Archive for April, 2010

And did you get what

you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself

beloved on the earth.

— Raymond Carver (1938-1988)

In the introduction to his last book of poems “A New Path to the Waterfall” (Atlantic Monthly Press), Tess Gallagher his wife wrote: “For a recovering alcoholic, this self-recognition and more generalized feeling of love he was allowing himself was no small accomplishment.  Ray knew he had been graced and blessed and that his writing had enabled him to reach far beyond the often mean circumstances from which he and those he wrote about had come, and also that through his writing those working-class lives had become part of literature.”  Carver died at 50 from cancer.  (from “Poem for the Day-One” by Wendy Cope, p. 225)


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Don’t let that horse

eat that violin

cried Chagall’s mother

But he

kept right on


And became famous

And kept on painting

The Horse With Violin In Mouth

And when he finally finished it

he jumped up upon the horse

and rode away

waving the violin

And then with a low bow gave it

to the first naked nude he ran across

And there were no strings


— Lawrence Ferlinghetti (New York, 1919)

I love the freedom in the poem!  Something is freely created, freely given, freely received.  The human spirit knows this freedom and is constantly calling us to it, with laughter, love and joy, saying, “Go for it!”

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Learning to sing in parts

After the quarreling at recess

my father teaches his students

to listen, to hold a pitch and hum it,

his head close to the small child.

And the child listens and seeks

for the tone, sliding into a float

of singing, the whole  room of children

riding out now on one note.

But then two, three, even four tones

at once, my father sorting and joining

their varied voice into a rich and layered

flow. How to hold against the other pitches?

This is the world’s secret, he confides,

to enter and be close, yet separate.

That room musty with chalk and sweat, closed

door, and still the harmony slips out

escaping like most secrets do. Alone

at the end of the day, the schoolhouse empty

and shadowed, my father wonders, can it

be taught? He seeks it too. How patiently

his own father taught him, held him close,

his voice vibrating light and low under

the wavering melody, a duet

that hovers over the stony fields.

— Jean Janzen

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Blessing of fire

O Fire of the bright burning daystar, O sun,

Fire of the soft glowing moon,

Fire of the twinkling stars,

Fire of the brilliant planets,

Fire of the galaxies,

Fire in the earth,

Fire of hope that shines on in the midst of violence,

Fire of love that flames up even in the hearts of those who have been wronged,

Fire of forgiveness that rises up out of the ashes,

Fire of faith shining through the eyes of the dying,

Fire of wisdom radiating from elderly faces,

Fire of compassionate presence bringing joy to the lonely…

Burn into our hearts these words of Jesus:

“I have come to light a fire on the earth;

how I wish the blaze were ignited!”  (Luke 12:49)

— Macrina Wiederkehr (“The Circle of Life”)

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The little girl comes to you

cautiously        gingerly

does she dare

to trust     again

She comes on dark wings

with pink ribbons

wanting pretty things, ice cream

and a place

in your heart

she whispers

and wants you to listen

she is fragile and strong

like a milkweed seed

floating     looking      for somewhere to land

if you nurture her, she will grow

and bring you gifts

of butterflies

— Ellen Jaffe Bitz (“Soul Retrieval”)

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Walking the road

My road

is long

My heart

is full

Is yours, too?

We walk it long

sing the song

of the land

and dance

because we have to

because it’s what we do

to get through,

me and you.

— tau, May 2009

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To be grateful for what is,

instead of underscoring what is not.

To find good amid the unwanted aspects of life,

without denying the presence of the unwanted.

To focus on beauty in the little things of life,

as well as being deliberate about the great beauties

of art, literature, music, and nature.

To be present to one’s own small space of life,

while stretching to the wide world beyond it.

To find something to laugh about in every day,

even when there seems nothing to laugh about.

To search for and to see the good in others,

rather than remembering their faults and weaknesses.

To be thankful for each loving deed done by another,

no matter how insignificant it might appear.

To taste life to the fullest,

and not take any part of it for granted.

To seek to forgive others for their wrongdoings,

even immense ones, and to put the past behind.

To find ways to reach out and help the disenfranchised,

while also preserving their dignity and self-worth.

To be as loving and caring as possible,

in a culture that consistently challenges these virtues.

To remember to say or send “thank you”

for whatever comes as a gift from another.

To be at peace

with what cannot be changed.

— Joyce Rupp

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