Tag Archives: poetry

“You reading this, be ready” – William Stafford

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life –

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?


Climbing Mountains


I’m a lot calmer now. There are so many times I wish I could be more in control of my environment. If I could only keep the dog from eating Brendan’s spaghetti that I feel so good about making for him (it even had meat in it…). If I could only stop my two year old son from screaming and crying for no apparent reason… something that doesn’t involve going back outside and jumping in puddles or spilling water everywhere as he helps with the dishes. If I could only just cure my wife’s baby nausea and have enough food in the house to match her voracious appetite. If only it would stop raining on my clean laundry that is “drying” on the line.

It is such a ride to watch my emotions happen, mainly anger and resentment… not necessarily a fun ride, that’s for sure. As a 9 on the Enneagram, that anger is always hanging out close by, ready to explode. Now that the dog was yelled at and banished to the back yard, Brendan is talking to himself in bed happily, my tea is drank, the dishes are done, and some semblance of calm rests on the house, the heat can die down under the water kettle that is my anger.

That’s so what it is, too… a kettle. I start rumbling and building up pressure as the heat turns up, and then its only a matter of time before I am boiling and whistling away. God forbid that this doesn’t last too long, or it is misery for myself and any around me. It happens so often on these restless days when all I feel like I’m doing is waiting. Waiting for the rain to stop, waiting for a friend to call, waiting to start working again, waiting for Brendan to take a nap, waiting for Kat’s nausea to end. Ugh, get me out of here.

Yesterday, my stir-craziness was at its maximum level so I did the only thing a sane person would do… climb a mountain. I picked the closest one. Tumalo Mountain and gave myself all of two hours to go up and back down. Of course it was raining and so windy my fingers kept going numb. I had my bag of raisins to eat (as my stomach only contained what was left of the half peanut butter sandwhich I had for lunch) which I had to keep alternating hands while I shoved the other in my pocket. It was cold, and my 9 kept telling me I didn’t have to go all the way to the top. Well, I did anyway. 90 minutes to go up… and I was supposed to be home in a half hour.

So I ran back down. 30 minutes. I think my knees, hamstrings, and most other muscles in my legs were about to give out as I hit the trailhead. I am feeling it today, but it feels good. So while all I want to do is check out from all the waiting, anger, and stress, I suppose mountain climbing works too.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;

to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
– Dawna Markova

Gerard Manley Hopkins – As kingfishers catch fire

I had to post this… it’s the original reference to what I mentioned in my last post.

And the parallels are so wonderfully significant!

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Holy Ones Take Flight

A poem from 2007:

Birds afloat in air’s current,
sacred breath? No, not breath of God,
it seems, but God
the air enveloping the whole
globe of being.
It’s we who breathe, in, out, in, the sacred,
leaves astir, our wings
rising, ruffled – but only the saints
take flight. We cower
in cliff-crevice or edge out gingerly
on branches close to the nest. The wind
marks the passage of holy ones riding
that ocean of air. Slowly their wake
reaches us, rocks us.
But storm or still,
numb or poised in attention,
we inhale, exhale, inhale,
encompassed, encompassed.



Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.