Poems I am inspired by:

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Out Beyond Ideas.

Out beyond ideas

of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

there is a field.

I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down 

in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about

ideas, language,

- even the phrase "each other" -

do not make any sense.



I would love to live

Like a river flows

Carried by the surprise

of it's own unfolding.

John o'Donoghue

(Conomara Blues)

Book of Hours: Love Poems to God 11.16 

How surely gravity's law

strong as an ocean current,

takes hold of even the strongest thing

and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing - 

each stone, blossom, child -

is held in place.

Only we, in our arrogance,

push out beyond what we belong to

for some empty freedom.

if we surrendered

to earth's intelligence

we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves

in knots of our own making

and struggle, lonely and confused.

So like children, we begin again

to learn from the things

because they are in God's heart;

they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:

to fall,

patiently to trust our heaviness.

Even a bird has to do that

before he can fly.

- Rainer Marie Rilke -


The birds they sang 

at the break of day 

Start again 

I heard them say 

Don't dwell on what 

has passed away 

or what is yet to be. 

Ah the wars they will 

be fought again 

The holy dove 

She will be caught again 

bought and sold 

and bought again 

the dove is never free. 

Ring the bells that still can ring 

Forget your perfect offering 

There is a crack in everything 

That's how the light gets in. 

We asked for signs 

the signs were sent: 

the birth betrayed 

the marriage spent 

Yeah the widowhood 

of every government -- 

signs for all to see. 

I can't run no more 

with that lawless crowd 

while the killers in high places 

say their prayers out loud. 

But they've summoned, they've summoned up 

a thundercloud 

and they're going to hear from me. 

Ring the bells that still can ring ... 

You can add up the parts 

but you won't have the sum 

You can strike up the march, 

there is no drum 

Every heart, every heart 

to love will come 

but like a refugee. 

Ring the bells that still can ring 

Forget your perfect offering 

There is a crack, a crack in everything 

That's how the light gets in. 

Ring the bells that still can ring 

Forget your perfect offering 

There is a crack, a crack in everything 

That's how the light gets in. 

That's how the light gets in. 

That's how the light gets in. 

~ Leonard Cohen -

Concerning The Book that is the Body of the Beloved. 

Some say you're lucky

if nothing shatters it.

But then you wouldn't 

Understand poems or songs.

You'd never know

Beauty comes from loss.

It's deep inside every person:

a tear, tinier

Than a pearl or thorn.

It's one of the places

Where the beloved is born.

for Lisa.

- Gregory Orr -

Become Becoming.

Wait for evening.

Then you'll be alone.

Wait for the playground to empty.

Then call out those companions from childhood:

The one who closed his eye

and pretended to be invisible.

The one who made a world of any hiding place.

And don't forget the one who listened in silence

while you wondered out loud:

Is the universe an empty mirror? A flowering tree?

Is the universe the sleep of a woman?

Wait for the sky's last blue

(the color of your homesickness)

Then you'll know the answer.

Wait for the air's first gold (that color of Amen)

Then you'll spy the wind's barefoot steps.

Then you'll recall that story beginning 

with a child who strays int he woods.

The search for him goes on in the growing

shadow of the clock.

And the face behind the clock's face

is not his father's face.

And the face behind the clock's hands

are not his mother's hands.

all of time began when you first answered

to the names your mother and father gave you.

Soon, those names will travel with the leaves.

Then you can trade places with the wind.

Then you'll remember your life

as a book of candles,

each page read by the light of it's own burning.

Li Young Lee

Not Knowing.

I may not know my original face 

but I know how to smile.

I may not know the recipe for the diameter

of a circle but I know how to cut a slice for a friend.

I may not be Mary or the Buddha

but I can be kind.

I may not be a diamond cutter

but I still long for rays of light

that reach the heart.

I may not be standing on the hill of skulls

but I know love when I see it.

Stephen Levine

(Breaking the Drought)

Now I Become Myself.

Now I become myself. It's taken

time, many years and places.

I have been dissolved and shaken,

worn other people's faces,

run madly, as if time were there,

terribly old, crying a warning, 

"hurry you will be dead before...."

(What? Before you reach the morning 

or the end of the poem is clear

or love safe in the walled city?)

Now to stand still, to be here,

feel my own weight and density!...

Now there is time and time is young.

O, in this single hour I live.

All of myself and do not move.

I, the pursued, who madly ran,

stand still, stand still and stop the sun!

May Sarton.

Morning Offering.

I bless the night that nourished my heart

to set the ghosts of longing free

into the flow and figure of dream

that went to harvest from the dark

bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me

welcome the wonder of this day,

the field of brightness it creates

offering time for each thing

to arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:

the quiet loyalty of breath,

the tent of thought where I shelter,

wave of desire I am shore to

and all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today

to the invisible geography

that invites me to new frontiers,

to break the dead shell of yesterdays,

to risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today

to live the life that I would love,

to postpone my dream no longer

but do at last what I have come here for

and waste my heart on fear no more.

John O'Donoghue.


Let us try what it is to be true to gravity,

to grace, to the given, faithful to our own voices,

to lines making the map of our furrowed tongue.

Turned toward the root of a single word, refusing 

solemnity and slogans, let us honor what hides 

and does not come easy to speech. The pebbles 

we hold in our mouths help us to practice song,

and we sing to the sea. May the things of this world

be preserved to us, their beautiful secret

vocabularies. We are dreaming it over and new,

the language of our tribe, music we hear

we can only acknowledge. May the naming powers

be granted. Our words are feathers that fly on our breath.

Let them go in a holy direction.

Jeanne Lohmann.

The Wish to Be Generous.

All that I serve will die, all my delights,

the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,

the silent lilies standing in the woods,

the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all

will burn in man's evil or dwindle 

in it's own age. Let the world bring on me

the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know

my little light taken from me into the seed

of the beginning and the end, so I may bow

to mystery, and take my stand on the earth

like a tree in a field, passing without haste

or regret toward what will b, my life

a patient willing descent into the grass.

Wendell Berry.

Four Quartets

... I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love

for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

but the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought;

so the darkness shall be the light and the stillness the dancing.



Let the day grow on you upward

through your feet,

the vegetal knuckles,

to your knees of stone,

until by evening you are a black tree;

feel, with evening,

the swifts thicken your hair,

the new moon rising out of your forehead,

and the moonlit veins of silver

running from your armpits

like rivulets under white leaves.

Sleep, as ants

cross over your eyelids.

You have never possessed anything

as deeply as this.

This is all you have owned

from the first outcry

through forever;

you can never be dispossessed.

~ Derek Walcott ~

(Sea Grapes)