life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the month “October, 2015”


So, I’ve been thinking about discipline- you know, the thing we think we need to find if we are going to do the things we know are good for us (like eating well, exercise, daily meditation etc.) I can clamp down with my will and pick up those aspirations daily- but at times it just feels like endless work, and sooner or later I run out of steam. 
So lately, I’ve been trying something different. Instead of berating myself and insisting that today (or tomorrow) I will dig deep and find the necessary discipline, I’ve been thinking about giving myself gifts. 
As in- today, I’m giving myself the gift of taking a walk in the autumn leaves, of taking my time in prayer and meditation, of making a wonderful stew for dinner. If I can keep my attitude in the range of doing something kind for myself (as opposed to doing something I think I “should” do) not only is it easier to create good self-care, it becomes about receiving that care with gratitude. 
And that’s just a more enjoyable way to receive the gift of this day. 





Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, ‘Never take candy from strangers.’ And then they dressed me up and said, ‘Go beg for it.’ I didn’t know what to do! I’d knock on people’s doors and go, ‘Trick or treat.’ ‘No thank you.’

– Rita Rudner  



let the light  

You work with what you are given, 

the red clay of grief, 

the black clay of stubbornness going on after. 

Clay that tastes of care or carelessness, 

clay that smells of the bottoms of rivers or dust.
Each thought is a life you have lived or failed to live, 

each word is a dish you have eaten or left on the table. 

There are honeys so bitter 

no one would willingly choose to take them. 

The clay takes them: honey of weariness, honey of vanity, 

honey of cruelty, fear. 
This rebus —slip and stubbornness, 

bottom of river, my own consumed life— 

when will I learn to read it 

plainly, slowly, uncolored by hope or desire? 

Not to understand it, only to see. 
As water given sugar sweetens, given salt grows salty, 

we become our choices. 

Each yes, each no continues, 

this one a ladder, that one an anvil or cup. 
The ladder leans into its darkness. 

The anvil leans into its silence. 

The cup sits empty. 
How can I enter this question the clay has asked? 


Rebus by Jane Hirshfield


 The lion still roars 
I walk in grief 

On the purple beach 

the grey-green water 

meeting the sky 

Into infinity 

the world unending 

I sit on driftwood 

Fascinatingly carved by water 

Into pieces of art 

and shapes that look like 

cattle skulls in the desert 

I cry as I pick up rocks 

Why do i grieve such simple things?

Those precious shells 

I spent hours snorkeling for 

In 1985 

You polished them 

til they were smooth as silk 

So beautiful 

I loved everything about them 

and that memory they held 

Back When the world was still 

A mystery 

And I knew nothing about hardship 

Loss or pain 

I thought love and life were simple 

That you wanted me to be happy

That you loved me 

That we would build a family together 

I kept those shells in a special jar 

Would let the kids play with them

For a special treat 

I loved their delight in them 

As they played for hours 

sorting the colors and shapes 

Loving the story of us at the start

I Kept them close to me 

Through all the losses 

Then they were gone 

lost to me forever 

way after my innocence 

but somehow they took 

some shred I was holding on to 

Some secret part of me and you 

that was still beautiful 
As I picked up small beautiful rocks 

today at the beach 

They reminded me 

and it all returned 

all the losses 

all the pain 

What you chose 

The choices I was forced to make 

The price of gaining my soul 

The cost of winning my freedom 

I cry so deeply 

Right to the core 

such intense love 

for the wounded heart 

carried in small pieces 

of the world 

connecting all the pain 

and love together 

Bittersweet grief 

Bittersweet love 

Exquisite pain 

Exquisite joy 

Will I ever find love that understands this? 

Will I ever share this same heart as one? 

Will I ever make it home? 

Will I ever make it? 

Will I ever? 

Will I? 






photos found at 

perception shift






  photos found at

look where you’re standing  

Pick a crevice, 

a homey gap 

between stones 

and make it 

your own. 
Grow a life here 

from wind 


and the memories of ancients 

embedded in limestone. 
The bees will use you 

for their sweet honey. 

The rock will soften under 

your touch. 

You will draw moisture from fog 

and hold it. 

Your presence 

will build soil. 
This is all we have 

in this life 

all we own: 

a flowering 

an opening 

a gap between stones 

for tiny tender roots. 


