Posts Tagged ‘unknowing’

Walking in the sweet honey
and musky scented woods,
I keep searching for what smells
so good, until finally I let
myself be content to walk
in the woods with a honey scent,
and I give up for a time
on naming the world,
and let a step be a step,
let a scent be a scent
and know only I am lucky,
lucky to walk in the musky woods,
the air so refreshing, so sweet.

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I listen for the hidden wholeness, wisdom, and grace.

            —Wayne Muller



I’ve forgotten how to listen

for the hidden wholeness—

trained by the ring of the phone

and the morning alarm and

the unheard bells of the day

that say “go, go, go.”

I’ve forgotten how to be still.

To empty. To unexpect.


Today, though it is May,

the green world is covered

by snow. It’s one way the world

learns to unknow itself.


My teacher reminds me

how the deepest healing

can only take place in the quiet,

the still, the great awake.


I know she is right, but

it is the kind of knowing

that is too certain of itself.


As I walk, I open my hands

to let the snow land there.

I watch the flakes melt.

For a moment, I almost think

I can hear them. For a moment,

I forget who is doing the listening.




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So much to learn from the fallen leaves,

the barren trees, the still green moss,

the skittish deer, the unturned stone,

the smooth gray limbs of loss,

fog hung like garland in the woods,

a secret spring, the brittle grass,

the yet unfurling truth in us,

the path that forgets it’s a path.

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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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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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