life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the month “March, 2016”

doors, windows, bridges, kite’s flying high

It is big sky and its changes,

the sea all round and the waters within.

It is the way sea and sky

work off each other constantly,

like people meeting in Alfred Street,

each face coming away with a hint

of the other’s face pressed in it.

It is the way a week-long gale

ends and folk emerge to hear

a single bird cry way high up.
It is the way you lean to me

and the way I lean to you, as if

we are each other’s prevailing;

how we connect along our shores,

the way we are tidal islands

joined for hours then inaccessible,

I’ll go for that,

and smile when I

pick sand off myself in the shower.

The way I am an inland loch to you

when a clatter of white whoops and rises…
It is the way Scotland looks to the South,

the way we enter friends’ houses

to leave what we came with, or flick

the kettle’s switch and wait.

This is where I want to live,

close to where the heart gives out,

ruined, perfected,

an empty arch against the sky

where birds fly through

instead of prayers

while in Hoy Sound

the ferry’s engines thrum

this life this life this life.

Orkney / This Life
Andrew Greig

For Catherine and Jamie

this birth of awaiting changes

this for that

tit for tat

tuxedo memories

pinstripe debonair

glamour hangs

like confetti in the air

life goes

round and round

flinging dreams

synthetic roads

leading nowhere

screams and laugher

hardest when not fair

up one side now

down the other there

we hang on

we stomp our feet

and swear

this ain’t right

this we cannot bear

life goes forward

ever on and on

wanting only

to change our point of view

we are loved

no matter what we lose

love will win

love’s always

life’s sweet muse

sight or blind

the vision ours to choose



I’ll be the wild that keeps your heart in the clouds and you’ll be the anchor that keeps my feet on the ground.


by Victoria Erickson

Hey, wait a minute…(pause…..)
Living artfully with time might only require something as simple as pausing.

—Thomas Moore

Let Me Tell You About Beginnings..

today’s study’s 

Some people move through your life

like the perfume of peonies, heavy

and sensual and lingering.

Some people move through your life

like the sweet musky scent of cosmos

so delicate if you sniff twice, it’s gone.

Some people occupy your life

like moving men who cart off

couches, pianos and break dishes.

Some people touch you so lightly you

are not sure it happened. Others leave

you flat with footprints on your chest.

Some are like those fall warblers

you can’t tell from each other even

though you search Petersen’s.

Some come down hard on you like

a striking falcon and the scars remain

and you are forever wary of the sky.

We all are waiting rooms at bus

stations where hundreds have passed

through unnoticed and others

have almost burned us down

and others have left us clean and new

and others have just moved in.


The visible and the in- by Marge Piercy

my fellow exalted, beautiful beings,

full of grace,

as we touch and pass,

respectfully remember to forget:
surrender struggles to catch it’s breath,

then falls soft

as evening prayers at twilight,

gathering into the corners of our hearts

before falling full onto the center of our living circle,

free and happy as ‪Friday night‬.

next morning’s sun fills us,

each day, each season.

nurture moves with grace,

evolving slowly thru

our caring hands,

our grieving hearts,

our shared experience,

our acts of courage,

the healing salt of our tears.

with pieces of our true love,

we fly flags,

of prayer,

of peace,

of poems,

of our own making

to heal the worlds –

within us/

without us.

we allow –

simply complex.

we understand –

clearly unclear.

we stand and fill our world with the beauty

of sound,

of hum,

of voice,

of music,

protecting us

from lesser gods,

the terror all around.

love is the shield,

love is the answer,

love is the choice,

love is our glory,

our salvation,

crowning us

sons and daughters

of stars and starships.

at times,

in spite of our broken pieces,

shattered places,

our refusal to believe,

even our own darkened hearts.


isn’t it?

ok, now forget it all –

and practice tenderness.




magical moments 

Look, your longing swung from the trapeze.

The clown is you as well and the tame tiger

who begs for mercy calls someone to mind.

Even the tin-pot music

has its charm; it seems

you’re starting to make peace

with your times

(everyone else has,

why not me? —you say).

So why then does the circus tent

rise above an ancient graveyard?


