Wise Poets – Jules Supervielle – In a Foreign Country

Jules Supervielle

Jules Supervielle (January 16, 1884 – May 17, 1960) Have these faces come from my memoryand have these gestures touched earth, or sky?Is this man alive as he seems to believewith his voice, and this smoke on his lips?Chairs, tables, unfeeling wood, you I can touchin this snowy country whose language I do not know.Stove, …

Wise Poets – Sarah Holland-Batt – The Gift

Sarah Holland-Batt

Sarah Holland-Batt (December 22, 1982 -) In the garden, my father sits in his wheelchairgarlanded by summer hibiscuslike a saint in a seventeenth-century cartouche.A flowering wreath buzzes around his head—passionate red. He holds the gift of deathin his lap: small, oblong, wrapped in black.He has been waiting seventeen years to open itand is impatient. When …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Depression

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840–November 6, 1893) I am sitting at the open window (at four a.m.) and breathing the lovely air of a spring morning… Life is still good… it is worth living on a May morning… I assert that life is beautiful in spite of everything! This “everything” includes the following items: …

Wise Poets – Beck Anson – I Admit Myself to the Psych Ward in a Pandemic

Beck Anson

Beck Anson / By now I know the drill—stuff clothes into a bag, pullthe strings out of my sweatpants,slip on my black slip-on Vans,clip my fingernails into the trash canbecause who knows when I’ll be able to next.I can’t bring my deodorant becauseit has alcohol in the top three ingredients, and yes,patients actually try to …

Wise Poets – Donald Andrew Hall – Goosefeathers

Donald Hall

Donald Andrew Hall (September 20, 1928 – June 23, 2018) When I was twelve I sat by myself in the steamlinerwith a shoebox of sandwiches and deviled eggsmy mother made, and ate everything right awayas the train headed north by the Sound where trestlesof derelict trolley lines roosted nations of seagulls.From South Station I took …

Wise Poets – Pattiann Rogers – Achieving Perspective

Pattiann Rogers

Pattiann Rogers Straight up away from this road,Away from the fitted particles of frostCoating the hull of each chick pea,And the stiff archer bug making its wayIn the morning dark, toe hair by toe hair,Up the stem of the trillium,Straight up through the sky above this road right now,The galaxies of the Cygnus A clusterAre …

Wise Poets – Sandra Cisneros – Back Then or Even Now

Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros (December 20, 1954 -) A Song For Guitar I liked being youngwith you once.A moment or two,here and therewith you once.When youwere a poet,and I was a poet.Wordsmiths afraidof the wordsshimmeringright before us.I remember censoringmyself when I was sober.Spontaneous combustionwhen I wasn’t.We did a lot of thingsback thenunder the courageof alcohol.We were a …

Wise Poets – Kristal Leebrick – New Year Love

Kristal Leebrick

Kristal Leebrick I remember our breathin the icy airand how the northern lights gatheredin a haze at the horizon,spread up past the water towerthen vanished into the dark.I remember that January night in North Dakota:We left the dance,the hoods of our dads’ air force parkas zipped tight,our bare hands pulled into the coat sleeves.We raninto …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Amos Bronson Alcott – Life

Amos Bronson Alcott

Amos Bronson Alcott (November 29, 1799–March 4, 1888) Human life is a very simple matter. Breath, bread, health, a hearthstone, a fountain, fruits, a few garden seeds and room to plant them in, a wife and children, a friend or two of either sex, conversation, neighbours, and a task life-long given from within — these …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Guy Fawkes – The Fifth Of November

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes (April 13, 1570 – January 31, 1606) Remember, remember!The fifth of November,The Gunpowder treason and plot;I know of no reasonWhy the Gunpowder treasonShould ever be forgot! English Folk Verse (c.1870) From The Archives Originally Published November 05, 2019 But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes and I know …

For The Love Of Wisdom – John O’Donohue – Anam Cara II (Soul Friend)

John O’Donohue

John O’Donohue (January 1, 1956–January 4, 2008) In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. One of the fascinating ideas here is the idea of soul-love; the old Gaelic term for this is anam cara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and cara is the word for friend. So …

Wise Poets – Mary Angelino – Remodeling

Mary Angelino

Mary Angelino Struck with purpose, my father and grandfather worked silently together, in a languageof pointing and nods. My brother and I knewnot to ask questions when we brought them lunch on plastic trays: tuna salad sandwichesswaddled in napkins, the pitcher of lemonade that left vanishing halos on top of the brick wall. They’d work until the sky forgot …

