I am not I.
I am this one
Walking beside me whom I do not see,
Whom at times I manage to visit,
And at other times I forget.
The one who remains silent when I talk,
The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
The one who takes a walk when I am indoors,
The one who will remain standing when I die.
– Juana Ramon Jimenez, “I am not I”
Let’s not say our names
or what we do for a living.
If we are married
and how many times.
Single, gay, or vegan.
Let’s not mention
how far we got in school.
Who we know,
what we’re good at
or no good at, at all.
Let’s not hint at
how much money we have
or how little.
Where we go to church
or that we don’t.
What our Sun Sign is
our Enneagram number
our personality type according to Jung
or whether we’ve ever been
Rolfed, arrested, psychoanalyzed,
or artificially suntanned.
Let’s refrain, too, from stating any ills.
What meds we’re on
How many surgeries we’ve survived
or our children’s children’s problems.
let’s not mention
who we voted for
in the last election.
Let’s do this instead:
Let’s start by telling
just one small thing
that costs us nothing
but our attention.
the soul of our bones.
How it was this morning
stooping to pet the sleeping dog’s muzzle
before going off to work.
walking in the woods
spotting that fungus on the stump
of a maple
so astonishingly orange
it glowed like a lamp.
Or just now,
at the end
– Susan Glassmeyer, “Introductions”
I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!
And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.
Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
and stand firm in that which you are.
– Kabir, “I said to the wanting creature inside me”
If you stand at the edge of the forest
and stare into it
every tree at the edge will blow a little extra
oxygen toward you
It has been proven
Leaves have admitted it
The pines I have known
have been especially candid
that all breath in this world
is roped together
that breathing is
the most ancient language
– Hannah Stephenson, “Ancient Language”
trees, in general; oaks, especially;
burr oaks that survive fire, in particular;
and the generosity of apples
seeds, all of them: carrots like dust,
winged maple, doubled beet, peach kernel;
the inevitability of change
frogsong in spring; cattle
lowing on the farm across the hill;
the melodies of sad old songs
comfort of savory soup;
sweet iced fruit; the aroma of yeast;
a friend’s voice; hard work
seasons; bedrock; lilacs;
moonshadows under the ash grove;
something breaking through
– Patricia Monaghan, “Things to Believe In”