Posts Tagged ‘stillness’




sitting with flowers in the garden

until I am

flower in the garden

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Nothing happened today

as I sat for five minutes in the dark,

but all day I could feel the everywhere of it,


even as the car was sliding sideways down the hill,

even as my daughter wept, even as my singing group

laughed until we cried, I could feel it still there,


the silence that holds up all sound, the stillness

that cradles all motion, the peace that supports

every disaster, the blue sky behind the clouds.

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If you watch the heron as it stalks

amongst the tall green reeds, then pauses,

and in its pausing disappears, then you understand

something of the power of stillness.


And if you, yourself, are still long enough

to see the head of the snapping turtle

rise between the lily pads,

then you glean something of the rewards

that come with sitting still.


But if you sit expecting such rewards,

then perhaps sit longer and watch the cattails

as they waver and still, sway and still and still,

and feel how the urge in you to say something rises

and softens and softens until there is nothing to say,


until that kind of stillness becomes

the greatest reward, until you feel

stillness hold you the way the lake

holds the lily pad, the way

the silence holds a song.



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Dear Boredom,




I miss you. I miss your long

minutes, your interminable hours,

your days that promised never to end.

What became of your

afternoons full of nothing?

Your yawning mornings?

Our weekends on the couch?

I remember how you once

wrapped your arms around me

and I thought you meant forever.

I believed in your quiet loyalty,

how still you were, not even

the curtains moved.

Now, even the moon is in a rush,

sprinting across the stars.

Now every single thing

has some song to sing.

The day hurls around

its confident light

and the minutes strut

around in berets and shout

into their megaphones.

Look, I’ve saved a place

for you at my table.

Please come. I don’t

remember what you look like,

but if you just hold me,

I’ll know it’s you come home,

I’ll know.





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that after years of driving past a place

on your way to somewhere else, this time


you stop. You find yourself sitting

beneath a scrappy tree as the shadows


make their daily rounds. The breeze stirs,

then forgets itself. The clouds balloon,


then disappear. The cars on the highway

continue their journey toward somewhere.


And you sit. What a relief to go nowhere.

What a gift to have nothing to say.


The winds of your thoughts bluster

and go away. An ant makes its way


to the top of a grass blade then makes

its way back down. The snow


that arrived on the peaks yesterday

melts by noon into the ground.


Where do you think you need to go?

You say, “There,” and the world says, “Here.”


There is cricket song all around you.

Gold tang of rabbit brush rouses the air.


Sometimes it happens this way: you stop.

And the world arrives at your chair.

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Only the Dance



At the still point of the turning world; neither flesh nor fleshless

—T. S. Eliot, from The Four Quartets



Waltzing in the kitchen,

I ask the sauté pan to dance.

It is an awkward affair,

neither of us is really sure

of the steps, neither of us

knows if the other is leading.

In the end, I curtsey. The sauté pan

retires to the stove top

and says nothing. There

is no applause. The music

that was not playing

continues not to play.


The deer in the grass

who did not turn to watch

the strange dance in the house

continue to eat the lawn,

which I know by tomorrow

will seem taller, though

I have never seen it grow.


In me, something so still.

I struggle to name it,

say “nothing,” and I bow

to the nothing, know it as true,

then it changes its name

to “everything.”


There is so much

I don’t understand.

On the stove, the butter

skitters across the pan.

It smells salty, sweet.

The pan and I are partners again.

I lift it by the handle

and swirl it slowly,

then return it to the grate.


I don’t dare be still now,

lest the butter burn.

Whatever is still in me

remains very, very still

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Still Rambling

I am tired
of evading
Was that
your plan
all along,
to outwait me,
that sooner
or later
after all that
and rumpus
I’d need a drink
of water
and take
by sweet accident
a sip

of you.

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First I thought
it a piece of cliff
onto the highway,
but then became
visible four short legs,
then the horns,
the dark wool. But
it did not move,
not one inch,
as I passed it
going west,
passed it wishing
I were not so quick
in my travels,
wishing I could
stand on the road
and forget it was
a road.

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And That’s All

Five pink lilies,
petals splayed,
more perfume
in the room
than one nose
can take in.
the mind
reaches for more—
one more hour,
one more kiss,
one more cookie,
one more glimpse,
one more oh,
it goes on, but
the scent
of five open lilies,
the scent
of five
pink lilies.

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Stillness, I say I want you.
Pond with no wrinkle. Hanging

leaf with no breeze. Mind with
no wheel of thought.

I say please teach me and then
rail against you. Squirm and reach

and whirl. In the quiet field,
I make of myself a wind.

In the silent blue room, I sing.
I climb the balcony with a tambourine

instead of sitting in the garden below.
Stillness, how I rub against you.

The heat builds the longer I sit.
I am sand paper against you. I am

bell. I am red. I am mint. Stillness,
the teachers say you are here

beneath the veils of do and must.
I listen and think I know what they mean.

I turn you into a thought. Stillness,
you leak through this carrying on.

Stillness, I wrestle myself till I sweat.
I shout your name, Stillness, as if

you were deaf. Stillness,
where are you? And where are you not?

The dawn and the night move with you.
I keep bumping against, what?

Oh Stillness, I’m laughing. There you
were in the question, but I went on

with my wondering, my want.

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