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September 12th, 2011


01:14 am - "Wage Peace" by Judith Hill
Wage Peace
by Judith Hill

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don't wait another minute.

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March 19th, 2011


01:50 pm - "In Blackwater Woods", by Mary Oliver
"In Blackwater Woods"

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

-Mary Oliver

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July 19th, 2010


09:16 pm - "Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond" by Mary Oliver
I was asked to read this poem at church last night, and I did. Although I am usually able to read in public at a moment's notice, I was grateful for the advance warning on this one, because I cried the first two times I read it through.

So heavy
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

open
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is

that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed

back into itself--
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn't a miracle

but the common thing,
this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body

into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.

-- Mary Oliver

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May 7th, 2010


12:21 am - "Scheherazade" by Richard Siken
Tell me about the dream where we pull the bodies out of the lake
and dress them in warm clothes again.
How it was late, and no one could sleep, the horses running
until they forget that they are horses.
It’s not like a tree where the roots have to end somewhere.
it’s more like a song on a policeman’s radio,
how we rolled up the carpet so we could dance, and the days
were bright red, and every time we kissed there was another apple
to slice into pieces.
Look at the light through the windowpane. That means it’s noon, that means
we’re inconsolable.
Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
These, our bodies, possessed by light.
Tell me we’ll never get used to it.

–Richard Siken

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April 27th, 2010


12:53 am - "Democracy" by Langston Hughes
Democracy

Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say
"Let things take their course
Tomorrow is another day."
I do not need my freedom when I am dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Freedom
is a strong seed
Planted
in a great need
I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

-- Langston Hughes

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April 21st, 2010


11:41 pm - "Our Union", by Hafiz
Our union is like this:

You feel cold so I reach for a blanket to cover
our shivering feet.

A hunger comes into your body
so I run to my garden and start digging potatoes.

You asked for a few words of comfort and guidance and
I quickly kneel by your side offering you
a whole book as a
gift.

You ache with loneliness one night so much
you weep, and I say

here is a rope, tie it around me,
Hafiz will be your
companion
for life.

From Love Poems from God, By Hafiz (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)
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01:15 am - "Onion", by Katha Pollitt
"Onion"

The smoothness of onions infuriates him
so like the skin of women or their expensive clothes
and the striptease of onions, which is also a disappearing act.
He says he is searching for the ultimate nakedness
but when he finds that thin green seed
that negligible sprout of a heart
we could have told him he'd only be disappointed.
Meanwhile the onion has been hacked to bits
and he's weeping in the kitchen most unromantic tears.

-- Katha Pollitt

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April 19th, 2010


10:52 pm - "Short Poem" by William Carlos Williams
You slapped my face
oh but so gently
I smiled
at the caress.

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April 18th, 2010


10:16 pm - "The Truelove", by David Whyte
The Truelove

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of the baying seals,

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them,

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly,
so Biblically,
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love,

so that when we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t

because finally
after all the struggle
and all the years,
you don’t want to any more,
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

- David Whyte

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April 11th, 2010


03:28 pm - Today's poem is from Rumi
One day
You will take my heart completely
and make it more fiery than a dragon.

Your eyelashes
will write on my heart
the poem that could never come
from the pen of a poet.

- Jalal-ud-Din Rumi (Translated by Azima Melita Kolin)

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April 10th, 2010


11:00 pm - "Love Poem to an Avocado from a Tomato" by Yumi Thomas
Love Poem to an Avocado from a Tomato

Tonight I wore my bright red suit
and came to the opera
just to see you at the buffet.
Leaning against a cabbage leaf
in a bowl of salad,
your olive skin shimmers
like a river at night.
You dance among carrots, cucumbers,
and wear a crown of alfalfa sprouts like a queen.
I straighten my green necktie and bow to you,
than blush red as my suit
as you glide by in an artichoke's arms
under the rain of a thousand islands.

-- Yumi Thomas

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April 7th, 2010


10:50 pm - Hafiz, "Too Beautiful"
The fire
Has roared near you.
The most intimate parts of your body
Got scorched,

So
Of course you have run
From your marriages into a
Different House

That will shelter you
From embracing every aspect of Him.

God has
Roared near us.
The lashes on our heart's eye got burnt.
Of course we have
Run away

From His
Sweet flaming breath
That promised an annihilation

Too real,
Too beautiful.

- Hafiz, (trans. Daniel Ladinsky)

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April 6th, 2010


01:37 am - "Our Faith II", by George Prochnik
Our Faith II

Our faith had been on the mantle so long
We no longer felt uncomfortable with it.
It lay between a mask and a shell and
New guests still commented on it;
The unusual shape and coloring made them
Ask where we got it, (usually we didn't
Tell the story), what it cost (it's impossible
To say), then, 'have we had it appraised?'
'No, not recently,' is the answer to that,
But if you look at the cracks I think
You'll agree that it may be a waste and
Anyway we have no intention of getting
Rid of our faith even if we no longer
Really take it in or even dust it,
It's one of those things we carry with us
Place to place, and sometimes after making
Love when we do not turn on the
Television, our eyes still do go up to it.

- George Prochnik

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April 4th, 2010


10:28 pm - Mary Oliver, “The Uses of Sorrow”
Someone I loved gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

- Mary Oliver, “The Uses of Sorrow”

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April 2nd, 2010


12:04 am - and inside me was the stillness a bell possesses just after it has been rung
April is National Poetry Month, one of my favorite months! You can sign up to get a free poem emailed to you each morning at poets.org.

I'm going to start off National Poetry Month with a poem sent to me by my best friend from college, Heather.

The Leaving
by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

My father said I could not do it,
but all night I picked the peaches.
The orchard was still, the canals ran steadily.
I was a girl then, my chest its own walled garden.
How many ladders to gather an orchard?
I had only one and a long patience with lit hands
and the looking of the stars which moved right through me
the way the water moved through the canals with a voice
that seemed to speak of this moonless gathering
and those who had gathered before me.
I put the peaches in the pond's cold water,
all night up the ladder and down, all night my hands
twisting fruit as if I were entering a thousand doors,
all night my back a straight road to the sky.
And then out of its own goodness, out
of the far fields of the stars, the morning came,
and inside me was the stillness a bell possesses
just after it has been rung, before the metal
begins to long again for the clapper's stroke.
The light came over the orchard.
The canals were silver and then were not.
and the pond was -- I could see as I laid
the last peach in the water -- full of fish and eyes.

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March 3rd, 2010


11:46 pm - "Happiness" by Jane Kenyon
Happiness
by Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

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February 14th, 2010


12:54 pm - Changes, by Sally Cline
Changes

He no longer wears a plait.
He no longer keeps chickens.
The way the Radicals can.
No longer the same person
Or Man.

Now he wears short hair
Now he is the Department's Chairperson
Or Man.

His wife is no longer kept with the chickens.
She runs loose with no shoes.
The way radical wives can.
She does not look quite the same person.
Does not act quite according to plan.

He encourages her freedom.
Admires her aplomb.
(He calls her Mom)
He buys her new shoes.
He discovers
She has outgrown them.

He discovers
She has discovered another life.
He discovers
She has discovered
Another
Radical Wife.

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January 28th, 2010


08:44 pm - Sonnet 29, by William Shakespeare
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,--and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings'.

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January 19th, 2010


12:22 am - "Sleep Positions", by Lola Haskins
Sleep Positions

This is how we sleep:
On our backs, with pillows covering our chests, heavy as dirt
On our sides, like wistful spoons
Clenched, knees in-tucked, arms folded
Wide, like sprawling-rooted lotuses

In Iowa on top of pictures of Hawaii, huge white flowers on blue
In New York on black satin
In China on straw.

This is how our dreams arrive:
As hot yellow taxicabs;
As sudden blazing steam, we who have been pots on a stove,
looking only at our own lids;
As uninvited insects, all at once on our tongues.

O hairdresser, auditor, hardknuckled puller of crabtraps, you who
think poetry was school, you who believe you never had
a flying thought,
lie down.


Lola Haskins

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January 11th, 2010


07:21 am - Today's poem is "I Am Not Yours", by Sara Teasdale
"I Am Not Yours"
by Sara Teasdale

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love, put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

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