May 21- Mary Oliver – “Wild Geese”

“over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

Some few years ago,  I was catching up with an old friend after too long a hiatus.  I tracked his email address and found a batch of emails.  In three of them we exchanged posts about a poem both of us like a great deal.  I read it again and decided to post it on the second last Friday in this Spring’s wide open outpouring of this first Spring since the ordeal of Covid.   I imagined that my dad would have liked this poem a lot,   Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” brought me back to October 1980 when he died.  I wrote this journal note then.

“While he was dying – – after pancreatic cancer gone to the liver made him thin and jaundiced – –  one day he put on a business suit, now too big for his body, and went one last time to the modest city bank where he had been president for years.   He stopped at each person’s work place, told each one goodbye;  told them  that he was proud to have worked with them, shook hands, and came back  home where we had moved his bed downstairs into the dining room for his last weeks.

Dad was a man who enjoyed the ordinary human condition and respected the women and men who lived it :  He would have liked this poem.  The poem likes him I think.”

It’s good to read strong poems, like this one, out loud.

have a blest day.

john sj

Today’s Post:   “Wild Geese”

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

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May 19 – Jim Janda – “Crying For a Vision”

“to cry for a vision
is a sacred task”

The Lakota expression “hanblechia” means “he or she cries out for a vision.” It is the name of one of the most sacred Lakota rituals.  It begins with a sweat bath, singing begging-prayers as the bodies of the people in the sweat lodge welcome supersaturated steam from igneous rocks (n.b., which won’t explode when they have been fire-heated to deep red), the people in the dark lodge have broken a sweat before the singer pours the first dipper of water onto the rocks.  The lodge has the shape of a half circle. The singer does not pour the first water until the door flap is closed and the people have all taken a position sitting cross legged and naked.  In that posture, the roof of the lodge is only a few inches from the top of your head while you have bent forward to be close to the red hot stones which are a few inches from your face.

When the one seeking a vision finishes the sweat, s/he lets the holyman lead them to a place to pray alone, sometimes for 4 days of complete fasting, crying for a vision to help you, “unsimala ya” “have pity on me.”  So I can receive a vision to live by.

It sometimes occurs to me that this ritual of begging for a vision can make a powerful prayer in these times when anger and danger and fear want to cloud our sense of our lives as sacred.   Jim Janda, a mystic poet and once a mystic Jesuit, wrote this poem out of his awareness of  “hanblechia.”

Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses.

Have a blest mid-week,

john sj


Today’s Post 

To cry for a
is a sacred

after hearing
a holyman
after taking
a sweat bath
with sage and
sweet grass

one must climb a
mountain alone—

here a song
may be heard
here a vision
may be given
here a dance
may be learned—

one must then
the mountain

to sing the
to live the
to begin the

J Janda

Jim Janda   d. August, 2010

p.s. Jim Janda lived as a mystic pilgrim for most of his 74 years. He died August 7, 2010 in Salt Lake City, a priest of that diocese since 1996. Jim also lived for a quarter century as a Jesuit which is when we met. Jim was “well known for his gentle and generous heart. . . . During his life he wrote and published a series of short religious stories for children, school plays and books of poetry.” So reads his obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune. The obit is accurate, as was the stated cause of his death, emphysema; I think he smoked too much. I can’t remember ever visiting with Jim without feeling bathed in wisdom and tenderness, and in his awareness of how deep grief runs in human beings, right there along with whimsy.

The Tribune’s evocation of “stories for children, school plays and books of poetry . . .” does not even hint at the flint-hard prose and fine-tuned ironies that throb and flow through his poems.

Jim Janda reminds me of  National Poet Laurate Joy Harjo.  I am glad I thought to pull his book off my poetry shelf this morning.

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May 12 – Naomi Shihab Nye “Famous”

Wednesday May 12

“The River is Famous to the fish”

Soon after Mother’s day with its fountains of affection and admiration, I woke early (5:00 am) as Sandhill Cranes and falcons dancing across their several altitude layers – wind columns playing with the soaring big birds, a refreshing high pressure system making it sweet and easy to breathe, these realities – memory, dynamic unpredictable dancing, can bring back memories from earlier moments of beauty.   Readers of the Work Day/Hard Time poetry list have long been schooled to expect hope and beauty side by side with violent wounds and savage grief.

