Flying at night

“Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.”

~ Ted Kooser in “Flying at Night”


Remember Arachne

“Who are you to strive for perfection?
Perfection? The girl looks up.
She regards the armored goddess.
I have no interest in abstractions.

Accustomed to the mortal tendency to plead,
Athena is annoyed by the girl’s steady gaze.
You must learn humility, she says,
looking around the amphitheater,
wishing she hadn’t called an audience for this one.

I challenge you, Athena goes on, to a duel of wool.
We’ll see who weaves the truer image.
She smiled. I will strip you of your pride.
The girl Arachne sits by her loom.

Athena weaves a Monet in mint-green and white.
Arachne weaves a Rothko, thunder colors descending.
Athena weaves Paris on a moonlit night.
Arachne weaves Mexico City.
When Athena weaves the Beatles
Arachne pauses, but only to smile.
She weaves Miles Davis.

Enraged Athena weaves Cupid and Psyche
bodies finally entwined.
Bliss, she announces. True love.
Arachne weaves horrified Midas.
Human nature, she says.
The audience hushes.

So Athena calls the game,
changes girl into spider.
Differently mobile,
Arachne goes sideways
into a world seen through hexagonal eyes.
With new thread she goes on
Doing what she’s always done:
She weaves all points
Radiating out from one.”

~ Stacy Carlson, from The Gospel of Sloth

Beautiful spider



“Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.”

~  Rumi


Prayer for the Great Family

“Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day—
and to her soil: rich, rare and sweet
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing, light-changing leaf
and fine root-hairs; standing still through wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowering spiral grain
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave and aware
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
our bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep— he who wakes us—
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars— and goes yet beyond that—
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us—
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife.
so be it.”

~ Gary Snyder, Turtle Island (after a Mohawk prayer)
New Directions


Start close In

“Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way to begin
the conversation.

Start with your own
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something

To hear
another’s voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice

becomes an
private ear
that can
really listen
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.”

~ David Whyte – from River Flow: New & Selected Poems