Poetry For Life
The soul demands soaring. It doesn't matter who
I thank you God for most this amazing
for the leaping green spirits of trees and a blue dream of sky;
for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes.
e. e. cummings
at Your Own Door
The time will come
when with elation,
will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
will smile at the other's welcome,
and say sit here. Eat.
will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give
back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Walcott, Love after Love
a light that God shines through.
I am a light that God shines
He and I are one not two.
I need not fear nor doubt
He needs me now and as I am.
So if I stay RELAXED
God will carry out his plan for me.
Steven's Norwegian Great Grandmother's prayer
deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are
powerful beyond measure.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, talented,
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of Go
playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make
manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's
And when we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
presence automatically liberates others.
Williamson, A Return To Love
falsely attributed to Nelson Mandela]
is a field
Out beyond ideas of
there is a field.?
meet you there.?
When the soul lies down in that grass?
the world is too
full to talk about.
The divine manifestation is ubiquitous,
our eyes are not open to it. . .
Awe is what moves us forward. . .
from your own center. . .
The divine lives within you.
apparent in the world is secondary.
Beyond the world of opposites is an unseen,
experienced, unity and identity in us all.
Today the planet
is the only proper "in group."
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy.
must return with the bliss and integrate it.
The return is seeing the radiance
The world is a match for us.
We are a match for the world.
spirit is the bouquet of nature. . .
Sanctify the place you
Follow your bliss. . .
A fish cannot drown in water,
A bird does not
fall in air.
In the fire of creation,
God doesn't vanish:
The fire brightens.
creature God made
must live in its own true nature;
How could I resist my
That lives for oneness with God?
Mechthild of Magdeburg (1207-1297)
version by Jane Hirshfield
I am a lover
Even if she
when she hurts
Are thousands times sweeter
Than hottest kisses
Of the most delightful
George Demont Otis Near
The hidden splendor
is right here, right now,
all wounds, complaints, can be dropped right here
and we can allow ourselves to let go into the vastness of existence
nothing to do, but totally enjoy just this. . .
die to what is
just the stillness of eternity, right here right
no you or me,
this total vastness is home,
we are the milky ways
If you can
keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied
about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream-and
not make dreams your master,
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim;
you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves
to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make
one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn
long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with
crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kingsnor lose the common touch,
neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but
none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds'
worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
is more-you'll be a Man, my son!
not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond's glint on snow,
I am the
sunlight on ripening grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
you awake in the morning's rush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
Now is, all there is.
Don't wait for Then.
the spark, light the fire.
Sit at the Beloved's table.
with gusto, drink your fill.
The way branches
of jasmine and
cypress dance in a spring wind.
earth is your cloth.
Tailor your robe with dignity and grace.
is what remains
when all beliefs
like a scaffolding
which is dismounted
once the job is done;
are beliefs abandoned
of the real
truth is too simple for words
thoughts get tangled up in nouns and verbs
there is a wordless sound
of overwhelming relief
to find the end of fiction
yet extraordinary moment
when words are recognized
truth is recognized
as everything else
shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot, "Little
Gidding," Four Quartets
I was angry with
my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe: I told
it not, my wrath did grow.
Blake, A Poison Tree
In order to arrive
at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
order to possess what you do not possess,
You must go by way of dispossession.
order to arrive at what you are not,
You must go through the way in which you
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you
own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not."
T. S. Eliot
even tempered always
regardless of circumstances
goals to achieve,
desires to satisfy,
or wishes to fulfill -
a man of knowledge
free from attraction and from fear.
from self identity
unaffected by passing thoughts -
such one, anchored in
reposes ever in perfect composure.
Comes the Dawn (After A While)
a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining
And you learn that love doesn't mean contracts
And presents aren't
And you begin to accept your defeats
With the grace of a woman,
the grief of a child
And learn to build all your roads
on today because
is too uncertain for plans, and futures have
a way of
falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even
if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and
decorate your own
soul, instead of waiting
for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn
that you really can endure. . .
That you really are strong
and you really
do have worth.
And you learn and learn. . .
With every goodbye you learn.
Veronica A. Shoffstall
(written at age 17 1/2)
Sermons We See
rather see a sermon than to hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with
me than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil and more willing than
Fine council is confusing, but example's always clear;
best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good
put in action is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to
do it if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your
tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true;
I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do.
For I might misunderstand
you and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding how you act
and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager
to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind
to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me,
To become as big
and thoughtful as I know that I can be.
And all the travelers can witness that
the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells you, but the one who shows
One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;
deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men
of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
for right living speaks a language
which to everyone is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence,
I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.
Edgar A. Guest
placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember
what peace there may be
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good
terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive
persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself
with others, you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater
and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business
affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what
virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is
full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to
shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome
discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less
than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not
it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors
and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
cheerful. Strive to be happy.