Today, like every other, invites us to give attention to a strong poet;  today’s poet, Naomi Shihab Nye, is familiar, but her poem “Famous” is fresh for most of us.

Best to read the poet out loud, with pauses.  Have a blest day.


john sj


The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.


Naomi Shihab Nye, b. 1952

Posted by kind permission of the author.  From Famous, by Naomi Shihab Nye, Wings Press.

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April 30 – – days that look like Spring should feel – – Gerard Manley Hopkins, s.j. “The Windhover”

April 30
Posted on April 22, 2019

Must be spring; time to check’s allergy tracker.

Tasting the wind makes a respiratory spring ritual for me and many others.  Worth it, though.   Campus trees and flowers begin to show their stuff.  Adults and children skip and laugh.    This morning, while my Lakota daughter Mary Tobacco sipped coffee & explored the day’s options, a falcon, riding wind gusts, dancing far above me, showing off the breadth of the broad valley where we live, some 50 miles north of Detroit, showing off the wonders of the great city’s far-flung northern fringes.

Once again, on this late spring Friday morning, the season’s sheer beauty led me to Gerard Manley Hopkins, s.j.  “The Windhover.”  The poem, better, the poet’s cadences and vocabulary, help the reader come alive as its beauty of word and sound match these days.  Even if it takes two or three readings to adapt your ear to his word play, it’s worth it.

Hopkins is [in]famous for the packed meaning of his vocabulary.   His life-long friend Robert Bridges often ground his aesthetic teeth at what seemed to him to be GMH’s unnecessary complexity.   On November 6, 1887, Hopkins wrote Bridges, attempting to explain the density of his language.   Did GMH tease his frustrated Poet Laureate friend by creating a single sentence that never seems to run out of breath?

“Plainly if it is possible to express a subtle and recondite thought on a subtle and recondite subject in a subtle and recondite way and with great felicity and perfection in the end,  something must be sacrificed, with so trying a task, in the process, and this may be the being at once, nay perhaps even the being without explanation at all, intelligible.”   

Which is more wild and crazy challenging?  Hopkin’s masterpiece “Dapple dawn drawn falcon” or his tease to his friend?   If you find the time during this spring-sunshine 2019 Monday, test it out by trying to read both out loud, with pauses.

More sun than clouds or rain this week.   Have a blest Friday.

john sj


Today’s Post:   “The Windhover: To Christ our Lord”

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in
his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy!  then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl
and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,–the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valor and act, oh, air, pride, plume here
Buckle!  And the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it:  shéer plốd makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, a my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
28 July 1844 – 8 June, 1889

Unusual Words in Windhover

Line 1 : minion – darling
Line 2 : dauphin – french for eldest son of the king
Line 4 : rung upon – to lead a horse in a circle on a long rein wimpling: rippling
Line 10 : buckle – either to fasten into one, or to collapse/crumble away.
Line 11 : chevalier – french for knight, champion
Line 12 : sillion – ridge between two furrows
Line 14 : gall – break the surface of.

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Friday, May 7, 2012 – Naomi Shihab Nye – “kindness”

Friday, May 7
“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.”

Several years ago, in early March, a friend emailed me some lines from Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Kindness.” She connects kinship and love with other things that can wear us down. In her poem, meanness and violence become a context for enduring kindness. No wonder my friend thought to send “Kindness” in these times.

Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses.

I learned to love this poem long before Covid-19 appeared and began to demand our attention, distracting us from other matters of deep meaning. This Friday the soft slope of the almost-valley morning palate of pale to deeper green leaves on our mix of oak, maple, crab apple and a dogwood or two fresh with mid-morning sun that wants to show off what two weeks of spring rains can do to our imaginations and spirits. We are not quite in picnic weather yet but spring is making promises for us; a contemplative morning.

