The Place

by R S Thomas Summer is here. Once more the house has its Spray of martins, Prousts fountain Of small birds, whose light shadows Come and go in the sunshine Of the lawn as thoughts do In the mind. Watching them fly Is my business, not as a man vowed To science, who counts their returns To the rafters, or sifts their droppings For facts, recording the wave-length Of their screaming; my method is so To have them about myself Through the hours of this brief Season and to fill with their Movement, that it is I that they build In and bring up their young To return to after the bitter Migrations, knowing the site Inviolate through its outward changes.

The Crows Start Demanding Royalties

By Lucia Perillo Of all the birds, they are the ones who mind their being armless most: witness how, when they walk, their heads jerk back and forth like rifle bolts. How they heave their shoulders into each stride as if they hoped that by some chance new bones there would come popping out with a boxing glove on the end of each. Little Elvises, the hairdo slicked with too much grease, they convene on my lawn to strategize for their class-action suit. Flight they would trade in a New York minute for a black muscle car and a fist on the shift at any stale green light. But here in my yard by the Jack-in-the-Box Dumpster they can only fossick* in the grass for remnants of the world’s stale buns. And this despite all the crow poems that have been written because men like to see themselves as crows (the head-jerk performed in the rearview mirror, the dark brow commanding the rainy weather). So I think I know how they must feel: ripped off, shook down, taken to the c

The Peace of Wild Things

by Wendell Berry When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Discover the Moment

[From our retreat: here are a few lines from Rumi translated by Coleman Barks.] Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins? Who finds us here circling, bewildered, like atoms? Who comes to a spring thirsty and sees the moon reflected in it? Who, like Jacob, blind with grief and age, smells the shirt of his son and can see again? Who lets a bucket down and brings up a flowing prophet? Or like Moses goes for fire and finds what burns inside the sunrise? Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies, and opens a door to the other world. Solomon cuts open a fish, and there's a gold ring. Omar storms in to kill the prophet and leaves with blessings. Chase a deer and end up everywhere! An oyster opens his mouth to swallow one drop. Now there's a pearl. A vagrant wanders empty ruins Suddenly he's wealthy. But don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth, without complicated explanation, so everyon

St. Sarah Sarai Carrying the Infant Christ Child

By Sarah Sarai Creeping, is what a saffron sun is doing, creeping out from a past it will soon revisit. I hike my blood-red tunic to my thighs with one hand while the other, well, in my arms, well, always a child, always delivered to us in indrawn- infant stillness, as if creation holds its breath because, really, all this is over so much too soon. Isn’t making art remembering what we knew? Why not, then, salvation? The water over rocks cold on granite— quartz and orthoclase—and slick moss. I’m the last person who should be entrusted to carry Him, me of the angry sinner school. And I would forswear sainthood and irony, I would, for this one, held against my heart. In response to: Saint Christopher and the Infant Christ, Follower of Dieric Bouts (Netherlandish, ca. 1480) Mississippi Review

For The Anniversary Of My Death

by W.S. Merwin Every year without knowing it I have passed the day When the last fires will wave to me And the silence will set out Tireless traveler Like the beam of a lightless star Then I will no longer Find myself in life as in a strange garment Surprised at the earth And the love of one woman And the shamelessness of men As today writing after three days of rain Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease And bowing not knowing to what  

The war is over --

by Bob O’Hearn As long as we imagine there is something to defend, we will find enemies. The war is always with ourselves in that respect. Mind divides itself into self and other, and so the wild rumpus continues. "Except for deserted wilderness what is there to protect?" ~Joshu The war is over -- nobody survived. No time to mourn the dead, sunrise over the settling dust was too captivating for any lament. Crimson trails of mind's lingering exhaust scar-streaked dawn's early sky, as if the dream of night itself exploded, as if from now on there would be flooding daylight only, though even that wild wonder will fall in time from the eyes, till what remains is not of time, not of mind, yet even in its flash of vanishing -- true balm for wounded hearts. We wake and rise and fall breathless into this luminosity, this sky meadow vibrant with vernal signs, hues, and vivid budding wonders -- the ordinary evidence of everything changing,