Widow’s Lament in Springtime

The Widow’s Lament in Springtime
BY WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS

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.

Image

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

Guests

“…keep empty, keep available, resist not, what comes uninvited.”   

-Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

My dreams and their reality intrigue me, nudging me ever closer to knowing myself.  My friend often says, our Unconscious is smarter than we are.  He’s skilled at helping me explore their meaning.  Keeping a sense of humor is more comfortable.  I like laughing out loud.  Reminds me of the poem by Mary Oliver where she says, “Have you heard the laughter that comes, now and again, out of my startled mouth?”  That’s been my experience lately.   Laughing out loud in dreams, at myself, sometimes for no reason at all. 

While I may think I’m alone on this journey of life, there are some shady guests in the house.  They patiently wait for their hostess!  Who joins me at the table?  Feels like their invitation is an ancient one and my yes, an infinite yes made long ago.  No doubt, they’ve been invited.  (My home has become an airbnb.). I’m patient too.  Oh, it’s quite the story I’m in, all of which has led to my living from a place of profound peace.  The possibilities are endless.  There are no more endings. 

Becoming a Mighty Kindness

Zero-Circle – Rumi, 1207-73

Be helpless and dumbfounded,
unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come
from grace to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see the beauty.
If we say Yes, We Can we’ll be lying.
If we say No, We Don’t See It,
that No will behead us
and shut tight our window into spirit.
So let us not be sure of anything,
besides ourselves, and only that, so
miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero-circle, mute,
we will be saying finally,
with tremendous eloquence, Lead Us.
When we’ve totally surrendered to that beauty,
we’ll become a mighty kindness.

My friend read this out loud to me this week and I was deeply moved. Poetry has a way of suspending time and can become a portal to ourselves. I’m unable to decipher the meaning of this ancient mystic.   And yet, as I listen, my heart sinks back into Itself, there’s a sense of the  sacred.  Not sure how this touching happens.

I see you.  To have someone see us, really see us and to feel seen, reconnects us with the knowledge that we are One with. Awareness sees Awareness. Love knows Love. There’s a sort of remembrance that happens when we encounter another person who recognizes the truth of our being, especially when we may feel asleep to our true nature. Love will not be denied. I’m learning that whether it’s through ecstasy or agony or much more often the ordinary, life is rich with possibilities. The closer I stay to being true to who I am, the more luscious life is. A friend recently said to me, “I want you to be deliriously happy, and to radiate your enlightened love into the world.” I am loved.

The Sufi poet and mystic Rumi inspires us in Zero-Circle to “be helpless and dumbfounded”. Whereas, these traits in our contemporary society are sometimes shunned or considered a weakness, our poet invites us here. Come in, relax into places of unknowing and mystery. As we lean-in to this emptiness and the realization that we are not the do-ers, only then can we sink into the heart. We are Light and Shadow. Here in the wounds, we’re poised to let the Light in, through the cracks of not-knowing, humility, desire and longing. “Then a stretcher will come from grace to gather us up.”

“So let us not be sure of anything, besides ourselves, and only that, so miraculous beings come running to help.” I love this line! They’re already here. Fellow light travelers. My Lovers. Teachers. Consciousness. Dreams. Ourselves. Trees. Oceans. Love Itself…in myriads of color and forms. Oh, the freedom of living this life from the seat of Love. Before this week, I had never heard of Zero-Circle or my last blog The Layers. Another example of the synchronicity of the Universe. “I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not as I was, though some principle of being abides, from which I struggle not to stray…” I’m going to try and memorize both of these poems…good for the heart and soul…and morning commute!

What is a zero-circle…could it relate to that intuition there’s no longer an ending? Well, no worries…it’s all unfolding…

(The following is adapted from a fellow blogger.)
Have you encountered someone whose entire being seems to radiate a sort of profound kindness, that envelopes you and makes you feel wholly seen, deeply held and completely loved? When I am around them, I feel clever. Interesting. Attractive. Maybe even a little bit shy. They warm me. The truth of who I am is felt deeply and in their eyes I can do no wrong and that everything good in the world is possible.

I believe that person- who exudes love like a rare, intoxicating and exotic perfume – is what Rumi might deem a Mighty Kindness.

True Confession: I want to be like that. I want to be a Mighty Kindness. I want to see the world as full of possibility and hope and be a beacon of love that guides people home. Back to themselves. Back to the love that is born in the very marrow of their being. Back to truth.

Namaste

The Layers

Thank you to Frank Hall for his deeply moving reciting of this poem at UU Westport church homecoming service this morning.  So emotional…touching the hopeful and sad places within. I’m grateful for the inspiration and sense of belonging I feel in this community. 

The LayersBY STANLEY KUNITZ

I have walked through many lives, 

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

“Live in the layers,

not on the litter.”

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.