Bennacht: A Blessing for the New Year

by John O'Donohue


On the day when

The weight deadens

On your shoulders

And you stumble,

May the clay dance

To balance you.


And when your eyes

Freeze behind

The grey window

And the ghost of loss

Gets in to you,

May a flock of colours,

Indigo, red, green,

And azure blue,

Come to awaken in you

A meadow of delight.


When the canvas frays

In the currach of thought

And a stain of ocean

Blackens beneath you,

May there come across the waters

A path of yellow moonlight

To bring you safely home.


May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

May the clarity of light be yours,

May the fluency of the ocean be yours,

May the protection of the ancestors be yours.


And so may a slow

Wind work these words

Of love around you,

An invisible cloak

To mind your life.

I dwell in Possibility by

Emily Dickinson

I dwell in Possibility –

A fairer House than Prose –

More numerous of Windows –

Superior – for Doors –

 

Of Chambers as the Cedars –

Impregnable of eye –

And for an everlasting Roof

The Gambrels of the Sky –

 

Of Visitors – the fairest –

For Occupation – This –

The spreading wide my narrow Hands

To gather Paradise –

For a New Year by Holly Wren Spaulding


Let plain things please you again

and every ordinary Monday.

Bean soup in a white bowl,

firewood in your arms.

The weight of longing.

That you have survived is evidence

that nothing is assured

but you are lucky.

Looking up from this page

let all of it surprise you—

piled mail, other people, the air.

You Darkness by Rainer Maria Rilke


You, darkness, that I come from

I love you more than all the fires

that fence the world,

for all the fire makes a circle of light for everyone

and then no one outside learns of you.


But the darkness pulls in everything -

shapes and fires, animals and myself,

how easily it gathers them! -

powers and people -


and it is possible a great presence is moving near me.


I have faith in nights.

What in Your Life is Calling You?

 

What in your life is calling you,

when all the meetings are adjourned...

the lists laid aside,

and the wild Iris blooms itself

in the dark forest?

 

What still pulls on your soul?

 

-Rumi

After Work by Jane Hirshfield

 

After Work

I stop the car along the pasture edge,

gather up bags of corncobs from the back,

and get out.

Two whistles, one for each,

and familiar sounds draw close in darkness—

cadence of hoof on hardened bottomland,

twinned blowing of air through nostrils curious, flared.

They come deepened and muscular movements

conjured out of sleep: each small noise and scent

heavy with earth, simple beyond communion,

beyond the stretched-out hand from which they calmly

take corncobs, pulling away as I hold

until the mid-points snap.

They are careful of my fingers,

offering that animal-knowledge,

the respect which is due to strangers;

and in the night, their mares' eyes shine, reflecting stars,

the entire, outer light of the world here.

In the Midst of Winter.....Albert Camus

 

“My dear,

In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that… In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

Truly yours,

Albert Camus”

A Blessing - The Terma Collective


May our eyes remain open even in the face of tragedy.
 May we not become disheartened.
 May we find in the dissolution
 of our apathy and denial,
 the cup of the broken heart.
 May we discover the gift of the fire burning
 in the inner chamber of our being –
 burning great and bright enough
 to transform any poison.
 May we offer the power of our sorrow to the service
 of something greater than ourselves.
 May our guilt not rise up to form
 yet another defensive wall.
 May the suffering purify and not paralyze us.
 May we realize the greatness of our sorrow
 and not run from its touch or flame.
 May clarity be our ally and wisdom our support.
 May our wrath be cleansing, cutting through
 the confusion of denial and greed.
 May we not be afraid to see or speak our truth.
 May the bleakness of the wasteland be dispelled.
 May the soul’s journey be revealed
 and the true hunger fed.
 May we be forgiven for what we have forgotten
 and blessed with the remembrance
 of who we really are.

Eagle Poem by Joy Harjo

 

To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can’t see, can’t hear;

Can’t know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren’t always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know

That we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.

Interlude by Linda Pastan

 

We are waiting for snow

the way we might wait for a train

to arrive with its cold cargo—

it is late already, but surely

it will come.

We are waiting for snow

the way we might wait

for permission

to breathe again.

 

For only the snow

will release us, only the snow

will be a letting go, a blind falling

towards the body of earth

and towards each other.

 

And while we wait at this window

whose sheer transparency

is clouded already

with our mutual breath,

 

it is as if our whole lives depended

on the freezing color

of the sky, on the white

soon to be fractured

gaze of winter.

Snow Fall by May Sarton

 

With no wind blowing

It sifts gently down,

Enclosing my world in

A cool white down,

A tenderness of snowing.

 

It falls and falls like sleep

Till wakeful eyes can close

On all the waste and loss

As peace comes in and flows,

Snow-dreaming what I keep.

 

Silence assumes the air

And the five senses all

Are wafted on the fall

To somewhere magical

Beyond hope and despair.

 

There is nothing to do

But drift now, more or less

On some great lovingness,

On something that does bless,

The silent, tender snow.

Shoveling Snow with Buddha by Billy Collins

 

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok

you would never see him doing such a thing,

tossing the dry snow over a mountain

of his bare, round shoulder,

his hair tied in a knot,

a model of concentration.

 

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word

for what he does, or does not do.

 

Even the season is wrong for him.

In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?

Is this not implied by his serene expression,

that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

 

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,

one shovelful at a time.

We toss the light powder into the clear air.

We feel the cold mist on our faces.

And with every heave we disappear

and become lost to each other

in these sudden clouds of our own making,

these fountain-bursts of snow.

 

This is so much better than a sermon in church,

I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.

This is the true religion, the religion of snow,

and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,

I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

 

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow

as if it were the purpose of existence,

as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway

you could back the car down easily

and drive off into the vanities of the world

with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

 

All morning long we work side by side,

me with my commentary

and he inside his generous pocket of silence,

until the hour is nearly noon

and the snow is piled high all around us;

then, I hear him speak.

 

After this, he asks,

can we go inside and play cards?

 

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk

and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table

while you shuffle the deck.

and our boots stand dripping by the door.

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

by W.B. Yeats

 

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

"Run my dear from anything that does not strengthen your beautiful budding wings." Hafiz