(Latin for "desired things", plural of desideratum) is an inspirational prose
poem about attaining happiness in life. It begins: Go placidly amid the noise
and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. Max Ehrmann
first copyrighted it in 1927, but it was widely circulated in the 1960s without
attribution to him. This copyright was renewed in 1954 by Bertha Ehrmann.
The Gestalt Prayer
I do my thing
and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I, and
if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped.
Fritz Perls, 1969
The Light of God surrounds Us
The Love of
God enfolds Us
The Power of God protects Us and
The Presence of God watches
Where ever we are God is!
And all is well!
James Dillet Freeman
The power of God is within me,
the grace of God surrounds me.
George Demont Otis Autumnal
Seeds are the Ticket to Ride
think we would all do well,
quiet and listen better. . .
too ready to do.
much do and not enough listen.
misuse the mind.
We create fear and greed, worry, apprehension,
that on the screen,
attack the screen!
to change the film
Our mind. Thoughts. Beliefs.
nothing wrong with the world.
perceptions need to be healed.
think we live a life
think there's somebody who lives a life. . .
lives itself. One Life living. We get to experience it.
give you a body when you come into life.
think life is the body.
The body's just
the ticket to ride.
there before the body,
will be after.
come and go,
you ride a car across the land. . .
car isn't the land. . .
the vehicle through the land.
you ride a body through life. . .
body isn't the life,
the vehicle, through the life.
got the vehicle confused with the life.
this is the basis of many seeming problems.
It's an ongoing
continuum. Bodies come in. Bodies go out.
Bodies go out.
You are not a
The body is the
container for what you are,
the container goes,
membership in life
takes another form.
absorbs the living back unto itself,
spits off dead bodies.
don't need a body to be among the living.
very essence is the living.
Unchanging. Beyond Cause.
That is the One Life that
The body is a
seed of God.
More seeds come.
Seeds are the tickets to
There's one life
behind them all.
Life, that the seeds grant us entry to.
are the vehicles, into and through life.
seeds. They're like Passports. . .
came in and out of life before,
come in and out of life again. . .
on the roller-coaster,
the tunnel, through the tunnel, out of the tunnel.
little tickets in and out.
little tickets in and out.
lives a life?
But an initiation
A Night of Passage
Existence, A Birth.
is a Birth.
is the end of a Birth!
WHO YOU REALLY ARE.
we only complete a life when we're lived through a death;
we live through a death, by knowing there is no death.
we really are can't die.
not a body.
WAS WILL ALWAYS BE.
come and go.
that come and go
definitions, borders, rules. .
they confine, restrict, direct.
but the wind
cannot be bound.
if you trap the wind
let your spirit
with the ocean
Yosy A. Flug
is the Time For Turning
To everything there is a season,
there is an appointed time for every purpose
is the time for turning.
The leaves are beginning to turn from
green to red and orange.
The birds are beginning to turn and are heading once
more towards the South.
The animals are beginning to turn to storing their
food for the winter.
For leaves, birds, and animals, turning
But for us turning does not come so easily.
an act of will for us to make a turn.
It means breaking with
It means admitting that we have been wrong.
And this is never
It means losing face.
It means starting all over again.
this is always painful.
It means saying: "I'm sorry."
means admitting that we have the ability to change.
And this is always embarrassing.
things are terribly hard to do.
But unless we turn, we will be trapped forever
LORD, HELP US TURN
CALLOUSNESS TO SENSITIVITY,
FROM HOSTILITY TO LOVE,
FROM PETTINESS TO PURPOSE,
ENVY TO CONTENTMENT,
FROM CARELESSNESS TO DISCIPLINE,
FROM FEAR TO FAITH.
us around O Lord, and bring us back towards You.
Revive our lives, as at the
And turn us towards each other, Lord,
insulation, there is no life.
in this world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is
more common than unsuccessful people with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded
genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
had a little worry once that came to live with me,
why I ever let him in is more than I can see.
He used to jump around my mind
through almost every day,
and every time I tried
to think I found him in my way.
He delighted to upset me, and he could always
so much unhappiness that I was bored with
I let him be my guest until the little urgent elf
he had more control of me than I had of myself
That was when I let him know
that he would have to scoot.
I declared my independence
then and let him have the boot.
D. Engle, Jr.
O Lord, truly, Your grace
is not from our work,
but from your mysterious giving.
Save us from what
our own hands might do;
lift the veil, but do not tear it.
Save us from
the ego; its knife has reached our bones.
Let us turn from
ourselves to You
Who are nearer to us than ourselves.
Even this prayer is
Your gift to us.
How else has a rose garden grown from these ashes?
version by Camille and Kabir Helminski, Rumi: Daylight
Serenity Prayer (Complete)
God grant me the serenity
accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I
may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
and ever in the next.
The Senility Prayer
grant me the Senility
to forget the people I never liked anyway,
fortune to run into the ones I do,
and the eyesight to tell the difference.
George Demont Otis Spring