The Moment

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

— Margaret Atwood

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Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories, 
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety – 
best preacher that ever was, 
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness, 
to ease us with warm touching, 
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
---Mary Oliver

Prayer

Our Mother Who Art
in the kitchen
cooking us up
hallowed may we see
all that is
Your kingdom here
delivered into our hands
Your will in children
and trees leafing out
on earth
as if it were Heaven.

Give us this day
bread we could feed
the world
and snatch us bald-headed
if we try to swallow it all.

Don’t forgive us
till we learn it is all for giving.
That salve you’ve got in a pot
on the back of the stove
only heals when everybody has some.

And heed us not
if we believe You look like us
and love us best
and gave us the True Truth
with a license to kill Others
writ inside.
Deliver us from this evil.

For it is Yours,
this kitchen we call Universe
where you stir up our favorite treat,
the Milky Way,
folding deep into sweet
our little sphere
with its powerful glory
of rainforests
and oceans
and mountains in feather-boa mist
forever
if we don’t blow it up
and ever
if we don’t tear it down
Amen

(Ah women
Ah children
Ah reckon She’s about fed up.
We better make room at the table
for everybody
before She yells – OUT!
and turns our table over,
before She calls it off
this banquet we’ve been hoarding
this paradise
we aim to save
with bombs.)

— George Ella Lyon

This barn was newly raised, once. This patch
of ground was hallowed by its arching ribs,
aromas of the earth rose through the thatch
of sweet straw quilted over new-made cribs.
The hay-loft pulley, swaying in the sun,
was an eternal lamp, the double-doors,
an entrance to a tabernacle one
approached to worship during morning chores.
And now the roof is broken. Now the rain
pours through the holes and floods the hallowed ground.
Wind blows among wood skeletons, the stain
of rotting hay, its protest made, a sound
raised up to summon us to patch the roof.
Far from abandoned barns, we stand aloof.

Michael Jackman

Make me a channel of your peace:
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love,
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
And where there’s doubt true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace:
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness, only light,
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love with all my soul!

Make me a channel of your peace:
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 


I’m not at all religious, but I love this hymn, and it goes so well with the concrete statue that DH got me for my birthday!

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
—Mary Oliver

The great song

Even though the world changes like cloud formations
all that is fulfilled returns home to the changeless One.
Above all the turning and changing
wider and freer, remains Your Song,
God with the lyre, God with the heart.

Sufferings have not been learned,
loving has not really been learned,
and what separates us in death
has not been unveiled.
But the Great Song above the earth
hallows and celebrates it all.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Br. David Steindl-Rast