Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Your other name, by Tara Sophia Mohr


Mary Lou Williams - Gloria 
from her 1974 Zoning album

If your life doesn’t often make you feel
like a cauldron of swirling light –

If you are not often enough a woman standing
above a mysterious fire,
lifting her head to the sky –

You are doing too much, and listening too little.

Read poems. Walk in the woods. Make slow art.
Tie a rope around your heart, be led by it off the plank,
happy prisoner.

You are no animal. You are galaxy with skin.
Home to blue and yellow lightshots,
making speed-of-light curves and racecar turns,
bouncing in ricochet -

Don’t slow down the light and turn it into matter
with feeble preoccupations.

Don’t forget your true name:
Presiding one. Home for the gleaming.
Strong cauldron for the feast of light.

Strong cauldron for the feast of light:
I am speaking to you.
I beg you not to forget.


poem from Teaching With Heart: Poetry That Speaks to the Courage to Teach
thank you Aisha for the poem

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Go to the limits of your longing, by Rainer Maria Rilke


Thomas Tallis - If Ye Love Me 

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.

Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.


from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God 
translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

Monday, April 7, 2014

Scraps of moon, by Denise Levertov


Gabriel Fauré - Cantique de Jean Racine

Scraps of moon
bobbing discarded on broken water
 but sky-moon
complete, transcending
all violation
Here she seems to be talking to herself about
the shape of a life:
Only Once

All which, because it was
flame and song and granted us
joy, we thought we'd do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every invitation
did not begin
a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did not happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don't
expect to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be
unique as those were unique. Try
to acknowledge the next
song in its body-halo of flames as utterly
present, as now or never.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I want to write something so simply, by Mary Oliver


Pablo de Sarasate - Zigeunerweisen
with Sergey Krylov, violin

I want to write something
so simply
about love
or about pain
that even
as you are reading
you feel it
and as you read
you keep feeling it
and though it be my story
it will be common,
though it be singular
it will be known to you
so that by the end
you will think—
no, you will realize—
that it was all the while
yourself arranging the words,
that it was all the time
words that you yourself
out of your own heart
had been saying.


from Evidence: Poems (Beacon Press, 2009)
thank you Parker J. Palmer for the inspiration

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Say not the struggle naught availeth, by Arthur Hugh Clough


Franz Liszt - Waldesrauschen (Forest Murmurs), Two Concert Études 
with Eileen Joyce, piano 

Say not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

 If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!