To grow.

Image
Thankfully I needn’t force either of these lovelies to grow. They both emerge quite nicely on their own year after year.

Coax from the earth

or rather, gently persuade
with a bit of rain, a sprinkle of poop

(composted)
and daily attention, even just a

prolonged, easy gaze.
Gardens require intuition

not obsession.

 

Words to Live By: John O’Donohue

I’m surprised that I haven’t yet shared any poems or quotes from John O’Donohue because he is one of those poets that literally seems to see the souls and longings of humanity and translate them into language, a remarkable gift that I hope to cultivate over time.  It’s uncanny how his poems surface just when I need them, from books or friends or, for the poem below, from wonderful blogs like The Beauty We Love.
 
On a farm you learn to respect nature, 
particularly for the wisdom of its dark underworld.  
When you sow things in the spring, 
you commit them to the darkness of the soil.  
The soil does its own work.  
 
It is destructive to interfere with the rhythm and wisdom of its darkness.  
You sow drills of potatoes on Tuesday and you are delighted with them.  
You meet someone on a Wednesday who says 
that you spread the potatoes too thickly, you will have no crop.  
 
You dig up the potatoes again and spread them more thinly.  
 
On the following Monday, you meet an agricultural advisor who says 
this particular variety of seed potatoes needs to be spread close together.
  
You dig them up again and set them closer to each other.  
 
If you keep scraping at the garden, you will never allow anything to grow.  
People in our hungry modern world are always scraping at the clay of their hearts.  
They have a new thought, a new plan, a new syndrome, that now explains why 
they are the way they are.  They have found an old memory that opens a new wound.  
They keep on relentlessly, again and again, scraping the clay away from their own hearts.  
In nature we do not see the trees, for instance, getting seriously involved in therapeutic analysis 
of their root systems or the whole stony world that they had to avoid on their way to the light.  
Each tree grows in two directions at once, into the darkness and out to the light 
with as many branches and roots as it needs to embody its wild desires…
 
It is wise to allow the soul to carry on its secret work in the night side of your life.  
You might not see anything stirring for a long time.  
You might have only the slightest intimations 
of the secret growth that is happening within you, 
but these intimations are sufficient.

~ John O’Donohue
from Anam Cara
 

A brief reflection on the residue of my year without SWM authors.

I find that I’m angry when I get to the end of a poem I love on Poetry Daily to discover it was written by a man.  This anger is unfounded, and often I don’t research far enough to see if the author is privileged in other spheres.  But I am immediately, somewhat irrationally, filled with a jolt of hostility.  How can something so beautiful be written by someone privileged?  Why do I enjoy it?  Should I feel guilty for doing so?

Just questions, musings to hold for now and discuss when possible.

The poem today was particularly lovely though- ‘The Previous Tenants’ by Rodney Jones.

(just as an fyi: Rodney is in fact culturally privileged in nearly every way, apart from class perhaps as he is originally from rural Alabama)

Words to Live By: Roxane Beth Johnson

A Shaker Speaks to the Invisible

My box and broom are not finer than my faith; my prayers unmade are better than the slender seams of my clock. I know wood’s moan and ring all day. I dream myself as a tambourine in hand. My friend, there is no morning lacking a tonic loveliness; no night without its apocalypse. Monotony’s drumbeat I play out with what I’ve got: pith, thistle, and knife. What I build has the beauty of sparrows pecking frozen ground. It is my salvation, my cross, my song. I once loved the daughters; longed to lick my salty deeds. These chairs I make are my repentance. The spirit in them is revelation, the coming harvest, my need. The evening silence is the only god I know. Like dust occupying sun, He settles. Let the daughters sing. Their voices sand my heart down to a seed.

I’ve been craving the holy, longing for the spiritual, reading Thich Naht Hanh and The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating.  Truth and beauty are in the every day, the extraordinary is that which we almost miss, these things I know.  But in the midst of summer chaos and constant movement, the moments I remember to stop and breathe are far fewer and further between than I’d prefer.

This lovely prose poem highlighted today on Poetry Daily speaks to what I’m longing for, I think, for finding solace in work, peace in the doing and contemplation at once.  May it help both you and me be present today.