Friday, November 13, 2015

Mindful, by Mary Oliver

Fantasia No 3 in D minor, K 397 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
with Emil Gilels

Every Day
   I see or hear
         that more or less
kills me
   with delight,
      that leaves me
         like a needle
in the haystack
   of light.
      It is what I was born for—
         to look, to listen,
to lose myself
   inside this soft world—
      to instruct myself
         over and over
in joy,
   and acclamation.
      Nor am I talking
         about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
   the very extravagant—
      but of the ordinary,
         the common, the very drab
the daily presentations.
   Oh, good scholar,
      I say to myself,
         how can you help
but grow wise
   with such teachings
      as these—
         the untrimmable light
of the world,
   the ocean's shine,
      the prayers that are made
         out of grass?


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Quiet friend who has come so far, by RM Rilke

Adagio and Fugue in C Minor, K. 546: I. Adagio by WA Mozart
with Herbert von Karajan & Berliner Philharmoniker

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.

Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent Earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

from Part Two, Sonnet XXIX
poem from Joanna Macy's website

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Hug, by Tess Gallagher

Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour (Barcarolle) - from The Tales of Hoffmann, by Jacques Offenbach
with Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca

A woman is reading a poem on the street
and another woman stops to listen. We stop too,
with our arms around each other. The poem
is being read and listened to out here in the open.

Behind us no one is entering or leaving the houses.

Suddenly a hug comes over me and I am giving it to you,
like a variable star shooting light off to make its elf comfortable,
then subsiding. I finish but keep on holding you. A man walks up
to us and we know he has not come out of nowhere, but if he could, he would have.

He looks homeless because of how he needs.
“Can I have one of those?’ he asks you, and I feel you nod.
I am surprised, surprised you don’t tell him how it is –
that I am yours, only yours, etc., exclusive as a nose to its face.

Love - that’s what we’re talking about. Love that nabs you with “for me only” and holds on.

So I walk over to him and put my arms around him and try to
hug him like I mean it. He’s got an overcoat on so thick I can’t feel him past it.
I’m starting the hug and thinking. “How big a hug is this supposed to be?
How long shall I hold this hug?” Already we could be eternal,
His arms falling over my shoulders, my hands not meeting behind his back, he is so big!

I put my head into his chest and snuggle in. I lean into him. I lean
my blood and my wishes into him. He stands for it. This is his and he’s starting
to give it back so well I know he’s getting it. This Hug. So truly,
so tenderly, we stop having arms and I don’t know if my lover has walked away
Or what, or if the woman is still reading the poem, or the houses - what about them? - the houses.

Clearly, a little permission is a dangerous thing. But when you hug someone
you want it to be a masterpiece of connection, the way the button on his coat
will leave the imprint of a planet in my cheek when I walk away.
When I try to find some place to go back to.


Friday, October 23, 2015

There is a girl inside, by Lucille Clifton

Habanera, from Carmen by Georges Bizet
with Maria Callas

There is a girl inside.
She is randy as a wolf.
She will not walk away and leave these bones
to an old woman.

She is a green tree in a forest of kindling.
She is a green girl in a used poet.

She has waited patient as a nun
for the second coming,
when she can break through gray hairs
into blossom

and her lovers will harvest
honey and thyme
and the woods will be wild
with the damn wonder of it.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Initiation Song from the Finders Lodge, by Ursula Le Guin

Gaudete - with East Carolina University Women's Choir
Erin Plisco, conductor

Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well-loved one,
walk mindfully, well-loved one,
walk fearlessly, well-loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.

from Always Coming Home (University of California Press, 1985)
poem found on A Year of Being Here
post inspired by TreeSisters

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Eagle poem, by Joy Harjo

 Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
with Leonard Bernstein  

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can't see, can't hear
Can't know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren't always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River.  Circles in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Twenty-One Love Poems, VI, by Adrienne Rich

This is a re-post, for Adrienne, may you rest in peace.

Prelude in B minor, arranged for piano by Alexander Siloti
from Prelude in E minor BWV 855a by J. S. Bach
with Emil Gilels

Your small hands, precisely equal to my own -
only the thumb is larger, longer - in these hands
I could trust the world, or in many hands like these,
handling power-tools or steering-wheel
or touching a human face...such hands could turn
the unborn child rightways in the birth canal
or pilot the exploratory rescue-ship
through icebergs, or piece together
the fine, needle-like shreds of a great krater-cup
bearing on its sides
fingers of ecstatic women striding
to the sibyl's den or the Eleusinian cave -
such hands might carry out an unavoidable violence
with such restraint, with such a grasp
of the range and limits of violence
that violence ever after would be obsolete.

in The Fact of a Door Frame: Poems Selected and New, 1950-84, WW Norton & Co (1985)