Circus by Adam Zagajewski

Translated by Clare Cavanagh

I didn’t intend to eat my

Chocolatini until last…

It was my shooting star!

My most special-to-look-forward-to,

my magic bullet,

my favorite,

intention for the ending of the box.




Longed for.

But then,

I finished my book.

I finished reading

The Night Circus,

and my chocolatini is the closest thing

I could find to a chocolate mouse

to celebrate with!

What a cool book!

I have not read a novel for a long time,

have not found one that captured me in years…

until now.

No hesitation with my truffle choice today –

it was the best show of respect,

and gratitude to stories,

to writers,

to imagination,

I could give.

The circus arrives without warning…

the circus of dreams…

and we are swept away by the very taste of it…





I just went to the circus for the first time last night

My super-secret-surprise

Was awesome!

I’ve always wanted to go!

I wonder what I would have felt as a child

I was so sensitive

I think I would have closed my eyes

And cried

I almost felt like that at age 45

I’m glad you held my hand


It was

The ultimate show of over consumption

A spectacular spectacle

A mix-match of the brilliant and the bizarre

Awesome and cheesy all wrapped to go

From beginning to end

Never taking a breath

Pounding and pounding

The ringmaster

Ablaze with rhinestones

The acrobats and the clowns

The elephants and the tigers


(Doing tricks

They didn’t seem to really enjoy)

As they steal the show!

Animals are amazing!
I love trapeze artists flying so high

The bearded lady and the wild man of Borneo

Made honorable mention

With a clown act

That was tongue in cheek

in our PC era of art
Men balancing women

And women balancing men

Each showing their skill

As they contort their bodies

into abnormal positions

sequined outfits

shining in the lights

Motorcycles in a steel ball

4, 5, 6, 7

until it is a blur

how can they do that?

Meetal Man (we renamed him Meatball man)

Holding up astounding weights

As people pile on top of people

On top of him

Trampolines, glitter

Pirates, stilts, dancing beautiful girls

Dancing lion suits

With two people rolling in harmony

under more people in lion suits

more and more

too much to see

too much to process

too much to comprehend

my eyes trying to go 2, 3, 4…different directions

as it plays on and on

with tired children crying

and spilling snowcones

and popcorn

as the parents

(Many a freak-show themselves)

try to ignore them


It is spectacular



Slightly disturbing at times

A Mix of over-blown showmanship


amazing talent

The beautiful and the weird

All mixed together

Delivered at breakneck speed

With so much energy it wears out the eyes

And my mind

Which definitely can’t comprehend it all
I loved it…

and I wanted to run away…
Yes, this is the legacy

of what PT Barnham had in mind

This is the circus!


Slight of hand, smoke and mirrors, lights and flash

making everything more

brilliant than it could possibly be

This is definitely, over the top, big-top

Self declared…

but it still could be true…

…the greatest show on earth!





find art sources at


When we are touched by the presence of sacred wonder, we do not suddenly run away from the darkness and pretend that it does not exist. Nor do we try to explain away the darkness or become lost in angst over questioning how such darkness can possibly exist. Rather, seeing the greater divine light even a little, we start to see how our delusions only cause ourselves and others such suffering. This growing realization can then begin to slowly open our hearts to compassion and love, both for ourselves and for all other beings who toil in the darkness, caught in cycles of pain, fear, and ignorance. From this love also comes a growing commitment to fight the delusions and the darkness and to serve the light however we can. Indeed, each one of us can fight the darkness in our own ways and in our own time.  
First, we can begin to fight our own delusions and grow spiritually as best we can. We can work toward our own awakening and strive to gain our own growing clarity of vision that allows us to see more and more the delusions for what they are and to see, beyond the delusions, the boundless preciousness of all life, including our own. We cannot truly begin to help others and the world until we begin to clear the clouds from our own eyes. And to do this, we need to start cultivating an open heart of loving-kindness for all life. The true end of suffering comes with the dawning of a deep wisdom that sees the transient, impermanent veneer, but also sees the very present and real luminous spiritual reality that flows through all of us. This requires a commitment to fight first our own intolerance, cruelty, arrogance, anger, and hatred. Change must start in our own hearts and minds and must start with exercising kindness towards ourselves and to those around us in our daily lives.  
Second, we can work to not add to the darkness in our own corner of the world and work instead to shed whatever light we can, even if it is only in the small interactions with others in our daily lives. Our everyday interactions, no matter how humble, can call forth the divine light into our own lives and those around us, when we act with a kind and loving intention. It is certainly wonderful when good people affect positive change on a community wide or larger basis in society. Such efforts need to be supported and commended. But not all of us are always in a position to affect larger societal change. This does not stop us,however, from working quietly in our small corner of the world, bringing light to our own lives and bringing some light to those around us. Such efforts are not to be put down, but have infinite significance. Even a few lights in a darkened city shed beauty and wonder. 