Wise Poets – Danusha Laméris – Feeding The Worms

Danusha Laméris

Danusha Laméris Ever since I found out that earth worms have taste budsall over the delicate pink strings of their bodies,I pause dropping apple peels into the compost bin, imaginethe dark, writhing ecstasy, the sweetness of applespermeating their pores. I offer beets and parsley,avocado, and melon, the feathery tops of carrots.I’d always thought theirs a …

Wise Poets – Walt Whitman – Of The Terrible Doubt Of Appearances

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) Of the terrible doubt of appearances,Of the uncertainty after all, that we may be deluded,That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable    only,May-be the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills,    shining and flowing …

Wise Poets – Rachel Betesh – Built To Wait

Rachel Betesh

Rachel Betesh coarse skin, like a laborer;shoulders up, like horses;made for cold, like fire is,a radish holds its heat.in winter, we keepthe leastbecoming, what’s not bright,what burns your throat,these old,strong roots.black radishes:my back ached, i suppose,from taking them—the way you feel sorewhen you’ve lovedwith effort. when you’vestilled your thoughtswith work.bitter flesh, like wanting;smoky gray, like …

Wise Poets – Jeffrey Morgan – My Love, Though the Smart Speaker Is Spying on Us

Jeffrey Morgan

Jeffrey Morgan They know by now about the bananas—yellow stippled with brown spotslike cheetahs—and our subsequent conversations about who should step up and bake a pie.They know by now our music, and can therefore construct an intimacy both sacred and mythological. They know what we say in our sleep better than we do ourselves,even as rain whispers promises to the darkness, even as …

Wise Poets – Gabrielle Calvocoressi – She Ties My Bow Tie

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi What you thought was the sound of the deer drinkingat the base of the ravine was not their soft tonguesentering the water but my Love tying my bow tie.We were in our little house just up from the ravine.Forgive yourself. It’s easy to mistake her wristsfor the necks of deer. Her fingers move …

Wise Poets – Marianne Moore – What Are Years

Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972) What is our innocence,what is our guilt? All arenaked, none is safe. And whenceis courage: the unanswered question,the resolute doubt, —dumbly calling, deafly listening—thatin misfortune, even death,encourage othersand in its defeat, stirsthe soul to be strong? Hesees deep and is glad, whoaccedes to mortalityand in his …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Melissa Kirsch – Novelty

Melissa Kirsch

Melissa Kirsch You can orchestrate novelty on a grand scale, take a trip to someplace new, do something you haven’t done. You can insert bits of it into your everyday… Novelty doesn’t have to announce itself. Small moments of noticing small things, new or forgotten sensations that provoke new or forgotten thoughts — you don’t …

Wise Poets – Adam Zagajewski – Boogie-Woogie

Adam Zagajewski 2014

Adam Zagajewski (June 21, 1945 – March 21, 2021) You shout from the other roomYou ask me how to spell boogie-woogieAnd instantly I think what luckno war has been declaredno fire has consumedour city’s monumentsour bodies our dwellingsThe river didn’t floodno friendshave been arrestedIt’s only boogie-woogieI sigh relievedand say it’s spelled just like it soundsboogie-woogie …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Winston Churchill – The Unconventional Human

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill (November 30, 1874 – January 24, 1965) The world looks with some awe upon a man who appears unconcernedly indifferent to home, money, comfort, rank, or even power and fame… The world feels not without a certain apprehension, that here is some one outside its jurisdiction; someone before whom its allurements may be …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Thich Nhat Hanh – The Self And Our Surroundings

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh (October 11, 1926 - January 22, 2022) It’s funny how much our surroundings influence our emotions. Our joys and sorrows, likes and dislikes are colored by our environment so much that often we just let our surroundings dictate our course. We go along with “public” feelings until we no longer even know our …

Wise Poets – Alison Townsend – Pantoum From The Window Of The Room Where I Write

Alison Townsend

Alison Townsend At sunset the russet oak turns into a lamp.Each polished leaf glows amber, lit by sun.As a child, I raked leaves with my mother each fall.We burned small pyres, their flames the color of loss. Each polished leaf glows amber, lit by sun.I could not know my mother would die young.We burned small …

