Saturday, April 22, 2017

There are thirty-one spells for forgiveness, though

Which one to try first?

In the book of spells
I do not find the one
that helps you forget
what you want
to forget.

There is one for
making the bees
come out midwinter
and another to make
the walls speak what
they’ve seen.

There’s a spell for
making minutes go slower,
and a spell to turn a woman’s
skin green.

But no spell
to forget what we wish
not to know.

There are thirty-one spells for
forgiveness, though.

Rosemerry Trommer

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ichigo Ichie: One opportunity, one encounter

"Ichigo Ichie literally means “one opportunity, one encounter.” The terms is often translated as “for this time only,” “never again,” or “one chance in a life time.”

Its better translation may be “Treasure every encounter, for it will never recur.”

The term is derived from Zen Buddhism and concepts of transience, and it is particularly associated with the Japanese tea ceremony and it is often brushed onto scrolls which are hung in the tea room. In the context of tea ceremony, ichigo ichie reminds participants that each single tea meeting is unique that will never recur in one’s lifetime, therefore, each moment should be treated with the utmost sincerity.

It can be applied to one’s daily life, “all we have is today, so let’s live it to the fullest.”

From here: http://calmthings.blogspot.in/2015/03/did-you-hear-that-winters-over.html

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.




















Expect Nothing

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny a human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.

Alice Walker

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Love Letters




















Love Letters

Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.

Before doing that, though, they should learn
How to read the love letters sent by the wind
and rain, the snow and moon.

Ikkyu, 'Ikkyu and the Crazy Cloud Anthology', trans. by Sonya Arutzen

Friday, February 24, 2017

Miracle




















Listen. Put on lightbreak.
Waken into miracle.

W. S. Graham

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

If not, not

Two Cats
Katha Pollitt

It's better to be a cat than to be a human.
Not because of their much-noted grace and beauty—
their beauty wins them no added pleasure, grace is
only a cat's way

of getting without fuss from one place to another—
but because they see things as they are. Cats never mistake a
saucer of milk for a declaration of passion
or the crook of your knees for

a permanent address. Observing two cats on a sunporch,
you might think of them as a pair of Florentine bravoes
awaiting through slitted eyes the least lapse of attention—
then slash! the stiletto

or alternately as a long-married couple, who hardly
notice each other but find it somehow a comfort
sharing the couch, the evening news, the cocoa.
Both these ideas

are wrong. Two cats together are like two strangers
cast up by different storms on the same desert island
who manage to guard, despite the utter absence
of privacy, chocolate,

useful domestic articles, reading material,
their separate solitudes. They would not dream of
telling each other their dreams, or the plots of old movies,
or inventing a bookful

of coconut recipes. Where we would long ago have
frantically shredded our underwear into signal
flags and be dancing obscenely about on the shore in
a desperate frenzy,

they merely shift on their haunches, calm as two stoics
weighing the probable odds of the soul's immortality,
as if to say, if a ship should happen along we'll
be rescued. If not, not.

"Two Cats" by Katha Pollitt, from The Mind-Body Problem. © Random House, 2009
 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Warding off the Darkness

"If you can’t seem to make yourself happy, do little things to make other people happy. This is a very effective magic trick. Focus on others instead of yourself.

Buy coffee for the person behind you in line (I do this a lot), compliment a stranger, volunteer at a soup kitchen, help a classroom on DonorsChoose.org, buy a round of drinks for the line cooks and servers at your favorite restaurant, etc.

The little things have a big emotional payback, and guess what? Chances are, at least one person you make smile is on the front lines with you, quietly battling something nearly identical."

Tim Ferriss on How He Survived Suicidal Depression and His Tools for Warding Off the Darkness

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/12/08/tim-ferriss-tools-of-titans-depression/

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

You are standing in the sky

























“Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth. We walk through it, yell into it, rake leaves, wash the dog, and drive cars in it. We breathe it deep within us. With every breath, we inhale millions of molecules of sky, heat them briefly, and then exhale them back into the world.”

Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

From here.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A tree stands there

























"Every year a given tree creates absolutely from scratch ninety-nine percent of its living parts. Water lifting up tree trunks can climb one hundred and fifty feet an hour; in full summer a tree can, and does, heave a ton of water every day. A big elm in a single season might make as many as six million leaves, wholly intricate, without budging an inch; I couldn't make one.

A tree stands there, accumulating deadwood, mute and rigid as an obelisk, but secretly it seethes, it splits, sucks and stretches; it heaves up tons and hurls them out in a green, fringed fling.

No person taps this free power; the dynamo in the tulip tree pumps out even more tulip tree, and it runs on rain and air."

Annie Dillard

http://transactionswithbeauty.com/home/gjxphz9aa362sj5psh3jw2dzl36egd

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Trees, Curators of Time

"Time is kept and curated in different ways by trees, and so it is experienced in different ways when one is among them. This discretion of trees, and their patience, are both affecting.

It is beyond our capacity to comprehend that the American hardwood forest waited seventy million years for people to come and live in it, though the effort of comprehension is itself worthwhile.

It is valuable and disturbing to know that grand oak trees can take three hundred years to grow, three hundred years to live and three hundred years to die. Such knowledge, seriously considered, changes the grain of the mind."

Robert Macfarlane, 'The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot'

https://www.facebook.com/SometimesIWriteSometimesIAm/photos/a.210068335788867.45859.210048145790886/431155687013463/?type=3&theater

On a related note:

Britain's mightiest oak: A staggering 1,046 years old, it's still going strong: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3685614/Britain-s-mightiest-oak-staggering-1-046-years-old-s-going-strong-getting-bit-stout-middle.html

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Life

























I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.

from 'The Round', Stanley Kunitz

https://readalittlepoetry.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/the-round-by-stanley-kunitz

Friday, December 30, 2016

But everything glorious is around us already



























All That Is Glorious Around Us

is not, for me, these grand vistas, sublime peaks, mist-filled
overlooks, towering clouds, but doing errands on a day
of driving rain, staying dry inside the silver skin of the car,
160,000 miles, still running just fine. Or later,

sitting in a café warmed by the steam
from white chicken chili, two cups of dark coffee,
watching the red and gold leaves race down the street,
confetti from autumn's bright parade. And I think

of how my mother struggles to breathe, how few good days
she has now, how we never think about the glories
of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs,
simple as the journey of water over a rock. It is the nature

of stone / to be satisfied / writes Mary Oliver, It is the nature
of water / to want to be somewhere else, rushing down
a rocky tor or high escarpment, the panoramic landscape
boundless behind it. But everything glorious is around

us already: black and blue graffiti shining in the rain's
bright glaze, the small rainbows of oil on the pavement,
where the last car to park has left its mark on the glistening
street, this radiant world.

Barbara Crooker

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Perpetual Becoming

"Indeed, even though all monks are committed to the same task, deep down - as doctors or hospital construction workers are - the details of their practice are as different as their wildly divergent times and cultures.

A Christian generally longs to be rooted in the home he's found in God; the Buddhist, more concerned with uncovering potential, is more interested in experiments and inquiries, always pushing deeper.

In fact Christianity works from very uncertain beginnings toward a specific end (redemption and a life with God); Buddhism starts with something very specific (the Buddha and the reality of the suffering he saw) and moves toward an always uncertain future (even after one has attained Nirvana). The image of the open road speaks for a perpetual becoming."

Page 140.
'The Open Road - The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama'
Pico Iyer

Monday, December 26, 2016

I am speaking to you

Making the House Ready for the Lord
Mary Oliver

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice--it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves

and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances--but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;

what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know

that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Down Hysterica Passio

"We all have something within ourselves to batter down, and we get our power from this fighting. I have never 'produced' a play in verse without showing the actors that the passion of the verse comes from the fact that the speakers are holding down violence, or madness - 'down Hysterica Passio'.

All depends on the completeness of the holding down, on the stirring of the beast underneath. Without this conflict we have no passion, only sentiment and thought."

W.B.Yeats, in a letter to Dorothy Wellesley. From 'Yeats: The Man and the Masks', by Richard Ellmann

[Notebook 5, 1989]

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