Year’s end

“Now winter downs the dying of the year,
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin
And still allows some stirring down within.

I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell
And held in ice as dancers in a spell
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,
They seemed their own most perfect monument.

There was perfection in the death of ferns
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown
Composedly have made their long sojourns,
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii

The little dog lay curled and did not rise
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze
The random hands, the loose unready eyes
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.

These sudden ends of time must give us pause.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.”

~ Richard Wilbur

winter

Please call me by my true name

“Do not say that I will depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch
to be a tiny bird, with wings still so fragile
learning to sing in my new nest
to be a caterpillar in the heart of flower
to be a jewel hiding itself in stone

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear water of the pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who,
approaching in silence, feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the 12 year old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people,
dying slowly in a forced labour camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills up the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.”

~ Thich Nhat Hahn

krokusy-butony-fioletovyy

Extravagaria

“Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language,
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves
with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.”

~ Pablo Neruda
méditation

Doors will open

If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
~ Joseph Campbell

premade_old_door_by

Whoever you are

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
~ Mary Oliver

r_wild-geese-moon

Change the hearts and spirits

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” ~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

black_and_white_writing

 

Winter apple

“Let the apple ripen
on the branch
beyond your need
to take it down.

Let the coolness
of autumn
and the breathing,
blowing wind
test its adherence
to endurance,
let the others fall.

Wait longer
than you would,
go against yourself,
find the pale nobility
of quiet that ripening
demands;
watch with patience
as the silhouette emerges
and the leaves fall;
see it become
a solitary roundness
against a greying sky,
let winter come
and the first
frost threaten,
and then wake
one morning
to see the breath
of winter
has haloed
its redness
with light.

So that a full
two months
after you
should have
taken the apple
down
you hold it in
your closed hand
at last and bite
into the cool
sweetness
spread evenly
through every
single atom
of a pale
and yielding
structure.

So that you taste
on that cold,
grey day,
not only
the after reward
of a patience
remembered,
not only
the summer
sunlight
of a postponed
perfection,

but the sweet
inward stillness
of the wait itself.”

David Whyte From Pilgrim: Poems

winter apple