Indeed, the light of love, no matter how small, makes a difference, and the world will be healed only when all of the small corners are filled with light and love. And that will happen only when each of us makes that effort where we stand in the moment in our daily lives.


Steven Jay at simpleinnertruths

on the edge of flying. 

the verge of breaking through 

standing in the pouring rain

hoping to find you,

somewhere in the darkness

of this dark and stormy night,

questions with no answers

colliding with the light. 

bloody battles all around,

I’m caught within my pain. 

holding on to faith in something

in the middle of this fight. 

at the end of living

not knowing what to do,

tears, they match the weather

flooding from my soul. 

I shake my head for clearing,

prepare my heart to fight,

struggle to my aching feet

step into the ring of light.

death lies all around me,

as I pray this simple prayer, 

release me for a moment,

there’s work for me to do. 




 For the dulness that encloses me I pray
your grace burn off the morning fog.

That the dream of doubt I wear like clothes

I pray may in your light dissolve, and fall away.

For healing of the wound that is a world that is a wall 

between me and your delight, and mine, I pray.

From the coma of my fears awaken me

with your warming, seeing sun. 

For my eyes, sleep-sealed and glazed, I pray

to see the nub and fullness of what is. 

From the soft bed of my grave

raise me into this day amazed and new.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light




meanwhile, back at the reservation…




 The World Is in Pencil
—not pen. 

It’s got

that same silken
dust about it, 

doesn’t it,

that same sense 

having been roughed

onto paper 

even as it was planned.

It had to be a labor
of love. 

It must’ve taken its author

some time, some shove.

I’ll bet it felt good
in the hand—

the o

of the ocean, 

the and 

of the land.


The World Is in Pencil by Todd Boss

Easter God,

roll away the stone 

from the tomb of my heart.
Let the morning light 

of your love

shine in.
As light forgives darkness,

fills it, 

transforms it,
your love forgives me,

fills me, 

transforms me.
I am not among the dead—

my guilt, my shame, my fear.

You have brought me to life. 
The light of your love raises me,

sets me free,

leads me out into this new day,



Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

 This is why we survive the winter

The world shows off

Flowers are bursting color

Flaming forsythia frames the river

Fuzzy trees and bushes make me squirmy happy 

The sky beams blue

The water waves joyfully

The sand gladly greets, 

us with our winter legs

(except for the hardcore tanning bed crowd – already too brown for the rest of us)

little girls and their tattooed fathers pick up shells and rocks

to fill purple buckets of heartwarming, serious cuteness

coconut oil floats deliciously on the warm breeze 

I can’t stop smiling

Spring has sprung

Let love begin




love is in the air 




I open myself to Your love

I move into being Your beloved

I allow myself the gift of confidence

I allow my insecurities to drift away

I stop trying to impress you with my gifts

with my ability to love you enough

I don’t have to prove anything

I have to be willing to trust

The keys to the kingdom 

come through my laying down 


like you on that cross

for one reason only

because you love me passionately 

I can’t help but love You

I will give up my way

and trust Your plan

Your resurrection

Your love

no matter what comes

running with patience

knowing that it’s all for my good

because I know You 

You have restored my soul

You have given me life

Surely goodness and mercy

now follow me everywhere 

like cute puppy dogs

playing on the green grass 

licking my face 

with happiness

love keeps changing me

every flower is grace




2…the space between  


 “For us women the spiritual life, in one way, is easier than for men. Only a certain temperament of man can surrender like we can surrender. And spiritual life is surrender. Bhai Sahib said, ‘Women are taken up through the path of love, for love is a feminine mystery.’ He said we women do not need many spiritual practices. We need only to renounce. Renounce what? Renounce the world. Complete renunciation, which is the most difficult thing for the woman, is necessary. I had to do it—to give everything away. Bhai Sahib said to me, “You cannot say to the Beloved, ‘Oh I love you, but this is mine, and so far and no further.'” You have to give everything away, including yourself, in complete surrender.”

