Tuesday, April 30

The window has a wonderful view of a lake,
but the view doesn't view itself.
It exists in this world
colorless, shapeless,
soundless, odorless, and painless.

The lake's floor exists floorlessly,
and its shore exists shorelessly.
Its water feels itself neither wet nor dry
and its waves to themselves are neither singular nor plural.
They splash deaf to their own noise
on pebbles neither large nor small.

And all this beneath a sky by nature skyless
in which the sun sets without setting at all
and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud.
The wind ruffles it, its only reason being
that it blows.
 - Wisława Szymborska
from View With a Grain of Sand
translated by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh

Monday, April 29

My dear
is it true
that your mind is sometimes like
a battering ram
running all through the city,
shouting so madly inside and out
about the ten thousand things
that do not matter?
 - Hafiz

Friday, April 26

I have been easy with trees
Too long.
Too familiar with mountains.
Joy has been a habit.
This rain.
 - Jack Gilbert
from Rain

Thursday, April 25

"The unreal is more powerful than the real.
Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it.
Because it's only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die.
But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on.
If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. If you do that, you can change the way people live their lives. And that's the only lasting thing you can create."
 - Chuck Palahniuk

Wednesday, April 24

Before dawn, across the whole road
as I pass I feel spiderwebs.
Within people's voices, under their words or
woven into the pauses, I hear a hidden sound.
One thin green light flashes over a smooth sea
just as the sun goes down.
What roses lie on the altar of evening
I inhale carefully, to keep more of.
Tasting all these and letting them have
their ways to waken me, I shiver and resolve:

In my life, I will more than live.
 - William Stafford

Tuesday, April 23

"I've always figured it that you die each day and each day is a box, you see, all numbered and neat; but never go back and lift the lids, because you've died a couple of thousand times in your life, and that's a lot of corpses, each dead a different way, each with a worse expression. Each of those days is a different you, somebody you don't know or understand or want to understand."
 - Ray Bradbury
The Illustrated Man

Monday, April 22

Here where the world ends, and has beginning,
Here where the sunlight-spring of all our minds
Has birth again, and new beginning
The seeker finds.

Here there is body's peace, and the heart's uprising,
Here the illumined minds of other men
Are beacons on a mountain peak uprising
Beyond our ken.

Here there is quiet, and the world about us,
Here there is wisdom foolish men must know.
The earth is dumb with suffering about us,
And I must go.
 - Christmas Humphreys
Both Sides of the Circle

Thursday, April 18

"Without bravery, we will never be able to realize the vaulting scope of our own capacities. Without bravery, we will never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, our lives will remain small - far smaller than we probably want our lives to be."
 - Jack Gilbert

Wednesday, April 17

How often I find you
then on your patio, pajamaed
and distressed, head thrown
back so your eyes can pick apart
not the darker version of myself
but the carousel of stars.
To you I am merely background.
You barely hear my voice.
Remember I am most vibrant
when air breaks my light.
Do something with your brokenness.
 - David Hernandez
from Sincerely, the sky

Tuesday, April 16

"Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I'm one of them."
 - Ray Bradbury
Dandelion Wine

Thursday, April 11

Something new in the air today, perhaps the struggle of the bud
to become a leaf. Nearly two weeks late it invaded the air but
then what is two weeks to life herself? On a cool night there is
a break from the struggle of becoming. I suppose that's why we
sleep. In a childhood story they spoke of the land of enchant-
ment. We crawl to it, we short-lived mammals, not realizing that
we are already there. To the gods the moon is the entire moon
but to us it changes second by second because we are always fish
in the belly of the whale of earth. We are encased and can't stray
from the house of our bodies. I could say that we are released,
but I don't know, in our private night when our souls explode
into a billion fragments then calmly regather in a black pool in
the forest, far from the cage of flesh, the unremitting "I." This was
a dream and in dreams we are forever alone walking the ghost
road beyond our lives. Of late I see waking as another chance at
 - Jim Harrison
Songs of Unreason

Wednesday, April 10

"There was a silly damn bird called a Phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burnt himself up. He must have been the first cousin to Man. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we're doing the same thing, over and over, but we've got one damn thing the Phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we've done for a thousand years and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, someday we'll stop making the goddamn funeral pyres and jumping in the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember every generation."
 - Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451

Monday, April 8

Most coincidents are not
miraculous, but way more
common than we think -
it's the shiver
of noticing being
central in a sequence
of events
that makes so much
seem wild and rare -
because what if it wasn't?
Astonishment's nothing
without your consent.
 - Lia Purpura

Friday, April 5

"Why is it that the look of another person looking at you is different from everything else in the Cosmos? That is to say, looking at lions or tigers or Saturn or the Ring Nebula or at an owl or at another person from the side is one thing, but finding yourself looking in the eyes of another person looking at you is something else. And why is it that one can look at a lion or a planet or an owl or at someone's finger as long as one pleases, but looking into the eyes of another person is, if prolonged past a second, a perilous affair?"
 - Walker Percy
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book

Thursday, April 4

"Nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own ego. That is the way we all see each other in life. Vanity, fear, desire, competition - all such distortions within our own egos - condition our vision of those in relation to us. Add to those distortions to our own egos the corresponding distortions in the egos of others - and you see how cloudy the glass must become through which we look at each other."
 - Tennessee Williams

Wednesday, April 3

"Ninety per cent of the world's woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves - so how can we know anyone else?"
 - Sydney J. Harris

Tuesday, April 2

Let Them Not Say
Let them not say: we did not see it.
We saw.
Let them not say: we did not hear it.
We heard.
Let them not say: they did not taste it.
We ate, we trembled.
Let them not say: it was not spoken, not written.
We spoke,
we witnessed with voices and hands.
Let them not say: they did nothing.
We did not-enough.
Let them say, as they must say something:
A kerosene beauty.
It burned.
Let them say we warmed ourselves by it,
read by its light, praised,
and it burned.
 - Jane Hirshfield

Monday, April 1

"Now it's April, and the whales have come home. The finbacks and the humpbacks and the rare right whales, arriving along the coast, coming into the bay, sometimes into the harbor, their massive length and weight churning and breaching as though they, like us, know playfulness. He maketh the deep to boil like a pot, he maketh a path to shine after him, said Job, who, I fear, could not know that there is also a reasoning and a gentleness in these mountains of flesh. Once a whale tangled in line came into the harbor with another swimming just alongside, a companion that would not leave the roped animal but lingered, while brave men went out in little boats and were able to cut the entangling line away. The eye of the humpback is like all the darkness and hope and pain one sees in the eye of the elephant, in whose brain, it is avowed by those who know, nothing is ever forgotten. It is an eye deeper than the deepest well."
 - Mary Oliver
Long Life: Essays and Other Writings

  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov