New Year Poem
by May Sarton
Let us step outside for a moment
As the sun breaks through clouds
And shines on wet new fallen snow,
And breathe the new air.
So much has died that had to die this year.
We are dying away from things.
It is a necessity—we have to do it
Or we shall be buried under the magazines,
The too many clothes, the too much food.
We have dragged it all around
Like dung beetles
Who drag piles of dung
Behind them on which to feed,
In which to lay their eggs.
Let us step outside for a moment
Among ocean, clouds, a white field,
Islands floating in the distance.
They have always been there.
But we have not been there.
We are going to drive slowly
And see the small poor farms,
The lovely shapes of leafless trees
Their shadows blue on the snow.
We are going to learn the sharp edge
Of perception after a day’s fast.
There is nothing to fear.
About this revolution…
Though it will change our minds.
Aggression, violence, machismo
Are fading from us
Like old photographs
(Did a man actually step like a goose
To instill fear?
Does a boy have to kill
To become a man?)
Already there are signs.
Young people plant gardens.
Fathers change their babies’ diapers
And are learning to cook.
Let us step outside for a moment.
It is all there
Only we have been slow to arrive
At a way of seeing it.
Unless the gentle inherit the earth
There will be no earth.
when Whitman wrote, “I sing the body electric”
I know what he
I know what he
to be completely alive every moment
in spite of the inevitable.
we can’t cheat death but we can make it
work so hard
that when it does take
it will have known a victory just as
(And also for these times when I’m trying to find The One Perfect Action that will magically heal the world, instead of rolling up my sleeves, starting where I am, and “making it about the work.”)
From Humans Of New York:
“But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ — then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.”
-President Barack Obama
Every Morning All Over Again
Only the world guides me.
Weather pushes, or when it entices
I follow. Some kind of magnetism
Turns me when I am walking
In the woods with no intentions.
There are leadings without any
Reason, but they attract;
If I find there is nothing to gain
From them, I still follow—their power
Is the power of the surrounding world.
But things that promise, or those
That will serve my purposes—
they interfere with the pure wind
From nowhere that sustains a kite,
Or a gull, or a free spirit.
So, afloat again every morning,
I find the current: all the best
Rivers have secret channels that
You have to find by whispering
Like this, and then hear them and follow.
— William Stafford
If you came to me
with a face I have not seen,
with a voice I have never heard,
I would still know you.
Even if centuries separated us,
I would still feel you.
Somewhere between the sand and the stardust,
through every collapse and creation,
there is a pulse that echoes of you and I.
When we leave this world,
we give up all our possessions,
and our memories.
Love is the only thing we take with us.
It is all we carry from one life to the next.
– Lang Leav (excerpted from Memorie
There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
“Mindful” – by Mary Oliver
I see or I hear
That more or less
That leaves me
Like a needle
In the haystack
It is what I was born for –
To look, to listen,
To lose myself
Inside this soft world –
To instruct myself
Over and over
In joy and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
About the exceptional,
The fearful, the dreadful,
The very extravagant –
But of the ordinary,
The common, the very drab,
The daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
How can you help
But grow wise
With such teachings
As these –
The untrimmable light
Of the world,
The ocean’s shine,
The prayers that are made
Out of grass?
“I am going to spend as much time as I can creating delightful things out of my existence, because that’s what brings me awake and that’s what brings me alive.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
Now is the Time
Now is the time to know
That all you do is sacred.
Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God.
Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you can finally live
Hafiz is a divine envoy
Whom the Beloved
Has written a holy message upon.
My dear, please tell me,
Why do you still
Throw sticks at your heart
What is in that sweet voice inside
That incites you to fear?
Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.
This is the time
For you to deeply compute the impossibility
That there is anything but Grace.
Now is the season to know
That everything you do