Monday, May 30, 2011

breaks free

Breaks Free

I just want to be
where the earth breaks free
of concrete and metal and glass,
of asphalt and plastic and gas,
where sun is king
and water is queen,
where cactus grows tall
and the air is clean.
I just want to be
where the earth breaks free
of fences and alleys and walls,
of factories and traffic and malls,
where owls sleep
in the heart of day
waiting for sunset
to hunt their prey,
where mountains rise
in seas of sand
and coyotes roam
across the land.

-- Frank Asch

buenos aires, you are glorious, but there are some times when i would like to be in a non-city-place where i wouldn't live surrounded by strip clubs, which are even popular on sunday nights (judging by the volume last night.)

Photo: View of Cachi from within El Parque Nacional Los Cardones in Salta province, Argentina.

Monday, May 23, 2011

ghazal 2214

Ghazal 2214

Blessed time! when we are sitting,
I and thou,
With two forms and only one soul,
I and thou.
Fragrance, song of birds, they quicken ev'rything
When we come into the garden,
I and thou.
All the stars of heaven hurry
to see us,
And we show them our own moon,
I and thou-
I and thou without words, without
I and thou-
In delight we are united,
I and thou.
Sugar chew the heaven's parrots
in that place
Where we're sitting, laughing sweetly,
I and thou.
Strange that I and thou together
in this nook
Are apart a thousand miles, see-
I and thou.
One form in this dust, the other
in that land.
Sweet eternal Paradise there...
I and thou.


(Red bird of paradise photo.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011



Understand, I'll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I'll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:
You come too.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

(Photo from Laguna Nimez in El Calafate, Argentinian Patagonia.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

casida of the rose

Casida of the Rose

The rose
was not searching for the sunrise :
almost eternal on the branch,
it was searching for something else.

The rose
was not searching for darkness or science :
borderline of flesh and dream,
it was searching for something else.

The rose
was not searching for the rose.
Motionless in the sky
it was searching for something else.

--Federico García Lorca
(translated by Robert Bly)

this rose went all the way to
el fin del mundo and is beginning to name those something elses.

(Image: Salvador Dalí's "Meditative Rose.")

Tuesday, May 17, 2011



The dust motes float
and swerve in the sunbeam,
as lively as worlds,
and I remember my brother
when we were boys:
"We may be living on an atom
in somebody's wallpaper."

--Wendell Berry


Sunday, May 15, 2011



The boy at the far end of the train car
kept looking behind him
as if he were afraid or expecting someone

and then she appeared in the glass door
of the forward car and he rose
and opened the door and let her in

and she entered the car carrying
a large black case
in the unmistakable shape of a cello.

She looked like an angel with a high forehead
and somber eyes and her hair
was tied up behind her neck with a black bow.

And because of all that,
he seemed a little awkward
in his happiness to see her,

whereas she was simply there,
perfectly existing as a creature
with a soft face who played the cello.

And the reason I am writing this
on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together

is to tell you that when she turned
to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,

I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted

when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God.

--Billy Collins

More photos of the stunning Wendy Sutter and Ex-Vatican Stradivarius here. I will ever be in awe of both of them.
This is another of those days where I miss being on the same continent as my cello (and those I love dearly, but that goes without saying.)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

last night, as i was sleeping

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt – marvelous error! –
That I had a beehive
Here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
Were making white combs
And sweet honey
From my old failures.

--Antonio Machado
(translated by Robert Bly)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ravens hiding in a shoe

Ravens Hiding in a Shoe

There is something men and women living in houses
Don't understand. The old alchemists standing
Near their stoves hinted at it a thousand times.

Ravens at night hide in an old woman's shoe.
A four-year-old speaks some ancient language.
We have lived our own death a thousand times.

Each sentence we speak to friends means the opposite
As well. Each time we say, "I trust in God," it means
God has already abandoned us a thousand times.

Mothers again and again have knelt in church
In wartime asking God to protect their sons,
And their prayers were refused a thousand times.

The baby loon follows the mother's sleek
Body for months. By the end of summer, she
Has dipped her head into Rainy Lake a thousand times.

Robert, you've wasted so much of your life
Sitting indoors to write poems. Would you
Do that again? I would, a thousand times.

--Robert Bly

I'm not sure what I feel about this one, but here it is.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

i don't want to live a small life

Eleven Versions of the Same Poem:

I don't want to live a small life

I don't want to live a small life. Open your eyes,
open your hands. I have just come
from the berry fields, the sun

kissing me with its golden mouth all the way
(open your hands) and the wind-winged clouds
following along thinking perhaps I might

feed them, but no I carry these heart-shapes
only to you. Look how many how small
but so sweet and maybe the last gift

I will ever bring to anyone in this
world of hope and risk, so do.
Look at me. Open your life, open your hands.

--Mary Oliver

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the well rising

The Well Rising

The well rising without sound,
the spring on a hillside,
the plowshare brimming through deep ground
everywhere in the field –

The sharp swallows in their swerve
flaring and hesitating
hunting for the final curve
coming closer and closer –

The swallow heart from wing beat to wing beat
counseling decision, decision:
thunderous examples. I place my feet
with care in such a world.

--William Stafford

Beautiful cliff swallow photos.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

godiva county, montana

Godiva County, Montana

She's a big country. Her undulations
roll and flower in the sun. Those flanks
quiver when the wind caresses the grass.
Who turns away when so generous a body
offers to play hide-and-seek all summer?
One shoulder leans bare all the way up
the mountain; limbs range and plunge
wildly into the river. We risk our eyes
every day; they celebrate' they dance
and flirt over this offered treasure.
“Be alive, “ the land says. “Listen—
this is your time, your world, your pleasure.”

--William Stafford

[Photo: Rainbow over Perito Moreno. El Parque Nacional Los Glaciares: Lago Roca, Argentinian Patagonia.]