nothing getting past

Nothing Getting Past
by Kay Ryan

If life is a
thin film
sandwiched
between twin
immensities
of nothing,
you get the best
taste of this
out West in
the open country
where a keen
could mean the
double scrape
of nothing almost
touching nothing
–or the wind
coming through
dry grass. In
either case it’s
pretty close
to nothing
getting past.

 

as far as the eye can see

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peaceful

Peaceful Summer Day

by Gary R. Ferris
Sitting on the front porch enjoying a peaceful summer day,

Writing down the words that He’s given me to say.

Sipping on my coffee and watching the wind blow the trees,

Quietly watching the birds sailing in the breeze.

When I look at this beauty it takes my cares away,

The majestic mountains that top these skies today.

Off in a distance a bird begins to sing,

And the sounds of the country and the music it can bring.

The dogs are lying in the sun and lost in the deep,

To watch them in this summer breeze make me want to fall asleep.

To realize that I have been so blessed,

All of my troubles become no more than a pest.

restful spot

the grace of clouds

The Grace of Clouds

by Raymond A. Foss

God’s grace, the grace of clouds
the master’s message, revealed in life
when we ask, He will answer
with the grace of clouds,
the faith of a baby’s face
the gift of creation,
of the verdant garden
Grace, the gifts, abounds,
grace all around
shown when we are ready, open
believing is seeing
shimmering answers,
in the grace of clouds

October 4, 2008

grace of clouds

keeping on top of things

Keeping on Top of Things

I want to be alone. But I have to see
the chiropodist, the dentist,
the car mechanic, the ear-syringer,
the roofer, the window cleaner,
and a man to cut back the creeper which is forcing its way in
through the bedroom window.

Thank goodness I don’t have to see
the manicurist, the otologist,
the arboriculturist,
the reflexologist, the phrenologist
the hypnotherapist, the gynaecologist
the Chinese herbalist, or the psychiatrist –

At least not this week.

–          Connie Bensley

D.H. Chiparus - sculpture
D.H. Chiparus – sculpture

 

just came to visit

Companion
by Jo McDougall

When Grief came to visit,
she hung her skirts and jackets in my closet.
She claimed the only bath.

When I protested,
she assured me it would be
only for a little while.

Then she fell in love with the house,
repapered the rooms,
laid green carpet in the den.

She’s a good listener
and plays a mean game of Bridge.
But it’s been seven years.

Once, I ordered her outright to leave.
Days later
she came back, weeping.

I’d enjoyed my mornings,
coffee for one;
my solitary sunsets,
my Tolstoy and Moliere.

I asked her in.

angel_of_grief-jpg

Grace

How to Recognize Grace

by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre

It takes you by surprise
It comes in odd packages

It sometimes looks like loss
Or mistakes

It acts like rain
Or like a seed

It’s both reliable and unpredictable
It’s not what you were aiming at
Or what you thought you deserved

It supplies what you need
Not necessarily what you want

It grows you up
And lets you be a child

It reminds you you’re not in control
And that not being in control
is a form of freedom

butterfly-flower-ocean

The Bright Field
by John O’Donohue

I have seen the light break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great prize, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush. To a brightness
that seems as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

Sunlit Poppy Field

inapprehensible . . .

In the act of writing the poem, I am obedient, and submissive. Insofar as one can, I put aside ego and vanity, and even intention. I listen. What I hear is almost a voice, almost a language. It is a second ocean, rising, singing into one’s ear, or deep inside the ears, whispering in the recesses where one is less oneself than a part of some single indivisible community. Blake spoke of taking dictation. I am no Blake, yet I know the nature of what he meant. Every poet knows it. One learns the crafts, and then casts off. One hopes for gifts. One hopes for direction. It is both physical, and spooky. It is intimate, and inapprehensible. Perhaps it is for this reason that the act of first-writing, for me, involves nothing more complicated than paper and pencil. The abilities of a typewriter or computer would not help in this act of slow and deep listening.

–          Mary Oliver, Winter Hours

Mary+Oliver+Whitman+Brown+Attend+Womens+Conference+Cjhg7R4uilMl

I Went into the Maverick Bar

I Went into the Maverick Bar

By  Gary Snyder

I went into the Maverick Bar
In Farmington, New Mexico.
And drank double shots of bourbon
backed with beer.
My long hair was tucked up under a cap
I’d left the earring in the car.

Two cowboys did horseplay
by the pool tables,
A waitress asked us
where are you from?
a country-and-western band began to play
“We don’t smoke Marijuana in Muskokie”
And with the next song,
a couple began to dance.

They held each other like in High School dances
in the fifties;
I recalled when I worked in the woods
and the bars of Madras, Oregon.
That short-haired joy and roughness—
America—your stupidity.
I could almost love you again.