~ Irina Tweedie (20th century Russian Sufi mystic)





Yesterday, this poem (below) resurfaced. I wrote it a while ago, after a disappointment. It immediately spoke up and wanted to appear on the blog…I said, hmmmm, do I really want to go there in public? It kept saying, yes (and refusing to be ignored). OK. Surrender brings humility. Rejection beings a chance to learn new layers. Love, and life, require courage. 

 So, I am posting this poem for whoever it is for…

 have you ever given,
or received,

a gift –


or misunderstood?
We’ve built a whole retail myth of love 

from giving, 


unwanted gifts. 

‘Re-gifting’ is a popular side effect 

of things taken,

out of obligation,

by others who don’t want, 

or think they need,

the present presented. 
It’s a thing in relationships as well,

it takes two to tango. 

If one person is wanting something,

the other is not able to understand,

or accept, 

it just doesn’t work. 
This week I experienced a return. 

My greatest gift,

the gift of me, 

held out to another. 

My gift was not wanted,

so, eventually, I withdrew

this large, tall gift of 


complete with all I have to bring to a relationship. 

I wanted to share this with someone,

who I love,

but that person doesn’t want the same thing I want. 

This gift of sharing all of the various shades, shapes and colors of our souls 

in this amazing thing called life. 
One of my lessons,

hardest learned –

you can’t give someone something, 

if they don’t want it. 
I have become mindfully committed to 

not allowing a glimpse of possibility,

or potential,

to derail me from what I really want.
Never. never. never….


Never. never. never….

You can make lemonade from lemons, 


you can’t make a silk purse

out of a sow’s ear. 
This week I received blessed closure. 

The final collapse of space held for another to enter

The invitation explored, 


I moved into new, beautiful space. 

No more allowing,

or trying to give myself

to someone who didn’t really want what I have to give. 

It’s not wrong,

it’s just painful. 
Unconditional love is free,

living and giving it 

requires responsibility to living my highest and best 

and requiring that in return. 

I believe in it,



it will cost you,

change you,

require much more than cheaper versions of love. 

Not everyone can accept the responsibility of this gift,

which always requires the best of us,

the same in gift in return,

knowing its value,

tenderest of care,

thinking of the other, 

stepping out of our ego, 

into its vast ocean of mystery,

life changing grace. 

This week I followed the gift full circle. 
I woke up a bit sad, 

truthfully, for both of us,

but new,

released from the wish of what was not to be. 
I hope to be able to re-gift it soon,

to someone 

who truly knows how to value it,

nurture it,

return it to me,


with the dream,

the vision,

of what could be,

if we build an ark of this love,

sail into the mystic

and invite the world 

to the best party ever…

Water into wine,

has always been,

just the beginning of miracles!!!!!




do the best work 

 I only know of one duty and that is to love.


– Albert Camus 

and the cost of love,

both kinds of tears

Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light


 If prayer would do it
I’d pray.
If reading esteemed thinkers would do it

I’d be halfway through the Patriarchs.
If discourse would do it

I’d be sitting with His Holiness

every moment he was free.
If contemplation would do it

I’d have translated the Periodic Table

to hermit poems, converting

matter to spirit.
If even fighting would do it

I’d already be a blackbelt.
If anything other than love could do it

I’ve done it already

and left the hardest for last.


~ Stephen Levine 


Good Friday 


 Copperleaf Lane is dancing in white,
like a row of brides,

as ready, 

as they possibly could be 

to say, I do. 

I drive through the flower strewn pathway

feeling special,

like life is unfolding,

just for the love of me.  

I am beloved, 

a daughter of graces,

twirling within this beauty,

this bounty,

the world’s abundance falling freely around me. 

