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Posts Tagged ‘unknowing’

Revelation

 

 

 

Perhaps when we don’t know what to say

we have at last arrived at the one true thing—

and in our thrill to share it with words, dilute it.

 

It is like the seed, perhaps, that in sprouting

at last understands its purpose, only

now it is no longer a seed.

 

How easy it is to lose revelation.

Not that it is ever gone—more that it

drops its petals, and we are left

 

holding an empty stem, trying

to remember how beautiful it was,

failing to see how beautiful it is.

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Hieronymus-Bosch-Wayfarer-600

written after viewing The Wayfarer by Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1500

 

 

I have learned to love the broken world,

the holes in the roof, the shutters unhinged.

I have learned to love the tapped out barrel

and shattered panes and the stench of men.

And I, I love being a man, which is why, I suppose,

even now as I walk toward some new life,

some life as yet unknown, I turn.

I turn, but do not stop. I turn to see

the life I’ve loved, my home, my friends,

my ochre lot. And trust my feet to lead me,

trust my hidden heart. Trust the bird outside

the cage who guides me through the dust.

And though I know there will be struggle,

though I’m lost to where I’m going,

I begin to fall in love again, this time

with the unknowing.

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Chapter Two

So when the narrator of my life

told me she needed a vacation,

what could I say? She was tired,

she said, and wanted to get away

for a while, preferably somewhere

with a beach and no children,

no poems, no dinners to make, no

lawn to mow. And oh, by the way,

she said, when I come back,

my rates are going up. Of course,

I said, wondering about the present

rate, and just how much I already owed.

Oh yes, she said, and while I am gone,

keep it straight. Present tense only.

No highfalutin’ language. Just the facts.

And spell everything correctly.

Even since she’s been gone, I have

this strange feeling that nothing’s

ever happened. And nothing ever will.

And that I am some stranger I’ve never

met living in a place I never knew.

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in the sweets shop
standing in front of the shelves
unable to choose—
realizing that I am the one
who wants to be chosen

*

unable to see
the mountain at the end
of the clouded valley—
never once doubting
it is still there

*

choose me, choose me,
choose me, I say to the world,
but of course I mean
choose me
the way I want to be chosen

*

outside, of course,
preferably in the sun, far
away from all
other eyes, an inchworm takes
all day to measure one lily

*

all day asking
myself, what would be lighter,
and even lighter
than this, all day I land
more softly

*

who is the one
who thinks she wants to be chosen?
leaning into the
infinite whatever it is
that notices her wanting

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On the Way

The evening decides to walk in the door.
And by evening, I mean me. And by walk
in the door, I mean to go home. And by home,
I don’t know what I mean. A woman
thinks she knows who she is and then
she is not that who at all. There are ravens
in her hair. There is a snake in her side.
There is something untamed in the night.
It tugs at all colors until they dissolve.
It scrubs away all shapes, all names.
And by night, I mean a different shade of love.
And by shapes, I mean these old thoughts.
And by names, I mean all these labels
we’ve learned. By untamed, I mean
I am ready to walk through any door.

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F Equals

At the campfire, Sam’s father
tells me that Newton’s Second Law

is not always true. I add it to
my growing list of rules to not

depend on. Let’s say in this equation,
the woman is the mass. This is,

of course, a private joke, and
she can laugh about how inconsistent

the mass might be. Fix her to a moment, then,
say that Sunday morning when her kitchen

smelled of apples simmering whitely on the stove,
the steam of the giant canning pot filled

the room with warmth. Let’s say the force
is the voice of the man as he says

the words he knows she hates to hear.
The force is soft spoken and low. Then a equals

the increasing rate at which the woman’s heart races
then runs from the room, though her body still stands

behind the green counter, stirring the simmering fruit.
And a is the increasing rate at which her tears fall.

And a is the rate of the wind as it moves the storm closer
to the walls of the house where the kitchen is warming.

And a is the rate at which the mass learns yet again
that she must be her own bliss.

And what has happened to value m? There is less
of her now than the equation might suggest.

I believe you, I say to Sam’s dad. The fire
snaps between us. The leaves rustle

in the wind. In a perfect world, I could
measure them. In a perfect world, I wonder

what happens to the force.

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(though love be a day

and life be nothing,

it shall not stop kissing)

–e. e. cummings, Thy Fingers Make Early Flowers

 

Make me then a flower

that is unashamed of blooming.

And make me a river undammed.

Make me a leaf that surrenders to death

but surrenders even more in life.

And make me a dawn that keeps

unfolding, a book that has no last chapter,

a phone that rings only love.

Paint me rose and then unpaint me.

Make me the door that forgets

how to latch, and just in case,

make me the skeleton key.

Make me a black wing that gathers

the light and gathers the wind,

and make me the light as it breaks on the wing

and make me the homeless wind.

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On the spiritual path, there’s nothing to get, and everything to get rid of. Obviously, the first thing to let go of is trying to ‘get’ love, and instead to give it. That’s the secret of the spiritual path. How can we give ourselves? By not holding back. By not wanting for ourselves. If we want to be loved, we are looking for a support system. If we want to love, we are looking for spiritual growth.

– Ayya Khema, “What Love Is,” Tricycle Magazine

 

Forgive me for wanting, dear.
I have wanted so much. Your eyes,
for instance. Your hands. Your arms.
Your thoughts. I have wanted your name.
Your time. Your words. I have wanted
your now. Your yes. Your forgiveness.
Yesterday I read about dying wood cells,
how they dissolve themselves as they die,
leaving their cellulose walls as infinitesimal
tubes in the stems and veins of the leaves.
And water pushes through the tubes
and nourishes the plant. It’s elegant,
this dying, this giving at the end.
There’s more. The dying cells
in fact release a hormone that fuels new growth.
And the growth leads to death, and death
leads to growth and on and on it goes.
What I’m saying is what if thoughts are like plant cells,
and as they die, they leave more space.
And what we once thought we knew for certain
becomes an empty frame. And the new thoughts
flow in like water and become us as we grow.
Thoughts such as there is nothing to get
and everything to let go.

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You are the path
beside the stream
and you the snowmelt,
too. You the cumin
in the curried soup,
and you the empty spoon.
You the wreath
of dried flowers hung
on my door, and you the hinge,
the lock, the knob,
the latch, the key,
the draft
that whispers in.
I have wanted you
to be other things
because that is how
I am. But you are
the sky that holds
the moon, and you
are the moon and
the finger that points.
And you are the night
that craves the sun
and then disappears when
so lightly it comes.

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So much grace available, but how we receive it depends on what we can let go of.
—Joi Sharp

Inside the place where we are right, the rain
can never fall. Inside the place where we
are right, the leaves fall yellowed off the trees.
No breeze. No bells. No peaches. We explain.
We judge, contend, defend and claim, maintain
our certainty. And meanwhile, we don’t see
the lilacs wilting, grasses browning, bees
without their hives, lost crows, the sunset drained.

But sometimes in this shrinking cage of right
wings in a doubt. A question. Nothing’s clear.
And see how soon the crows return, a slight
of breeze, a scent of rain. I’ll meet you here,
this open place, exposed, unclosed. How light
spills in as our defenses disappear.

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