life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the category “Quotes”

breaking the mold…feelin’ dangerously cheesy

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.      – Chesterton

In the pantry the dear dense cheeses, Cheddars and harsh

Lancashires; Gorgonzola with its magnanimous manner;

the clipped speech of Roquefort; and a head of Stilton

that speaks in a sensuous riddling tongue like Druids.

O cheeses of gravity, cheeses of wistfulness, cheeses

that weep continually because they know they will die.

O cheeses of victory, cheeses wise in defeat, cheeses

fat as a cushion, lolling in bed until noon.

Liederkranz ebullient, jumping like a small dog, noisy;

Pont l’Évêque intellectual, and quite well informed; Emmentaler

decent and loyal, a little deaf in the right ear;

and Brie the revealing experience, instantaneous and profound.

O cheeses that dance in the moonlight, cheeses

that mingle with sausages, cheeses of Stonehenge.

O cheeses that are shy, that linger in the doorway,

eyes looking down, cheeses spectacular as fireworks.

Reblochon openly sexual; Caerphilly like pine trees, small

at the timberline; Port du Salut in love; 

Caprice des Dieux
eloquent, tactful, like a thousand-year-old hostess;

and Dolcelatte, always generous to a fault.

O village of cheeses, I make you this poem of cheeses,

O family of cheeses, living together in pantries,

O cheeses that keep to your own nature, like a lucky couple,

this solitude, this energy, these bodies slowly dying.

O Cheese by Donald Hall

why is it so hard to see you get in that line?

the one where you wait to fly away…

my heart is so full of you. 

I’m so very grateful for you,

for these days, 

full and joyful.

Over way too fast. 

There’s so much more to do,

too share,

talk about,



so handsome,




and practical. 

Always thinking,

finding yourself,

ready for more,

standing so tall 

with your quick smile,

and quick frown. 

I think about you little, 

eating cheese off your bed –

you were always a wild animal,

always manufacturing a tail from some found source. 

You were always so much more than that – 

you were always art,

always real life,

always finding God in the clouds,

always quick to find the silly,

my beautiful son. 

I laugh through my tears 

at the sheer gift of you. 

I love you pure,

to the deepest depths of myself. 

I can’t possibly comprehend it, 

but I know, somehow,

God loves you even more than I do. 

Breathe in, breathe out.  

Let go…

Fly free, be well, live full, and come back soon – 

my only prayers 



When the news came in over the phone

that you did not have cancer, as they first thought.

I was in the kitchen trying to follow a recipe,

glancing from cookbook to stove,

shifting my glasses from my nose to my forehead and back,

a recipe, as it turned out, for ratatouille,

a complicated vegetable dish

which you or any other dog would turn up your nose at.

If you had been here, I imagine

you would have been curled up by the door

sleeping with your head resting on your tail.

And after I learned that you were not sick,

everything took on a different look

and appeared to be better than it usually is.

For example (and that’s the first and last time

I will ever use those words in a poem),

I decided I should grate some cheese,

not even knowing if it was right for ratatouille,

and the sight of the cheese grater

with its red handle lying in the drawer

with all the other utensils made me marvel

at how this thing was so perfectly able and ready

to grate cheese just as you with your long smile

and your brown and white coat

are perfectly designed to be the dog you perfectly are.

Good News by Billy Collins

photo sources found at

otters and birthdays and glimpses of the mystery   

Yeah, so, the past month has been an intense one for me in every way. A bit emotionally brutal. We can all relate, I’m sure. It’s shown me a lot of new things about myself, also revealed some new glimpses of this mystical mystery named, so simply, “Love,” in our language. 

I’ve been a student of the nature of Love for the past 7 years, which doesn’t seem very long, now that I write it down, but, I have to report, just this short time of study, it has changed me in every area of my life. 

My studies are always, first and foremost, practical. To me nothing I ‘believe’ is worth anything if it does not actually work in my living to bring me healing, make me a better human, remove my baggage to reveal my highest and best self, lead me into paths of peace and load my arms with fruit to share with fellow pilgrims along the way…and, so, I began by asking God to reveal what love was and how love worked. 