Have a blest weekend,

john sj

Today’s Post “Kindness”

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye
b. March 12, 1952

Postscript: Yesterday morning, my daughter Mary Tobacco told me that she and some fellow School faculty & staff noticed the signs — ashamed embarrassment & physical dis-comfort. So they set up what might be called a “head-lice clinic” checking each child, then bathing each one, paying close attention to their scalps for the vermin that affects kids and adults alike who live without fresh running water. Besides soap, they work medicine into the scalps to begin a deep-cleansing and fine-tooth combs both to drive out the bugs and prepare each kid’s scalp with medicine to start healing lice damage. After their showers the team looks for clean clothing that fits each child’s size — yesterday, seeing the discomfort of a 6 year old whose shoes were too small for her feet, staff found a pair that fit. Mary Tobacco described her joy as she watched that 6 year old skipping and laughing, as she ran around the play ground: “how to care for children locked in the shame of deep poverty? Begin by noticing signs of shame and the physical pain that goes with it; then treat each child with respect; have the right tools at hand – – fine comb for lice, effective skin medicine, knowing how to welcome little people as you help them into clean skin and clean clothes; knowing how to hold that child, and to let her/him gaze into your eyes.

That’s how Mary T spent her day; one more day, after raising the money; she welcomed the well-drilling team to start work; MT estimates that the well will be working and water flowing by early next week.

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April 26 – Lake Erie – The Spring Walleye Run

Monday,  April 26, 2021

In 2015, the Detroit News estimated 10 million walleye migrating from Lake Erie into the Detroit River.

“April and May mark the start of the walleye spawn. An estimated 10 million walleye (sander vitreus, if you know your dead languages) migrate from Lake Erie in search of the shallow rocky bed common along the shipping channel of the Detroit River. Here, these tasty fish lay their eggs.   The spring run draws thousands of fishermen, or anglers, to the 24-nautical mile straight.”   Crain’s Detroit News, April 29, 2015

All around us, here in the middle of Detroit, women and men follow rhythms older than Detroit’s 319 years, waiting to add drama and texture to the press of our duties and strategies.  Fisher women and men know about the vast spring Walleye spawn – –  good news about the river that it hosts these millions, a sign of water health.

Today’s poet, Mary Oliver, knows that other startling living beings will send us a blessing if we pause to notice.

Read out loud if you can, pause here and there.

Have a good day,

john sj


Today’s Post  The Lark

And I have seen,
At dawn,
The lark
Spin out of the long grass

And into the pink air—
Its wings,
Which are neither wide
Nor overstrong,

The pectorals
Ploughing and flashing
For nothing but altitude—

And the song
All the while
From the red throat.

And then he descends,
And is sorry.
His little head hangs,
And he pants for breath

For a few moments
Among the hoops of the grass,
Which are crisp and dry,
Where most of his living is done—

And then something summons him again
And up he goes,
His shoulders working,
His whole body almost collapsing and floating

To the edges of the world.
We are reconciled, I think,
To too much.
Better to be a bird, like this one—

An ornament of the eternal.
As he came down once, to the nest of the grass,
“Squander the day, but save the soul,”
I heard him say.

from  What Do We Know (2002)

Mary Oliver when young
1935 – 2019

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April 23 – Bill Pauly loves Mary Oliver

Friday,  April 23   “The world’s otherness is antidote to confusion”

A long-time Jesuit soul friend, Bill Pauly, who died, too young in 2006 (heart attack), gave me Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems, Vol 1 in 2004 when I drove to Santa Clara, CA for sabbatical after 3 years as interim dean of Liberal Arts & Education.  Knowing that I had not embraced Mary Oliver’s poetry despite his advising, he wrote on the title page:

“This is your one required reading for your sabbatical. Enjoy.”

Here I am, all these years later, wanting to find some message board to where Bill’s spirit and his memory lives now, telling him that I’ve finally gotten his point.  I must like her poetry.

It’s a good poem for Spring, with its sensual and unpredictable apparitions – fresh beauty and vitality during these weeks;  even grumpiness at the season’s waves of pollen assaulting our nostrils and lungs, even those discomforts can be stopped in their tracks by sheer sexy beauty.

“. . . . I do not want anymore to be useful . . . to lead children . . . into the text of civility, to teach them that they are (they are not) better than the grass.”

Mary O. reminds me of a prayer I learned 40 + years ago on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation.  If I stand still — still enough and long enough — I can hear the sound a cottonwood makes, and a different sound of grass growing beneath my feet. The stillness and the listening help me to be where I stand and walk upon the earth.

It helps to read strong poems out loud, several times.

Have a blest weekend,


john sj

Today’s post: “Early Morning, My Birthday”

The snails on the pink sleds of their bodies are moving
among the morning glories.
The spider is asleep among the red thumbs
of the raspberries.
What shall I do, what shall I do?

