by Lisel Mueller (my mother used to ask me if I, tucked away in San Francisco, ever missed a New England winter. Yes, sometimes, Mother, even out of season). Telephone poles relax their spines, sidewalks go under. The nightly groans of aging porches are put to sleep. Mercy sponges the lips of stairs. While we talk in the old concepts- time that was, and things that are- snow has leveled the stumps of the past and the earth has a new language. It's like the scene in which the girl moves toward the hero who has not yet said, "Come here." Come here, then. Every ditch has been exalted. We are covered with stars. Feel how light they are, our lives.

You Never Know The World Aright

by Thomas Traherne (1636-1674) You never know the world aright till the Sea floweth in your Veins, till you are Clothed with the Heavens, and Crowned with the Stars; And perceive yourself to be the Sole Heir of the Whole World; And more then so, because Men are in it who are every one Sole Heirs, as well as you. Till you are intimately Acquainted with that Shady Nothing out of which this World was made; Till your spirit filleth the whole World and the Stars are your Jewels Till you love Men so as to Desire their Happiness with a thirst equal to the zeal of your own. from Centuries of Meditation

Here I am in the garden laughing

by Grace Paley ( she died yesterday, August 23, 2007 ) Here I am in the garden laughing an old woman with heavy breasts and a nicely mapped face how did this happen well that's who I wanted to be at last a woman in the old style sitting stout thighs apart under a big skirt grandchild sliding on off my lap a pleasant summer perspiration that's my old man across the yard he's talking to the meter reader he's telling him the world's sad story how electricity is oil or uranium and so forth I tell my grandson run over to your grandpa ask him to sit beside me for a minute I am suddenly exhausted by my desire to kiss his sweet explaining lips.

Primary Wonder

by Denise Levertov Days pass when I forget the mystery. Problems insoluble and problems offering their own ignored solutions jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing their colored clothes, cap and bells. And then once more the quiet mystery is present to me, the throng’s clamor recedes: the mystery that there is anything, anything at all, let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything, rather than void: and that, O Lord, Creator, Hallowed One, You still, hour by hour sustain it. from Sands of the Well (1996)


by Sophie Katz She wrote this poem in memory of her mother, Chaya Esther Perelman, who died on Novemb er 22, 19 47. When Sophie died on June 10, 2007, Joel Katz, found among her papers a famous Japanese wood block of Nicherin claming the seas on his way into exile. Yes, as the sutra says, being born of a good mother helps a son find the dharma, My mother died. We opened up her bedside table Just before the auction. Pills For migraine, cough drops, a dusty comb, Old pens that didn't work. Scraps of cloth from old dresses, A dozen paperbacks, high sounding titles On poetry, metaphysics, But mostly never read. And papers Hundreds of papers Like leaves in an autumn storm, and just as ragged. Old bills with lines of poetry -- Her disembodied souls come into being With no before or after. Ten-cent notebooks The home of daring thoughts on women's needs Before Friedan or Greer. Health diary of the children, and in the back, A list of topics that would someday m

At the Cathedral's Foot

by Adam Zagajewski In June once, in the evening, returning from a long trip, with memories of France's blooming trees still fresh in our minds, its yellow fields, green plane trees sprinting before the car, we sat on the curb at the cathedral's foot and spoke softly about disasters, about what lay ahead, the coming fear, and someone said this was the best we could do now- to talk of darkness in that bright shadow. Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh [1.5.09. Today I am entirely sure that I love this poem. I could not get it out of my mind, when I returned to the 'real' world after 7 days of intensive meditation retreat in June of '07].


by Samih al-Qasim The day I'm killed my killer will find tickets in my pockets: One to peace, one to fields and the rain, and one to humanity's conscience. I beg you--please don't waste them. I beg you, you who kill me: Go.