My first flash came in 2009, riding on a CT commuter train from New Haven to Branford, looking at the marsh fly by. I had been asking for some days, intensely seeking, when God showed himself to me as ‘LOVE.’ That brief instant changed everything for me. I experienced the Aleph of The Mystery and left that train, completely changed a flash or, in real time less than 30 minutes…

Many wonderful writers have helped me along this open-ended, unlimited path of discovery on this topic. I must give much beautiful credit to Henri Nouwen, who helped me early on in my excavation of this topic. His revelations, and life surrendered to this mystery, have inspired much learning in my own voyage on this simple, yet so radical, path. 

Over these years, I felt lead to share some of my tiny bits of insight with others – it has just been so amazing! So beautiful! So everything – I just wanted others to open to it as well, to learn and heal along with me!  Over these years I have learned to be a writer and a poet. Until recently I didn’t feel I could claim those ‘titles,’ but I do now, just another way love has changed me. I am so grateful. 

This brings us to yesterday, which brings us to Frederick Buechner’s 90th birthday! Buechner is one of the best, most beautiful, writers ever. Sometimes I stop breathing when I read his words. I won’t say more, at this moment, as this is becoming a very long post, but here’s my best advice: read him! 

Recently someone, somewhere, on Facebook, posted words by poet, Fred LaMotte. They deeply touched me and so I ‘friended’ him. Then he began posting his words and I found myself on Amazon ordering one of his books. I received it last week, and it has been moving me into some very deep waters. 

Yeah, so, back to yesterday, I re-posted a happy birthday write-up about Buechner and then…

I got this comment from Fred LaMotte:

He was the reason I became a teacher and a school chaplain. When I was a 10th grader at Exeter Academy (near Boston) he was the school chaplain. It was before he became a writer. One dreary morning in late Winter, we were 700 half asleep boys in morning ‘Chapel’ (it was just an assembly really), and decided to read to us. He read the entire 7th chapter of ‘The Wind In The Willows,’ ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn.’ It was very long and I think I might have been the only one stayed awake. It was amazing. Not only did it show me my first real piece of spiritual writing, but I thought, “Wow! This is his job? Reading to people about the great God Pan? I want to do this!” Thank you Frederick Buechner.


WOW!! Then Fred LaMotte shared that chapter of the Wind and the Willows, ya know, the one that inspired some pretty intense poetry, which is, at this moment plowing up some new fields in my back forty…

Wow upon WOW!

Here’s that link. My advice: Read it!!

I have not read The Wind in the Willows since I was a teenager, and, at that time I remember thinking it was rather stupid. My thoughts being something like, ‘Good grief, what in the heck is this about?’ 

Yesterday, I finally ‘got it!’ I broke down. I took my shoes off and bowed to the glory. Yesterday, a gift of love I offered was returned to me, unaccepted. I ‘got it!’ I broke down. I took my shoes off and bowed to the glory. There’s no right or wrong here, just gift. I choose to be only grateful to continue on in the, ‘yes and amen!’ of it all. 

I have no idea what Love (God) will teach me next. I am a very humble beginner. No Master here. Just a girl who cannot believe how lucky I am to be on this narrow road. A very unlikely pilgrim, I. Always wearing inappropriate shoes for climbing these steep hills, but somehow, always getting the view of the most beautiful sunsets imaginable. I guess it’s true what Babe Ruth said, ‘You can’t beat a man who keeps getting up!’

Here’s a song I wrote for my children’s musical about my life of faith, named: The Fantastical Inside-Out-Upside-Down Journey of a Rich Little Poor Girl 

 You Otter Know (verses spoken in the style of Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant/choruses in Sinatra style)

I was walking in the forest 

I was feeling all alone

The birds and bees were sleeping,

the weeping willow weeping
Then I heard a little creature

Start moving oh so slow

and the little brook began to play

music with its toes

the woodpecker was keeping time

upon that tall oak tree

and I could not help start dancing

cause I knew it was for me

and as I whirled and twirled about 

I came upon a log

and the beaver and the otter (Frank Sinatra style Beaver. Sammy Davis Otter)  

were acting more like hogs (pushing each other to get to the log stage with microphone) 

and then they each began to croon

they’re words were oh so rare

I stood there for a moment

my foot still in the air
and they sang to me…
You otter know I love you

loved you from the start

(if you’ll beaver me

then I’ll beaver you

You never walk alone)