Flowering by Linda Buckmaster 




Listen to Eli Young Band sing Even if it Breaks Your Heart 

photos found at 


To bring about peace in the world, to stop all wars, there must be a revolution in the individual, in you and me. Economic revolution without this inward revolution is meaningless, for hunger is the result of the maladjustment of economic conditions produced by our psychological states: greed, envy, ill-will, and possessiveness. To put an end to sorrow, to hunger, to war, there must be a psychological revolution, and few of us are willing to face that. We will discuss peace, plan legislation, create new leagues, the United Nations and so on and on; but we will not win peace because we will not give up our position, our authority, our money, our properties, our stupid lives. To rely on others is utterly futile: others cannot bring us peace. No leader is going to give us peace, no government, no army, no country. What will bring peace is inward transformation which will lead to outward action. Inward transformation is not isolation, is not a withdrawal from outward action. On the contrary, there can be right action only when there is right thinking, and there is no right thinking when there is no self-knowledge. Without knowing yourself, there is no peace.


The First and Last Freedom, J. Krishnamurti

photos found at




  photos by Fisherman Dan @ Branford, CT

Listen to Cat Stevens sing Peace Train 

so glad to see you

  When it’s time for souls to meet, there’s nothing on earth that can prevent them from meeting, no matter where each may be located. When two hearts are meant for each other, no distance is too far, no time is too long, and no other love can break them apart. 

    – Jaime Lichauco 

 Then came a moment of renaissance,

I looked up – you again are there,

A fleeting vision, the quintessence

Of all that`s beautiful and rare.

     – Alexander Pushkin


 Don’t be afraid to be fully seen, 

for you are God’s Beloved. 

Seek to truly see others as God’s Beloved. 

It is the light that re-creates us.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

 Sōetsu Yanagi, founder of Japan’s modern craft movement, defines beauty as that which gives unlimited scope to the imagination; beauty is a source of imagination, he says, that never dries up. A thing so attractive and absorbing may not be pretty or pleasant. It could be ugly, in fact, and yet seize the soul as beautiful in a special sense…luring the heart into profound and endless imagination. 
     – Thomas Moore (edited)


 May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,

Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse

That cut right through the surface to a source.
May this be a morning of innocent beginning,

When the gift within you slips clear

Of the sticky web of the personal

With its hurt and its hauntings,

And fixed fortress corners,
A Morning when you become a pure vessel

For what wants to ascend from silence,
May your imagination know

The grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation,

And the wheel of repetition,
Deep into the call of all

The unfinished and unsolved
Until the veil of the unknown yields

And something original begins

To stir toward your senses

And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth

In a clean line of form,

That claims from time

A rhythm not yet heard,

That calls space to

A different shape.
May it be its own force field

And dwell uniquely

Between the heart and the light
To surprise the hungry eye

By how deftly it fits

About its secret loss.
For the Artist at the Start of Day by John O’Donohue 

Yes, SI, this is for you…


Listen to Joe Cocker sing You Are So Beautiful  

photos found at 



Photo found on facebook


The rain breaks, though the sky is still grey, even so

The trees are drenched in golden glow, 

leaves glistening like glowing emeralds, rubies, gold dripping in puddles to the ground,

there neon reds, pinks and oranges screaming for my attention like an extravert teenager in the 1980’s –

It is so beautiful it takes my breath away 

I stop and stare for timeless time, 

drinking it into my soul, 

into my storehouse of these flaming glory-moments

Then I go on with my day, 

full of wonder and hope 

I heard it in your voice this morning

There are good things ahead



photos by Fisherman Dan @ Branford, CT


If we could, 

like the trees, 

practice dying, 

do it every year 

just as something we do— 

like going on vacation 

or celebrating birthdays, 

it would become 

as easy a part of us 

as our hair or clothing. 
Someone would show us how 

to lie down and fade away 

as if in deepest meditation, 

and we would learn 

about the fine dark emptiness, 

both knowing it and not knowing it, 

and coming back would be irrelevant. 
Whatever it is the trees know 

when they stand undone, 

surprisingly intricate, 

we need to know also 

so we can allow 

that last thing 

to happen to us 

as if it were only 

any ordinary thing, 
leaves and lives 

falling away, 

the spirit, complex, 

waiting in the fine darkness 

to learn which way 

it will go. 


