Archive for the ‘Language’ Category


Harvest time. A slow and spectacular autumn…Indian summer. Already much darker. Chilly at night. Time to gather and store the abundance.

Daughter Sara arrived from Toronto today–a little bump of a pregnant belly. I am still wrapping my mind around this reality…enjoying; really savoring these moments…the miracle of life within and the delight of spending time together.


Radiance results from earth’s pressure,
life working on us with each moments precision
into clear cut uniqueness.

A community of precious human beings
with origins primitive and wild as diamonds,
faceted by skilled and invisible hands that turn us
upon a wheel dusted with God’s bright dark silence,
we become men and women joined to walk
swarthy, holy, original and transparent.

Catching first light of day upon ourselves,
our voices sing of truth and loveliness,
in response to vows first sung to us by stars.



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Whatever you have to say, leave
the roots on, let them

And the dirt

Just to make clear
where they come from


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Like anyone else who loves reading and writing, I am infinitely nosey–curious about the lives of poets and writers. I always read their acknowledgements; their dedications. I want to know who they are thanking–who brought salsa, beer and chips…who diapered and fed the kids; who was always there for them…who did the typing; who read and re-read pages late at night; who let them use a summer cottage; do they mention their parents? With Google at my fingertips, I’m a practiced stalker; I can drill down through the layers of anyone’s life.

Years ago, I read this James Wright poem–it took my breath away…


Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more, they begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.


Immediately, I wanted more…more poems, more details about this humble mid-western man who knew, “the ache and sorrow of darkened earth.” I discovered The Delicacy and Strength of Lace–a collection of his letters to Leslie Marmon Silko and her replies. It is the poignant story of their friendship that tells everything about who James Wright was.  A Wild Perfection is a comprehensive collection of his letters to Donald Hall, Mary Oliver, Theodore Roethke, Galway Kinnell, James Dickey,and Robert Bly. The letters, raw and vulnerable, speak of his creative process and his struggles with depression and illness…precious!

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Understanding well birth and death
You realize no birth.
Whoever understands true emptiness
Is clear about what I say.


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If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know already that I am a collector. I collect poems, I collect juicy questions, I collect cryptic and specific advice from great spiritual beings, and I also collect instructions. In fact, I love instructions and sometimes “rules.” I like instructions on how to write, “rules” for writing (but not grammar), instructions on how to live, how to cook, how to raise children. I don’t like the kind of instructions that relate to the operation of electronic equipment–with the exception of Apple products…these, I can generally make sense of and understand…I do appreciate the new “out of the box” type instructions that are mostly pictures.

There’s something fabulous about the directive; the specific step-by-step; the list…I don’t know what it is–it’s not that I follow instructions really, or rules–I just like to ponder them.

I realize that when I say, “I collect”…it is probably a polite way of saying, “I’m obsessed with…” I didn’t really know this about myself…except, now that I’m exploring my hard drive, my life, my brain, my library for inspiration on a daily basis, I see my little obsessions.



Give up the world; give up self; finally, give up God.
Find god in rhododendrons and rocks,
passers-by, your cat.
Pare your beliefs, your absolutes.
Make it simple; make it clean.
No carry-on luggage allowed.
Examine all you have
with a loving and critical eye, then
throw away some more.
Repeat. Repeat.
Keep this and only this:
what your heart beats loudly for
what feels heavy and full in your gut.
There will only be one or two
things you will keep,
and they will fit lightly
in your pocket.


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“Be in love with your life” is #4 on Jack Kerouac’s List, Belief & Technique for Modern Prose.

#21–“Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind..”
#28–“Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better…”
# 1–“Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy…”

These reminders are for the bold and courageous writers who joined me today to “Write Into the Present Moment” and for anyone else who cares to forge a relationship with their own mind through writing. I bow to you.

Through the branches of a tree
Utterly leafless
The sky deepens.

– KOKO –

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“Answers reflect the past. Questions advise you about the future.”
– Margaret Somerville –

Asking high quality questions of yourself and others is an art. David Cooperrider says, “The first question you ask is fateful.” And further, that individuals and human systems tend to grow in the direction of the questions they ask on a regular basis.

Here’s question that’s swirling in my consciousness these days…I dreamed it up after spending a few days with David at a conference in January.

How can I consistently engage my nervous system in an appreciative way of being and develop a neural fascination for what gives life, what creates hope and what supports genuine contact and connection with myself and with others?

The theory and practice of Appreciative Inquiry has shown me that when strength connects to strength and hope is connected to hope, creativity and resources abound. Experience has also shown me that my habitual ways of thinking lean more towards the classic Highlights Magazine puzzles I loved as a kid…”What’s Wrong with This Picture?” Positive sustainable change and an appreciative view go hand in hand…what can you appreciate right here and now in your world?

To appreciate means to increase in value and to become sensitively aware of. Look around–find a friend, a co-worker, a teacher, a sibling, a parent, a child, your husband, your wife,your partner, a politician, a CEO, a clerk, a cashier, a blogger, an author, a musician, a colleague, a dentist, a doctor, a repair person…someone to appreciate–go on an appreciative rampage. Send emails, write a letter, make a phone call; develop and stretch your own capacity. By all means, stay alert to the quality of the questions you live in–as Merliee Adams puts it, “change your questions, change your life.”


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