Some pix from travels and workshops around the world   Photos link

Poetry shared in Classes 

YOU ARE A WANTING TO KNOW

You are a wanting-to-know miracle
Amongst other miracles,
All wanting to know you. 

David Whyte          

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MARY OLIVER

I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs;
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway.
what’s wrong with Maybe?

You wouldn’t believe what once or
twice I have seen. I’ll just
tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.

The Bell And the Blackbird

The sound 
of a bell
still reverberating,
or a blackbird
calling 
from a corner
of a field
asking you to wake
into this life
or inviting you 
deeper
to one that waits,
either way 
takes courage,
either way wants you
to be nothing
but that self that 
is no self at all,
wants you to walk
to the place
where you find
you already know
how to give
every last thing
away.

The approach
that is also 
the meeting
itself,
without any 
meeting
at all,
that radiance
you have always
carried with you
as you walk 
both alone
and completely 
accompanied
in friendship
by every corner
of the world
crying ‘Alleluja’.

David Whyte

Morning Poem

Every morning
the world
is created. 
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies. 
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere. 
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly, 
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy, 
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

Mary Oliver

LOST by David Wagoner

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

Images from Altered Spaces

“I am filled with you. Skin, blood, bone, brain, and soul. There's no room for lack of trust, or trust. Nothing in this existence but that existence.”

― Rumi

Life is Mostly Quiet

Believe me, you don't have to know.
Not so much that you render yourself helpless.
Helpless in the face of what Life brings next.
So make peace with knowing very little.
About Love.
About Others.
About how life should be.
Make amends with how things are.
Not knowing a thing,
walk with gentle knees,
ready to drop them at any moment
that Life dictates.
Keep an empty hand
so that it can be brought to your heart
when a grief arrives.
Make up a bed that you can fall into
as your own comforting arms.

We come to find that Life is mostly quiet -
it asks us to live by our Knowing,
while surrendering that very same thing.
It vibrates easily around us,
candid and benevolent.
You see, it's only when we root ourselves
solid in some Knowing again
that Life seems to have to shout -
rises,
lovingly,
from Its whisper.

                                            Em Claire

In Praise of Fire 

Let us praise the grace & risk of fire.

In the beginning
The Word was red,
And the Sound was Thunder,
And the Wound in the Unseen
Spilled forth the Red Weather of Being.


In the name of Fire,
The Flame,
And the Light:
Praise the pure presence of Fire
That burns from within
Without thought of Time.

The hunger of Fire has no need
For the reliquary of the Future;
It adores the eros of now,
Where the memory of the Earth
In flames that lick and drink the Air
Is made to release

Its long enduring forms
In a powder of ashes
Left for the wind to decipher.

As air intensifies the hunger of fire,
May the thought of death
Breathe new urgency
Into our love of life.

As fire cleanses dross
May the flame of passion
Burn away what is false.

As short as the time 
From Spark to Flame,
So brief may the distance be
Between heart and being.

May we discover
Beneath our fear
Embers of anger
To kindle justice.

May courage
Cause our lives to flame,
In the name of the Fire,
And the flame
And the Light.

© John O’Donohue. From

"To Bless the Space Between Us"

The Ponds

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them —

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided —
and that one wears an orange blight —
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away —
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

Mary Oliver from  House Of Light

Such Singing in the Wild Branches

It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that's when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them

were singing.
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last

For more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

-Mary Oliver

VULNERABILITY

is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice, vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding under-current of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature, the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to become something we are not and most especially, to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, in refusing our vulnerability we refuse to ask for the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity.

To have a temporary, isolated sense of power over all events and circumstances, is a lovely illusory privilege and perhaps the prime beautifully constructed conceit of being human and most especially of being youthfully human, but it is a privilege that must be surrendered with that same youth, with ill health, with accident, with the loss of loved ones who do not share our untouchable powers; powers eventually and most emphatically given up, as we approach our last breath.

The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance, our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.

In and Out of Time

The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance...
our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out of time.
When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor
I had always loved you more.
You freed your braids...
gave your hair to the breeze.
It hummed like a hive of honey bees.
I reached in the mass for the sweet honey comb there...
Mmmm... God how I love your hair.
You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance.
Lost, injured, hurt by chance.
I screamed to the heavens... loudly screamed...
Trying to change our nightmares into dreams...
The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out
in and out
in and out
of time.

Maya Angelou

Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond

Mary Oliver

So heavy

is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,

always it is a surprise

when her smoke-colored wings

 

open

and she turns

from the thick water,

from the black sticks

 

of the summer pond,

and slowly

rises into the air

and is gone.

 

Then, not for the first or the last time,

I take the deep breath

of happiness, and I think

how unlikely it is

 

that death is a hole in the ground,

how improbable

that ascension is not possible,

though everything seems so inert, so nailed

 

back into itself--

the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,

the turtle,

the fallen gate.

 

And especially it is wonderful

that the summers are long

and the ponds so dark and so many,

and therefore it isn't a miracle

 

but the common thing,

this decision,

this trailing of the long legs in the water,

this opening up of the heavy body

 

into a new life: see how the sudden

gray-blue sheets of her wings

strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing

takes her in.