life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the category “quiet”

inhale to receive exhale to give      

Earth our waitress

            comes to the table in her rumpled apron

            stained with a hundred juices.

            “What will it be this morning?” 
            “Let’s start with some mist

            in one of those green valleys,

            and a cup of black loam with

            a single tree frog.

            Then fallen apples over easy

            with extra worms,

            a side of scattered leaves

            in a caramelized sunbeam.” 
            “That comes with Summer’s last

            abandoned bird’s nest salad.

            Or soup of the day, fern bog

            with skunk cabbage and blue

            “I’ll take the soup,

            a half carafe of Autumn rain,

            and a cruller the shape

            of a groundhog’s hole.” 
            She remembers your order by heart.

            Old ones keep coming back to this place.

            They bring grandchildren.

            She knows what you love. 
            There’s a line to get in.

            Sometimes it seems

            we have to wait a year,

            but its worth it.


Alfred K LaMotte

Packed in my mind lie all the clothes

Which outward nature wears,

And in its fashion’s hourly change

It all things else repairs.
In vain I look for change abroad,

And can no difference find,

Till some new ray of peace uncalled

 Illumes my inmost mind.
What is it gilds the trees and clouds,

 And paints the heavens so gay,

But yonder fast-abiding light

With its unchanging ray?
Lo, when the sun streams through the wood,

  Upon a winter’s morn,

Where’er his silent beams intrude

The murky night is gone.
How could the patient pine have known

The morning breeze would come,

Or humble flowers anticipate

The insect’s noonday hum,—
Till the new light with morning cheer

From far streamed through the aisles,

And nimbly told the forest trees

For many stretching miles?
I’ve heard within my inmost soul

Such cheerful morning news,

In the horizon of my mind

Have seen such orient hues,
As in the twilight of the dawn,

When the first birds awake,

Are heard within some silent wood,

Where they the small twigs break,
Or in the eastern skies are seen,

Before the sun appears,

The harbingers of summer heats

Which from afar he bears.

The Inward Morning 

Henry David Thoreau

Every night before I go to sleep

I say out loud

Three things that I’m grateful for,

All the significant, insignificant

Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.

It’s a small practice and humble,

And yet, I find I sleep better

Holding what lightens and softens my life

Ever so briefly at the end of the day.

Sunlight, and blueberries,

Good dogs and wool socks,

A fine rain,

A good friend,

Fresh basil and wild phlox,

My father’s good health,

My daughter’s new job,

The song that always makes me cry,

Always at the same part,

No matter how many times I hear it.

Decent coffee at the airport,

And your quiet breathing,

The stories you told me,

The frost patterns on the windows,

English horns and banjos,

Wood Thrush and June bugs,

The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,

An old coat,

A new poem,

My library card,

And that my car keeps running

Despite all the miles.

And after three things,

More often than not,

I get on a roll and I just keep on going,

I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning,

Blankets pulled up to my chin,

Awash with wonder

At the sweetness of it all.

Three Gratitudes

these two pictures are from Robin OK’s morning from Michigan. The rest are from my morning walk in Branford, CT with Phoebe Snow Good Times!

adding this below – just sent via text from my friend, Anni, currently in Scotland for her daughters wedding!! 

and from my friend, Bill…this day just keeps giving…

and from the lunch table

blank space

Today I find myself empty

Empty of words

Empty of color

Empty of strength

Empty of grief

Empty of empathy

Empty of ability

Empty of thoughts even

I’ve been here many times 

I understand it better now

I will allow

I will rest

rest from thought

rest from guilt

rest from wanting

rest from expecting 

rest from having to

rest from desire

I rest in my truth

rest in faith

rest in trust

rest in love

rest in what I believe 

rest in what I have experienced 

I will just be

stay open

stay present

stay here now

in wordless prayer –

Allowing the emptiness to be 

Today I am empty

and it is

well with my soul. 



Writing about empty mind is not easy.

When I have got it, there are no words.

When the words come, it goes away.
Sitting in anger and fear,

Mind is full of the past and future.

Images of catastrophes big and small

Jostle for a seat at the brain.

Resentment, incredulity and disappointment

Slide their way into heart spaces

Pushing out loving-kindness.

Equanimity lies in pieces.
Some of us scrape up that slimy

Emotional stuff and put it in jars

To carry along with us,

And then we complain that

Our load is too heavy.

