- Books, Literature, and Writing
Poems of Connection
An Anthology: Poems of Connection
"We all flow from one fountain; - Soul. All are expressions of one love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided curents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, saturating all and fountainizing all."
~ John Muir ~
artwork left: "Connection" at jenotey / photobucket
A Ritual To Read To Each Other - by William Stafford
Photo: Buddhist _Painting photobucket
If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider-
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give - yes or no, or maybe -
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
by Robert Francis
Four tao philosophers as cedar waxwings
chat on a February berrybush
in sun, and I am one.
Such merriment and such sobriety--
the small wild fruit on the tall stalk--
was this not always my true style?
Above an elegance of snow, beneath
a silk-blue sky a brotherhood of four
birds. Can you mistake us?
To sun, to feast, and to converse
and all together--for this I have abandoned all my other lives.
photo right: Jason_Hobbie / phorobucket
Poem for a Chorus - by Marie Cartier
Photo: Peace Memorial in Hiroshima / stvn_310 photobucket
I am a woman with paper.
My lover's flesh, apricot silk, under my hand.
On the TV, a special on Hiroshima.
In nine seconds, 100,000 people killed.
Whose arms would I reach out to in nine seconds?
Apricot silk ripples
How many hours do we spend apart?
In Hiroshima people died in factories.
Children at their desks.
I was 8:11 a.m.
8:11 a.m. My lover at work.
I am at work.
A space between us -- and then, nine seconds.
An elderly Japanese gentleman weeps.
He remembers a baby suckling a lifeless breast.
"These hands turned the pages of a book,
held a baby," he sees the mother's hands.
"Her fingers curled into stumps,
oozed a strange, grey liquid.
The baby did not understand, and cried."
He wipes his eyes carefully,
"There were burns. Flesh ripped by wind.
People impaled under parts of buildings.
Politely asking for 'Some help. Please. If you can.'
At the center, you see,
it was really very quiet."
Yet, I am simply a woman with paper.
my hand my home skin peach cream honeysuckle
I see their faces their arms and legs.
sores running like split fruit
their faces taut,
They did not cry out.
At the center there was silence.
The significance I want to bring to my words
echoes strongest in the spaces between them.
Silence. Nine seconds. Then silence.
my lover's flesh peach silk
torn back open mouthed silent screaming
What can I tell you, out there
beyond this small Colorado night?
100,000 people killed in nine seconds, 1945.
1987, a bomb 1,000 times more powerful,
will leave 70 percent of the world's population -- silent.
I tell you -- I want us to live.
At the center there was silence.
These hands turn the pages of books.
Sit with paper and pen.
I fold the paper into an airplane.
Aim it towards a center of voices.
The least movement is of
importance to all nature.
The entire ocean is affected
by a pebble.
~ Blaise Pascal ~
by Zbigniew Herbert
is a perfect creature
equal to itself
mindful of its limits
with pebbly meaning
with a scent which does not remind one of anything
does not frighten anything away does not arouse desire
its ardour and coldness
are just and full of dignity
I feel a heavy remorse
when I hold it in my hand
and its noble body
is permeated by false warmth
--Pebbles cannot be tamed
to the end they will look at us
with a calm and very clear eye
Translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott
drawing above: sarazdenka / photobucket
ONE THING POETRY TEACHES US, IF ANYTHING, IS THAT EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED.
~ Lucille Clifton
Our Houses - by Linda Hogan
When we enter the unknown
of our houses,
go inside the given up dark
and sheltering walls alone
and turn out the lamps
we fall bone to bone in bed.
Neighbors, the old woman who knows you
turns over in me
and I wake up
another country. There's no more
north and south.
Asleep, we pass through one another
like blowing snow,
all of us,
Rainbow Connection (video) - sung by Jason Mraz
Look At Love
Look at Love...
how it tangles
with the one fallen in love
look at spirit
how it fuses with earth
giving it new life
why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend
why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how unknown merges into the known
why think separately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last
look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs
look at water and fire
earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once
the wolf and the lamb
the lion and the deer
far away yet together
look at the unity of this
spring and winter
manifested in the equinox
you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me
be like sugarcane
sweet yet silent
don't get mixed up with bitter words
my beloved grows
right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be
pic above: stevescrivensents / photobucket
Everything the Power of the World . . .
Everything the Power of the World does
is done in a circle. The sky is round,
and I have heard that the earth is round
like a ball, and so are all the stars.
The wind, in its greatest power, whirls.
Birds make their nests in circles,
for theirs is the same religion as our.
The sun comes forth and goes down again
in a circle. The moon does the same,
and both are round. Even the seasons
for a great circle in their changing,
and always come back again to where they were.
The life of man is a circle from childhood to childhood,
and so it is in everything where power moves.
~ Black Elk ~
told through John G. Neihardt
Circles . . .
Connection Library - Earth Prayers From around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth
This book brings together poems and prayers from all sorts of cultures honoring nature. There's a Navajo chant, Zuni chant, Hindu prayer, songs by Eskimos, poetry by Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson and more and more. Four hundred pages of wonderful words for the earth. (merrymousies, amazon reviewer)
Mystic Connections: Poems of Nature and Relationships
This volume of seamlessly-woven poems of joy and loss, mysticism and sensual earthiness, begins on a supernatural shamanic plane. Though the poems are mostly lyrical, there's narrative, too; and lists, lamentations, prayers and eulogies as well. This book is crafted like a sacred circular hoop, and by the end, we're returned to the ethereal state with which the poet began, leaving us in a place of transcendent joy. (amazon)
ONE LIFE: Healing Poems of Higher Awareness For the Earth and Humanity
Through the universal law of harmony, all people, all creatures, and all life on earth were born from one great divine source. The poems in this book express this spirit of oneness through a new perspective, melting the barriers that separate us from our true, divine Self. These poems fill us with a deep sense of joy, hope, and courage that well up from within. Even one poem can awaken us to a new awareness, a new energy, and a new enthusiasm for life. (amazon)
The Earth Speaks
A collection of images and impressions captured by those who have listened to the earth with their hearts --- John Muir, Walt Whitman, Annie Dillard, John Burroughs, Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Henry David Thoreau, and more...