We left—onto the freeway shoulders—
under the tough old stars—
In the shadow of bluffs
I came back to myself,
To the real work, to
“What is to be done.”

View of Downtown Farmington

hay for the horses

Hay for the Horses

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
—The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds—
“I’m sixty-eight” he said,
“I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that’s just what
I’ve gone and done.”

–         by Gary Snyder

horses eating hay

In Memoriam K.

In Memoriam K.
by Ron Padgett

So what will you do tomorrow

Now that he has died today?

Why, you’ll get dressed and

Fix your breakfast as you always do,

Then make some coffee for your wife

And bring it to her bed, where she will say

Thank you—the nicest moment of the day,

For me, anyway. And then the sunlight

On the lawn, song in feathers

High in a tree and hidden,

As if their notes were sung inside my head which is

Come to think of it where

I hear them, as I hear him,

He who made me so much

Who I am and now must be alone

With him now he is gone.

ron_padgett

our generation

carldennisOur Generation
by Carl Dennis

Whatever they’ll say about our delinquencies,
They’ll have to agree we managed to bridge the gap
Between those who arrived before us
And those who followed. We learned enough
At the schools available to fill the entry-level positions
At the extant sawmills our elders managed,
At banks, drug stores, freight yards, and hospitals,
Then worked our way up to positions of trust.
There we were, down on the shop floor
Or up in the manager’s office, or outside the office
On scaffolds, washing the windows.
Did we work with joy? With no less joy
Than people felt in the generations before us.
And on weekends and weekday evenings
We did our best to pursue the happiness
Our founders encouraged us to pursue,
And with equal gusto. Whatever they say about us
They can’t deny that we filled the concert halls,
Movie houses, malls, and late-night restaurants.
We took our bows on stage or waited on tables
Or manned the refreshment booths to earn a little extra
For the things we wanted, the very things
Pursued by the generations before us
And likely to be pursued by generations to come:
Children and lawns and cars and beach towels.
And now and then we stood back to admire
The colorful spectacle, the endless variety,
As others before us admired it, and then returned
To fill our picnic baskets, drive to the park,
And use the baseball diamonds just as their contrivers
Intended they should be used. And if we too
Crowded into the squares to cheer the officials
Who proclaimed our country as fine in fact
As it is in theory, as faithful a friend to the planet
As any country we cared to name,
A few of us confined to a side street,
Carried signs declaring a truth less fanciful.
A few unheeded, to be sure, but no more unheeded
Than a similar few in generations before us
Who hoped that the truth in generations to come,
Though just as homely, would find more followers.

2006

Source: The Best of the Best American Poetry, edited by Robert Pinsky and David Lehman

hay for the horses

horses-eating-hayHay for the Horses

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
—The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds—
“I’m sixty-eight” he said,
“I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that’s just what
I’ve gone and done.”

–         by Gary Snyder

the day I die

The Day I Die

by Krista Lukas

will be a Saturday or a Tuesday, maybe.
A day with a weather forecast,
a high and a low. There will be news:
a scandal, a disaster, some good
deed. The mail will come. People
will walk their dogs.

The day I die will be a certain
day, a square on a calendar page
to be flipped up and pinned
at the end of the month. It may be August
or November; school will be out or in;
somebody will have to catch a plane.

There will be messages, bills to pay,
things left undone. It will be a day
like today, or tomorrow—a date
I might note with a reminder, an appointment,
or nothing at all.

–          The Writer’s Almanac

angel prayingjpg

New every morning

NEW EVERY MORNING

Every day is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
Troubles forecasted
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.

– Susan Coolidge

Stunning-Sunrise1

folding sheets

Folding Sheets

They must be clean.
There ought to be two of you
to talk as you work, your
eyes and hands meeting.
They can be crisp, a little rough
and fragrant from the line;
or hot from the dryer
as from an oven. A silver
grey kitten with amber
eyes to dark among
the sheets and wrestle and leap out
helps. But mostly pleasure
lies in the clean linen
slapping into shape.

Whenever I fold a fitted sheet
making the moves that re like
closing doors, I feel my mother.
The smell of clean laundry is hers.

by Marge Piercy

1-floodphoto-liz-hope-bmother4

we are wound with mercy

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere, . . .
I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round,
As if with air, the same . . .
And makes, O marvelous!
New Nazareths in us.

– Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Compared to the Air We Breathe”

Gerard Manley Hopkins-b

the comforting

The Comforting
by Jack Ridl

A few words from Genesis, some
Duke Ellington, just the middle of the week.

Out in the yard, the anonymous robin; in
the neighbor’s garden, a spray of poppies.

The configuration of nests: why mud, leaves,
string; why paper, sticks; why stones?

The lonely smell of a wet dog, the
way water stays in the world.

Your tongue, holding to the apple, tomato,
pear, letting go without your say

Across the street, the oat grass turning yellow.

gardenphotos