Sometimes I like to wrap wisdom around me like a blanket when it’s dank and sleeting outside.
When the news makes me cold
I seek comfort in words my heart can hear
Words that offer more than weekly worries
Words that root me in a remembrance of the earth
Where good seeds grow into grains of hope
Words that give sustenance
Showing us the eternal in the mundane, the broken,
The peculiar, the difficult.
I’ll share a few that are warming me these days:
by Elizabeth Appell*
…and then the day came,
when the risk to remain tight
in a bud,
became more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.
*once attributed to Anais Nin.
It Is I Who Must Begin
by Vaclav Havel
It is I who must begin.
Once I begin, once I try —
here and now,
right where I am,
not excusing myself
by saying things
would be easier elsewhere,
without grand speeches and
but all the more persistently
— to live in harmony
with the “voice of Being,” as I
understand it within myself
— as soon as I begin that,
I suddenly discover,
to my surprise, that
I am neither the only one,
nor the first,
nor the most important one
to have set out
upon that road. Whether all is really lost
or not depends entirely on
whether or not I am lost.
by Lisel Mueller
It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills….
…It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.
It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.
Starlings in Winter
by Mary Oliver
Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,
dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
becomes for a moment fragmented,
then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine
how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,
this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
we are given nightmares-
and our task is to turn them into poetry.
And were I truly a poet
every moment of my life is a kind of clay I have to mould.