The rain is slow
The little birds are alive in it.
Even the beetles.
The green leaves lap it up.
What shall I do, what shall I do?

The wasp sits on the porch in her paper castle.
The blue heron floats out of the clouds.
The fish leaps, all rainbow and mouth, from the dark water.

This morning the water lilies are no less lovely, I think,
than the lilies of Monet.  And I do not want anymore to be useful,
to be docile,
to lead children out of the fields into the text of civility,
to teach them that they are (they are not) better
than the grass.

Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1 (1992)


“I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything – other people, trees, clouds.   And this is what I learned, that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion – that standing within this otherness – the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books –  can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.”

Mary Oliver

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April 21 – Dakota: A Spiritual Geography – Kathleen Norris & Mary Tobacco (a’ki’cita Wiyan)

Mary Tobacco & I have a Dad-and-Daughter 50 year kinship;  once a day or more we call in and ask each other: “tell me a good story;”  some stories are hard; some playful and delicious  — e.g., like Baby Marvin, a daring toddler who sometimes likes to roll around as Dakota dust turns toward Dakota mud.  Our little family also opens us to my university world of work, from which I often write a post.

On our campus as people in the university world, like people everywhere, suck air, walk too fast, and try to manage big and little start-ups.  Lots of people scramble in their digital workplaces, not just on campuses.   Maybe that’s why the Kathleen Norris memoir suggested itself during this year’s season of  hope and anxious attention to county-by-county digital maps showing percentages of fully or partially vaccinated human beings who have themselves kept vigil with our numbing hosts of the beloved dead.

Norris writes words that open deep into ordinary reality.   In 1974, after learning her way into New York City’s world of poetry with mentoring from the legendary Betty Kray at the Academy of American Poets ( Kathleen and her husband shocked their peers by moving to Lemmon in northwestern South Dakota where Kathleen had inherited the family home of her grandmother.  They stayed a long time.

In 1993, her Dakota: A Spiritual Geography took the literary world by storm.  Took me by storm too.  If a book of micro essays, some only half a page, ever approaches the taut, lean focus of strong poetry, for me this is the book.  In those South Dakota years, she became friends with vast horizons, and with the Benedictine monks at St. John’s Monastery in Minnesota.  She’s written several memoirs about the intersection of her secularity with the roots of Benedictine prayer and wisdom.

Think of the following short quotes from Dakota as poems.   Best to read them out loud, with pauses.


Have a blest day,

john sj

Today’s Post:  Four texts from Dakota

“Once, when I was describing to a friend from Syracuse, New York, a place on the plains that I love, a ridge above a glacial moraine with a view of almost fifty miles, she asked, “But what is there to see?” The answer, of course, is nothing. Land, sky, and the ever-changing light.”

“Maybe the desert wisdom of the Dakotas can teach us to love anyway, to love what is dying, in the face of death, and not pretend that things are other than they are. The irony and wonder of all of this is that it is the desert’s grimness, its stillness and isolation, that brings us back to love.”

“To be an American is to move on, as if we could outrun change. To attach oneself to place is to surrender to it, and suffer with it.”

“For me, walking in a hard Dakota wind can be like staring at the ocean: humbled before its immensity, I also have a sense of being at home on this planet, my blood so like the sea in chemical composition, my every cell partaking of air. I live about as far from the sea as is possible in North America, yet I walk in a turbulent ocean. Maybe that child was right when he told me that the world is upside-down here, and this is where angels drown.”

meadowlark on a fence,  Fog Basin, SD  2008

A recording of the song of the Western Meadowlark

Kathleen Norris (born in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 1947) is a best-selling poet and essayist. Her parents, John Norris and Lois Totten, took her as a child to Hawaii, where she graduated from Punahou Preparatory School in 1965. After graduating from Bennington College in Vermont in 1969, Norris became arts administrator of the Academy of American Poets, and published her first book of poetry two years later.[1] In 1974 she inherited her grandparents’ farm in Lemmon, South Dakota, moved there with her husband David Dwyer, joined Spencer Memorial Presbyterian church, and discovered the spirituality of the Great Plains.[2] She entered a new, non-fictional phase in her literary career after becoming a Benedictine oblate at Assumption Abbey   ND in 1986, and spending extended periods at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota.[3] Since the death of her husband in 2003, Norris has transferred her place of residence to Hawaii


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Monday, April 19, 2021 Warsan Shire, Pope Francis and refugees: ” . . . no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”

April 19 – Pope Francis and refugees “. . . no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”

Newly-elected Pope Francis spoke in July of 2013 to a world just getting used to him as a new world figure.

