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,
nevertheless he
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,

yet paused
  for the honeysuckle
    or the rose,
        her dark head

and her wet nose
    the face
         of every one

with its petals
  of silk,
    with its fragrance

into the air
  where the bees,
    their bodies
        heavy with pollen,

  and easily
     she adored
        every blossom,

not in the serious,
  careful way
    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—
  that happy
    in the heaven of earth—
        that wild, that loving.


~ 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


The bud

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

And wash.


                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?

Awakening Now

~ 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?

Forgive yourself.

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.