Monday, August 31, 2009

Things to Think

By: Robert Bly

Think in ways you’ve never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you’ve ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he’s carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you’ve never seen.

When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die


By: Li-Young Lee

In the dark, a child might ask, What is the world?
just to hear his sister
promise, An unfinished wing of heaven,
just to hear his brother say,
A house inside a house,
but most of all to hear his mother answer,
One more song, then you go to sleep.

How could anyone in that bed guess
the question finds its beginning
in the answer long growing
inside the one who asked, that restless boy,
the night's darling?

Later, a man lying awake,
he might ask it again,
just to hear the silence
charge him, This night
arching over your sleepless wondering,

this night, the near ground
every reaching-out-to overreaches,

just to remind himself
out of what little earth and duration,
out of what immense good-bye,

each must make a safe place of his heart,
before so strange and wild a guest
as God approaches

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Indigo Bunting

By: Robert Bly

I go to the door often.
Night and summer. Crickets
lift their cries.
I know you are out.
You are driving
late through the summer night.

I do not know what will happen.
I have no claim on you.
I am one star
you have as guide; others
love you, the night
so dark over the Azores.

You have been working outdoors,
gone all week. I feel you
in this lamp lit
so late. As I reach for it
I feel myself
driving through the night.

I love a firmness in you
that disdains the trivial
and regains the difficult.
You become part then
of the firmness of night,
the granite holding up walls.

There were women in Egypt who
supported with their firmness the stars
as they revolved,
hardly aware
of the passage from night
to day and back to night.

I love you where you go
through the night, not swerving,
clear as the indigo
bunting in her flight,
passing over two
thousand miles of ocean.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


By: Kyle Elden

Don’t give your life away to sorrow
to watch its flames take everything into
burning light, to watch the smoke
of your dreams spell out the language
of longing and loss, to hang heavy in your clothes
and on your hair forever

When you arrive at this place
and find yourself covered in the mud
in this thickness you walk through
get down on your knees, prayer on your breath
dirt on your lips ~ and like the lotus flower
submerged in swamp, raise laughing
and red, bright as Jupiter pulling
her many moons in a tidal dance

Monday, August 17, 2009


We don't see things as they are,
we see them as we are.

~ Anais Nin

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Growing Wings

By: Robert Bly

It’s all right if Cezanne goes on painting the same picture.
It’s all right if juice tastes bitter in our mouths.
It’s all right if the old man drags one useless foot.

The apple on the Tree of Paradise hangs there for months.
We wait for years and years on the lip of the falls;
The blue-gray mountain keeps rising behind the black trees.

It’s all right if I feel this same pain until I die.
A pain that we have earned gives more nourishment
Than the joy we won at the lottery last night.

It’s all right if the partridge’s nest fills with snow.
Why should the hunter complain if his bag is empty
At dusk? It only means the bird will live another night.

It’s all right if we turn in all our keys tonight.
It’s all right if we give up our longing for the spiral.
It’s all right if the boat I love never reaches shore.

If we’re already so close to death, why should we complain?
Robert, you’ve climbed so many trees to reach the nests.
It’s all right if you grow your wings on the way down.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cast All Your Votes For Dancing

By: Hafiz

I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way
And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
And Love.

Whenever you say God's name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

O keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter

And from the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,
Be wise.
Cast all your votes for Dancing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I’m Crazy Too

By: Kyle Elden

We are all crazy
in our own way
hiding tiny pieces of
ourselves from the world

I may run along the Lakewalk
at seven and a half minute miles
marked by my nike plus watch
& shoe sensor
at three in the afternoon
past a picnic table of local drunks
yelling “fuzzzk you bitch”
and “I don’t care about anybody, anybody”
smoking Marb 100’s, passing around a forty
in seventy degree heat

running in perfect form
past a woman sleeping on a bench
skin turning red, sweat gleaming
across her cheeks
wearing a knit winter hat
faded black sweatpants
and a navy blue t-shirt
with a ripped up right sleeve
bare feet jutting off the edge
years of disappointment
and loss sculpted into the fierce way
she clutches tightly to the bottle, her elixir
wrapped in a brown paper bag
mumbling softly
“you told me you loved me,
you loved me….”

Maybe for a second
I feel good about myself
juxtaposed next to
with their mistakes,
their pain on display
like a storefront window
in a shop called CRAZY
that I don’t want to step foot in

only I partially envy them
with my mistakes, my pain neatly packaged
hidden from the world

what would it feel like to fall apart
right outside the Biffy
in Canal Park
amidst a swarm of tourists
to yell, and cry, and scream, and pound my fists
on the cement until they bleed
shedding light on my darkest secrets,
on my imperfections

Being Alone

By: Allison Luterman

I am never alone.
God supplies you in various disguises
scattered through my day like an overlooked miracle:

a saint's face in an oil-slick puddle, say,
or the dog who comes up to investigate
and lingers an extra moment in communion,

or someone stooping to put arms around a crying child.
This is to counteract those mornings
when to wake is to face broken glass in the mirror

and the least touch shatters
everything; when I recall how you'd roll over, say, "Hello,
Beautiful," smile, and lead me gently back

from the bad-dream labyrinth
into sunlight, hot sweet tea, and the next thing to do.
Now I muscle through fog alone,

on a different, meaner street, in an uglier time,
and there's a man who looks
like he's been shot out of a police siren

and spent too many nights trying to find his way home.
Hank always hangs around in front
of Max's Auto Detail -- A CLEAN

CAR IS A WELL-RUNNING CAR -- lopes, half bent,
as if to straighten fully would hurt, yet
when I walk by with my red hair like a flag

from a country called Abandoned Woman and forty years
of disappointment showing
on my face, he never fails to gallantly rise

to the occasion and say, "Hello, Beautiful," and sometimes,
"I seen you in your car yesterday."
As if he knew I were missing

some vital connection, something he could supply.
In just such small, exact details,
God matches our need for each other

with our prayers for each other, to show us,
if we pay attention, how the fabric of our long-lost love
can stretch to cover all the world.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Eyes So Soft

By: Hafiz

Your loneliness so quickly.
Let it cut more

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice so

My need of God

What Is The Root?

By: Hafiz

Is the
Root of all these
One thing: love.
But a love so deep and sweet
It needed to express itself
With scents, sounds, colors
That never before

Sweet Child

By: Kyle Elden
(for Stella)

You came
breaking the darkness
glistening across the Lake
like beams of summer sunlight
throwing your brilliance
into our lives

You chose us
your parents
whispered to the creator
gently rushing through
the hands of the universe
with the strength
of ocean tides

Inside me
you weaved into existence
with the force of cosmos
the planets orbiting
dancing in circles
with the rhythm
of the infinite

Daily you teach us of God
in your smile
when you awake in the morning
full of joy
reminding us how to be
in the present moment
the past
& the future only illusions
of what was and what may come

This world
is crazy & beautiful
it is of both
darkness & light
you will touch pain
& you will touch happiness
both a burning fire
in the heart of
human life

May you always be
in tune with your
true self
always know that
you are nothing
less than

All the mistakes
and experiences
tumble downward
to the earth
like autumn leaves
the golden
the red
the orange
the green
the brown
they swirl into
the earth
moving through the cycle
bringing new life
over and over again