Wise Poets – Maria Mazziotti Gillan – Everything We Don’t Want Them to Know

Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Maria Mazziotti Gillan At eleven, my granddaughter looks like my daughterdid, that slender body, that thin face, the gracewith which she moves. When she visits, she sitswith my daughter; they have hot chocolate togetherand talk. The way my granddaughter moves her hands,the concentration with which she does everything,knocks me back to the time when I …

Wise Poets – Scott Owens – Cleaning House

Scott Owens

Scott Owens Pulling the house down piece by piece,we see each other at our worstbefore we've even had our first date,my face itching with black insulation,yours covered with white dust of sheetrock.We scrape off paint and paper, buff outspots, old glue, unexplainedstains, remove tacky panelingrevealing forgotten charm, originalbeadboard, hard woods, solid ceilings.We're woefully unprepared, untrained,undertooled, …

Wise Poets – Elizabeth Train-Brown – Gods, Monsters, And Complex PTSD

Elizabeth Train-Brown

Elizabeth Train-Brown I feel unraveledI feel like scriptureI feel like the words of prophetstorn aparttranslatedretranslatedrewrittenspread to countries that don’t carewhat I have to say. I feel like taking out the middle mantaking out the writerthe penthe pageburrowing my face through the undergrowthslithering through the cracksof a confession boothand whispering my sinsthrough a mouthful of leaves. …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Mario Vargas Llosa – Caudillo

Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa (March 28, 1936 -) A cross between a superhuman and a jester, the caudillo makes and unmakes things at his will, inspired by God or by an ideology in which socialism and fascism — two forms of statism and collectivism — are nearly always confused, and communicates directly with his people through …

Wise Poets – Toi Derricotte – After All Those Years Of Fear And Raging In My Poems

Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte (April 12, 1941 -) How I thrived from the triflesin my aunt Lenora’s handbag—Tums,pencils, Lifesavers, fancycolored cards—how, in the early morningbefore dawn, beforemy parents rose, her welcoming sheetshid me from the house’sstorms. She’d listen tomy far-fetched taleswhile I (standing on a stool) “helped”her dry dishes; or, after, when we’dwalk through the neighborhood’sdeep night, …

Wise Poets – Perie Longo – While Watching a Video of the Dalai Lama

Perie Longo

Perie Longo For my husband Everything I see or hear is about him.This morning, the Dalai Lamasays there is so much sufferingin the world he can’t do much. With his monks he sifts colored sandinto an intricate design for peace,then sweeps it away. They collectthe remains in a small jar, sprinkle a littleon top of …

The Poetry of Tao Writer – Remember To Remember

Tao Writer

There is something in the pang of change — More than the heart can bear — Unhappiness remembering happiness. Euripides From The Archives - Originally Published June 29, 2018Tao Writer (April 17, 1948 -) 🌹For Kathleen Sherrill - Happy Birthday Remember To Remember When all that remains of me are my cremated ashesdon’t store them …

Wise Poets – Steven Espada Dawson – At the Arcade I Paint Your Footprints

Steven Espada Dawson

Steven Espada Dawson That summer we’d hop fencesand call them gates. You’d shark pool, then we’d hunt deerwith all the quarters you tricked. You smiled when they leaptout of view. Passed me that orange rifle, told me to aimthen close my eyes for ten years. My antlered brother, momwon’t sell the house so you can …

Wise Poets – Heather Allen – Night In The Mountains

Heather Allen

Heather Allen Gradually along the rangeAll things exchange their lightFor darkness. Single oaksOn hills that burned with goldMerge now in shadow, And hawks sail outOver the valley,Its air like a mirror Filling with night,That takes our imagesAnd does not return them, Just as the pinesBlot out our voices,And even the stones at our feet Fade …

Wise Poets – June Adrienne Su – The Lazy Susan

June Adrienne Su

June Adrienne Su The lazy Susan, in antiquity, would have been a fire.Drinking all night, the parents never get drunk.This is an ancient brew, with nuts, seeds, fruitto fuel the hours, to light a center.The tea dispenser’s orange light reminds us:they’re in the dining room, laughing in Chinesewhile we play Scrabble or Monopoly out here.They’re …