You otter know I love you

love your precious heart

(beaver me it’s true

I’ve always loved you

You’re never far from home)
and the band it just kept playing

and my happy heart did gasp

Cause this was so much better

than that silly talking a** 

uhhh donkey
Then my heart it felt so happy

and my eyes at last could see

That though I hadn’t been aware

You’d never once left me

and as I danced on down that path

 I swear I sang this song

The one my friends had written,

which had been there all along
and I sang…
You otter know I love you

loved you from the start

(if you’ll beaver me

then I’ll beaver you

You never walk alone)

You otter know I love you

love your precious heart

(beaver me it’s true

I’ve always loved you

You’re never far from home



Ephesians 1:4

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  

New Living Translation

You don’t have to melt

until you are ready. 

Remember this:
Each moil of your unoiled joints,

every numb stiff gristle of resistance,

cramp of anger, clabber of shame,
clot of envy, opinion or belief,

is simply a mass of refusal

contracted into “me,”
a particle afraid to waltz

with its field, a wave

that will not settle to its sea,
a sky who thinks it is a cloud,

a self who didn’t give up

Don’t let go until you’re

ready, friend. You have forever. 

You remember this:
To melt is not to pass away,

but to pulverize diamonds 

with your dancing,
watch the spiraling fire

of your body, and witness

the whirled. 


Alfred K. LaMotte

Some mornings 

I wake up a king,

anointed, anticipated,

Some mornings

I wake up a pilgrim,

on a journey yet unseen,

but on a road laid out

with adventures to be met.
Some mornings 

I wake up a mule.

No power to wield,

nowhere to go,

just me, just here,

dull and pointless.
Those days

I must be 

most vigilant and ready,

for my master 

is a good samaritan

and I never know

when I will be needed

for something luminous.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

photo sources found at

I am fascinated by bold individualism       – Charles Cooper (meee tooooo!!!❤️)

dark matter sutra


last nite in the dark sky

a fox was calling

this eerie voice scathing scratching the air 

scaring every living thing around

straight out of a horror movie or worst 

some scary witch after me

 for all my past sins and debauchery 

I was ready to lock the doors

grab a pitch fork

throw the covers over my head


who knows really what a fox really is

maybe a prisoner in a fur body

trying to get out

some convict from a strange distant galaxy

“ .. and for your crimes against humanity

we shall set you on another world

known as earth

in strange body

with strange bedfellows

 whizzing bullets

and hungry wolves”


no matter what religion or science says 

you never really know

who or what is in these other bodies

each of us stardust 

catapulted from the infinite womb 

dark matter given form

like blue hanuman

or immortal sunlight


I will call out to you from the wilderness

a purple cloud in a wide room

a child with a halo

a bed of moss

or some eagle soaring above the plane

in a total act of rebellion 

from his dark matter sutra 




Adam DeFranco (c) 2016

‘There is No Path that Goes all the Way’

:-Han Shan
Not that it stops us looking 

for the full continuation. 
The one line in the poem 

we can start and follow


straight to the end. The fixed belief 

we can hold, facing a stranger 
that saves us the trouble 

of a real conversation. 
But one day you are not

just imagining an empty chair 
where your loved one sat. 

You are not just telling a story 
where the bridge is down 

and there’s nowhere to cross. 
You are not just trying to pray 

to a God you always imagined 

would keep you safe. 
No, you’ve come to a place 

where nothing you’ve done


will impress and nothing you 

can promise will avert 
the silent confrontation, 

the place where


your body already seems to know 

the way, having kept 
to the last, its own secret 

But still, 

there is no path 

that goes all the way,
one conversation 

leads to another,
one breath to the next 

there’s no breath at all,



the inevitable 

final release

of the burden.
And then,

wouldn’t your life 

have to start

all over again

for you to know

even a little

of who you had been?