Learning from Trees by Grace Butcher

There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day. 

-Alexander Woolcott

way back when

When I finally arrive there—

And it will take many days and nights—

I would like to believe others will be waiting

and might even want to know how it was.
So I will reminisce about a particular sky

or a woman in a white bathrobe

or the time I visited a narrow strait

where a famous naval battle had taken place.
Then I will spread out on a table

a large map of my world

and explain to the people of the future

in their pale garments what it was like—
how mountains rose between the valleys

and this was called geography,

how boats loaded with cargo plied the rivers

and this was known as commerce,
how the people from this pink area

crossed over into this light-green area

and set fires and killed whoever they found

and this was called history—
and they will listen, mild-eyed and silent,

as more of them arrive to join the circle,

like ripples moving toward,

not away from, a stone tossed into a pond.


The Future by Billy Collins 

photos found at


be brave 


 Most of the greatest achievements on the planet are unknown to others – private overcomings, silent attempts at belief, re-opening a shattered heart. The real path of champions truly lies within – the transforming of suffering into expansion, the clearing of horrifying debris, the building of a healthy self-concept without tools. The greatest achievers have found a way to believe in something good despite being traumatized and fractured on life’s battlefields. No matter what else they accomplish in their lives, they are already champions. One day the world will realize that it is much harder to heal a shattered heart than excel at athletics. Go(l)d medals all around…
   – Jeff Brown

They have told you to be quiet

since your crib,

when your needs, your cry for the divine

disturbed them.

You too have learned the command,

to silence your soul, to silence others.

Stand still and listen: 

what is the voice within, crying out, silenced? 
Rise; take heart.

The Beloved is calling you,

wants to hear your plea,

to honor your word,

to hear what has not been spoken,

wants you to come, 

to ask for what must be asked for

and must be given.
Now, you have been called

and you have been heard.

Whom have we silenced?

Whom are you called to call

to reveal

the miracle of God? 

Rise, take heart.

The Beloved is calling you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light



In the space between breaths 

It can be gone 

A months worth of words 

Erased with a fingertip 

A 12, 30 even 60 year marriage over 

With 4 words spoken: 

I want a divorce 

A home with all it’s possessions 

Destroyed in a matter of minutes in the fury of nature – 

Fire or storm 


So fragile 

With no guarantees 

Of longevity 

Or comfort 

Begs to be lived 


To be counted for the sake of goodness 

This is the only moment that counts 

Don’t wait 

Take a deep 

deep breath 

of the spirit that is giving it all 

There is only one thing eternal

Say thank you 

For that one thing that will always remain

All else can be destroyed 

But not this. 

What is this eternal gift? 

this one and only gift that remains, that matters?

You already know…

say it together now…




Listen to Gavin Rossdale sing Love Remains the Same 

photos found at

fall. falling. fallen.   

Fall, falling, fallen. That’s the way the season 

Changes its tense in the long-haired maples 

That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves 

Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition 

With the final remaining cardinals) and then 

Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last 

Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground. 

At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees 

In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager 

And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever 

Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun 

Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance, 

A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud 

Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything 

Changes and moves in the split second between summer’s 

Sprawling past and winter’s hard revision, one moment 

Pulling out of the station according to schedule, 

Another moment arriving on the next platform. It 

Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away 

From their branches and gather slowly at our feet, 

Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving 

Around us even as its colorful weather moves us, 

Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets. 

And every year there is a brief, startling moment 

When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and 

Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless 

Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air: 

It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies; 

It is the changing light of fall falling on us. 


Fall by Edward Hirsch

 In Fall I saw 

a skyline of tree roofs 

blowing off in 

natural disasters 

of Biblical proportions. 

Every treehouse laid bare 

roofs to be mended in April 

when surplus roofing supplies arrive 

from Mother Nature 

painted bright shades of spring green 

with all the colors of the rainbow 

adorning the mended windows 

as the birds move into their summer homes. 

All in the right time 

not before 

I have known days of the extreme

Both hot and cold 

Pain and joy 

Full and empty 

I have wsited for spring 

I have been healed 

like the trees 

Now I wait for the time 

when the lovebirds come build their nest 

in my heart 




Nature Photos by Fisherman Dan @ Branford, CT

Word art found on facebook

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