We need to put down that

Lumpy sack of ooze

And take a breath.
The sage said,

“I pack no provisions for my long journey—

Entering emptiness under the midnight moon.”

He did not pack his ego,

Or his remembrance of self.

He carried no big plans

Or regrets of the past.

Like a wise fool he may have

Even forgotten to leave.

While he sits still in darkness,

The moon travels the sky.


Empty Mind by Tom Barrett


I have a small vial of clay

that used to hold my father’s ashes.

They’re on a hillside in Montana now;

the vial is clean and empty,

ready for me. 
I should keep it in my pocket,

hold it deep in the folds of my coat,

until I am folded into my little vial of clay.
It asks me, what is the difference

between you and clay?

The answer is water.

That, and love. 
The little vial of clay says daily:

drink water while you can,

and love. 


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

There is a community of the spirit.

Join it, and feel the delight

of walking in the noisy street

and being the noise.
Drink all your passion,

and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes

to see with the other eye.
Open your hands,

if you want to be held.
Sit down in this circle.
Quit acting like a wolf, and feel

the shepherd’s love filling you.
At night, your beloved wanders.

Don’t accept consolations.
Close your mouth against food.

Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.
You moan, “She left me.” “He left me.”

Twenty more will come.
Be empty of worrying.

Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.

Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always

widening rings of being.


A Community of the Spirit by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.
       – Rumi

threads that won’t break 

On Dec 3, 2014 (2 year anniversary of my living death in the dark night of the soul, I got a post titled Love never Dies from Jen Lemen at Hopeful World

Here’s a taste of what it said:
I am struck also as I write to you from this wintery desk, that building our capacity for stillness helps so much when the wild comes to our restless souls. Without that practice of being quiet, it’s easy to be scared when our wild, instinctual thoughts pop up. It’s easy to think that they are bad somehow or in need of corralling. But the practice of quiet and stillness helps us recognize our instinctual knowing for what it is: a call to our most true nature. A call to a kind of expression that is more vibrant, more textured, more passionate, more alive–even if it’s a little bit messy. Even if it kicks up a little bit of shame that we are this human, this raw.
So I invite you today to sit with me for three magic minutes. I’ll be right here with you, my own mind a rollercoaster of crazy, of frantic, of nonsensical worrisome things. I’ll sit with you and notice everything in my own soul, while you notice everything in yours and together we will begin to knit together an understanding of what’s underneath that noise: a gorgeous, exquisite tapestry of human longing designed to carry us to an awake magnificent place.
Will you join me?

Setting the timer now.

Let me know how it is on the other side.
With so much love,

It’s now 3.5 years later and Jen Lemen is still bringing all that, and more to me, to you, to the shaky, hoping world, to the edges of eternity…love never dies. 
Today, in this crazy, brutal brutal place, where we ask…
how can these two people be our Presidential choices?
how can people keep killing other people?
how can I deal with the grief and the fear of this? 
how can I help?
what is the solution? 
what is my part? 
Jen Lemen is doing her part. She’s offering Soul Snacks –
Amazing gifts to all of of struggling, hungry, hurting, angry, frustrated pilgrims and poets. 
Right now she has open enrollment and I have just this…
Don’t wait!
Gobble this up, savor it a bite at a time, eat them from start to finish, or nibble from the middle to each edge of crust. Savory, delectable soul-spices involving all your most subtle senses.


Keep wrestling, burn, scream, let go, melt, let your heart keep breaking for the sake of your heart, keep saying the names of your people, fiercely defend your tenderness, think, grieve, repair, renew, continue to do what’s in your heart to do…each thread matters…each color makes the world more beautiful…
in the end, only love is eternal, only love remains…



We are God’s thread

weaving through the tapestry,

the masterpiece is slowly 


Potential for beauty, we can’t know,



          revealing glory 

so bright 

it makes the sun squint 

and reach for sunglasses.  

Brilliance so far beyond ourselves

we go shining into the gray

as we open to the new jewels appearing,

sparkling in the moonlight. 

As we step into the needle’s eye 

the angels catch their breath,

cheering our blazing garments,

dazzled by the vision

God is revealing through the creation. 

As we surrender to the greatest mystery,

the beauty we inhabit 

becomes us,

walking in humble clay

eyes out shining the stars 

set in the heavens. 