Wise Poets – Alicia Elsbeth Stallings – Deictic

Alicia Elsbeth Stallings

Alicia Elsbeth Stallings (July 2, 1968  -)  Dear A., Even before the virus, theseWere nearly empty galleries,But now we have these cluttered shelvesAnd halls of statues to ourselves.Stickers on the floor, in Greek,Tell us “Watch your apostasies”: “Mind your distance,” so to speak.But since the guards outnumber usThere is no nearness we need fear,No tourists …

Wise Poets – May Sarton – Moose In The Morning

May Sarton

May Sarton (May 3, 1912 – July 16, 1995) Oh wild and gentle beast,Immense antlered shape,This morning in the meadow!Like something ancient, lostAnd found now, promise kept,Emerging from the shadow,Emerging while I slept—Wilderness and escape!You set me free to shirkThe day's demanding workAnd cast my guilt away.You make a truant of meThis moose-enchanted dayWhen all …

Wise Poets – Gabrielle Calvocoressi – Hammond B3 Organ Cistern

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi The days I don’t want to kill myselfare extraordinary. Deep bass. All the peoplein the streets waiting for their high fivesand leaping, I mean leaping,when they see me. I am the sun-filledgod of love. Or at least an optimisticunder-secretary. There should be a word for it.The days you wake up and do not wantto …

Wise Poets – Barbara Quick – Falling

Barbara Quick

Barbara Quick That hair’s breadth of a moment,knowing that the body has lurched outsidethe mind’s controland is falling. The head-first journey of nine feetpowered by a thirty-pound backpack–seeing not lights, but the hubrisof that one false, resentful stepupwards onto the fallen tree-trunkblocking the trail–that one unpracticed vaultup to a place where balance–my balance–is suddenly gone. …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Jiddu Krishnamurti – Killing

Jiddu Krishnamurti

But apparently man loves to kill things, the fleeting deer, the marvelous gazelle, and the great elephant. We love to kill each other. This killing of other human beings has never stopped throughout the history of man's life on this earth. If we could, and we must, establish a deep long abiding relationship with nature, …

The Writings Of Señor Tao – Truth And Lies

Señor Tao

What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions — they …

Wise Poets – Lisel Mueller – Romantics

Lisel Mueller

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924 – February 21, 2020) For Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms The modern biographers worry“how far it went,” their tender friendship.They wonder just what it meanswhen he writes he thinks of her constantly,his guardian angel, beloved friend.The modern biographers askthe rude, irrelevant questionof our age, as if the eventof two bodies …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Robert Burton – Learning

Robert Burton

Robert Burton (February 8, 1577–January 25, 1640) Whosoever he is therefore that is overrun with solitariness, or carried away with pleasing melancholy and vain conceits, and for want of employment knows not how to spend his time, or crucified with worldly care, I can prescribe him no better remedy than this of study, to compose …

Wise Poets – Elinor Morton Wylie – Full Moon

Elinor Morton Wylie

Elinor Morton Wylie (September 7, 1885 – December 16, 1928) My bands of silk and miniverMomently grew heavier;The black gauze was beggarly thin;The ermine muffled mouth and chin;I could not suck the moonlight in. Harlequin in lozengesOf love and hate, I walked in theseStriped and ragged rigmaroles;Along the pavement my footsolesTrod warily on living coals. …

Wise Poets – Kim Robert Stafford – Curse Of The Charmed Life

Kim Robert Stafford

Kim Robert Stafford (October 15, 1949 -) Things pretty much worked out for you—you have what you need, and if you need more,you have people ready and able to provide. Sure, someday your luck will run out,you’ll be helpless, then gone, and your peoplewill gather in your honor. There will be music, and tears. People …

Wise Poets – Linda Pastan – The Ordinary Weather of Summer

Linda Pastan

Linda Pastan (May 27, 1932 -) In the ordinary weather of summerwith storms rumbling from west to eastlike so many freight trains haulingtheir cargo of heat and rain,the dogs sprawl on the back steps, panting,insects assemble at every window,and we quarrel again, bombardingeach other with small grievances,our tempers flashing on and offin bursts of heat …

Wise Poets – John Keats – Ode To A Grecian Urn

John Keats

John Keats (October 31, 1795 – February 23, 1821) Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness!Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,Sylvan historian, who canst thus expressA flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shapeOf deities or mortals, or of both,In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?What men or gods are …