The Earth Speaks can be read by individuals in moments of solitude, shared among friends around a trailside campfire, and used by leaders to help their learners develop a love for life and the systems of the earth that sustain it.
Brought to life by the beautiful block prints of Gwen Frostic, this book contains the writings of naturalists and natives, poets and philosophers, plus ordinary people who were able to capture in words some of the magic and meaning of the earth's marvels. (amazon)
Life Prayers : From Around the World : 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey
The mysteries and delights of life on earth are illuminated in this richly eclectic collection of poetry, wisdom, prayers, and blessings from thinkers and writers around the world. Here you will find the poetry of Hildgard of Bingen and Gary Snyder; the political wisdom of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.; a treasury of women's prayers, classical verse from China and Japan; and beautiful chants and prayers by Native Americans. A joyous affirmation of the human journey in all its forms, in all its struggles and glories. (amazon)
One Heart: Universal Wisdom from the World's Scriptures
One Heart illuminates the common sacred ground at the heart of seven faiths: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism. Its method is to identify 65 essential principles and illustrate each principle with one, two, or three quotations (adding up to more than 600) from a wide variety of texts sacred to each of the seven faiths. (amazon)
The Irish Cliffs of Moher
by Wallace Stevens
Who is my father in this world, in this house,
At the the spirit's base?
My father's father, his father's father, his--
Shadows like winds
Go back to a parent before thought, before speech,
At the head of the past.
They go to the cliffs of Moher rising out of the mist,
Above the real,
Rising out of present time and place, above
The wet, green grass.
This is not landscape, full of the somnambulations
And the sea. This is my father, or, maybe,
It is as he was,
A likeness, one of the race of fathers: earth
And sea and air.
by J Brehmer
because we remake them
to do a few things better
than we their makers
can we do a few things better
than our creators
perhaps our word evolve
is synonym for their concept re-vamp
there could be an unknown life form
punching a holographic keyboard
and pushing a giant five dimensional mouse
scooting me around my carbon-based life
computers have amazing memory
with zippidee-doo-dah retrieval
of calculation capacity,
thinking and socializing with ones and zeros
perhaps our designers
have grown us into organi-chines
which process five virtual sounds
that inform their world:
A.E.I.O. and U . . .
artwork: Coltmaverick / photobucket
A Name For All - by Hart Crane
above: LycanCat @ photobucket
Moonmoth and grasshopper that flee our page
And still wing on, untarnished of the name
We pinion to your bodies to assuage
Our envy of your freedom-we must maim
Because we are usurpers, and chagrined-
And take the wing and scar it in the hand.
Names we have, even, to clap on the wind;
But we must die, as you, to understand.
I dreamed that all men dropped their names, and sang
As only they can praise, who build their days
With fin and hoof, with wing and sweetened fang
Struck free and holy in one Name always.
I am a part of all that I have met.
~ Alfred Tennyson ~
by James Wright
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
The Pedestrian Woman - by Robin Morgan
She stands at the intersection, waiting
to stride across in that inimitable way of hers,
shoulderbag banging against one hip, head high,
her hair promiscuous to the wind.
Or sits at the typewriter, inconspicuous
as any other woman,
writing messages to the universe
which will get her in trouble with the boss.
No past, no future, flickers like a clue
in all those chance encounters
that accumulate a life.
See her ride the subway. See her
warm the leftovers for her supper.
See her feed her dog.
And can you see what vision
fires its shape in her sleep's kiln,
what passion, irony, and wit,
what love, what courage
in all her daily movements?
Ordinary is a word that has no meaning.
Her life is a fine piece of Japanese pottery
in the Shibui style,
so crafted that to see the cup's exterior
is to be privy only to its dull sienna clay
and to the flavored warmth with which you choose to fill it.
But drained of all you preconceptions
you may discover the bowl inside --
a high-glazed hyacinth blue
that rushes to your heart
and there remains, like an indelible message
you remember from a fortune told in tea leaves once,
like a wet jasmine flower
that you can never rinse away.
By Mary Oliver
die for it--
or the world. People
have done so,
their small bodies be bound
to the stake,
fury of light. But
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun
for everyone just
as it rises
under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?
What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it
whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter
by Ted Kooser
Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer's retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.
cutting greens - by Lucille Clifton
Photo: eryhngreen / photobucket
curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black,
the cutting board is black,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and i taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.
Come into Animal Presence
by Denise Levertov
Come into animal presence.
No man is so guileless as
the serpent. The lonely white
rabbit on the roof is a star
twitching its ears at the rain.
The llama intricately
folding its hind legs to be seated
not disdains but mildly
disregards human approval.
What joy when the insouciant
armadillo glances at us and doesn't
quicken his trotting
across the track into the palm brush.
What is this joy? That no animal
falters, but knows what it must do?
That the snake has no blemish,
that the rabbit inspects his strange surroundings
in white star-ssilence? The llama
rests in dignity, the armadillo
has some intention to pursue in the palm-forest.
Those who were sacred have remained so,
holiness does not dissolve, it is a presence
of bronze, only the sight that saw it
faltered and turned from it.
An old joy returns in holy presence.
by Billy Collins
Remember the 1340's? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called "Find the Cow."
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.
Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent a badly broken code.
The 1790's will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.
I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.
Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.
As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.
I'd be grateful . . .
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Nicely read & great photos . .
by Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."
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