Until we totally disappear and all that’s left

is holiness 

so pure 

all we can do 


bow in wonder 

at ourselves

and give thanks 

as the silk thread 

becomes liquid gold and silver

pure and simple


as we realize our place in the whole. 

We are the temple of our creator. 

The home of God. 



As deftly and finally as one pulls out a thread

someone is weaving them, gracefully tying them,

minute and irreversible.
In the towering sky, even under the fortress, 

root tendrils muscle in and bind ligaments

through an abyss we had been told was absolute.
No enormity of terror

can keep up  

with the steady, unseen healing. 
Before the assault, the horrible wound, 

gaping and exposed,

the stitching has already begun.
Even as we sigh in our own world,

moving on, separate,

we are being sewn in. 
In the earthquake, the collapsing mountains,

not a bit of rubble falls

on the path from the temple.
If you could hold your immortal soul

in your hands, you would hardly recognize it

from one moment to the next.
Your grave is already empty. 

Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

photo sources found at

the hum of Sabbath and poems

There will be the clutter and clatter of pans,

the rumble and jumble of traffic and trains,

the brambles of papers and lists and calls,

the beaten paths, the errands, the chores.

You don’t have to rattle and run with them.

You can do one thing at a time.

You can stop 
and sit at the feet of the moment,

pay reverent attention to whatever it is,

and listen to the silence beneath the hum,

and simply be

in the the presence of the presence.

In all your doing that you surely must do,

you still can just be.

And your being

will become

what you do.

In the stillness within the action

sits the Beloved

who is not distracted with many things,

but only wants to sit awhile 

with you.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

I was reading…
yes, that was it…

then I was awake…
and it was late afternoon…
and I felt heavy,
but so grateful,
to be able to finally get that rest,
to hear that sweet sound of rain,
to feel the soft of the squishy pillows,
to smell the fresh cut flowers by my bed,
to experience the healing power
of sleep. 
to gain the clarity. 
to allow the next question. 
to prepare for the hard next steps.
to feel ready.
sleep is a magic source of strength.
a necessary part of living well.
But, really, I was just reading poems…



Poetry is the art of the spoken word, a tapestry of emotion sparked by a single phrase, that impacts the deepest resonances of a heart….that holds it’s meaning through history.


By AllPoetry fan, Taylor S.


Do you agree? 

How does poetry impact you?

photo sources at

into the silence

Now there was a great wind…

but the Lord was not in the wind;

and after the wind an earthquake,

but the Lord was not in the earthquake;

and after the earthquake a fire,

but the Lord was not in the fire;

and after the fire a sound of deep silence.

—1 Kings 19.11-12

Beneath the earthquake, wind and fire

that are always here

I listen for your silence

that is always here,

your deep, luscious silence

speaking to me, singing.
I listen to your deep silence

breathing in me.

I listen for the sound of it,

its great sea moving,

its stars whirling.

I listen into the deep

that welcomes me.
Beneath the noise and rush and flame

your silence unfolds in me,

the great rose of you

opening to my own silence

and I become your silence

unfolding into the world.



Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

to me great contentment is when you are able to sit on the porch looking at the beauty that God has made surrounding you, with a hot cup of coffee and nothing on your mind…

to drink in nature and commune in a silent, grateful, prayerful state without forcing words through your mind or your mouth…

just letting the thoughts slide through….coming and going as they will and feeling complete peace in your soul.

just to be in that moment and feel God’s presence and God’s peace to experience that moment of living…not expecting any- thing…

just feeling quite wonderful, not happy, not sad, just wonderful….very human and very alive.

it is interesting…because in the last couple of years…in some of my toughest times…I have experienced a lot of these wonderful moments of contentment…it is a complete surrender to the will of God and the Uni- verse – it is truly a wonderful thing…peace…



good bye for now – new things being birthed 💞 peace



 Longest night.

Darkness falls like snow,

falls and falls, 


Older than the universe,

here before it,

and will be after.

Wraps an arm around us

as if we’re old friends.

We are.

Darkness lives in us,

radiates from us.

We speak it.

Darkness is the velvet cloth

where you cherish the gem

of your presence among us,

darkness the womb,

darkness the manger

that cradles your light,

this holy being

that becomes us,

births us.

In the darkness

you do not come to us,

we come from you.