Wise Poets – Roxane Beth Johnson – Blues for Almost Forgotten Music

Roxane Beth Johnson

Roxane Beth Johnson I am trying to remember the lyrics of old songsI’ve forgotten, mostlyI am trying to remember one-hit wonders, hymns,and musicals like West Side Story.Singing over and over what I can recall, I hum remnants onbuses and in the car. I am so often alone these days with echoes of these old songsand …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Justice Harry Blackmun – When Life Begins

Harry Blackmun

From The Archives - Originally Published January 24, 2020 Justice Harry Blackmun (November 12, 1908 – March 4, 1999) We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Brent Staples – Blacks In The Newspapers

Brent Staples

Brent Staples (1951 -) Newspapers that championed white supremacy throughout the pre-civil rights South paved the way for lynching by declaring African Americans nonpersons. They embraced the language once used at slave auctions by denying Black citizens the courtesy titles Mr. and Mrs. and referring to them in news stories as “the negro,” “the negress” …

Wise Poets – Dana Gioia – Photograph Of My Mother As A Young Girl

Dana Gioia

Dana Gioia (December 24, 1950 -) She wasn't lookingwhen they took this picture:sitting on the grassin her bare feetwearing a cotton dress,she stares off to the sidewatching something on the lawnthe camera didn't catch.What was it?A ladybug? A flower?Judging from her expression,possibly nothing at all,or elsethe lawn was like a mirror,and she sat watching herself,wondering …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Cass Robert Sunstein – Choices

Cass Robert Sunstein

Cass Robert Sunstein (September 21, 1954 -) People often make poor choices – and look back at them with bafflement! We do this because as human beings, we all are susceptible to a wide array of routine biases that can lead to an equally wide array of embarrassing blunders in education, personal finance, health care, …

Wise Poets – William Shakespeare – Excerpt from The Tempest Act 4, Scene 1

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) Our revels now are ended. These our actors,As I foretold you, were all spirits andAre melted into air, into thin air:And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,The solemn temples, the great globe itself,Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolveAnd, like …

Wise Poets – Grace Paley – The Poet’s Occasional Alternative

Grace Paley

Grace Paley (December 11, 1922 – August 22, 2007) I was going to write a poemI made a pie instead      it tookabout the same amount of timeof course the pie was a finaldraft      a poem would have had somedistance to go      days and weeks andmuch crumpled paperthe pie already had a talkingtumbling audience among smalltrucks and a fire …

Wise Poets – Hazem Fahmy – Rehearsal For The New World

Hazem Fahmy

Hazem Fahmy Hours before the TV, my mouthagape, repeating after every American cartoonendlessly. Call it a meditation; was I not emptying my mindof language? Mouthing every syllable,like prayer–God, make me a true American,i.e. invisible, yetever-present. What a rush it wasto speak empireat such a young age. Later, I am asked: how did you getthis accent? …

Wise Poets – Galway Mills Kinnell – Wait

5d4b4 galway kinnell

Galway Mills Kinnell (February 1, 1927 – October 28, 2014) Wait, for now.Distrust everything if you have to.But trust the hours. Haven’t theycarried you everywhere, up to now?Personal events will become interesting again.Hair will become interesting.Pain will become interesting.Buds that open out of season will become interesting.Second-hand gloves will become lovely again;their memories are what …

Wise Poets – Jane Hirshfield – Today, When I Could Do Nothing

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) Today, when I could do nothing,I saved an ant. It must have come in with the morning paper,still being deliveredto those who shelter in place. A morning paper is still an essential service. I am not an essential service. I have coffee and books,time,a garden,silence enough to fill cisterns. …

Wise Poets – Robert Herrick – To The Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Robert Herrick

Robert Herrick (August 24, 1591 – October 15, 1674) Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,Old Time is still a-flying;And this same flower that smiles todayTomorrow will be dying. The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,The higher he’s a-getting,The sooner will his race be run,And nearer he’s to setting. That age is best which is the …

For The Love Of Wisdom – George Dyson – Universal Mind

George Dyson

George Dyson (March 26, 1953 -) Living without telephone, computer, internet, or even electric light, I had time beyond measure to think. I found myself thinking about what, if anything, a tree might think. Not thinking the way we think, but the way a single neuron thinks, integrating information over time. It might take years …

