We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we change.
You have changed.
Let me ask you this.
Do you also think that beauty exists for some fabulous reason?
And if you have not been enchanted by this adventure -
Your life -
What would do for you?
- Mary Oliver
from To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
"Time is not a straight line but rather a labyrinth, and if you press yourself against the wall in the right place you can hear the hurried steps and the voices, you can hear yourself walk past on the other side."
- Tomas Tranströmer
As we walk into words that have waited for us to enter them, so
the meadow, muddy with dreams, is gathering itself together
and trying, with difficulty, to remember how to make wildflowers.
Imperceptibly heaving with the old impatience, it knows
for certain that two horses walk upon it, weary of hay.
The horses, sway-backed and self important, cannot design
how the small white pony mysteriously escapes the fence every day.
This is the miracle just beyond their heavy-headed grasp,
and they turn from his nuzzling with irritation. Everything
is crying out. Two crows, rising from the hill, fight
and caw-cry in mid-flight, then fall and light on the meadow grass
bewildered by their weight. A dozen wasps drone, tiny prop planes,
sputtering into a field the farmer has not yet plowed,
and what I thought was a phone, turned down and ringing,
is the knock of a woodpecker for food or warning, I can't say.
I want to add my cry to those who would speak for the sound alone.
But in this world, where something is always listening, even
murmuring has meaning, as in the next room you moan
in your sleep, turning into late morning. My love, this might be
all we know of forgiveness, this small time when you can forget
what you are. There will come a day when the meadow will think
suddenly, water, root, blossom, through no fault of its own,
and the horses will lie down in daisies and clover. Bedeviled,
human, your plight, in waking, is to choose from the words
that even now sleep on your tongue, and to know that tangled
among them and terribly new is the sentence that could change your life.
- Marie Howe
The Good Thief
"The essential experience: the body sensing itself existing; the mind going its own way."
- Charles Simic
a poet reflects
"It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand,
and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still
and stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm, as when
a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel and drop,
very much like the moment, driving on bad ice, when it occurs to you
your car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin, like
the moment just before you forgot what it was you were about to say,
it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only
all the time."
- Marie Howe
The Good Thief
"I would like to house my spirit within my body, to nourish my virtue by mildness, and to travel in ether by becoming a void. But I cannot do it yet . . . And so, being unable to find peace within myself, I made use of the external surroundings to calm my spirit, and being unable to find delight within my heart, I borrowed a landscape to please it. Therefore, strange were my travels."
- T'u Lung
translated by Lin Yutang
The Travels of Mingliaotse
"The point is to understand everything, to realize everything, every impossibility, every stone wall; not to reconcile yourself to a single one of the impossibilities and stone walls if the thought of reconciliation sickens you; to arrive by way of the strictest logical syllogisms at the most repulsive conclusions on the eternal theme of how you are somehow to blame for the stone wall itself, even though once again it is abundantly clear that you are not to blame at all, and in consequence of all this to sink voluptuously into inertia, silently and impotently gnashing your teeth and reflecting that there isn't even anybody for you to be angry with, that an object for your anger can't even be found, and perhaps never will be, that this is all a fake, a conjuring trick, a piece of sharp practice, and there is nothing there but a morass, nobody knows what, nobody knows who, but in spite of all the mysteries and illusions, you ache with it all, and the more mysterious it is, the more you ache."
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Notes From The Underground
And I walk out of space
Into an overgrown garden of values,
And tear up seeming stability
And self-comprehension of causes.
And your infinity textbook
I read by myself, without people -
Leafless, savage medical book,
A problem book of gigantic radicals.
- Osip Mandelstam
"Not causing harm requires staying awake. Part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say and do. The more we witness our emotional chain reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. It becomes a way of life to stay awake, slow down, and notice."
- Pema Chödrön