho, lo-ho-ho,” snored Grandpa.

“Grandpa, the cows are singing in the barn,” said Simon.

“Ho-and-lo, lo-and-ho,” snored Grandpa.

“Grandpa, the horses are dancing in the garden.”

“Heave-ho,” answered Grandpa, “heave-ho.”

“Grandpa, the chickens are up on the roof,” said Simon.

“Happity-lo, hippity-ho,” snored Grandpa.

“Grandpa, there’s corn in your ear.”

“And a crow in the snow,” snored Grandpa, “a crow in the snow.”

Well, it was just no use! Simon had tried everything he could think of, and Grandpa was still snoring! Only now, he was snoring louder than ever!

Simon sat up again and looked around the room.

Everyone was still asleep — Papa and Mama by the fireplace, Grandma in her chair, Big Brother and Sister, and even lazy old Bobo. But how could they sleep with all that noise?

Simon lay back down. Then he looked out the window and up at the night sky.

A big round moon was just coming up.

And how many stars there were! One couldn’t hope to count them all, not even in a million years.

“One, two, three,” Simon said to himself.

The moon rose a little higher.

“Four, five, six.”

And the stars shined a little brighter.

“Seven, eight, nine.”

For some reason, Simon’s eyes felt heavy. It wasn’t easy to keep them open. But he must, because there were so many stars, and he had to count them all.

“Ten, eleven, twelve.”

Simon didn’t know it, but he was almost asleep.

“Thirteen . . . fourteen . . . fifteen . . .”

And the whole great countryside was quiet, except for Grandpa’s snoring.

Then, lo-ho, the moon went down, and one by one the stars all turned into butterflies.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Show and Tell


In his dream, he wandered the narrow, winding streets of an ancient city. Along the way, he saw an old blind woman selling nuts and grains, and a young boy carrying fresh warm bread to customers as yet unknown to him. Hearing his footsteps and smelling the bread, the woman bade him stop; this he did, bowing theatrically, as was his wont. Speaking in a singing sort of way, he asked after her health, with such a facial expression as to suggest a profound connection between her answer, whatever it turned out to be, and his aromatic wares. Her answer, however, took him by surprise: “That we both live only in the dream of another, I sense you are unaware.” Hearing this, of course, he thought her crazy, though harmless. He also bore in mind that no matter how crazy she was, she was still someone’s daughter and quite likely someone’s mother, and therefore deserving of respect, even if that respect was partially hidden behind a smile. His teeth, at least the cleanest ones that weren’t missing, shone from out his handsome, youthful face. “I had assumed as much,” he said, “and was hoping you would care to explain it.” “You laugh,” she said. “I do not mind. But explain it I can, and explain it I must.” As amused as he was, at this juncture the boy remembered his rapidly cooling bread, and that the cooler it became, the harder it would be to sell. And so his next words were uttered with a little more haste than was consistent with respect and good manners: “You had best get on with it, then,” he said, “because I have a living to make.” Hearing this, the woman smiled. Then, before he even had time to blink, his bread, and the flat, floury board he used day in and day out to transport it, evaporated into thin air. “There,” she said. “Now you have all the time in the world. Even more.” And as she spoke those last two words, she, too, disappeared, along with the nuts and grain she had arranged around her. But that was not all. No, it was not all, because next the place where she had been sitting disappeared, as did the old stone wall behind her, and the tired shops on either side, each with their sorrowful doorway and forlorn keepers and attendants. Seeing all this, or rather not seeing it, he cried out, “What strange, evil magic is this!” But lo, expecting its familiar, proud echo, he heard not his own voice. Then, as if about to call on God, he held up his hand, which was also missing. And yet, somehow, he felt it was still there. “Is it possible,” he wondered, “that the woman was right, and that all of this is part of the dream of another? And if it is, what will become of me? Would it not be best to run?” So saying, he turned, only to discover that the street, too, was gone, as was the very city itself. And then suddenly he felt as if he were drifting in space. Around him were galaxies of stars, planets and moons of every description, hanging all about him like ripe fruit, as if he were lost in the branches of a universal tree. “I am dying,” he said. “Unless —” and for some reason this surprised him even more — “I am he who dreams.” Here the dream ended. Soon thereafter, but what might as well have been a century or more, a beautiful little girl bent down where she found the dream half-covered by the sweet, green, wet grass behind her house. She took it up gently and carried it in to show to her mother, who, as mothers did then and often still do in these beautiful times, was just taking some bread out of the oven. “What is that you have there,” she asked her daughter. “I don’t know,” the little girl replied. And the two were silent a moment, marveling at the existence of such a strange, lovely thing.