Wise Poets – Matthew Olzmann – Mountain Dew Commercial Disguised as a Love Poem

Matthew Olzmann

Matthew Olzmann So here’s what I’ve got, the reasons why our marriagemight work: Because you wear pink but write poemsabout bullets and gravestones. Because you yellat your keys when you lose them, and laugh,loudly, at your own jokes. Because you can hold a pistol,gut a pig. Because you memorize songs, even commercialsfrom thirty years back …

Wise Poets – Tiana Clark – First Date During Social Distance

Tiana Clark

Tiana Clark Everything wanted to be touched:My bottom lip, the freshly bustedcherry blossoms, creamy drippingslike soft fluttering pearls that edgedthe lack (I meant to write lakebut kept the mistake) as I rimmedthe risky desires. And you, youwere all new, suffused with muskand sadness, height and a milk-chocolate sweater that curledat the collar rim, filling outyour …

Wise Poets – Sara Teasdale – There Will Come Soft Rains

Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale (August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933) (War Time)There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;And frogs in the pools singing at night,And wild plum trees in tremulous white,Robins will wear their feathery fireWhistling their whims on a low fence-wire;And not one will know …

Wise Poets – Stephen Elliot Dunn – An Evolution Of Prayer

Stephen Dunn

Stephen Elliot Dunn (June 24, 1939 – June 24, 2021) As a child, some of his prayers were answeredbecause he prayed out loud for a kite or bike,which his mother would overhear, and pass onto her husband, his father, the Lord. Later, he understood that when he prayedhe was mostly talking to himself—albeit a better,more …

Wise Poets – William Carlos Williams – Pastoral

William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963) When I was youngerit was plain to meI must make something of myself.Older nowI walk back streetsadmiring the housesof the very poor:roof out of line with sidesthe yards clutteredwith old chicken wire, ashes,furniture gone wrong;the fences and outhousesbuilt of barrel stavesand parts of boxes, all,if …

Wise Poets – Jennifer Chang – The Lonely Humans

Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chang A type of hickory, it grows by water.So are we fools to drive to the riverthe day after our most savage stormshave finally stopped to seea tree we’ve never seen before?To hike in cold mud through a leafless forest,to behold clearings now clutteredby whatever fell last night—mostly oaks,no hickory—to attend the mad performanceof …

Wise Poets – Jane Kenyon – Three Songs at the End of Summer

ffee1 jane kenyon

Jane Kenyon (May 23, 1947 – April 22, 1995) A second crop of hay lies cutand turned. Five gleaming crowssearch and peck between the rows.They make a low, companionable squawk,and like midwives and undertakerspossess a weird authority. Crickets leap from the stubble,parting before me like the Red Sea.The garden sprawls and spoils. Across the lake …

Wise Poets – Paul Laurence Dunbar – In Summer Time

0796b paul lawrence dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906) When summer time has come, and allThe world is in the magic thrallOf perfumed airs that lull each senseTo fits of drowsy indolence;When skies are deepest blue above,And flow'rs aflush,—then most I loveTo start, while early dews are damp,And wend my way in woodland trampWhere …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Joseph Campbell – Fate

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) Whatever my fate is, is what I need. If you bring love to that moment, not discouragement, you will find the strength. Any detour or disarray you can learn from is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!

For The Love Of Wisdom – Karel Čapek – Communism

karel capek

Karel Čapek (January 09, 1890 – December 25, 1938) All of us have begun to feel that there is something odd and insoluble about the conflicts between world-views, generations, political principles, and whatever else divides us… Hatred, lack of knowledge, fundamental distrust, these are the psychic world of communism… I count myself among the idiots …

Wise Poets – Kwame Opoku-Duku – They’ll Ask You Where it Hurts the Most

kwame opoku duku

Kwame Opoku-Duku Blessed be the bitternessat your core, that quiet lightgrowing quieter still,like the dull moan that escapesyour lips while you dream.They’ll ask you, child,what you know of suffering.They’ll ask you where it hurtsthe most, when the pain changeslike wavelengths of lightin the evening sky, when the criesof the ancestors ring out to youfrom the …

The Writings Of Señor Tao – The Grand ReOpening, My Fiftieth Birthday

Señor Tao

Seize the time… Live now. Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart - Star Trek: The Next Generation) Señor Tao (April 17, 1948 -) April 17, 1998 Since my arrival in November, Esalen has been closed to the public. The highway was damaged by earth slides on …

