all that, and a bag of chips

I spend my life traveling (careening?) between point A and point B
of various cognitive dissonances
With the not-good-enough voice trying to
shout down the “am so” one,
having traveled four thousand
seven hundred
and sixty-two point nine
miles to do what I’ve been
wanting to do
trying to do
qualified to do
for twenty years.

And this pervasive feeling of joy
hopeloveallthoseotherfeelgoodwords
teetering like a plate on a stick atop the awareness
that it’s only ever as good as my
rollercoasteringmenopausing
hormones will allow it to be,
plus that soupçon of fear
that rides, always, just behind my right ear,
and the awareness that we are all,
still,
in some way,
alone.

So Far Still To Go

The moon rose last night,
shimmering,
intransigent,
as it has throughout all of our galaxy’s
history.
Over the rise and fall
of the Roman empire,
over the slaughters of innocents
in Viet Nam
and Phnom Penh
the murder of journalists or those
who dared to speak their minds
Communist Russia,
Syria, come to mind;
the Holocaust,
alas
the list is too long.

See, the thing is,
the world does not
care
that we are here;
perhaps might even wish
we were
not.

But we do.
We care.
And it is clear that we
still
have so much to do.

why worry?

DSC_0009I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing; even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing,
and I gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning
and sang.

~Mary Oliver

If only I knew where the wood drake rests…

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~Wendell Berry

 

In related news, I have two of his books in my Barnes and Noble cart.

But I still don’t know where the wood drake rests.

The Buried Life

The Buried Life

Matthew Arnold

. . .I knew the mass of men conceal’d
their thoughts, for fear that if revealed
they would by other men be met
with blank indifference, or with blame reprov’d:
I knew they lived and moved
tricked in disguises, alien to the rest
of men, and alien to themselves–and yet
the same heart beats in every human breast.
But we, my love–does a like spell benumb
our hearts–our voices?–must we too be dumb?

. . .But, often in the world’s most crowded streets,
but often in the din of strife,
there rises an unspeakable desire
after the knowledge of our buried life,
a thirst to spend our fire and restless force
in tracking out our true, original course,
a longing to inquire
into the mystery of this heart that beats
so wild, so deep in us to know
whence our thoughts come and where they go.
And many a man in his own breast then delves,
but deep enough, alas, none ever mines.
And we have been on many thousand lines
and we have shown on each talent and power,
but hardly have we, for one little hour,
been on our own line, have we been ourselves.
Hardly had skill to utter one of all
the nameless feelings that course through our breast,
but they course on forever unexpressed.
And long we try in vain to speak and act
our hidden self, and what we say and do
is eloquent, is well–but ‘its not true.

. . .Only–but this is rare–
when a beloved hand is laid in ours,
when jaded with the rush and glare
of the interminable hour,
our eyes can in another’s eyes read clear,
when our world-deafened ear
is by the tones of a loved voice caressed–
a bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast
and a lost pulse of feeling stirs again;
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,
And what we mean, we say,
   and what we would, we know.
A man becomes aware of his life’s flow,
and hears its winding murmur, and he sees
the meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.

And there arrives a lull in the hot race
wherein he doth forever chase
that flying and elusive shadow, Rest.
An air of coolness plays upon his face,
and an unwonted calm pervades his breast.
And then he thinks he knows
the hills where his life rose,
and the Sea where it goes.

emphasis mine

So hard to hang on to, even when we know.

Oh, to always be on our own line, to always be ourselves.