Category Archives: Poetry

Self-Portrait in Moss…

A facebook post…

This morning as long awaited rain shows up as a lightly tapping symphony on my roof and the natural land bows its plant heads in a beautiful hush of prayer and gratefulness, I tumble down the fb newsfeed listening to the amazing voices who have joined my circle of friends here. I see a warning from an artist in the Ukraine (Vasil Woodland) who warns everyone that “ATTENTION!!!! I stop printing my pictures, due to the imposition of martial law in Ukraine. Please do not make a money transfer. All money transfers in my name are blocked and are subject to return to the sender. I hope that these are temporary difficulties … I hope that there will be no war and that the incident will be solved by diplomatic means. Thank you for understanding!”. Another amazing artist from Iran (Naeemeh Naeemaei) laments her dirty dishes and a deepening distress not quite clear to me with the awkward fb translation with these words jumping out at me “I can’t believe that the moments of drowning in joy and discovery of life have been tied to big lies.” The rain drops pound a little harder as I type these words about drowning. And, a minister in Mississippi (Hugh Hollowell Jr.) sends a message to critics about the runoff election that happened yesterday where hate won out, “The election was hard fought. That we even had to have a runoff in a race where a Black man was running against a white woman is remarkable, and a sign of how far we have come, and the result of so much ground level organizing. I am very proud of the work we all did, and will continue to do.”

As we notice how our world stretches and moans, trying to break through the oppression and lies that know no boundaries, only to seemingly revert back to old, rigid patterns of separation and non-loving, we must continue to gird ourselves for more hard work while we wipe the slime of grief from our hearts and faces. Today I will raise my face up into the rain falling from the sky when I go outside to dig the small ditch on the uphill side of my house so the kitchen will not flood (water seeps in when one wall of your house finds itself buried into the earth itself). And, I will transplant the sacred jimson weed native plant seedlings, gathered from my sister’s small farm in Woodlake, with the hope they survive in the drought-dry, vole-invested and deer-pruned landscape around my home.

And, I finally bow my own head in praise of poetry with the early morning words (amazingly found in the fb newsfeed scroll this am) from Dry Crik Journal Dofflemyer:

No worn path home,
we make circles
following the seasons
in the shadow of the moon—

to the coyote’s yip
and canyon conflagration
finding perfect pitch
to make a chorus.

Our dreams are wild
enough to need
no fuel, no accolades
to draw a crowd

any closer. We pick
our way, break no stems
on the eternal scent
of heading home.

[“Self Portrait in Moss” photo © Elsah Cort, taken along the Crescent Meadow Trail in Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park on 11-26-18 on an unusually quiet walk with my nephew, meeting only three other people and where we heard no yelling human voices as I usually do on that trail, but only the loud US Navy jets that now fly over the high sierra mountains from Lemoore Naval Air Station, preparing for more unnecessary wars)


To be or not to be…

David’s words describe the times we are alivin’ in:
Someone I have been,
and someone,
I am just
about to become,
something I am
and will be forever…

Many versions of ourselves finds themselves on shakey grounds, having come forth from false notions. We keep searching for our authentic selves because we long to be that human Being.

Tidbit: Long ago when I was in some yearly writers’ workshops with Martín Prechtel in New Mexico, he taught us to not use the verb “to be” (am, is, are, was, has been, being) in our writings. The indigenous Mayan language he knew, and spoke and lived when he worked in Guatamala many years ago before the people in that village were killed, had no word for this verb at all. I find it “to be” an enlightening practice to write sentences without it and not so easy to do.

photo © David Whyte

TWICE BLESSED

So that I
stopped
there
and looked
into the waters,
seeing not only
my reflected face
but the great sky
that framed
my lonely figure

and after
a moment
I lifted my hands
and then my eyes
and I allowed
myself
to be astonished
by the great
everywhere
calling to me
like an old,
invisible
and unspoken
invitation,
made new
again
in the sun
and the spring,
and the cloud
and the light,
like something
in one moment
both calling to me
and radiating
from where I stood,
as if I could
understand
everything
I had been given
and everything ever
taken from me,

as if I could be
everything
I have ever
learned
and everything
I could ever know,

as if
I knew
both the way
I had come
and, secretly,
the way
I was still
promised to go,
brought together,
like this,
with the
yielding light
and the symmetry
of the moving sky,
caught in still waters.

Someone I have been,
and someone,
I am just
about to become,
something I am
and will be forever,
the sheer generosity
of being loved
through loving:
the miracle reflection
of a twice blessed life.

Twice Blessed
THE BELL AND THE BLACKBIRD
Poetry by David Whyte
APRIL 2018 © David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

EVENING PERSPECTIVE
Photo © David Whyte
Asilomar Beach
Monterey Bay. January 11th 2018