I sing,

la dee da dee da

You keep filling my senses,

you keep walking towards me,


that beautiful heart of yours,

held gently, 


within your hands –

the perfect gift

for a girl like me. 

Heaven is holding its breath…

counting intensely…




The moment you have spoken the exact words that describe your distance from where you want to be, the moment you have uttered the exact aching dimensionality of your own exile, you have already turned around, faced the other way and taken the first steps on the long awaited journey home… 


David Whyte


Re-imagining Work, Self and Relationship

   yesterday I was born a leaf

a small fragile tender wisp

trembling as I hung on the vine

yesterday I was a gust of air

short lived, but not insignificant 

full of bone rattling cold and hat disturbing bravado

yesterday I was a large, slow, snow flake

plopping down like a wet goose feather

making the world a magical place

yesterday I was a world made of glass

lying shattered on the floor

hoping to be recycled into a new and useful object

yesterday I was various people

a student, a host, a friend, a lover

feeling my way into the next moment hoping to find a way home

yesterday I stood tall as a tree

proud yet with humble confidence 

accepting what winter brought, gently weeping, 

embracing this brand new life bringing




here’s the thing…

what’s a girl to do with all this happiness?

what sort of containers can hold this amount of wild joy?

will howling at the moon help disperse it into the world?

or dancing in a beautiful fountain, with you, bring sanity?

what if I shout it proud to everyone I pass on street? 

will they clap to hear my good news? 

will you wish me happy for every morning and evening? 

will you take a train, plane or automobile to see me? 

will you hold me & tell me that I’m the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen?

will you love me with all you are for everything I am right now,

and ever will be becoming?

living well is my best revenge

won’t it would be nice to share this happiness? 

do wild and crazy things?

come on, everybody,

let’s let joy flow in big puddles all around us,

till we jump like children,

till we swim in the ocean of all this blessed grace



black n white


find more amazement from Tyler Spangler @
I reason, Earth is short —
And Anguish — absolute —
And many hurt,
But, what of that? 

I reason, we could die —
The best Vitality
Cannot excel Decay,
But, what of that? 

I reason that in Heaven —
Somehow, it will be even —
Some new Equation, given —
But, what of that?


I reason, Earth is short… (301) by Emily Dickinson


I sink back upon the ground, expecting to die. A voice speaks out of my ear, You are not going to die, you are being changed into a zebra. You will have black and white stripes up and down your back and you will love people as you do not now. That is why you will be changed into a zebra that people will tame and exhibit in a zoo. You will be a favorite among children and you will love the children in return whom you do not love now. Zoo keepers will make a pet of you because of your round, sad eyes and musical bray, and you will love your keeper as you do not now. All is well, then, I tell myself silently, listening to the voice in my ear speak to me of my future. And what will happen to you, voice in my ear, I ask silently, and the answer comes at once: I will be your gentle, musical bray that will help you as a zebra all your days. I will mediate between the world and you, and I will learn to love you as a zebra whom I did not love as a human being.


I sink back upon the ground… by David Ignatow


In “Farewell to Arms” Ernest Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

       – Ocean Palmer quotes EH   
photos found at


Little bird why you singin’ that sad song?

Makin’ me cry as I sing along

Did you know that your cage doors open wide?

All ya gotta do is just step outside. 
Can’t nobody stop you
Cause you were born to fly

Til you touch the sky

Friends with every tree

You were born to be free

And I’ll dance along 

To your freedom song
Little girl why you singin’ that sad song?

Cause he robbed you, now you’ve got no home

Think you’re stuck, locked inside of this damn cage

broken heart, broken dreams upon this page 
Little boy I know that song you sing

She’s not right, you can do anything. 

Cause your so much stronger than these chains. 

you are free and your freedom bells just rang
Can’t nobody stop you
Cause you were born to fly

Til you touch the sky

Friends with every tree

You were born to be free

And I’ll dance along 

To your freedom song
If we don’t use it

We ain’t free

It’s our choice 

It’s up to each

If we don’t choose it

We won’t ever be

Everything we were born to be
Can’t nobody stop us
Cause we were born to fly

Til we touch the sky

Friends with every tree

We were born to be free

Won’t you dance along 

To our freedom song



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