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All the Little Hoof-Prints

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by Robinson Jeffers











Farther up the gorge the sea’s voice fainted and ceased.
We heard a new noise far away ahead of us, vague and metallic, it might have been some unpleasant bird’s voice
Bedded in a matrix of long silences. At length we came to a little cabin lost in the redwoods,
An old man sat on a bench before the doorway filing a cross-cut saw; sometimes he slept,
Sometimes he filed. Two or three horses in the corral by the streamside lifted their heads
To watch us pass, but the old man did not.

In the afternoon we returned the same way,
And had the picture in our minds of magnificent regions of space and mountain not seen before. (This was
The first time that we visited Pigeon Gap, whence you look down behind the great shouldering pyramid-
Edges of Pico Blanco through eagle-gulfs of air to a forest basin
Where two-hundred-foot redwoods look like the pile on a Turkish carpet.) With such extensions of the idol-
Worshipping mind we came down the streamside. The old man was still at his post by…

the active, realistic loving of this one moment in all time.

from NO MORE SECONDHAND GOD by R. Buckminster Fuller
Late tonight (April 9, 1940) I am just sitting here for one of the many reasons people find themselves passionately isolated. (The cause is rarely noble.) In the midst of my overly self-emphatic thought I say, suddenly, (as most of us do): imagine, realize, the preposterousness of your chagrin in the face of what is involved in the newspaper headline on the chair over there. OSLO KEY BASES TAKEN BIG SEA AIR BATTLES ON World Telegram 7th Sports.
It’s no longer a phony war but I don’t think about that nor do I think much about Oslo. I think of such of aviators and sailormen as are in command of their faculties on both sides at this moment. Though you have been out in a froth-spitting squall on Long Island Sound or in an ocean liner on a burgeoning sea you have but a childlike hint of what a nineteen-year-old’s reaction is to the pitch black shrieking dark out there in the very cold northern elements of unloosening spring off Norway’s…

What Is Bounty Without A Beggar?

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by Jelaluddin Rumi
for my recovery friends who are facing down their own fears

















What is bounty without a beggar? Generosity without a guest?
Be beggar and guest; for beauty is seeking a mirror, water is crying for a thirsty man.
Hopelessness and need are tasteful bezel for that ruby.

Your poverty is a Burak;* don't be a coffin riding on other men's shoulders.
Thank God you hadn't the means or you may have been a Pharaoh.

The prayer of Moses was, "Lord, I am in need of Thee!"
The Way of Moses is all hopelessness and need and it is the only way to God.
From when you were an infant, when has hopelessness ever failed you?

Joseph's path leads into the pit; don't flee across the chessboard of this world, for it is His game and we are checkmate! checkmate!

Hunger makes stale bread more delicious than halvah.
Your spiritual discomfort is spiritual indigestion; seek hunger and passion and need!

A mouse is a nibbler. God gave him mind in proportion to his needs.
With…

Courage

by Anne Sexton



It is in the small things we see it.
The child's first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

Later,
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

Later,
if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had …

Forget

by Czeslaw Milosz

Forget the suffering
You caused others.
Forget the suffering
Others caused you.
The waters run and run,
Springs sparkle and are done,
You walk the earth you are forgetting.

Sometimes you hear a distant refrain.
What does it mean, you ask, who is singing?
A childlike sun grows warm.
A grandson and a great-grandson are born.
You are led by the hand once again.

The names of the rivers remain with you.
How endless those rivers seem!
Your fields lie fallow,
The city towers are not as they were.
You stand at the threshold mute.


translation by Robert Hass

Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal

by Naomi Shihab Nye


After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any
Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.


Well -- one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own
gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor,
wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her.
What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four
hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway,
min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?


The minute she heard any words she knew -- however
poorly used -
She stopped crying.


She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical
treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we're fine, you'll get
there, just late,


Who is picking you up? Let's call him and tell him.
We called her son and I sp…

New Year’s Dawn, 1947

by Robinson Jeffers


Two morning stars, Venus and Jupiter,
Walk in the pale and liquid light
Above the color of these dawns; and as the tide of light
Rises higher the great planet vanishes
While the nearer still shines. The yellow wave of light
In the east and south reddens, the opaque ocean
Becomes pale purple: Oh the delicate
Earnestness of dawn, the fervor and the pallor.
—Stubbornly I think again: The state is a blackmailer,
Honest or not, with whom we make (within reason)
Our accommodations. There is no valid authority
In church or state, custom, scripture nor creed,
But only in one’s own conscience and the beauty of things.
Doggedly I think again: One’s own conscience is a trick oracle,
Worked by parents and nurse-maids, the pressure of people,
And the delusions of dead prophets: trust it not.
Wash it clean to receive the transhuman beauty: then trust it.