Francis chose Lampedusa, a desperately sought island that became a grave for thousands of refugees who drown there, to call attention to the violence that refugees live. Among other things, he said:

“Immigrants who died at sea, from that boat that, instead of being a way of hope was a way of death . . . . .  I felt that I ought to come here today to pray, to make a gesture of closeness, but also to reawaken our consciences so that what happened would not be repeated.  Not repeated, please!”

What might make a poem that may help our readers pay attention to the violent places in this world?  Somali poet Warsan Shire helps me.  One estimate sets the number of refugees who have had to leave home and walk the roads of the world at c. 60,000,000. I am proud of my brother Jesuit, Pope Francis, for bringing us who hear him speak into very hard places.  Warsan Shire’s poems, flint hard, unrelenting, reminds me of Francis and Francis reminds me of Warsan Shire.

Best to read her poem out loud, with pauses. An inner place of listening to restore our kindness with courage so we can continue to pay attention.

Have a blest Monday,


john sj

Text # 3: – Warsan Shire, “Home”

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark.
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well.

your neighbours running faster
than you, the boy you went to school with who kissed you dizzy behind
the old tin factory is
holding a gun bigger than his body,

you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one would leave home unless home chased you, fire under feet,
hot blood in your belly.

it’s not something you ever thought about doing, and so when you did –
you carried the anthem under your breath, waiting until the airport toilet

to tear up the passport and swallow,
each mouthful of paper making it clear that you would not be going back.

you have to understand,
no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.

who would choose to spend days
and nights in the stomach of a truck
unless the miles traveled
meant something more than journey.

no one would choose to crawl under fences,
be beaten until your shadow leaves you,
raped, then drowned, forced to the bottom of
the boat because you are darker, be sold,
starved, shot at the border like a sick animal,
be pitied, lose your name, lose your family,
make a refugee camp a home for a year or two or ten,
stripped and searched, find prison everywhere
and if you survive and you are greeted on the other side
with go home blacks, refugees

dirty immigrants, asylum seekers
sucking our country dry of milk,
dark, with their hands out
smell strange, savage –
look what they’ve done to their own countries,
what will they do to ours?

the dirty looks in the street
softer than a limb torn off,
the indignity of everyday life
more tender than fourteen men who
look like your father, between
your legs, easier to swallow
than rubble, than your child’s body
in pieces – for now, forget about pride
your survival is more important.

i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home tells you to
leave what you could not behind, even if it was human.

no one leaves home until home
is a damp voice in your ear saying
leave, run now, i don’t know what
i’ve become.

Warsan Shire b. 1 August 1988

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Wednesday – April 14 – David Whyte – between winter and spring

“To hear
another’s voice,
your own voice”

This post appeared almost a year ago (April 16, 2020, to be precise). We sibs gathered at our sister Mary’s home for her April 13 birthday.

Here’s how I began the contextual paragraph that day. “I am writing from my sister Mary’s snow-bound home where 20+ inches of snow has blown around for 2 days of blizzard winds (c. 25 mph).  Lovely for sure; every few minutes a car drives by the riverfront road.” What a difference eleven months makes! This first half of April 2021has scattered hints of spring here and there around Detroit, though my Lakota daughter-soul friend, Mary Tobacco, tells me that they are digging out from a hefty blizzard today in South Dakota.

April offers unpredictable weather twitches, no?  A blizzard-loving person like myself may yet be pulling on my high top snow boots. I’m not taking responsibility for the weather though; “enjoying” does not = “causing.”

Today’s poem by David Whyte has blessed me several times over the Work Day/Hard Time poetry list’s seven-year existence.  Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses, several times over the day. Have a blest Wednesday.


john sj

Marinette blizzard for Mary St’s birthday – 2019


Today’s Post: “Start Close In”

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way to begin
the conversation.

Start with your own
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something

To hear
another’s voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice

becomes an
private ear
that can
really listen
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

from River Flow: New & Selected Poems
Many Rivers Press

David Whyte b. 1955

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