“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”
“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.
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
“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
Life is too short to spend your precious time trying to convince a person who wants to live in gloom and doom otherwise. Give lifting that person your best shot, but don’t hang around long enough for his or her bad attitude to pull you down. Instead, surround yourself with optimistic people” ~ Zig Ziglar