You work with what you are given,
the red clay of grief,
the black clay of stubbornness going on after.
Clay that tastes of care or carelessness,
When I say the feminine, I don’t mean gender. I mean the feminine principle that is living—or suppressed—in both men and women. The feminine principle attempts to relate. Instead of breaking things off into parts, it says, Where are we alike? How can we connect? Where is the love? Can you listen to me? Can you really hear what I am saying? Can you see me? Do you care whether you see me or not?
My two hunting dogs have names, but I rarely use them. As
I go, they go: I lead; they follow, the blue-eyed one first, then
the one whose coloring—her coat, not her eyes—I sometimes
call never-again-o-never-this-way-henceforth. Hope, ambition:
these are not their names, though the way they run might suggest
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains,
“The wilderness begins at the edge of my body, at the edge of my consciousness, and extends to the edge of the universe, and it is filled with beauty”.
If you come to me as a victim I will not support you.
But I will have the courage to walk with you through the pain that you are suffering.
I will put you in the fire, I will undress you, and I will sit you on the earth.
I will bathe you with herbs, I will purge you, and you will vomit the rage and the darkness inside you.
Set the warriors to sea in a ship stacked with shields, layers of swords, mountains of gold. Lay them out with their wife. With their child. Lay them out with their livestock, with the whole farm. The rain is not coming here. Not today.
Student, do the simple purification.
You know, that the seed is inside the horse-chestnut tree;
and inside the seed there are the blossoms of the tree and the chestnuts and the shade.
Hokusai says Look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
There is joy
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
There are moments
in moist love
You see, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all:
the darkness of each endless fall,
the shimmering light of each assent.
Time wants to show you a different country. It's the one
that your life conceals, the one waiting outside
when curtains are drawn, the one Grandmother hinted at
in her crochet design, the one almost found
over at the edge of the music, after the sermon.
I will not weep on this cold stone floor
Everything passes on and everything remains,
But our lot is to pass on,
To go on making paths,
Paths across the sea.
I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.
I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.
Clear as the endless ecstasy of stars
That mount for ever on an intense air;
Or running pools, of water cold and rare,
In chiselled gorges deep amid the scaurs,
So still, the bright dawn were their best device,
Yet like a thought that has no end they flow;
Or Venus, when her white unearthly glow
Sharpens like awe on skies as green as ice:
How does it know when to shed skin?
How to let go of a part of itself not dead
or damaged simply departing to make room for more of it.
I have desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail,
And a few lilies blow.
The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.
Turn sideways into the light as they say
the old ones did and disappear
into the originality of it all.
My melodious, gentle breeze blowing from southward in my Summer birchwood is she; my ocean storm, with downpour sending in headlong spate each burn for me;
I will have become like
the madman running
to see the moon
in the window,
Wayfarer, the only way
is your footsteps, there is no other.
A journey makes us vulnerable, takes us from our more
secure environments and commits us to the unknown.
If we were not single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.
Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.
Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.