Practical Questions

practical questions

Diamond sun rising

inside

small black pyramids.

4 birds or 5?

 

One-bird looks

forward

Standing under

understanding

Practical questions

measuring

the distance

between trees.

 

One-bird

looks back…

thickly

through

painted blue…

Keeping

the Book

of

Wishes.

 

And on this first day of a New Year, wishing all of you a year fulfilled

with hopes, dreams, curiosity and questions…

and leaving you with a few more….

What is this mind?
Who is hearing these sounds?
Do not mistake any state for
Self-realization, but continue
To ask yourself even more intensely,
What is it that hears?
Bassui

Bird’s Children

birdchildren

Children

born between words

holding jeweled feathers.

Left facing ruby

suspended…

a bird’s eye view

of rec-tangled flags

hanging on

a wing

and a prayer.

 

 

the door

temple

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself makes no promises.

by Adrienne Rich, from

“Prospective Immigrants, Please Note”

heart flowers

roses

In every heart there is a coward and a procrastinator.
In every heart there is a god of flowers, just waiting
to stride out of a cloud and lift its wings.
The kookaburras, pressed against the edge of their cage,
asked me to open the door.
Years later I remember how I didn’t do it,
how instead I walked away.
They had the brown eyes of soft-hearted dogs.
They didn’t want to do anything so extraordinary, only to fly
home to their river.
By now I suppose the great darkness has covered them.
As for myself, I am not yet a god of even the palest flowers.
Nothing else has changed either.
Someone tosses their white bones to the dung-heap.
The sun shines on the latch of their cage.
I lie in the dark, my heart pounding.

The Kookaburras

a poem by Mary Oliver

A nicely burning home

home2

April Dream

Last night my house was burning.  Could not find

one precious thing to grab and find comfort in.

And when the torrential rain hammered out the

flames, I was angry with its self-righteous

interference.

 

My house is still burning.  And where it is

whole, I have not found all the rooms,

closets and old garbage.

There is no longer

a complacent order.

Havoc has its own

integrity. Charred walls accept young vines

and holes in roof allow the fragrant spring

to freely visit.

 

My house is not my castle.  It is not the

precious final coagulated fulfillment of

ironed-out dreams. It is a plant, a tree

swaying in the evening wind.

Joseph C. Zinker, 2001

from: Sketches: An Anthology of Essays, Art, and Poetry, Gestalt Press

 

care (full)

care

 

 What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

“Leisure” by Welsh poet W. H. Davies, from Songs Of Joy and Others

published in 1911 by A. C. Fifield

Land and Water

Land and Water

These are really the thoughts of all men in all

ages and lands, they are not original with me, 

If they are not yours as much as mine they are

nothing, or next to nothing,

If they are not the riddle and the untying of the

riddle they are nothing, 

If they are not just as close as they are distant

they are nothing.

This is the grass that grows wherever the land

is and the water is, This is the common air that

 bathes the globe.

Song of Myself (part17)

by Walt Whitman

home-keeping heart

are we there yet

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O’er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.

“Song” by H.W. Longfellow: Keramos and Other Poems 1878

As Longfellow says “to stay at home is best”.  But is it?  It feels great to be in a place that feels safe, protected and predictable. This is the land of  known and previously explored territory.  Home is being on familiar ground.  You know exactly where you are.

The challenge in keeping creative process fresh and alive, is to balance the need to keep things safe, predictable and orderly, with the need to explore unknown, unpredictable and potentially dangerous new territory.

It is relatively easy to imagine yourself standing with one foot in order and one foot in chaos. But maybe this balanced stance is more a place of action or experience that is way more complex than imagined.  That place where there is just enough safety and just enough danger, is a space of surprises.  Strangely, this place needs to be repeatedly found and/or rediscovered anew.  There is no guidebook that consistently works. The entrance way (at least in my own personal creative process) seems to be through tolerating frustration, giving up control and welcoming resistance to new, accidental or unplanned experience. That dark and uncomfortable stuff has to be encountered each time. Maybe as Longfellow says, we need to be

“baffled and beaten and blown about

By the winds of the wilderness of doubt.”

Each voluntary encounter with the unknown builds resilience for the next journey along the creative path.  Maybe that is what is meant by practice.

 

Unsinging Bird

bird

silence

.is
a
looking

bird:the

turn
ing;edge of
life

(inquiry before snow

e.e. cummings

Lost and Found

lost and found

The Little House of Lost Play (Mar Vanwa Tyalieva) by J. R. R. Tolkien

We knew that land once, You and I,
and once we wandered there
in the long days now long gone by,
a dark child and a fair.
Was it on the paths of firelight thought
in winter cold and white,
or in the blue-spun twilit hours
of little early tucked-up beds
in drowsy summer night,
that you and I in Sleep went down
to meet each other there,
your dark hair on your white nightgown
and mine was tangled fair?

We wandered shyly hand in hand,
small footprints in the golden sand,
and gathered pearls and shells in pails,
while all about the nightengales
were singing in the trees.
We dug for silver with our spades,
and caught the sparkle of the seas,
then ran ashore to greenlit glades,
and found the warm and winding lane
that now we cannot find again,
between tall whispering trees.

The air was neither night nor day,
an ever-eve of gloaming light,
when first there glimmered into sight
the Little House of Play.
New-built it was, yet very old,
white, and thatched with straws of gold,
and pierced with peeping lattices
that looked toward the sea;
and our own children’s garden-plots
were there: our own forgetmenots,
red daisies, cress and mustard,
and radishes for tea.
There all the borders, trimmed with box,
were filled with favourite flowers, with phlox,
with lupins, pinks, and hollyhocks,
beneath a red may-tree;
and all the gardens full of folk
that their own little language spoke,
but not to You and Me.

For some had silver watering-cans
and watered all their gowns,
or sprayed each other; some laid plans
to build their houses, little towns
and dwellings in the trees.
And some were clambering on the roof;
some crooning lonely and aloof;
some dancing round the fairy-rings
all garlanded in daisy-strings,
while some upon their knees
before a little white-robed king
crowned with marigold would sing
their rhymes of long ago.
But side by side a little pair
with heads together, mingled hair,
went walking to and fro
still hand in hand; and what they said,
ere Waking far apart them led,
that only we now know

Slow Muse

By Deborah Barlow

O at the Edges

Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.

TreeSisters

Women Seeding Change

KURT★BRINDLEY

writing ★ producing ★ editing

Social Health

Insights on the Power of Social Bonds

When Timber Makes One Still

"Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to the soul" -John Muir

The Heron's Path

Closer to the Spirit

Children in Limbo Task Force

Children Need Permanency

lumblogdotcom4.wordpress.com/

bernice lum illustration

Pedal Paradise

Sharing cycling joy in Paradise City, Northampton, MA

Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog

This is a writer's blog for authors, business people, creative people, freelancers, journalists, publishers, and poets. They will learn the ins and outs of writing for publication. Both beginning and experienced writers will profit from it.

The Whole Megillah

The Writer's Resource for Jewish-themed Story: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

Design of the Picture Book

the intersection of graphic design + picture books

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: