When Rumi went into the tavern
I heard a lot of crazy talk
and a lot of wise talk.
But the roses wouldn’t grow in my hair.
When Rumi left the tavern
I don’t mean just to pick at
such a famous fellow.
Indeed he was rather ridiculous with his
long beard and his dusty feet.
But I heard less of the crazy talk and
a lot more of the wise talk and I was
hopeful enough to keep listening
until the day I found myself
transformed into an entire garden
– Mary Oliver
from Blue Horses: Poems
Her last book “Dog Songs” was my favorite book I have read in the last 12 months.
As someone whose dog Misty saved his life when I was a toddler and slipping on the ice in Wisconsin, blocking me with his strong long-haired collie body.
It’s one of the great reasons Coywolf/Eastern Coyote, the guardian of the suburbs bred from coyotes and the last big group of eastern wolves deep in the wilderness 200 miles north of Toronto, Canada appeals to my spirits.
The coywolf is an animal that can walk through suburban neighborhoods often unseen by humans, if seen in one shot in the wonderful “Nature” episode “Meet the Coywolf” by a cat.
I really think that my cat Squiggy who greets everyone at the door when they come in and says welcome to my house please pet me, is dog spirit.
His brother Lenny is the trickster who hides when guests arrive and likes to love through bites and play.
They are together coywolf spirits.
Please buy Mary Oliver’s last two books they are excellent.
And I would of course love to interview her on my The Poetry Conversation podcast.
A second poem I was touched by even deeper is about an old stone bench, very, very old .. such silence
As deep as I ever went into the forest
I came upon an old stone bench, very, very old,
and around it a clearing, and beyond that
trees taller and older than I had ever seen.
It really wasn’t so far from a town, but it seemed
all the clocks in the world had stopped counting.
So it was hard to suppose the usual rules applied.
Sometimes there’s only a hint, a possibility.
What’s magical, sometimes, has deeper roots
I hope everyone knows that.
I sat on the bench, waiting for something.
An angel, perhaps.
Or dancers with the legs of goats.
No, I didn’t see either. But only, I think, because
I didn’t stay long enough.
also from “Blue Horses: Poems” by Mary Oliver,
The Penguin Press, 2014
Wow. This hits very deep into my spiritual practices.
Hearing the water and hearing the birds.
Feeling the wind.
Connecting deeply with a tree in a three cauldrons meditation and checking in to see if the cauldrons of your gut, heart and head have their cauldrons up, sideward or down. The three cauldrons mediation is powerful for me. The first time I did it, I saw the snarls of people who are in crisis not getting care. Of people who in ERs and prisons, by police officers and well intentioned professionals are placed in frightening areas.
May we all work to be like Spring Harbor Hospital in Portland, Maine and realize that patients are much better off in a ward where they can talk to nurses who will listen and hear their concern.
It calms their fire. It definitely calmed mine in 2013. This book today is helping me know. Outstanding!
And I am also happy that I waited in front of the Vietnamese Buddhist temple here in Ansonia. It is a place I will need to spend my Sundays to balance the fire of creativity going through me out.