There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in:
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
-Danna Faulds From “Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga”
I want to make poems that say right out, plainly,
what I mean, that don’t go looking for the
laces of elaboration, puffed sleeves. I want to
keep close and use often words like heavy, heart, joy, soon, and to cherish
the question mark and her bold sister
the dash. I want to write with quiet hands. I
want to write while crossing the fields that are
fresh with daisies and everlasting and the
ordinary grass. I want to make poems while thinking of
the bread of heaven and the
cup of astonishment; let them be
songs in which nothing is neglected,
not a hope, not a promise. I want to make poems
that look into the earth and the heavens
and see the unseeable. I want them to honor
both the heart of faith, and the light of the world;
the gladness that says, without any words, everything.
*From New and Selected Poems: Volume Two by Mary Oliver
Life is sweet, so sweet to me, in all it’s golden dreams,
Ah! How I love to revel in it’s soul -inspiring themes,
like a surging mighty river,
Oft to me it seems,
Life is overflowing,
into Chrystal streams.
And so I lift, my soul God,
In reverential praise, and ask Him in His wondrous love.
To multiply my days.
Not that I would care to live for worldly, selfish gain, but to help to lift mankind
Upon a higher plane.
I often think, when all alone, and in my golden dreams,
That man is but a pendulum
Between the two extremes .
He wanders up and down the land
Is tossed on every sea, his life is but a phantom,
His death a mystery.
Then let us live, in noble deeds, and trust the rest to fate,
Our lives will then
Be holy, our names will then be great.
In golden dreams, yes let us live, in golden dreams of youth, in golden dreams of beauty, in golden dreams of truth.
Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.
Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that are alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river, and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time to eat the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond, and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks, and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate, and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up, and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.