January 19th, 2009

The Bare Arms of Trees

Sometimes when I see the bare arms of trees in the evening
I think of men who have died without love,
Of desolation and space between branch and branch,
I think of immovable whiteness and lean coldness and fear
And the terrible longing between people stretched apart as these
And the cold space between.
I think of the vastness and courage between this step and that step
Of the yearning and fear of the meeting, of the terrible desire
held apart.
I think of the ocean of longing that moves between land and land
And between people, the space and ocean.
The bare arms of the trees are immovable, without the play of
leaves, without the sound of wind;
I think of the unseen love and the unknown thoughts that exist
between tree and tree
As I pass these things in the evening, as I walk.

– John Tagliabue

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January 01st, 2009

Kabir…Tangled Up in Others


I talk to my inner lover, and I say, why such rush?
We sense that there is some sort of spirit that loves
birds and animals and the ants –
perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you
in your mother’s womb.
Is it logical you would be walking around entirely
orphaned now?
The truth is you turned away yourself,
and decided to go into the dark alone.
Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten
what you once knew,
and that’s why everything you do has some weird
failure in it.

– Kabir

Painting: René Magritte. The Lovers. 1928.

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November 20th, 2008

David Whyte: Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

David Whyte

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November 03rd, 2008

The Saturn Uranus Deadlock: A Grounded Illumination

“Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from the things she found in gift shops.”
–Kurt Vonnegut

There is a way of breathing
that’s a shame and suffocation.
And there’s another way of expiring,
a love-breath that lets you open infinitely.
– Rumi

Think fondly of today. You might recall this as the last date where the world as you knew it was like the world that you always knew. “That chef made my eggs just the way I like them.” Happy day!

Tomorrow opens a crack in time. Wild card days. The optometrist advising for the removal of the cataracts. The bank is now closed (again) on Saturdays (and maybe Fridays too). Oh, and dad died suddenly, while getting out of the shower, and you never got to say goodbye.

Tomorrow heralds the exact opposition between Saturn and Uranus, the start of a long two-year match between titans. Father Sky trounces Father Time. But this is also a mirroring dance, a commingling of their seed and shadows. They’re the oddest of lovers, the harshest of enemies (what father and son are not?) Yes, people — it’s the birth of a new world order. Read more

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October 30th, 2008

Kindness: “How You Ride and Ride Thinking the Bus Will Never Stop…”

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out in the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

–Naomi Shihab Nye

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