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Tag: wholeness

love and fear

love and fear are the two directions,
i stand at each infinite end

my straddling feet make the circle complete
a line is a circle
once you know
it can

— spring 2005


a half-real world

you live in a half-real world
of half-truths,
or rather you half-live there

how much of your life
do you spend spinning your stories,
how much trying to believe them ¿

you use your facts like bait,
cut off a tiny corner of the truth,
some bit that isn’t festering

dangle it on a string

half-believing in your own kindness
for making such an offering

and watch for some trophy of a future
you can hook

— June 22, 2007

(written for someone i was hurt by trusting,
revived in the first week of the trump presidency)


poppy (“feeed me”) · ben wolfe

Conscious Closure (Vanessa Reid)

In this TEDx talk of unusual scope and beauty (Toronto, May 2015) Vanessa Reid, a pioneering social innovator, explores the wildness and creativity in life that are possible only in the embrace of the full cycle of existence — which includes dying. Our organizations, our parents, ourselves — all of us are on a journey that has an end, and the ability to “kiss the joy as it flies” has much to do with our capacity for conscious closure.


In a Dark Time

(by Theodore Roethke)

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood —
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks — is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is —
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

shadow work

i am emerging into wholeness
through shards of brokenness,

i seem to long to watch me
nearly-not-survive —

i dodge life-ending fragments of my past
in bullet time

i am the actor,
i trained the actor,
i am the finished scene

i am behind the camera, watching me
not-knowing what the end will be

— September 25, 2008




(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


(by W.S. Merwin)

First forget what time it is
for an hour
do it regularly every day

then forget what day of the week it is
do this regularly for a week
then forget what country you are in
and practice doing it in company
for a week
then do them together
for a week
with as few breaks as possible

follow these by forgetting how to add
or to subtract
it makes no difference
you can change them around
after a week
both will help you later
to forget how to count

forget how to count
starting with your own age
starting with how to count backward
starting with even numbers
starting with Roman numerals
starting with fractions of Roman numerals
starting with the old calendar
going on to the old alphabet
going on to the alphabet
until everything is continuous again

go on to forgetting elements
starting with water
proceeding to earth
rising in fire

forget fire

The Winter of Listening

(by David Whyte)

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,

what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous

Silence and winter
has led me to that

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

Address at Simon Fraser (excerpt)

(by P.K. Page)

If we’ll but give it time, a work of art
‘can rap and knock and enter in our souls’
and re-align us — all our molecules —
to make us whole again. A work of art,
could, ‘had we but world enough and time,’
portray for us — all Paradise apart —
‘the face (we) had/before the world was made,’
or, to compound the image, vivify
Plato’s invisible reality.

But is there time enough? This turning world
we call our home, or notre pays — could
become inimical to humankind —
humanunkind as cummings might have said —
in fewer years than I have walked this earth.

So, what is there to tell you? Only this.
‘Imagination is the star in man.’
Read woman, if you wish. And though we are
trapped in the body of an animal,
we’re half angelic, and our angel ear,
which hears the music of the spheres, can hear
the planet’s message, dark, admonishing,
as the archaic torso of Apollo
admonished Rilke, ‘You must change your life.’

Art and the planet tell us. Change your life.