For The Love Of Wisdom – William Sidney Porter (O’Henry) – Writing

william sidney porter

William Sidney Porter (O’Henry) (September 11, 1862 – June 5, 1910) I'll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is: Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2. The technical points you can get from Bliss Perry. If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you …

Wise Poets – Robert Pinsky – At Mt. Auburn Cemetery

e48cc robert pinsky

Robert Pinsky (October 20, 1940 -) Walking among the graves for exerciseWhere do you get your ideas how do I stop themLooking for Mike Mazur’s marker I lookedDown at the grass and saw Stanislaw BaranczakOur Solidarity poetry reading in PoznanYears later in Newton now he said I’m a U.S.Liberal with a car like everybody elseWhen …

Wise Poets – Heather McHugh – Better Or Worse

heather mchugh

Heather McHugh (August 20, 1948 -) I. Daily, the kindergartenerspassed my porch. I lovedtheir likeness and variety,their selves in line like littlemonosyllables, but huggable—I wasn't meant to grab them, ever,up into actual besmooches or downinto grubbiest tumbles, my lot was notto have them, in the flesh.Was it better or worse to lettheir lovability go by …

For The Love Of Wisdom – John Coltrane – Creativity And Jazz

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John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926–July 17, 1967) It is really easy for us [jazz musicians] to create. We are born with this feeling that just comes out no matter what conditions exist. Otherwise, how could our founding fathers have produced this music in the first place when they surely found themselves (as many of …

Wise Poets – Clint Margrave – Toad Dies And Goes To Heaven

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Clint Margrave In memory of Gerald Locklin Nobody is more surprised than he is.First of all, Toad doesn’t believe in heaven,and secondly, even if he did,he never expected to visit. In fact, he’s minorly disappointed.Has he failed to achieve the properlydebauched life he so often courted? But the food tastes good.And you can drink all …

Wise Poets – Dilruba Ahmedq – Bring Now The Angels

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Dilruba Ahmedq To test your pulse as you sleep.Bring the healer the howler the listening ear— Bring an apothecary to mix the tincture—We need the salvethe tablet the capsuleof the hour— Bring sword-eatersand those who will swallow fire—Fetch the guardian to flatten the wheelchair,to hoist it toward heaven:the public shuttle awaitsthe ceaseless trips to the …

Wise Poets – Yesenia Montilla – A Brief Meditation On Breath

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Yesenia Montilla i have diver’s lungs from holding mybreath for so long. i promise youi am not trying to break a recordsometimes i just forget toexhale. my shoulders held tightlynear my neck, i am a ball of tenseliving, a tumbleweed with steel-toedboots. i can’t remember the last timei felt light as dandelion. i can’t rememberthe …

Wise Poets – Adrienne Rich – Power

Adrienne Rich 

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) Living    in the earth-deposits    of our historyToday a backhoe divulged    out of a crumbling flank of earthone bottle    amber    perfect    a hundred-year-oldcure for fever    or melancholy    a tonicfor living on this earth    in the winters of this climateToday I was reading about Marie Curie:she must have known she suffered    from radiation sicknessher body bombarded for years    by …

Wise Poets – Meghan Dunn – Response, Years Later, to Two Male Poets I Overheard Discussing How Sick They Were of Women’s Poems about the Body

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Meghan Dunn I too am sick of the body.I too am sick of being a body,am sick of being sick about my body,have made myself sick over how to care forand clothe it, how to make it behave,make it need less. Walking in the street,I have wished it might dissolveso that I might more clearly …

Wise Poets – Rainer Maria Rilke – Death

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke (December 04, 1875 – December 29, 1926) Before us great Death standsOur fate held close within his quiet hands.When with proud joy we lift Life's red wineTo drink deep of the mystic shining cupAnd ecstasy through all our being leaps—Death bows his head and weeps.

