Saturday, June 2, 2012

to mend an extraordinary world

I have to agree with Billy Collins this morning - "Why do we bother with the rest of the day?"  (Read the whole poem here - especially for the last couple of lines about the lawn steaming like a horse....).

I sat on the back steps for a while at 5:30 am - and drank my strong coffee with milk, listened to the birds, let the morning cool air enter my puny lungs. This is a way to become at peace.

Be willing to be a beginner every single morning," says Meister Eckhardt.  

And that's how it is, every morning, every season.  

This poem by Phyllis Webb is one I read often, quote often:


by Phyllis Webb

The degree of nothingness
is important:
to sit emptily
in the sun
receiving fire
that is the way
to mend
an extraordinary world,
sitting perfectly
and only
remotely human.

I was thinking also the other day about the famous line by Pascal:

“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

And Rumi says it like this:

"A little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given you."

And Joseph Campbell says it like this:

“Sit in a room and read - and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.”

A little while alone, without a computer, without the internet, might be a proper amendment to these lines.

As much as I have despaired this year over our yard, our little garden, and the little "room" we have made as our sitting area in the backyard, it's slowly taking shape.  We've been in this house for 13 years, and so parts of it are overgrown, and other parts are dying back. We need to re-do our front flower bed next week, and today I'm tackling our tiny vegetable garden.  But first on the list was the patio area - a place to sit emptily, to receive.


  1. dear

    you always manage to speak deeply to me with your words and photos!

    it is so lovely to have "a part of you" here in my home, your book is laying to decorate (i LOVE the cover)on my livingroom table when i am not reading in it!! i am so grateful for it : )

    one of my absolute favourite poems by mary oliver suddenly pops up in my mind while reading the first part of this post

    -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.

    and while reading the last part of this post i though of this book that i came across the other day,
    maybe you will find it interesting also:


  2. i'm so thrilled you love Hive : )

    you won't believe it - but i almost posted this poem too - but i'd posted it maybe last year so decided not to in the end. thank you for leaving it in the comments - for anyone else who might be popping in here to read. so lovely!


  3. yes, it was. All of it. I wish I could get up early so I can see what you see.....


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