I Knew We Would Be Friends
As soon as you opened your mouth,
And I heard your soft sounds,
I knew we would be friends.
The first time, dear pilgrim, I heard you laugh,
I knew it would not take me long,
To turn you back into God
By Hafiz, Sufi poet
There is a Vitality – Martha Graham
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy,
a quickening that is translated through you into action.
And because there is only one you in all time,
this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium . . .
the world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is,
nor how valuable,
nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours,
Clearly and directly,
To keep the channel open’
Martha Graham, in: Dance to the Piper
It is your business to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly
to the urges that motivate you.
Keep the channel open.
No artist is ever pleased.
There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.
There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction;
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes us more alive than the others.
–Blessed unrest – Martha Graham to Agnes De Mille.
Love After Love by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
TILICHO LAKE by David Whyte
In this high place
it is as simple as this,
leave everything you know behind.
Step toward the cold surface,
say the old prayer of rough love
and open both arms.
Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished,
there, in the cold light
reflecting pure snow
the true shape of your own face.
‘I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear without my contriving.
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing to you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea
(in: Rilke’s Book of Hours:Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)
You wreck my shop and my house and now my heart,
but how can I run from what gave me life?
I`m weary of personal worrying,
in love with the art of madness!
Tear open my shame and show the mystery.
with self-restraint and fear?
Friends, this is how it is:
We are fringe sewn inside the lining of a robe.
Soon we`ll be loosened, the binding threads torn out.
The beloved is a lion.
We`re the lame deer in his paws.
Consider what choices we have!
when the Friend says, come into me.
Let me show my face.
you saw it once in preexistence,
Now you want to be quickened
and quickened again.
We have been secretly fed from beyond space and time.
That`s why we look for something more than this.
Fringe by Rumi
Remember – Joy Harjo
Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
I met her in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn,
that is the strongest point of time.
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth,
how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath.
You are evidence of her life,
and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth, brown earth,
we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life
who all have their tribes, their families,
their histories, too.
Talk to them,
listen to them.
They are alive poems.
Remember the wind.
Remember her voice.
She knows the origin of this universe.
I heard her singing Kiowa war dance songs
at the corner of Fourth and Central once.
Remember that you are all people
and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe
and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.