through this place

E. E. Cummings

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

* * *

“love is a place” by E.E. Cummings from Complete Poems 1904-1962


Widow’s Lament in Springtime

The Widow’s Lament in Springtime

Sorrow is my own yard
where the new grass
flames as it has flamed
often before, but not
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
Thirty-five years
I lived with my husband.
The plum tree is white today
with masses of flowers.
Masses of flowers
load the cherry branches
and color some bushes
yellow and some red,
but the grief in my heart
is stronger than they,
for though they were my joy
formerly, today I notice them
and turn away forgetting.
Today my son told me
that in the meadows,
at the edge of the heavy woods
in the distance, he saw
trees of white flowers.
I feel that I would like
to go there
and fall into those flowers
and sink into the marsh near them.

(Note: My thanks to brettgorvy@Instagram)

When i die I want your hands on my eyes

Pablo Neruda: When I die I want your hands on my eyes

When I die I want your hands on my eyes:

I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands

to pass their freshness over me one more time

to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,

I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,

for you to smell the sea that we loved together

and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.

I want for what I love to go on living

and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,

for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

so that you reach all that my love orders for you,

so that my shadow passes through your hair,

so that they know by this the reason for my song.

–Pablo Neruda, Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada. Cien Sonetos de Amor. Plaza y Janés. Ave Fénix 205-2. Sexta edición, junio 1998.


I am keeping the name of a woman
I barely knew locked up; it’s in a box,
and now and then I pick out the syllables
that are rusted and creak like rickety pianos:
soon those trees come out, and then the rain,
the jasmine, the long victorious braids
of a woman now without a body, lost,
drowned in time as in a slow lake:
there her eyes went out like coals.

Nevertheless, there is in dissolution
the sweet scent of death, buried arteries,
or simply a life among other lives.

It smells good to turn our face
only in the direction of purity:
to feel the pulse of the raining sky
of our diminished youth:
to twirl a ring in the emptiness,
to cry out to heaven.

I regret not having time for my lives,
even for the slightest thing, the souvenir left in a compartment
of a train, in a bedroom or at the brewery,
like an umbrella left there in the rain:
perhaps these are the imperceptible lips
that speak like the cadence of the sudden
sea, in a careless moment on the road.

For that reason, Irene or Rose, Mary or Leonore,
empty boxes, dry flowers pressed in a book,
they call out from their lonely corners
and we need to open them, to hear the one without a voice,
to see those things that do not exist.

Pablo Neruda, “Image”

The Travail of Passion

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939).  The Wind Among the Reeds.  1899.

The Travail of Passion

WHEN the flaming lute-thronged angelic door is wide;

When an immortal passion breathes in mortal clay;

Our hearts endure the scourge, the plaited thorns, the way

Crowded with bitter faces, the wounds in palm and side,

The hyssop-heavy sponge, the flowers by Kidron stream:

We will bend down and loosen our hair over you,

That it may drop faint perfume, and be heavy with dew,

Lilies of death-pale hope, roses of passionate dream.

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.

Vincent Van Gogh

Starlings in Winter

Starlings in Winter
by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

Oh, Mary Oliver, you touch my heart again. Feeling. Longing. Wanting. Desire. My friend Desire, warms me. Yes, these are expressions of Love knowing Love. This poem evokes the sense of wonder and awe of being surrounded by the Infinite, everywhere – a sensitivity to the arrangement of beauty that brings me closer than close to the experience of total contentment. Time lost, pausing in amazement, beholden by the mystery and magic of intimacy, which at its core is so simple and available. Like the most tender touch of a Lover, deep acceptance of being totally naked, safe, complete and recognizing the formless forms of Awareness.

Richard Rohr, the Franciscan mystic says “We were made by Love to Love”. When we are completely seen by another, there is the collapse of unique selves- intimacy. Love is here. God cannot not love God in us. Perhaps, the eternal covenant we experience is the birth of ourselves in the image and likeness of God.

My mind dimly holds onto grief and I’m glad for Mary Oliver’s reminder that it is both still around and yet no longer a strong attachment. She is so non-judgmental and with loving kindness says, “I am thinking now of grief, and getting past it…” It’s all ok.

The best part of this poem is the end.
“I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”

Reminds me of “The Layers” poem, sited here in another blog post. Live in the layers not on the litter. To think again of dangerous and noble things requires a bit of courage and risk taking. Could this be the masculine energy emerging? (The blessing of a teacher holds wonder and awe!) I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings. This is me. Now.

Woman to Lover

I am fire stilled to water

A wave lifting from the abyss

In my veins the moon-drawn tide rises like a tree of flowers

scattered in sea foam

I am air caught in a net

The prophetic bird that 

sings in a reflected sky

I am a dream before nothingness
I am a crown of stars

I am the way to die

– written by KATHLEEN RAINE, courtesy of Rupert Spira 10/12/17 Garrison Retreat