"Let me keep my mind on what matters Which is mostly standing still And learning to be astonished"
~ Mary Oliver ~
wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
~ Maya Angelou ~
Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at drying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of
that always seems about to give in
something that will now acknowledge
insists that we forever begin.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. — Wendell Berry
I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!
And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.
Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
and stand firm in that which you are.
St. Francis And The Sow
The bud stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow,
and the sow began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
~ Galway Kinnell ~
The Song of
There is one who sings the song of
discovering in his soul everything -- utter spiritual fulfillment.
There is one who sings the song of
Emerging from the private circle of his soul -- not expansive enough,
not yet tranquil -- he strives for fierce heights, clinging to the entire
community of Israel in tender love...
Then there is one whose soul
until it extends beyond the border of Israel,
singing the song of humanity... his spirit spreads,
aspiring to the goal of humankind, envisioning its consummation...
Then there is one who expands even
until he unites with all existence, with all creatures, with all worlds,
singing a song with them all.
There is one who ascends with all
in unison -- the song of the soul, the song of the nation, the song of
the song of the cosmos -- resounding together, blending in harmony, circulating
the sap of life,
the sound of holy joy.
Abraham Isaac Kook
And the little
girl who didn't want her hair cut,
But long ago learned successfully how not to say
What it is she wants,
Who, even at this minute cannot quite grasp
her shock and grief,
Is getting her hair cut. "For convenience," her mother put it.
The long waves gone that had been evidence at night,
When loosened from their clasp,
She might secretly be a princess. Rather than
cry out, she grips her own wrist
And looks to her mother in the mirror.
But her mother is too polite, or too reserved,
So the girl herself takes up indifference,
While pain follows a hidden channel to a deep place
Almost unknown in her,
Convinced as she is, that her own emotions are not the ones
her life depends on,
She shifts her gaze from her mother's face
Back to the haircut now,
So steadily as if this short-haired child were someone else.