belles lettres

The Universe is a Green Dragon

5134iIWJZ4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_We are currently reading The Universe is a Green Dragon which has helped us gain perspective on the human species and the uniqueness of planet Earth in its relation to the Universe. This is science we’re talking about, not “just” cosmology. Imagine that our place and our right-relation to this planet we get to be on is as Caregivers to one of the Universe’s most unique endeavors, a planet that is creating unique forms of life in all the Universe. Why would we not make that our top priority? To fully participate in gratitude and awe for what is a unique opportunity to learn from and encourage the natural abundance of an Earth that can continue to unfold exquisitely if we only find our right-relation to ourselves, each other, all species and the planet. Why would we destroy or extract from or rearrange the Earth and it’s species in the name of anything let alone in the name of a completely human-made relatively new system called “money” which has no relation to the biology and unique existence of this planet? Ridiculous, really. Let us reward and encourage and foster those that are encouraging and fostering the natural fecundity and splendor of our planet!

We wish we could quote the whole book, but here’s one quote:
“Youth: Oceans seem so ordinary.
“Thomas: Yes, they do, but that only reflects the ordinariness of our minds. When we take the whole universe as our fundamental frame of reference, we begin to appreciate the cosmic significance of running water. Only by establishing ourselves within the unfolding cosmos as a whole can we begin to discover the meaning and significance of ordinary things.

“Earth was a cauldron of chemical and elemental creativity, fashioning ever more complex forms and combinations until life burst forth in the oceans and spread across the continents, covering the entire planet. This creativity advanced until flowers bloomed on every continent, then advanced further until the vision of the flowers and all beauty could be deeply felt and appreciated. We are the latest, and most recent, the youngest extravagance of this stupendously creative Earth.”

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Thanks, Grace

The way the red sun surrenders
It’s wholeness to curving ocean
Bit by bit. The way curving ocean
Gives birth to the birth of stars
In the growing darkness
Wearing everything in its path
To cosmic smoothness .
The impulse of stones rolling
Towards their own roundness.
The unexpected comets of flying fish. And, Forest, Great-Breathing-Spirit,
Rooting to the very end
For the Life of this planet.

Grace Nichols

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Nothing in Nature appears spontaneously. Everything is a transformation of something else. According to Tantra, the essence of mineral is transformed by plants into sap which is then consumed by animals and humans as food. In the body of animals and humans, sap transforms into plasma, flesh, bone, nerves, semen, and blood. Thus all things in Nature are different forms of the same essence. -from The Book of Kali by Seema Mohanty

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Every Day You Play

Every Day You Play
by Pablo Neruda

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes taking away butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

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Hold Everything Dear

Hope you are enjoying the Vernal Equinox…

Hold Everything Dear
for John Berger
by Gareth Evans

as the brick of the afternoon stores the rose heat of the journey

as the rose buds a green room to breathe
and blossoms like the wind

as the thinning birches whisper their silver stories of the wind to the urgent
in the trucks

as the leaves of the hedge store the light
that the moment thought it had lost

as the nest of her wrist beats like the chest of a wren in the turning air

as the chorus of the earth find their eyes in the sky
and unwrap them to each other in the teeming dark

hold everything dear

the calligraphy of birds across the morning
the million hands of the axe, the soft hand of the earth
one step ahead of time
the broken teeth of tribes and their long place

steppe-scattered and together

clay’s small, surviving handle, the near ghost of a jug
carrying itself towards us through the soil

the pledge of offered arms, the single sheet that is our common walking
the map of the palm held
in a knot

but given as a torch

hold everything dear

the paths they make towards us and how far we open towards them

the justice of a grass that unravels palaces but shelters the songs of the searching

the vessel that names the waves, the jug of this life, as it fills with the days
as it sinks to become what it loves

memory that grows into a shape the tree always knew as a seed

the words
the bread

the child who reaches for the truths beyond the door

the yearning to begin again together
animals keen inside the parliament of the world

the people in the room the people in the street the people

hold everything dear

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by Rumi

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky,
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly
born into color.

Do it now,
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side.

Die and be quiet.
Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.
Your old life is a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon
comes out now.

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Your Mother and my Mother

Your Mother and my Mother
by Hafiz

Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living
in better conditions,

for your mother and my mother
were friends.

I know the Innkeeper
in this part of the universe.
Get some rest tonight,
Come to my verse again tomorrow.
We’ll go speak to the friend together.

I should not make any promises right now,
but I know if you
somewhere in this world-
something good will happen.

God wants to see
more love and playfulness in your eyes
for what is your greatest witness to him.

Your soul and my soul
Once sat together in the Beloved’s womb
playing footsie.

Your heart and my heart
are very, very old

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by Dorothy Walters

I think it is enough,
at times,
to go without knowing
where the end is,
what the beginning–
so long ago.

Perhaps you have friends
who can whisper
such things
in your ear,
hear little bits of
in the laughter of children.

But mostly we just proceed ahead,
not remembering
how it all started,
where it is leading,
not sure
if we are the waiting animal
or the animal’s passing
in the grass.

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Sum Search

So you’re not gone, you’re simply taking on different forms. Instead of your gestures being the raising of an eyebrow or a blown kiss, now a gesture might consist of a rising gnat, a waving wheat stalk, and the inhaling lung of a breaching beluga whale. Your manner of expressing joy might become a seaweed sheet playing on a lapping wave, a pendulous funnel dancing from a cumulonimbus, a flapping grunion birthing, a glossy river pebble gliding around an eddy. -from “Search” in David Eagleman’s Sum

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Love One Another

Photograph by Robert Wyald

Love One Another

Love one another, but make not a bond of love
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping;
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together;
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

-Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

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I Love You


By Irma Gogyashvili from her 1001 I Love Yous series

Poem translated from the Georgian above…

I am the Path
You walk Upon…
I am the Air
You breath…
I am the Tree
You cut…
I am the Fountain
Love drinks…
I am the silence that drowns the noise…
I am the Green, and Red, and Grey…
I am the Snow that melts,
and the White lost in shade…

I am the Woman in whom a Man lives…

I am the Leaf who flies,
and the Earth to whom we return…

I lay at your bare feet,
I want Your footprints on my heart…

I am your Pain
Your Bliss
Your Other…

You walk upon me…

How Beautiful….

By Irma Gogyashvili

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Reflected Sunlight

We had no name for the reflected sunlight on the wall. After hearing a name, the innocence and unlimited possibility of the unnamed was claimed by an other, an unconscious act of our ancestors. What were the names before the names? We do not see a face in the cloud passing by until you name it and we listen. Before, the cloud was unclaimed, uncontained, all possibilities, even the possibilities in addition to all possibilities. Without names we are a unified, diverse mystery to be discovered every moment. Sometimes with great delight and delicious gaze we could each try communicating our individual interpretations in our own languages created in and of the moment…

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