Overland to the Islands
~ Denise Levertov
Let’s go — much as that dog goes,
intently haphazard. The
Mexican light on a day that
“smells like autumn in Connecticut”
makes iris ripples on his
black gleaming fur — and that too
is as one would desire — a radiance
consorting with the dance.
Under his feet
rock and mud, his imagination, sniffing,
engaged in its perceptions — dancing
edgeways, there’s nothing
the dog disdains on his way,
keeps moving, changing
pace and approach but
not direction — “every step an arrival.”
~ Mary Oliver
I had a dog
who loved flowers.
Briskly she went
through the fields,
for the honeysuckle
or the rose,
her dark head
and her wet nose
of every one
with its petals
with its fragrance
into the air
where the bees,
heavy with pollen,
not in the serious,
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom—
the way we praise or don’t praise—
the way we love
or don’t love—
but the way
we long to be—
in the heaven of earth—
that wild, that loving.
LITTLE DOG’S RHAPSODY IN THE NIGHT
~ Mary Oliver
He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough
he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.
“Tell me you love me,” he says.
“Tell me again.”
Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask.
I get to tell.
Saint Francis and the Sow
~ Galway Kinnell
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
How to Use This Body
~ David Kirby
Remove clothes and put to one side.
Body will look awkward, which is normal.
Arrange body on sheets, adjust temperature,
And turn out lights.
At this point,
Any number of things can go wrong:
Phone can ring, vase or book can fall
from shelf, memory can quicken, love can beat
its wings against the window, and so on.
In that case read to body, give body
Hot drink or bath, return body to bed,
And repeat steps two through four (above).
After several hours, remove body from bed
Put body into clothes again.
Feed and love body. Do not cut, shoot,
Hang, poison, or throw body from window.
Keep body from drafts and solitude.
Write us if you are happy with body, and,
Could we use your name in our next poem?
~ Dana Faulds
Why wait for your awakening?
The moment your eyes are open,
seize the day. Would you hold back
when the Beloved beckons?
Would you deliver your litany
of sins like a child’s collection
of sea shells, prized and labeled?
“No, I can’t step across the threshold,”
you say, eyes downcast, “I’m not worthy.”
“I’m afraid, and my motives aren’t pure.
I’m not perfect, and surely I haven’t practiced
nearly enough. My meditation isn’t deep,
and my prayers are sometimes insincere.
I still chew my fingernails,
and the refrigerator isn’t clean.”
Do you value your reasons for staying small
more than the light shining through the open door?
Now is the only time you have
to be whole. Now is the sole moment that exists
to live in the light of your true Self.
Perfection is not a prerequisite
for anything but pain. Please, oh please,
don’t continue to believe in your disbelief.
This is the day of your awakening.