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Posts Tagged ‘stillness’

One in the Center

wind that tears

the limbs from the trees—

what is still, still still

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Still to Come

There will be a time when I will sit quietly

on the chair and feel no urgency to rise, to rush.

Won’t feel the crush of the unfinished list,

won’t feel late, overdue, behind. I may not

even know the time, won’t fear the tick of the clock

as an adversary. Perhaps I’ll even close my eyes

and lean back and let my limbs soften

like honey warmed in the sun.

An idea might come, but I’ll not try to capture it.

This isn’t laziness, no part of me will think so.

No, I’ll revel in the slowness, the unhurried day.

And I’ll remember, perhaps, a time when the ticking

felt like a bomb inside me. Where did it go,

I might wonder, as I pour myself another cup of tea,

the scent of bergamot citrusy and bright.

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I want to linger at the side of the road

where the dark birds sing into the eddies of dawn,

yes linger in the low-angled light, in the big-hearted shadow

that blankets this bend in the canyon. Though I have many

miles to drive before I arrive, let me stay here

a while beside the river, still for a willowy moment, the water

the only thing moving. How many landscapes do I pass

without meeting them? How many worlds do I miss

as I rush from one here to the next? Oh bless this

quiet, where there is no hum of highway, no rumble,

no center line, no blur. Why do I so seldom linger,

my bones full of rush and current. In this moment,

I remember how deeply I love the stillness of rocks

that haven’t moved for a thousand years, the calm

of the dirt that has nowhere, nowhere to go.

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The wind, every day now, the

wind, the wind, the clamorous

wind, it lifts my dress and whips

my hair, the riotous wind, it

steals my words, unwinds my thoughts, the

demanding wind, the wilding wind, wind

that spreads fire, wind that unbranches the

cottonwood trees, the wind, the wind unlayers

me, invites me to find someplace still in me,

the wind, the relentless wind.

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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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The pelican dives

into the water,

rises again. Hovers.

Dives. Rises.

Each time, the water is quick

to forget the intrusion

loses its ripples,

stills. A thought

is a kind of a pelican.

A woman is a kind

of a bay. The pelicans

will always dive.

The bay will always

return to stillness.

A woman might

learn to live this way.

 

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yet another poem inspired by this composition by Erik Satie

 

 

You wonder why I haunt you

like moonlight, why I come to you

like morning fog, dream thick and cool,

why I steep myself into your thoughts

like bergamot in black tea.

You wonder why I seldom leave you,

why I slip into your silences

the way rye darkly slips into bread.

 

It is my work to give you shivers,

make you tremble, make you still.

It is my work to make you fall in love

with the darkness inside yourself. It is my work

to be the unexpected black swan, and you,

it is your work to be the night pond.

 

 

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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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