Thursday, November 21, 2013


(Many people have heard Oriah Mountain Dreamer's more famous version of this, called The Invitation, which begins, "It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.  I want to know..."
She does attribute her poem to David Whyte's original as her seed thought.  Here is his poem.)

by David Whyte

It doesn't interest me if there is one God 
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel 
if you can know despair or see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you.  If you can look back
with firm eyes, 
saying this is where I stand.  I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living,
falling toward
the center of your longing.  I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Am Too Alone

by Rainer Maria Rilke

I am too alone in the world, and not alone enough
to make every minute holy.
I am too tiny in this world, and not tiny enough
just to lie before you like a thing,
shrewd and secretive.
I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action,
and in the silent, sometimes hardly moving times
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone.
I want to be a mirror for your whole body,
and I never want to be blind, or to be too old
to hold up your old and swaying picture.
I want to unfold.
I don't want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
And I want my grasp of things
true before you.  I want to describe myself
like a painting that I looked at
closely for a long time,
like a saying that I finally understood,
like the pitcher I use every day, like the face of my mother,
like a ship that took me safely
through the wildest storm of all.

Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, 
translated by Robert Bly (Harper & Row, 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Edna St. Vincent Millay

This is the final stanza in the long poem Renascence, which is a beautiful piece of writing.

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,—
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat—the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rabindranath Tagore

Where The Mind Is Without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


by Fleur Adcock

Literally thin-skinned, I suppose, my face
catches the wind off the snow-line and flushes
with a flush that will never wholly settle. Well:
that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young for ever, to pass.
I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy
men who need to be seen with passable women.
But now that I am in love with a place
which doesn’t care how I look, or if I’m happy,
happy is how I look, and that’s all.
My hair will grow grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken,
and the years work all their usual changes.
If my face is to be weather-beaten as well
that’s little enough lost, a fair bargain
for a year among the lakes and fells, when simply
to look out of my window at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what
my soul may wear over its new complexion.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

SEE PARIS FIRST by M. Truman Cooper

Suppose that what you fear
could be trapped,
and held in Paris.
Then you would have
the courage to go
everywhere in the world.
All the directions of the compass
open to you,
except the degrees east or west
of true north
that lead to Paris.
Still, you wouldn’t dare
put your toes
smack dab on the city limit line.
You’re not really willing
to stand on a mountainside
miles away
and watch the Paris lights
come up at night.
Just to be on the safe side
you decide to stay completely
out of France.
But then danger
seems too close
even to those boundaries,
and you feel
the timid part of you
covering the whole globe again.
You need the kind of friend
who learns your secret and says,
"See Paris first."

CLEARING by Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there patiently
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Walk by Rainier Maria Rilke

A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill,
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

R.M. Rilke

Translated by Robert Bly

(My note:  Although I believe the translation and printing to be accurate,
  the word "charges" seems to want to be "changes".  Can't confirm either way.)


The child awakens to a universe,
The mind of the child to a world of wonder,
Imagination to a world of beauty,
Emotions to a world of intimacy.

It takes a universe to make a child, both
   in outer form and inner Spirit.  
It takes a universe to fulfill a child.
Each generation presides over the meeting
  of these two in the succeeding generations,
So that the child is fulfilled in the universe
And the universe is fulfilled in the child
While the stars ring out in the heavens!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Candles by Carl Dennis

From New and Selected Poems, 1974-2004 Copyright


If on your grandmother's birthday you burn a candle
To honor her memory, you might think of burning an extra
To honor the memory of someone who never met her,
A man who may have come to the town she lived in
Looking for work and never found it.
Picture him taking a stroll one morning
After a month of grief with the want ads,
To refresh himself in the park before moving one.
Suppose he notices on the gravel path the shards
Of a green glass bottle that your grandmother,
Then still a girl, will be destined to step on
When she wanders barefoot away from her school picnic
If he doesn't stoop down and scoop the mess up
With the want-ad section and carry it to a trash can.
For you to burn a candle for him
You needn't suppose the cut would be a deep one,
Just deep enough to keep her at home
The night of the hay ride when she meets Helen,
Who is soon to become her dearest friend,
Whose brother George, thirty years later,
Helps your grandfather with a loan so his shoe store
Doesn't go under in the Great Depression
And his son, your father, is able to stay in school

Where his love of learning is fanned into flames,
A love he labors, later, to kindle in you.
How grateful you are for your father's efforts
Is shown by the candles you've burned for him.
But today, for a change, why not a candle
For the man whose name is unknown to you?
Take a moment to wonder whether he died at home
With friends and family or alone on the road,
On the look-out for no one to sit at his bedside
And hold his hand, the very hand
It's time for you to imagine holding.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mary Oliver A thought on Meditation

What I Have Learned So Far
Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world?  Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause?  I don't think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance.  The gospel of
light is the crossroads of -- indolence, or action.
Be ignited, or be gone.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(New and Selected Poems Volume Two)

This poem was lifted right from the website
Check it out.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

More Love Songs for Valentine's Week

Lyrics: Fill The World With Love
 from Good-bye Mr. Chips

In the morning of my life I shall look to the sunrise.
At a moment in my life when the world is new.
And the blessing I shall ask is that God will grant me,
To be brave and strong and true, 
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.

In the noontime of my life I shall look to the sunshine,
At a moment in my life when the sky is blue.
And the blessing I shall ask shall remain unchanging.
To be brave and strong and true,
And to fill the world with love my whole life through

In the evening of my life I shall look to the sunset,
At a moment in my life when the night is due.
And the question I shall ask only I can answer.
Was I brave and strong and true?
Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?

And to fill the world with love
And to fill the world with love
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.

Do take a moment and try to find a visual, experiential version of this
uplifting song, sung by Petula Clark as well as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


To love another person is to see the face of God. 
                                            - Victor Hugo

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February means Valentine's Day, and Love

I think Beth Nielsen Chapman is one of the finest wordsmith poets of our generation.   She is a genius, IMHO.  So, in honor of love, here are some of her famous lyrics.   If you want a real treat, download her songs, or at least listen to her singing them.  You will be touched deeply.

How We Love 

Life has taught me this;
Everyday is new,
And if anything is true,
All that matters when we're through
  is how we love.
Faced with what we lack
Some things fall apart,
But from the ashes new dreams start;
All that matters to the heart 
  is how we love.

How we love, how we love,
With the smallest act of kindness
In a word, a smile, a touch.

In spite of our mistakes
Chances come again,
If we lose or if we win
All that matters in the end
 is how we love

How we love, how we love
I will not forget your kindness
When I needed it so much.

Sometimes we forget,
Trying to be so strong
In this world of right and wrong,
All that matters when we're gone
All that mattered all along
All we have that carries on... 
  is how we love.

The Path Of Love

Oh the path of love is deep 
  with a thousand twists and turns,
There are promises to keep, 
  there are endless things to learn.
Through the laughter and the tears
  sometimes lost, sometimes alone,
Letting go is how you steer, 
 and it always leads you home.

Oh the path of love is free, 
  it will never hold you back.
Like the branches of a tree, 
  reaching out till it's lost track.
And it opens wide each heart 
  like the seed that breaks the stone,
No matter where you are, 
  it will always lead you home.

Oh the path of love is true, 
  and it only wants what's best,
There are doors it pulls us through 
  as it puts us to the test.
And there's nothing to pretend,
  in our heart somehow we've known
The path of love won't end, no 
  it only leads us home.
The path of love won't end, it only leads us home.
   Beth Nielsen Chapman