The difficulty to think at the end of day,
When the shapeless shadow covers the sun
And nothing is left except light on your fur—
….and August the most peaceful month.
To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time,
And to feel that the light is a rabbit-light
In which everything is meant for you
And nothing need be explained;
You become a self that fills the four corners of
~Wallace Stevens, from “A Rabbit As King of the Ghosts”
August brims with fullness in need of emptying –
a spilling over of light and sun and heat.
With so much of everything in mid-summer,
I welcome relief
in a cool whiff of a misty morning.
Even my rabbit-light fur
is beginning to darken and in-fill
in anticipation of long dark winter days.
Like the pulsing vessels
in twitching transparent ears,
both warming and cooling,
I will fill the empty spaces.
To find your voice you must forget about finding it,
and trust that if you pay sufficient attention to life
you will be found to have something to say which no one else can say.
…that will be your voice, unsought,
singing out from you of itself.
~Denise Levertov from The Discovery of Voice
At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your fists, your back, your brain, and then – and only then -it is handed to you.
From the corner of your eye you see motion. Something is moving through the air and headed your way. It is a parcel bound in ribbons and bows; it has two white wings. It flies directly at you; you can read your name on it. If it were a baseball, you would hit it out of the park. It is that one pitch in a thousand you see in slow motion; its wings beat slowly as a hawk’s.
~Annie Dillard from “Write Till You Drop”
Some days my voice feels weak,
as if I have said too much
and grown hoarse
choking on the smoky haze surrounding me.
I take a swing and miss,
always listening, looking, living
for that connection
that only words can make.
How beautiful the things are that you did not notice before!
A few sweetclover plants
Along the road to Bellingham,
Culvert ends poking out of driveways,
Wooden corncribs, slowly falling,
What no one loves, no one rushes towards or shouts about,
What lives like the new moon,
And the wind
Blowing against the rumps of grazing cows.
~Robert Bly from “Like the New Moon I Will Live My Life”
Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. …to get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.
~Abraham Joshua Hershel
Simply driving to work becomes a sacramental act. This is not the hour long dense traffic commute I tolerated in the city thirty years ago – this is thirty minutes of noticing the expanse of the land against the sky, the light as it banishes the darkness, the harmony of animals existing on the soil.
It is a sacrament to notice “what no one loves, no one rushes towards or shouts about” and never take it for granted. It is all gift; it is all grace.
I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –….
There is nothing more humbling than an unwanted fly buzzing in the room. No matter whether we live in a slum or a castle, a fly finds its way to us, just because it can. And we must learn to coexist with what we can’t control.
When I’m feeling bugged, which happens all too often these days, the buzzing may overwhelm my stillness but it cannot overwhelm me. I will put down the swatter and simply listen to the coming of the heaving storm.
Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.
Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy.
These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.
A solstice moment
when light replaces
where darkness thrives:
there is a wounding
that tears us open,
so joy can enter the cracks
that hurt the most.