How I Go To The Woods
Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on top of the dune as motionless as an uproar of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unbearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.
Thank you for allowing us to walk in the woods with you. RIP.
The Guest House-
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and
invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
Do not stand at my door and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!
Feliz Día de los Muertos.
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By Mary Oliver
die for it–
or the world. People
have done so,
their small bodies be bound
to the stake,
fury of light. But
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun
for everyone just
as it rises
under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?
What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it
whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter
Happy Winter Solstice!
Take down the lights.
The wreath lies in the trash.
Barely winter, really?
Truffles more appreciated now.
Spread the salt, don’t slip on the ice.
Where do birds sleep in January?
Nests seem unfair.
Soon it will be warm,
And you’ll emerge.
I read a horoscope last week that said to watch for books that jumped off the shelf at me, wanting to be looked at and read.
Well, it wasn’t a book that jumped out, but a poem. I heard it in a documentary called “Free Your Mind”, directed by Phie Ambo, and made a mental note of the title, wanting to look it up later. Then, yesterday, this same poem was handed out in my writing group, to be read and discussed.
I think it is really beautiful and relevant in the way it talks about the stranger we all periodically let ourselves become. The self who is always there, awaiting our return, never judging, wanting just to love and nourish.
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.