Little Altars Everywhere

 

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
Faintly ridiculous
(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.

– May Sarton, “New Year Poem”

Happy New Year

 

Linearity does not come naturally
to me. It kills my imagination.
Nothing happens.

No bell rings.
No moment of here and now.
No moment that says yes.
Without these, I am not alive.

I prefer the pleasure
of the journey through the spiral.

Relax.
Enjoy the spiral.
If you miss something on the first round,
don’t worry.
You might pick it up
on the second – or third – or ninth.
It doesn’t matter.

Relax.
Timing is everything.
If the bell does ring,
it will resonate
through all the rungs of your spiral.
If it doesn’t ring,
it is the wrong spiral –
or the wrong time –
or there is no bell.

– Marion Woodman

Little Altars Everywhere

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God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours, “I 59”

Little Altars Everywhere

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Just open your hands and say, “I don’t know.”

Say it softly and wait, so your other can see
that you mean it. Give them a chance to
drop what they think is secret. Let them
come up with a cup of what matters from
the spring they show no one. Let them sigh
and admit that they don’t know either. Then
you can begin with nothing in the way. Go
on. Admit to the throb you carry in your
heart. And let the journey begin.
– Mark Nepo, “If you want a true friend”