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Posts Tagged ‘silence’

One Illumining

 

 

midnight walk

even my silence

reflects the moonlight

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Just a few steps from the house

I find a place to sit on a rock

and wait for the trill of the red wing blackbird.

 

I have waited twenty years to hear it here

in my back yard full of water and willows

and quiet. All day, though intermittent, I’ve heard it.

 

Funny how much I enjoy the waiting tonight—

perhaps because I know that eventually

the bright call will come. It is, perhaps, like a girl,

 

waiting through her first date for her first kiss—

she’s pretty sure it will happen, and now, after

years of waiting, she suddenly has

 

all the time in the world. In fact, the waiting

is delicious—like champagne, dry, with tiny bubbles.

Like summer’s first raspberries—a little too tart,

 

and yet sweet enough to eat another and another.

I sit in the goldening world and wait and wait.

I listen to the jays as they squawk and the warbler’s

 

sharp chirp. The wind teases my hair and I wait

until I forget I am waiting, simply noticing the world.

By the time I hear the familiar trill, it greets me

 

like the old friend it is, then it’s silent again.

The way the sun seems most lovely just before it’s gone,

that’s how the silence holds me.

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Nada

 

written at the Carmelite Monastery in Crestone, CO

 

 

It holds everything, silence,

offers itself as a blank staff

on which every song it written—

the tiny hymn of insect wings,

the baritone of the jet as it flies

from one measure of sky to the next,

the dry requiem of rustling grass,

the emphatic chorus of crow.

 

How generous, silence,

am I willing to know it?

How it includes even the cough,

the belch, retching, the wailing,

the snarl, the scream, the shatter,

and scores these in concert with the hum,

the lush purr, the whisper of the lover,

the ecstatic tremulo of sigh.

 

There is no sound it refuses to hold.

Its patience is infinite.

So when we, like weary pilgrims,

tired of hearing the percussion

of our own footsteps, arrive at its doors,

silence receives us, welcomes us home.

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I want to be quiet enough

to absorb the shouting,

still enough to subsume

the uproar, silent enough

to diminish the din. I want

to calm not just the air

but the hurt that drives

the shouts, calm the hurt

that drives the hurt.

Like bringing an ocean

to put out a candle—that’s

how bizarrely effective

I want this quiet to be—

the kind of quiet that touches

everything, tenderly,

like Persian perfume, and

invites it to feel how sweet

the communion of silence.

I want to know quiet

like a fine silken blanket

big enough to cover us all. Quiet,

like a bottle of wine that no matter

how much we pour and share

we find it miraculously always full.

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Who Am I?

 

 

I thought I wanted

a harmonium of answers,

a key of certainty,

a hymn of how to,

but silence gave me

the most beautiful gift—

one true question.

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Inner Locating

 

 

Close to the waves,

I hear only waves.

Close to the cars,

I hear cars.

Come closer,

says the silence.

Come closer,

says the heart.

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Amidst the sirens

and the horns,

tucked in between

the skyscrapers,

we found a garden

with a fountain

at its center

rung with trees

and lush green leaves

and purple hastas—

and there, inside

that sudden peace,

my dad and I

sat side by side

and didn’t solve

a goddammed thing

but listened to

the sound of water

falling, falling,

and watched it

rising up,

rising up again.

 

 

 

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I ask the night

teach me to ask bigger questions

it replies

perhaps you could

take the pen away

from the one who wants

to ask questions

and then let her come

walk in the night

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Apparently no one told the tickle in my throat

that this was a silent retreat.

All it wanted to do was explore the sound

of throat clearing, the sound of cough.

 

All around me the sound of nothing

but breathing and sitting, but in me,

this tickle saying Notice me, Notice me.

Here I am and what will you do about it?

I told the tickle, If I were freeclimbing,

I would ignore you. My life would depend on it.

 

The tickle said, but you’re here,

here in a quiet room, and your life is at stake

in a much different way. What are you willing

to notice? What do you wish away?

Isn’t this just one more way you tell yourself

life would be better if it were different?

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Consider the generosity of silence,

how it holds the space between icicle drips,

how it meets squawk and howl

and laugh and sob with the same acceptance,

the same respect. How it asks nothing of the world

and yet is always there waiting

beneath the passing car, the passing thought.

 

I don’t want to live my life without knowing you,

silence, you the great loom on which all life is woven,

you the wisdom with nothing to say.

 

I want to invite you into all the rooms of my heart,

want to know the ways you permeate me,

how you inform every cell.

 

I want to find you inside every word, to know

in all my speech the silence that supports it.

 

I want to know you, silence, you who was here

before the big bang and you who continue to grow.

You who touch the seas and the barren rock,

the snow covered mountain, the meadow of mud,

who touched the first leaf and met the first cry,

who will touch the last leaf, who will meet

the last song. And go on.

 

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