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(by Carrie Fountain)

The wasps outside
the kitchen window
are making that
thick, unraveling sound
again, floating in
and out of the bald head
of their nest,
seeming not to move
while moving,
and it has just occurred
to me, standing,
washing the coffeepot,
watching them hang
loosely in the air-thin
wings; thick, elongated
abdomens; sad, down-
pointing antennae-
that this
is the heart’s constant
project: this simple
learning; learning
how to hold
and hope together;
to see on the unharmed
surface of one
the great scar
of the other;
to desire everything
and nothing
at once and to desire it
all the time;
and to contain that desire
fleshly, in a body;
to wash it and rest it
and feed it; to learn
its name and from whence
it came; and to speak
to it-oh, most of all
to speak to it-
every day, every day,
saying to one part,
“Well, maybe this is all
you get,” while saying
to the other, “Go on,
break it open, let it go.”

(Shared by the author as part of The Writer’s Almanac for October 20, 2015)

how to get there

it has to do with calculus,
with breaking free
of the need to see
that one last step, the one that is
infinitely small,
as needing to be measured and divided
in its turn

it is zeno’s paradox,
we have puzzled it
for 2500 years,
circling the point,
at times infinitely close,

reaching for reunion with the whole,
yet always
steps beyond counting away,
as far as we began,

kept at bay
by this mind-made trick
that makes us stop to carve
one last small digital divide


and the welcome
on the other side

— December 17, 2005


dome interior, samarkand, uzbekistan

How To Be a Poet

(by Wendell Berry)
(to remind myself)


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.