when there are no words

when there are no words

silent spaces…pause between words…shaping time…making art.

There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.

The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the floor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.

The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.

And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night

like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.

Billy Collins (2007).
The trouble with poetry: And other poems. Random House Trade Paperbacks.

how wings work

the firsWhen I returned from so many journeys,

I stayed suspended and green

between sun and geography –

I saw how wings worked,

how perfumes are transmitted

by feathery telegraph,

and from above I saw the path,

the springs and the roof tiles,

the fishermen at their trades,

the trousers of the foam;

I saw it all from my green sky.

I had no more alphabet

than the swallows in their courses,

the tiny, shining water

of the small bird on fire

which dances out of the pollen.

by Pablo Neruda, from Fully Empowered, 1962

translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid

to be like a tree

collage

“When you go out into the woods

and you look at trees

you see all these different trees.

And some of them are bent,

and some of them are straight,

and some of them are evergreens,

and some of them are whatever.

And you look at the tree

and you allow it.

You see why it is the way it is.

You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light,

and so it turned that way.

And you don’t get all emotional about it.

You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans,

you lose all that.

And you are constantly saying,

‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’

That judging mind comes in.

And so I practice turning people into trees.

Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”

Ram Dass a.k.a. Richard Alpert (b. 1931)

American spiritual teacher and author

Bird Time

Slippery Elm

a children’s book…

3 young sisters

plant a small elm tree

in their backyard.

Through the years…

the three sisters begin to realize

that the elm tree,

is their home.

The sisters see…

that the elm tree

remains with them…

watching over the 3 sisters

marking milestones

and holding time…

a tree of life…

As the 3 sisters grow

old…

with their tree.

a synopsis of a story by Nora Sommerdorf

“An Elm Tree and Three Sisters”

worth knowing

illustration collage

Black

Above

Scribbled trees.

Shiningly silver…

A mercurial balloon.

Inside Oval’s home

wait 2…

speaking in silence.

One Eye Knows…

what’s worth

Protecting.

Days Inn

back in the day

Days

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

Philip Larkin

“Days” from Collected Poems.

Used by permission of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Philip Larkin.

Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)

treelife

knowing trees

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

from “House of Belonging” by David Whyte

“We think by feeling. What is there to know?”

collage illustration

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.

I learn by going where I have to go.


We think by feeling.  What is there to know?

I hear my being dance from ear to ear.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow


Of those so close beside me, which are you?

God bless the Ground!  I shall walk softly there,

And learn by going where I have to go.


Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?

The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.


Great Nature has another thing to do

To you and me; so take the lively air,

And, lovely, learn by going where to go.


This shaking keeps me steady.  I should know.

What falls away is always.  And is near.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I learn by going where I have to go.


exerpt from Theodore Roethke’s, “The Waking” from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (Doubleday, 1951).

first step

first step

This is love:

to fly toward a secret sky,

to cause a hundred veils to fall

each moment.

First

let go

of life.

Finally,

to take a step

without feet.

Rumi

blue and red

twoBetween…

spirit and matter…

a blue painted feather.

Flying red…

paper worlds

and words

not read

2

birds.

“…think of the bird as a teacher.  Approach it with curiosity and patience, as if it were the most important thing right now.  you do not have to worry about getting it to do something.  The bird invents itself and is not dependent on our conscious egos.  We must give it our time and space, though, if we wish to learn from it.  Allow it to move and change as it desires.  You may have the wish to ask it questions, as that is our usual method of finding out about things.  Sometimes images do talk, but not always.  The important thing is to realize though that it already is what it can convey.  The image is a complete statement in and of itself”.

Mary Watkins, Waking Dreams, pg. 109

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