It doesn’t work to do what’s right and good

It doesnt work to do whats right and good,
To discipline yourself by force of will,
To practice love and hold your anger still,
To quell desire, act as you think you should.

Nobody wants your charity, though they
May smile and thank you as they turn away.
But trust yourself, give every voice free play,
And healing will find you by close of day.

You ask, does that mean it’s ok to kill?
(You’ve suffered wrong, and so you feel you could.)
That anger is the dross of your childhood,
Regard your question as grist for the mill.

If you step back, let nature take her course,
Your native love will prove the stronger force.

— JJM, #5 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

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Graphic: Adele Aldridge                     https://www.ichingmeditations.com/2012/02/29/i-ching-hexagram-5-chinese-character-painting/

 

 

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders, the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote, important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep,
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear; the darkness around us is deep.

— William Stafford, born this day in 1914

A Touch from Jesus - Some days you will reach out in faith to touch Jesus and others you ask Him to touch and heal you. Read more @ www.dearfriendministries.com

Retreat

There is a time for action, but not now;
Preserve your latent energies; just watch.
The case is critical, and if you botch
This exercise, it might derange the Dao–
No! Dao eternal, solid as the sea,
Cannot be modified by you or me
You might, then, ask, “in what way are we free,
If ultimately Dao is destiny?”

Like gravity, the Dao is weak, but firm.
We’re bound for paradise at end of day,
But we may choose our path along The Way—
We walk or crawl or dance or march or squirm.
The Dao conveys a message, deep and true
Without prescribing what we are to do.

— JJM (#33 in the I Ching Sonnet Project)

From InText

 

Politically Incorrect Orgasms And Unredacted Mushroom Trips

While the whale songs get sadder and sadder,

While snakefinger Hollywood operatives
teach us to look outside ourselves for superheroes
instead of behind our own eyes,

While canned laughter pours from screens
and forms whispering clouds over our heads
which assure us that we have never been divine,

While the pop songs all say
“Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
put your hands up in the air
we party all night and spend money on things
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
whoop whoop
capitalism totally works,”

You stand in cool defiance:
A natural hominid.
An indigenous earthling.

You are alert and present,
like a pistol dueler on the tenth pace.

You watch mind movements come and go,
kissing them as they pass
like drunken one-night stands fully enjoyed
but scarcely remembered.

You seek out the demons lurking in your shadows,
thank them for their hard work,
and release them forever with a loud belch.

You look at life like it’s a dear friend telling a great joke
when they’re right about to get to the punchline.

You dance in supermarkets.
You smoke rain.

You have politically incorrect orgasms
and unredacted mushroom trips.

You take even your most shameful hidden bits
and bring them out into the light for loving.

You are kind to yourself.
You are kind to others.
You are kind to your surroundings.
You are kind to your planet.
You are kind to your angels.
You are kind to your demons.
You are kind to kindness.
You are kind to unkindness.
You are kindness.

Death fades from your gaze
like snow under a blowtorch.

Unhappiness fades from your memory
like a weird dream.

While heroes are exposed as cardboard set pieces,

While ideologies are exposed as Pokemon masks on corpses,

While truth is replaced with crude crayon drawings of itself
and sold at Costco between the tires and the coffins,

You stand in cool defiance
and watch your reflection dance
in the cornea of Allah.

You take nothing for granted
and see everything for the first time.

The only enemy is habit.

Irony is for cowards.

Chin up,
eyes wide.

That’s ten paces.

Draw.

— Caitlin Johnstone
Originally published here

Accident of Birth

Je vois les effroyables espaces de l’Univers qui m’enferment, et je me trouve attaché à un coin de cette vaste étendue, sans savoir pourquoi je suis plutôt en ce lieu qu’en un autre, ni pourquoi ce peu de temps qui m’est donné à vivre m’est assigné à ce point plutôt qu’à un autre de toute l’éternité qui m’a précédé, et de toute qui me suit.*
— Pascal, Pensées sur la religion

The approach of a man’s life out of the past is history, and the approach of time out of the future is mystery. Their meeting is the present, and it is consciousness, the only time life is alive. The endless wonder of this meeting is what causes the mind, in its inward liberty of a frozen morning, to turn back and question and remember. The world is full of places. Why is it that I am here?
— Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House

Spared by a car or airplane crash or
cured of malignancy, people look
around with new eyes at a newly
praiseworthy world, blinking eyes like these.
For I’ve been brought back again from the
fine silt, the mud where our atoms lie
down for long naps. And I’ve also been
pardoned miraculously for years
by the lava of chance which runs down
the world’s gullies, silting us back.
Here I am, brought back, set up, not yet
happened away.
But it’s not this random
life only, throwing its sensual
astonishments upside down on
the bloody membranes behind my eyeballs,
not just me being here again, old
needer, looking for someone to need,
but you, up from the clay yourself,
as luck would have it, and inching
over the same little segment of earth-
ball, in the same little eon, to
meet in a room, alive in our skins,
and the whole galaxy gaping there
and the centuries whining like gnats—
you, to teach me to see it, to see
it with you, and to offer somebody
uncomprehending, impudent thanks.
— William Meredith would have been 101 years old today

 

William Meredith, “Accidents of Birth” from Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1997 by William Meredith. Reprinted with the permission of the author and TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, http://nupress.northwestern.edu.
* I see the terrifying expanse of the Universe which encloses me, and I find myself attached to a corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am in this place rather than another, nor why this short time which is given for my life has been assigned at this moment rather than another of all the eternity which preceded me, and all which will follow. — tr JJM

Just ask

You can always borrow wisdom, you know—
Don’t feel you have to figure it all out.
Surely you know someone whose thoughts about
This question you trust, eager to bestow
Her sage advice on your receptive heart.
Excuse yourself for not being all-wise
Embrace another’s wisdom in the guise
That it appears; suffice it that you’re smart
Enough to recognize in whom to vest
The sacred trust that only you can grant.
Your willingness to let her voice supplant
Your own is fact sufficient to attest
Your worthiness and faith. So now you must
Put doubt aside, let fate reward your trust.

— JJM (#4 in the I Ching Sonnet Project)

Hexagram 04 character painting

A Biblical labyrinth

If love is both our highest virtue and
The way that Satan gets beneath our skin;
If Christian agape is strict command,
But carnal love (or thought of it!) is sin;
No wonder that we’re hopelessly perplexed.
We cannot conjure love by acts of will,
We’re ever underloved and oversexed,
While basic human needs we seek to fill
Are buried deep in sanctimonious shame.

Beseeching absolution from God’s wrath,
Entrained by currents that we dare not name,
We want for light to seek the blessed path
That never one alone but only two
Can see—So, may I lodge my faith in you?

— JJM, #54 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

Image result for marrying maiden 54