Poetry and Quotes

“We can think of our linguistic and situational knowledge not as separate and floating, but as elaborations of our already intricate plant-bodies. In this way we can think how the living body knows (feels, lives, is …..) its situation from inside. But what is a situation? A situation is never just something external.” -Eugene Gendlin

turtles 0n a log
soaking up all the last rays
of October sun

opening my eyes
a bar of autumn sunlight
on the closet door

-Haiku Poems by Susan Rudnick

“Try To Praise The Mutilated World”

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

-Adam Zagajewski
Translated by Renata Gorczynski

“Some of us have a hard time believing that we are actually able to finally allow ourselves to feel the depth of that sadness and gently let it break our hearts, we may come to feel a great freedom, a genuine sense of release and peace, because we have finally stopped running away from ourselves and from the pain that lives within us.”
— Wayne Muller (Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantage of a Painful Childhood)

“The tea ritual: such a precise repetition of the same gestures and the same tastes; accession to simple, authentic and refined sensations, a license given to all, at little cost, to become aristocrats of taste, because tea is the beverage of the wealthy and the poor; the tea ritual, therefore, has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony. Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And, with each swallow, time is sublimed.” -Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)

Some say an army on horseback,
some say on foot, and some say ships,
are the most beautiful things
on this black earth, but I say
it is whatever you love.
— Sappho (Translated by Stanley Lombardo)

“You hear the sound of water
and you know where you want to be.
Why wait?…Water says, “Live here.”
— Rumi

“Sometimes it takes just a bit of a sparkle of gold or a little bit of silver to kind of reveal that once this was golden.” -Hermes Knauer (Art Restorer at the Metropolitan Museum)

“My belief is in the blood and flesh as being wiser than the intellect.  The body-conscious is where life bubbles up in us.  It is how we know we are alive, alive to the depths of our souls, and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos.”     — D. H. Lawrence

“Much that is said about beauty and its importance in our lives ignores the minimal beauty of an unpretentious street, a nice pair of shoes or a tasteful piece of wrapping paper, as though those things belonged to a different order of value from a church by Bramante or a Shakespeare sonnet. Yet these minimal beauties are far more important to our daily lives, and far more intricately involved in our own rational decisions, than the great works of art which (if we are lucky) occupy our leisure hours. They are part of the context in which we live our lives, and our desire for harmony, fittingness and civility is both expressed and confirmed in them. Moreover, the great works of architecture often depend for their beauty on the humble context that these lesser beauties provide.” -Roger Scruton

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”— Rumi

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.
― Rumi

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all Time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine: how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” -Martha Graham

“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls.” -Merce Cunningham

“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

“When we live without listening to the timing of things, when we live and work in twenty-four-hour shifts without rest – we are on war time, mobilized for battle. Yes, we are strong and capable people, we can work without stopping, faster and faster, electric lights making artificial day so the whole machine can labor without ceasing. But remember: No living thing lives like this. There are greater rhythms, seasons and hormonal cycles and sunsets and moonrises and great movements of seas and stars. We are part of the creation story, subject to all its laws and rhythms.”
— Wayne Muller (Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives)

“If busyness can become a kind of violence, we do not have to stretch our perception very far to see that Sabbath time – effortless, nourishing rest – can invite a healing of this violence. When we consecrate a time to listen to the still, small voices, we remember the root of inner wisdom that makes work fruitful. We remember from where we are most deeply nourished, and see more clearly the shape and texture of the people and things before us.”
— Wayne Muller (Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives)

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’re 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 whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Keeping Quiet

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

-Pablo Neruda

Roscoe Woods (Oil Painting) © Robin Kappy 11/2011

Autumn Bowl (Oil Painting) © Stormy Brandenberger 11/2011

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1 Response to Poetry and Quotes

  1. Lillian Sober Ain says:

    Here are some Rumi poems I love. I’ve memorized them, and they sometimes ease their way into my mind at just the right time. They evoke so much for me—in different ways, at different times—and I am so happy to have the opportunity to share them with all of you. I have put the poems together into two groups.

    One Medley of Poems:

    Drumsound rises on the air,
    its throb, my heart.
    A voice inside the beat says,
    “I know you’re tired,
    but come. This is the way.”

    Some nights stay up till dawn,
    as the moon sometimes does for the sun.
    Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way
    of a well, then lifted out into light.

    The morning wind spreads its fresh smell.
    We must get up and take that in,
    that wind that lets us live.
    Breathe before it’s gone.

    You are song,
    A wished-for song
    Go through the ear to the center
    where sky is, where wind,
    Where silent knowing.
    Put seeds and cover them.
    Blades will sprout
    where you do your work.

    In your light I learn how to love.
    In your beauty, how to make poems.
    You dance inside my chest,
    where no one sees you,
    but sometimes I do,
    and that sight becomes this art.

    Another Medley of Rumi Poems:

    Inside water, a waterwheel turns.
    A star circulates with the moon.
    We live in the night ocean wondering,
    What are those lights?

    This moment this love comes to rest in me,
    many beings in one being.
    In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks.
    Inside the needle’s eye a turning night of stars.

    I am so small I can barely be seen.
    How can this great love be inside me?
    Look at your eyes. They are small,
    but they see enormous things.

    Keep walking, though there is no place to get to.
    Don’t try to see through the distances.
    That’s not for human beings. Move within,
    but don’t move the way fear makes you move.
    Move within.

    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
    there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass,
    the world is too full to talk about.
    Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
    doesn’t make any sense.

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