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Storm and Demand


When you predict or expect the worst, you are sure to help bring it about. Repeat the pattern, and your negative outlook becomes a habit; ultimately, the habit becomes an excuse to remain the same, and to blame fate or others for something you were instrumental in helping to bring about. The illusion is that there is a future. When we say, “I will try to be a better person,” or, “I will find happiness someday,” or “I am working on becoming enlightened,” we are in effect saying that we do not feel the urgency, or sense the opportunity, in this the present moment. We would rather be distracted, or comforted, or intellectually teased, or shown an easier way. But the revolution is not in philosophy, religion, or politics; it is not a matter of struggle or proud effort; it is in the sudden startling storm and demand of your existence. It is the joyful turning out of your pockets, and finding the rainbow within.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

If I Tell You


If I tell you that these winter days are a procession of flowers,
and that your ready gaze has soft warm fingers,
will you understand how touched I am
by the divine mercy
we call ours?



Friday, December 11, 2015

Gratitude


I the one last leaf, and you, the snowflake that taught me how to fall.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Angels


It is clear to me that we are all angels in this life, and that we are at our best when we know, or remember, this sweet, simple, joyous fact. You are mine; I am yours; our children and grandchildren and the children of others all minister to us with their tears and wings and smiles; every breath is an invitation to help and to be helped, to lift and to be lifted; and always to rejoice. And even when we don’t know, even when we don’t remember or recognize our true status in this timeless, boundless, ever renewing life, we are guided to where we are to be the most of help, or to where our spirit-needs are most apt to be filled. So why not yield?



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Canvas 594



Canvas 594

December 3, 2015




That your butterflies may rest


That your butterflies may rest, say not, make not, act not to impress; by inspiration blessed, and instinct’s test, give the best of what is near and dear to you, as a prayer that might uplift.



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Canvas 593



Canvas 593

December 2, 2015




bell weather


how blue and sweet the stars today

how grain to meet the tongue

how saint the nurse of this quaint verse

how old to be this young



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

other thoughts


a butterfly in frosty air

above a frozen summer pond

and other thoughts that carry you

away adrift along



Monday, November 30, 2015

precipice


not what was said

but what you would say

if yours were the first words

ever spoken



Sunday, November 29, 2015

Matins


And what is courage

if not the study of oneself

in the adversity

of plenty?



Saturday, November 28, 2015

winter watch


my dear trembling friend

what better place than this cold room

to burn our beloved poems?



Friday, November 27, 2015

heritage


a tiny stream singing

beneath the ice

and a crack

in your mirror

that takes you there



Thursday, November 26, 2015

birch lace leaf flake


birch

lace

leaf

flake

day

light

might

wait

this

long

to

grace

your

cold

cold

palm



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Brevity


As each petal is wise in the purpose and symmetry of a flower, so must be the words we choose, each an action with a will to bloom. Be brave, be brief, beware the power you wield; thoughtless use is profound abuse. Brevity is depth of character, the moral courage to speak to love in beauty’s light. Do not say, “I am right.” Say, rather, “Now is the time.”



Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Winter’s Tale


Lonely word, I see by the lines in your face
a life to grace a novel paragraph;

Lonely man, I see by the words in your face
the lines to grace a tragic epitaph;

Lonely muse, I see by the light in your face
the poem you now waste on poor William;

Be it such and so; yet praise the naked limb
that calls him out to sing as best he can.



Friday, November 20, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

No Man’s Land



No Man’s Land

November 19, 2015




Body Language


Words are actions far more potent than what we think they mean. They are the sinew and bowel of thought and dream. Therefore speak not, write not, quote not blindly. Live kindly, and let that meaning be your means. Sing the language of our larger body, which is silence, and moves on wings.



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Identity and Self-Understanding


In terms of the individual, I think one of the surest signs of self-understanding, which is suggested in courage and nobility but is really something much deeper and more subtle, is shown by he or she who no longer identifies with struggle, be it personal, national, religious, or political. To the degree which we identify with our physical and psychological pain, do we come to be identified with them by others. When groups, communities, and nations so identify, the obstacles to be overcome, rather than being more easily dealt with by larger and ever larger numbers, are strengthened by resistance until they seem nigh insurmountable. In turn, we see our struggle against powerful odds as justification of our acts, and proof of their worth. But are they worthy? Are they evidence of an enlightened, unselfish outlook and attitude? Or are they merely a helpless reaction and direct result of our refusal to look beyond habit and upbringing to see and understand things more deeply? If, instead of steadily and patiently examining things for ourselves, we accept each tired old maxim served us and handed down, do we not help perpetuate the problems we claim ourselves highly qualified and intelligent enough to overcome?

Here a lesson might be had from the willow, graceful year-round, willingly yielding superfluous branches and twigs to the greater good of its symmetry and grace, a shelter for cattle and lovers alike at water’s edge, gazed upon with admiration by stars and humans. So our strength lies, not in resistance, but in surrender. If, rather than being universal star-stuff in musical motion, I am merely an Armenian and a Swede, and you are a German, Christian, or Japanese, what hope is there? We are intimately related to each other and to the other animals and the rocks and the trees, yet caught up in and blinded by our surface differences. Every bomb dropped, every life taken, every man cheated, every person not tolerated, hated, or brushed aside, shows how little we understand what can be a great source of joy — that of living together, and of being willows for each other, through whatever obstacle or difficulty we face — that of being star-bright and willow-wise, on our flight of love through space.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Easy


What need for explanation? See how the trees
grant ascendance to the wind, yet display a glad expression;
and how the wind, in haste its news to bring, makes its own confession;
how silence sings the truth by means of perennial creation;
while you from all this, with profound steps,
take a new direction.



