Logos

Why worry about the loaves and fishes?
If you say the right words, the wine expands.
If you say them with love
and the felt ferocity of that love
and the felt necessity of that love,
the fish explode into many.
Imagine him, speaking,
and don’t worry about what is reality,
or what is plain, or what is mysterious.
If you were there, it was all those things.
If you can imagine it, it is all those things.
Eat, drink, be happy.
Accept the miracle.
Accept, too, each spoken word
spoken with love.

Where Does the Temple Being, Where Does It End?

There are things you can’t reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree–
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world
comes.

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold fluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.

Tecumseh

I went down not long ago

to the Mad River, under the willows

I knelt and drank from that crumpled flow, call it

what madness you will, there's a sickness

worse than the risk of death and that's

forgetting what we should never forget.

Tecumseh lived here.

The wounds of the past

are ignored, but hang on...

Sometimes 

I would like to paint my body red and go out into

the glittering snow

to die.

His name meant Shooting Star.

From Mad River country north to the border

he gathered the tribes

and armed them one more time.  He vowed

to keep Ohio and it took him

over twenty years to fail...

his body could not be found.

It was never found...

if we ever meet him, we'll know it,

he will still be

so angry.

Some Questions You Might Ask

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?

The Swan

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

Mindful

Every day I see or hear something that more or less
kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle
in the haystack of light. It was what I was born for - to look, to listen,
to lose myself inside this soft world - to instruct myself over and over
in joy, and acclamation. Nor am I talking about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant - but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help
but grow wise with such teachings as these - the untrimmable light
of the world, the ocean's shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?

This Morning

This morning the redbirds’ eggs
have hatched and already the chicks
are chirping for food. They don’t 
know where it’s coming from, they
just keep shouting, “More! More!”
As to anything else, they haven’t
had a single thought. Their eyes
haven’t yet opened, they know nothing
about the sky that’s waiting. Or
the thousands, the millions of trees.
They don’t even Know they have wings.

And just like that, like a simple
neighborhood event, a miracle is
taking place.

To Begin With, the Sweet Grass

Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat
of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or
forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?

 

Behold, I say - behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings
of this gritty earth gift.

 

2.

Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are
thrillingly gluttonous.

 

For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.

 

And someone's face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs….

 

4.

Someday I am going to ask my friend Paulus,

The dancer, the potter,

To make me a begging bowl

Which I believe

My soul needs.

 

And if I come to you,

To the door of your comfortable house

With unwashed clothes and unclean fingernails,

Will you put something into it?

 

I would like to take this chance.

I would like to give you this chance.

 

5.

We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we change.

Congratulations, if

You have changed.

 

6.

Let me ask you this.

Do you also think that beauty exists for some fabulous reason?

 

And if you have not been enchanted by this adventure-

Your life-

What would do for you?

 

7.

What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements,
through with difficulty.
I mean the ones that thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment
somehow or another).
And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

 

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself.  Then forget it.  Then, love the world.