Monday, August 29, 2011

A Summer Day

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan,  and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,  how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me,  what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

This beloved poem by Mary Oliver is known by just about everyone who reads poetry at all. It's one of my favorites and one I've used many times at the end of my Yoga class with teens. It renews my wonder and gratitude each time I share it. Nature is just so amazing! Who did make that grasshopper?

This poem reminds me that I do have a say in the planning of my life. Knowing how to pay attention reveals the perfection of this world and reminds us that we, too, are perfect. If we can come into the still point, we can know with our heart which plan is right for us. We can come from that deep sense of joy ~ our true self ~ and allow each moment to simply unfold.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day Dream

Day Dream

One day people will touch and talk perhaps easily,
And loving be natural as breathing and warm as sunlight,
And people will untie themselves, as string is unknotted,
Unfold and yawn and stretch and spread their fingers,
Unfurl, uncurl like seaweed returned to the sea,
And work will be simple and swift as a seagull flying,
And play will be casual and quiet as a seagull settling,
And the clocks will stop, and no one will wonder or care or notice,
And people will smile without reason, even in winter, even in the rain.
        ~A. S. J. Tessimond 

from Kim Rosen “Saved by a Poem” newsletter, July 2011

When I read this, it brought tears to my eyes. I'm sentimental, I guess, and I really long for this kind of day dream. More that longing, I believe in this day dream. Is it so unreasonable to think we can touch and talk and untie ourselves? Isn't it reasonable to find work simple and swift and play causal and quiet? Haven't you ever experienced time dissolving? Did you care? Each time I find myself smiling without a reason, I know we're just that much closer to having the day dream be real.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Daughter Asleep

My Daughter Asleep

And so to these

unspoken shadows

and this broad night

I make

a quiet


to the

great parental


to hold her

when I cannot,

to comfort her

when I am gone,

to help her learn

to love

the unknown

for itself,

to take it



a lantern

for the way

before her,

to help her see

where ordinary

light will not help her,

where happiness has fled,

where faith

will not reach.
3rd stanza from My Daughter Asleep by David Whyte
River Flow, New & Selected Poems, 1984-2007

David Whyte is one of my very favorite poets. He wrote a particularly poignant piece that resonates so deeply with me, even after my own daughter is grown and in a home of her own. I think the chord it strikes concerns the duality of our deep desire and/or fear for our child's well being.

Well being is so much more than simply physical health and safety...