And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things.
- William Wordsworth
Six Words of Advice – by Tibetan teacher, Tilopa
Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.
translation by Ken McLeod
You can only go with loves in this life.
You have made some mistakes
and you may not be where you want to be,
but that has nothing to do with your future.
- Zig Ziglar
Waking by Kālidāsa
Even the man who is happy
or a hair of sound touches him
and his heart overflows with a longing
he does not recognize
then it must be that he is remembering
in a place out of reach
shapes he has loved
in a life before this
the print of them still there in him waiting.
- Kālidāsa (4th century, India)
translated by W.S. Merwin
The body is lazy, the mind is vibrant and the soul is luminous. Yogic practices develop the body to the level of the vibrant mind so that the body and the mind, having both become vibrant, are drawn towards the light of the soul.
—B.K.S Iyenger “The Tree of Yoga” (via erinltompkins)
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You 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
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
- Derek Walcott
I still think of you.
I saw you kiss her.
I haven’t looked back.
You’re just too young.
I said horrible things about you.
Your teeth are fine,
it’s the rest of you I don’t like.
Thank you for the poem, for every single scar.
I love you, simple.
I like that we will never be we.
The bruises fell off eventually.
I’ll never be enough to fill the shoes
that will one day stand at your side.
I did read your letters.
All of them.
I’ll never stop looking over my shoulder,
boots laced, ready to run.
I’ll always love you.
You are all there ever was.
There was no one thing,
your everything is impossible.
We are refracting magnets.
We will battle this to the end.
I still think of you.
Sex under the streetlight was a delicious accident.
Your kiss came too late.
My lips were already dancing in the other room with Jon.
I said you were too pretty.
They said to try it anyway.
They are fools.
You are the definition of unrequited.
I’m sorry about the whiskey
and the tampon.
I’m sorry I never called you.
Until you mocked my smile, I was yours.
I like your wife too much.
Is your brother still single?
You were my biggest mistake.
I’m sure that only makes your smile more sinister.
While you poured Guinness for Patrick,
I pictured you bending me over the bar.
I’d have swallowed that bullet.
You said a man never forgets his first redhead.
What color are my eyes?
I still think of you.
I’d have broken you in half.
I’m sorry I stalked you.
I’d try to forget me, too.
I can’t be with you again.
Just accept it.
Dear Dr. Matthews,
I’ll have you fired.
I wrote a poem about you.
It’s everyone’s favorite.
I find it trite.
I think I finally stopped wanting you.
I was drunk.
I thought you were, too.
Maybe it was the red dress
or because I was fifteen.
Your brother married my mother
on the same day I first touched your cock.
Maybe you’re still a pervert.
I was your biggest mistake.
You are more than beer and vomit.
You are more than I could ever put into a poem.
I still think of you.
I keep your photos in a box.
Each one, still in its frame.
Sometimes we are asked
to get good at something we have
no talent for,
or we excel at something we will never
have the opportunity to prove.
Often we ask ourselves
to make absolute sense
out of what just happens,
and in this way, what we are practicing
which everybody practices,
but strangely few of us
grow graceful in.
The climaxes of suffering are complex,
costly, beautiful, but secret.
So the avenues we walk down,
full of bodies wearing faces,
are full of hidden talent:
enough to make pianos moan,
streetlights deliriously flicker.
- Tony Hoagland, excerpt from “Self-Improvement”
When sadness overwhelms us,
for a moment we are saved
by small adventures
of memory or attention:
the taste of fruit, the taste of water,
the face a dream gives back to us,
the early jasmines of November,
the endless yearning of a compass,
the book we thought we’d lost,
the pulse of a hexameter,
the little key that unlocks a house,
the smell of a library or sandalwood,
the archaic name of an avenue,
the colors of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed-down nail,
the date that we were looking for,
the count of twelve dark ringing bells,
the physical pain we didn’t expect.
There are eight million Shinto gods
who secretly travel this earth of ours.
These modest beings come to touch us.
They touch us. Then they wander on.
- Jorge Luis Borges
I dream of you far. I dream of you near.
You’re the same either way, singular and precise.
You change to soft music in the depths of my eyes.
As though, through a glance, I could see through my ear.
You see, you’re inside me as much as outside
as you offer up your heart-song, open and wide.
And hidden in my temples, it’s your pounding I hear,
as you flow into me and then slowly disappear.
- Jules Supervielle
I have walked through many lives,
There are people who do not see a broken playground swing as a symbol of ruined childhood and there are people who don’t interpret the behavior of a fly in a motel room as a mocking representation of their thought process. There are people who don’t walk past an empty swimming pool and think about past pleasures unrecoverable and then stand there blocking the sidewalk for other pedestrians. I have read about a town somewhere in California where human beings do not send their sinuous feeder roots deep into the potting soil of others’ emotional lives as if they were greedy six-year-olds sucking the last half-inch of milkshake up through a noisy straw; and other persons in the Midwest who can kiss without debating the imperialist baggage of heterosexuality.
- Tony Hoagland