Because you are with and not apart,

even the darkness

is you.

Because you shine in it

the dark is our dark,

none of it unchanged.

Your being our light,

your hereness our life,

shining in the longest night.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light


 To go into the darkness with a light 
is to know the light. 

To know the dark, go dark. 

Go without light and find that the dark too, blooms and sings 

and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings. 

– Wendell Berry 

Black. out. black. 

Black. on. black. 

Dark. on dark. on dark. 

I was simply looking for home. 

Not knowing the current alley would lead 

to where the sidewalk ended 

I stepped off the edge 

out of the world of light 

waking into morning night 

a banished sun 

no stars 

or moon 

or streetlights 

or fireflies 

or lighters 

in pitch darkness 

I lay, unable to move, 

senses adjusting 

to what is my new reality 

hearing the life 

that lives here 

wondering if I’ll make friends 

while I’m here 

learning this new space. 




 Gift suggestions: 
To your enemy –  forgiveness. 

 To an opponent – tolerance. 

   To a friend – your heart. 

     To a customer – service. 

       To every child – a good example. 

          To all – love. 


           – Oren Arnold


time to get quiet

some years ask questions 

some shake the foundations of our worlds

in a year of answers

be as quiet as possible

practice solitude

acquaintance yourself with silence

open your inner ears

listen for voices from other dimensions 

care for your soul

allow deep mystery to bloom

sit in nature

find spots of beauty to fill you up

take time

go slow

so you can hear everything 

waiting to be revealed

for such a time as this






peace places 

A sense of place results gradually and unconsciously from inhabiting a landscape over time, becoming familiar with its physical properties, accruing history within its confines.- Kent Rydon

Photos by Fisherman Dan @ Branford, CT


I have abandoned the dream kitchens for a low fire 

and a prescriptive literature of the spirit; 

a storm snores on the desolate sea.

The nearest shop is four miles away— 

when I walk there through the shambles 

of the morning for tea and firelighters 

the mountain paces me in a snow-lit silence. 

My days are spent in conversation 

with deer and blackbirds; 

at night fox and badger gather at my door. 

I have stood for hours 

watching a salmon doze in the tea-gold dark, 

for months listening to the sob story 

of a stone in the road, the best, 

most monotonous sob story I have ever heard. 
I am an expert on frost crystals 

and the silence of crickets, a confidant 

of the stinking shore, the stars in the mud— 

there is an immanence in these things 

which drives me, despite my scepticism, 

almost to the point of speech, 

like sunlight cleaving the lake mist at morning 

or when tepid water 

runs cold at last from the tap. 
I have been working for years 

on a four-line poem 

about the life of a leaf; 

I think it might come out right this winter. 

The Mayo Tao by Derek Mahon
Curator’s note: “Mayo” refers to the County Mayo, in western Ireland. 

final word

There, don’t you hear it too?

Something is calling, although

The day is blank and gray.
The eye fastened on nothing,

The ear undistracted

And we with nothing to say.
But still that sense of calling,

Of something seeking attention

Beyond our consciousness.
That voice in voiceless things

When they cease to be themselves,

Losing their choice and purpose.
Joining the indiscriminate

Otherness which surrounds us

At our own times of withdrawal.
It is then that the world calls us

As if to reinterpret

Or to reconfigure.
Whose is this voice? A god’s?

Surely not. It seems

To be the voice of duty
That speaks of origins

And of relationships

Between things grown apart.
And I remember the muezzin

Singing every morning

Raptly, as if for himself.
Singing in the dark hour

At a distance, over all,

And yet outside our door.
His practised lilt spoke more

Of the puzzles of night than of

The determinations of morning.
As though the light had still

To be charmed into being

And each day a reward.
The voice is much like his,

A commanding meditation

Rising from the blankness.
Of a sleeping senselessness,

Thoughtful, improbable,

But stirring us to beauty.
And like his, the voice

Links us for a while

In its reiterations
Then ends abruptly, as if

Distracted by something else

Of no great importance.


Calling by John Fuller

 photos found @

between the lines


When did you last stand

still enough to hear?
The words whose

meaning lie

hidden amongst

the spaces in between.  


by Nic Askew



Listen to “Fragrance” (Live Acoustic Performance) – Mark & Sarah Tillman

Photo sources found at

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