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Poems for Healing


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You’ll never think of a vulture in the same way after reading this poem.

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Vulture

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling
high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit
narrowing,
I understood then
That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-
feathers
Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
I could see the naked red head between the great wings
Bear downward staring. I said, ‘My dear bird, we are wasting time
here.
These old bones will still work; they are not for you.’ But how
beautiful
he looked, gliding down
On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away in the
sea-light
over the precipice. I tell you solemnly
That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak
and
become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes–
What a sublime end of one’s body, what an enskyment; what a life
after death.
Robinson Jeffers

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If I read this poem every day, my book would be finished in no time……

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What to Remember When Waking
–by David Whyte (Dec 30, 2013)

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?

— David Whyte

 

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Wendell Barry’s words leave me speechless and grateful for the reminder of aliveness in this “the only moment” of our lives.

Warbler

Sabbaths VI

(for Jonathan Williams)

The yellow-throated, the highest remotest voice

of this place, sings in the tops of the tallest sycamores,

but one day he came twice to the railing of my porch

where I sat at work above the river. He was too close

to see with binoculars. Only the naked eye could take him in,

a bird more beautiful than every picture of himself,

more beautiful than himself killed and preserved

by the most skilled taxidermist, more beautiful

than any human mind, so small and inexact

could hope to remember. My mind became

beautiful by the sight of him. He had the beauty only

of himself alive in the only moment of his life.

He had upon him like a light the whole

beauty of the living world that never dies.

– Wendell Berry

Thank you for this today, Larry Robinson!

 

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I pray to the birds…..

“I pray to the birds. I pray to the birds because I believe they will carry the messages of my heart upward. I pray to them because I believe in their existence, the way their songs begin and end each day—the invocations and benedictions of Earth. I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear. And at the end of my prayers, they teach me how to listen.”
— Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

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I never knew Jack London wrote poetry!

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

Jack London

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Something in this poem stirs a sense of wildness that I love!

Hawks
 
Surely, you too have longed for this —
to pour yourself out
on the rising circles of the air
to ride, unthinking,
on the flesh of emptiness.

 

 
Can you claim, in your civilized life,
that you have never leaned toward
the headlong dive, the snap of bones,
the chance to be so terrible,
so free from evil, beyond choice?

 

 
The air that they are riding
is the same breath as your own.
How could you not remember?
That same swift stillness binds
your cells in balance, rushes
through the pulsing circles of your blood.

 

 
Each breath proclaims it —
the flash of feathers, the chance to rest
on such a muscled quietness,
to be in that fierce presence,
wholly wind, wholly wild.

 

 
 – Lynn Ungar aad1f87da3b7c42261ffbd17c7136b29
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