life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

come walk with me  


You know the brick path in back of the house,

the one you see from the kitchen window,  

the one that bends around the far end of the garden  

where all the yellow primroses are?  

And you know how if you leave the path  

and walk up into the woods you come  

to a heap of rocks, probably pushed  

down during the horrors of the Ice Age,  

and a grove of tall hemlocks, dark green now  

against the light-brown fallen leaves?  

And farther on, you know  

the small footbridge with the broken railing  

and if you go beyond that you arrive  

at the bottom of that sheep’s head hill?  

Well, if you start climbing, and you  

might have to grab hold of a sapling  

when the going gets steep,  

you will eventually come to a long stone  

ridge with a border of pine trees  

which is as high as you can go  

and a good enough place to stop.
The best time is late afternoon  

when the sun strobes through  

the columns of trees as you are hiking up,  

and when you find an agreeable rock  

to sit on, you will be able to see  

the light pouring down into the woods  

and breaking into the shapes and tones  

of things and you will hear nothing  

but a sprig of birdsong or the leafy  

falling of a cone or nut through the trees,  

and if this is your day you might even  

spot a hare or feel the wing-beats of geese  

driving overhead toward some destination.
But it is hard to speak of these things  

how the voices of light enter the body  

and begin to recite their stories  

how the earth holds us painfully against  

its breast made of humus and brambles  

how we who will soon be gone regard  

the entities that continue to return  

greener than ever, spring water flowing  

through a meadow and the shadows of clouds  

passing over the hills and the ground  

where we stand in the tremble of thought  

taking the vast outside into ourselves.
Still, let me know before you set out.  

Come knock on my door  

and I will walk with you as far as the garden  

with one hand on your shoulder.  

I will even watch after you and not turn back  

to the house until you disappear  

into the crowd of maple and ash,  

heading up toward the hill,  

piercing the ground with your stick.


 Directions by Billy Collins

Listen to Eva Cassidy sing I know You by Heart


Photo sources found at


David Whyte

JOY is a form of deep intentionality and self forgetting, the bodily alchemy of what lies inside us in communion with what formally seemed outside, but is now neither, but become a living frontier, a voice speaking between us and the world: dance, laughter, affection, skin touching skin, song, music in the kitchen: the sheer beauty of the world inhabited as an edge between what we previously thought was us and what we thought was other than us. 
Joy can be a practiced achievement not just the unlooked for passing act of grace arriving out of nowhere, joy is a measure of our relationship to death and our living with death, joy is the act of giving ourselves away, joy is practiced generosity. If joy is a deep form of love, it is also the raw engagement with the passing seasonality of existence, the fleeting presence of those we love going in and out of our lives, faces, voices, memory, aromas of the first spring day or a wood fire in winter, the last breath of a dying parent as they create that rare, raw, beautiful frontier between loving presence and a new and blossoming absence. 
To feel a full untrammeled joy is to walk through the doorway of fear, the dropping away of the anxious worried self felt itself like a death itself, a disappearance, a giving away, seen in the laughter of friendship, the vulnerability of happiness felt suddenly as a strength, a solace and a source, the claiming of our place in the living conversation, the sheer privilege of being in the presence of a mountain, a sky or a familiar face – I am here and you are here and together we make a world.

Excerpted from JOY From the upcoming book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Surprising Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

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