Wise Poets – Jane Mead – I Wonder If I Will Miss The Moss

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Jane Mead (August 13, 1958 – September 8, 2019) I wonder if I will miss the mossafter I fly off as much as I miss it nowjust thinking about leaving. There were stones of many colors.There were sticks holding bothlichen and moss.There were red gates with oldhand-forged hardware.There were fields of dry grasssmelling of first …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Hannah Arendt – Forgiveness

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Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 04, 1975) Forgiving, in other words, is the only reaction which does not merely re-act but acts anew and unexpectedly, unconditioned by the act which provoked it and therefore freeing from its consequences both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven. The freedom contained in …

Wise Poets – Ursula K Le Guin – Hymn To Time

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Ursula K Le Guin (October 21, 1929 – January 22, 2018) Time says “Let there be”every moment and instantlythere is space and the radianceof each bright galaxy.And eyes beholding radiance.And the gnats’ flickering dance.And the seas’ expanse.And death, and chance.Time makes roomfor going and coming homeand in time’s wombbegins all ending.Time is being and beingtime, …

The Writings Of Señor Tao – The Expendability Of Human Life

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I think a lot about the word tenacity. What it takes to survive in a world that is sometimes beautiful and sometimes hostile. I’m always amazed at the body’s willingness to continue, to keep going. The heart that keeps pumping, the lungs that keep breathing, the way the will to live can outsmart those other …

Wise Poets – Patricia Fargnoli – After the Dream of My Death

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Patricia Fargnoli (November 16, 1937 – February 18, 2021) I wake up to a world that is invisible,no golden trees, no picnic spread on the lawn.The ladies in hats have finished their teaand moved on. None of the questions I spent life askinghave been answered.Transience, evanescence, the dispersal of dust.God knows where, and is no …

Wise Poets – Nick Laird – Theodicy

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Nicholas Laird A human is not such a perfect machine.I didn’t design it for interaction particularlywith other machines—not closely—not non-stop.I made the campfire, for example, to be nature’stelevision but with a human being basicallyI was thinking of a tree, of what a tree needs.A root system, distance, light and air. Even livingyou are tearing through …

Wise Poets – Ted Kooser – In the Basement of the Goodwill Store

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Theodore J. Kooser (April 25, 1939) In the musty light, in the thin brown airof damp carpet, doll heads and rust,beneath long rows of sharp footfallslike nails in a lid, an old man standstrying on glasses, lifting each pairfrom the box like a glittering fishand holding it up to the lightof a dirty bulb. Near …

The Writings Of Señor Tao – Sweating Out My Demons While Dancing With Angels

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Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no results, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul. Simone Weil ( February 03, 1909 – August 24, 1943) Señor Tao (April 17,  1948 -) Saturday was the first warm sunny rainless day in almost …

Wise Poets – Angelina Weld Grimké – Little Grey Dreams

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Angelina Weld Grimké (February 27, 1880 – June 10, 1958) Little grey dreams,I sit at the ocean’s edge,At the grey ocean’s edge,With you in my lap. I launch you, one by one,And one by one,Little grey dreams,Under the grey, grey, clouds,Out on the grey, grey, sea,You go sailing away,From my empty lap,Little grey dreams. Sailing! …

Wise Poets – John Paul Martinez – To Offer Sweet Fruit To The Ghost

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John Paul Martinez For Lolo Ma says not to swat at the houseflychirring in our headspace for the past two hoursbecause it just might be you. Ma shows me the flimsy browned picturesof you & me in your workshop, a scored-leather tool belt strapped acrossyour chest like a bandolier. My whole body smaller stillthan a …

Wise Poets – Guillaume Apollinaire – The Pretty Redhead

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Guillaume Apollinaire (August 26, 1880 – November 09,1918) I stand here in the sight of everyone a man full of senseKnowing life and knowing of death what a living man can knowHaving gone through the griefs and happinesses of loveHaving known sometimes how to impose his ideasKnowing several languagesHaving travelled more than a littleHaving seen …

The Writings Of Señor Tao – Getting There, The Long Broken Highway

Señor Tao

But the man who comes back through the door in the wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser, but less cocksure, happier but less self satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things of systematic reasoning …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Aldous Huxley – Being Human

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Aldous Huxley (July 26, 1894 – November 22, 1963) Human beings are immensely complicated creatures, living simultaneously in a half dozen different worlds. Each individual is unique and, in a number of respects, unlike all the other members of the species. None of our motives is unmixed, none of our actions can be traced back …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Eckhart Tolle – Spiritual Awakening

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Eckhart Tolle (February 16, 1948 -) Most humans are still, almost literally, possessed by thought. They don’t think, but thinking happens to them. The beginning of spiritual awakening is the realization that you are not the voice in your head but the one who is aware of the voice. You are the awareness behind your …