Excerpt from ‘NO PATH”

From RIVER FLOW: New and Selected Poems by David Whyte

return to your own path

love leads us ever onward

to the open skies of freedom



photo sources

easy for you to say…  


A word about Communication:
“In promulgating your esoteric cogitations, or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable, philosophical or psychological observations, beware of platitudinous ponderosity. Let your conversational communications possess a clarified conciseness, a compact comprehensibility, coalescent consistency, and a concatenated cogency. Eschew all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity, jejune babblement and asinine affectations.

Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility and veracious vivacity, without rhodomontade or thrasonical bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous prolixity, psittaceous vacuity, ventriloquial verbosity, and vaniloquent vapidity. Shun double-entendres, prurient jocosity, and pestiferous profanity, obscurant or apparent.

In other words, talk plainly, briefly, naturally, sensibly, truthfully, purely. Keep from slang; don’t put on airs; say what you mean; mean what you say.”


try reading this aloud! 🙂  





I love you wild –

like oceans, volcanoes, tsunamis and bees

I love you natural –

like seasons, rainbows, and falling leaves

I love you large –

like Grand Canyon’s,   

the mountains and sky

I love you small – 

like the atom, lady bugs, birds flying high 

I love you tender – 

like mamas with babies, 

and soft, falling rain

I love you strong – 

like soldiers with orders,

and wind on the plains

I love you like every cliche ever written

I love you with words that can never be spoken 

I love you in mystery I can’t understand

when hearing your voice

or seeing your hands

I love you deeper than knowledge

and wider than life

You fill me with beauty,

with music,


you fill me with life. 



pick a peck of poems 


 Stop whatever it is you’re doing. 
Come down from the attic. 

Grab a bucket or a basket and head for light. 

That’s where the best poems grow, and in the dappled dark. 
Go slow. Watch out for thorns and bears. 
When you find a good bush, bow to it, or take off your shoes. 

Then pluck. This poem. That poem. Any poem. 

It should come off the stem easy, just a little tickle. 

No need to sniff first, judge the color, test the firmness. 
You’ll only know it’s ripe if you taste. 
So put a poem upon your lips. Chew its pulp. 

Let its juice spill over your tongue. 
Let your reading of it teach you 

what sort of creature you are 

and the nature of the ground you walk upon. 

Bring your whole life out loud to this one poem. 
Eating one poem can save you, if you’re hungry enough. 
When birds and deer beat you to your favorite patch, 

smile at their familiar appetite, and ramble on. 

Somewhere another crop waits for harvest. 
And if your eye should ever light upon a cluster of poems 

hanging on a single stem, cup your hand around them 

and pull, without greed or clinging. 

Some will slip off in your palm. 

None will go to waste. 

Take those you adore poem-picking when you can, 

even to the wild and hidden places. 

Reach into brambles for their sake, 

stain your skin some shade of red or blue, 

mash words against your teeth, for love. 
And always leave some poems within easy reach 

for the next picker, in kinship with the unknown. 

If you ever carry away more than you need, 

go on home to your kitchen, and make good jam. 

No need to rush, the poems will keep. 

Some will even taste better with age, 

a rich batch of preserves. 

Store up jars and jars of jam. Plenty for friends. 

Plenty for the long, howling winter. Plenty for strangers. 

Plenty for all the bread in this broken world. 

On How to Pick and Eat Poems by Phyllis Cole-Dai


photos found at 





When our eyes are graced with wonder, the world reveals its wonders to us. There are people who see only dullness in the world and that is because their eyes have already been dulled. So much depends on how we look at things. The quality of our looking determines what we come to see.

     – John O’Donohue
 A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases, it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made of our searching; yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits.

Excerpt from “Endymion” Book I by John Keats

Listen to my favorite song!

What A Wonderful World

photo sources found at


think about it…

A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it
A song’s not a song ’til you sing it
Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay
Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!
– Oscar Hammerstein II




Over and over again, we lose site of what is important and what isn’t. We crave things over which we have no control, and not satisfied by the things within our control. We need to regularly stop and take stock; to sit down and determine within ourselves which things are worth valuing and which things are not. – Epictetus


The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives. – Joseph Campbell


life is good

“Self-pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous
daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and
undertake the most interesting game in the world — making the most of one’s life.
– Harry Emerson Fosdick



the only real question

The question is not
How am I to love God?
How am I to let myself be loved by God?
– Henri Nouwen


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