Saturday, November 14, 2015

Canvas 591



Canvas 591

November 14, 2015




Overheard


How like the November wind, with urgency
its one demand, your chance again to write, speak,
make, and act, that I may know you; seek not
an end, fly off again; no habit or creed
can hold you; trust your wings,
and in using them, forget
who told you.



Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Attitude


One danger of making your personal complaints known, is that they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I hurt, I have trouble sleeping, my digestion is not what it should be — once such things are spoken aloud, to justify yourself they must be lived up to. Therefore I do hurt, I do have trouble sleeping, and my digestion really isn’t what it should be — in other words, noble sufferer that I am, it is just as I have told you, only much worse. But please don’t feel sorry for me — just give me your undivided attention and tell me what a hero I am.

Complaint is a powerful force. It has a dramatic negative effect on how we are seen, and on how we see ourselves. A positive attitude, on the other hand, has just the opposite result. By patiently adopting it, we teach ourselves strength, and are an example of strength for others. “Ah, but if you only knew . . .” And just what makes you think I don’t? Am I not human like you, and do we not share the common lot of our kind? All humanity is crying out, suffering pain, loss, grief, hunger, satiety, loneliness. We have too much. We have too little. We have everything. We have nothing at all — except this glorious, outwardly expanding breath . . . .

I remember my father, suffering terribly with osteoarthritis, his back a crumpled mass of calcified, cushion-less bone, answering friends’ and neighbors’ inquiries after his health by saying how good he felt. Gone twenty years now, free from his agony, his attitude is still a positive outward vibration.

I also remember my daily visits with a friend, who, with one leg, died of cancer when he was eighteen and I was seventeen. Always a joke, always a smile, painting beautiful pictures while propped up on his side in bed, the soft winter light entering through his window and falling on his hand . . . .

And so I ask, what will be your legacy? What will be my own?



Saturday, November 7, 2015

Open eye know I no


Bright leaf down

dark damp ground

paper birch

scroll flight

in sight

open eye

know

I

no

I

sing

now

perch



Friday, November 6, 2015

Shall I mention it?


Shall I mention it — the vein in a leaf, the stain on a hand, the scent of mold from the land, how they each lend grace to a man, if space is made while he can, to shovel his way to the grave he digs, even as the digging makes him glad — and how, by the light that is in you, it seems I already have?



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

One minute, two, a lifetime, the world


I think one of the most revolutionary, transformative acts we can undertake, is to set aside a moment during which we do not criticize anything or anyone, including ourselves. Criticize no husband, no wife, no child, no acquaintance, or friend. Criticize no politician, no religious leader, no organization, no criminal, no celebrity, no teacher. Criticize no form of employment, no way of life, no sexual orientation, no perceived shortcoming. Do not even criticize the weather. See if you can do it. See if you can let go of that deadly old habit, and with it the familiar illusions of superiority and inferiority, failure and success, long held so dear, and then feel those undermining elements within you subside. It is not strength and resistance we need most in this life, but to learn the art of acceptance and letting go. One minute, two, a lifetime, the world. Love, help, and a positive sense, are sweet, essential nourishment.



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November


The ear fills with sky-sounds, the eye with cloud-motion and leaf-fall. Distances are not what we think them at all, but blessings ripe and uncountable. The glad-spent remains of the summer garden are brought to the pile. Manure is spread on the ground, each shovelful a soft aromatic reminder of childhood on the farm, a great love-pasture rimmed by plum trees and sparrows. The rudder-sea-shovel plies welcoming soil, makes amatory metal shine, brings a shout up through mast-wood to the hands and the arms. Where it ends, no one knows. The brain and the heart are wise with their cards, the show of their tell the patience of art. Sunflower seeds. Leaf-mold. The plumpness of worms. Shovel to keyboard sail our words, spider the web of our space. Computer grace. Charon, old ferryman, pass by this place.



Saturday, October 31, 2015

Three poems


Three poems — one a dream,
another to sing the silence in between,
a third to tell the others
what they mean

to some
it might well seem

a holy trinity

.



Saturday, October 24, 2015

As Is

I have spent most of this month writing a free-form essay titled “As Is.” Since it is a departure in style and much longer than my other blog entries, I decided to publish it in a new space of its own. Here is a link that will take you there:




Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Softly


Verse that grows as honey slows to autumn.
Love that knows what summer rose has taught them.



The Life of Michael Angelo




The Life of Michael Angelo
By Herman Grimm
Translated by Fanny Elizabeth Bunnett



Click to Enlarge

In Two Volumes
Boston : Little, Brown and Co.
(1898)



Monday, September 28, 2015

The Correspondence of William Cowper


Click to Enlarge

The Correspondence of William Cowper
Arranged in Chronological Order, With Annotations
By Thomas Wright
In Four Volumes

London : Hodder and Stoughton
(1904)




Found between Pages 174 and 175 of Volume IV