In a week of anticipated sunshine, I opt to include a poem on rain!

“R A I N S T O R M

There is a sound of footsteps coming from the open door
As rain falls softly, drops forming water beads
On the window.

A flock of birds soar by, seeking shelter and a dry nest.
There is new energy about, vibrating through the world,
and touching lives

One by one.”

16 years old, Shelton, Connecticut

Bravo, Sara.
Her words recall for me that freshness of air,
after a storm, when open doors and open windows beckon.
Life beckons as the hurricanes of Autumn begin and we move
into the serious business of back to school, back to business.

Soon. Not quite yet.

with love …

Four Forty-four-cent Stamps

Yesterday I went to find a stamp for a letter to my granddaughter for
her birthday (today). I am a very orderly person and keep my stamps
in a certain place, where I can reach in, pull one out as I need it.

Not there! Where I live the mailman, Tom, comes late morning, and
picks up mail as well as delivers it. I had an hour to find a stamp.

After a futile search of everyplace near my desk, I gathered up
four envelopes containing bill payments ( written out nine days ago)
also out of place, and said to myself, well, at least THESE will get
mailed. I took them out to the lobby, dropped them into the OUT
slot, and then thought to knock on a neighbor, Bobbi’s, door, to ask
for a stamp.

Done! She sold me four forty-four-cent stamps, I retrieved my note
to my granddaughter, applied a stamp and put it in the OUT slot.

Relaxed and happy, I returned to my apartment and surveyed the
disorder I’d created trying to find a stamp. In less than the time it
takes to tell you this, I had a hunch, moved my small stack of in-
boxes, and lo, there was the envelope with my stock of stamps.
The envelope had simply fallen behind at the back corner of my

The reason I have even shared this is to notice how discomfort
moved me to ask for help, found it given easily, and then the
resultant relief was so warm and wonderful, that it reminded
me of a part of a poem by Mary Oliver:

“for it’s true, isn’t it,

in our world

that the petals pooled with nectar, and the polished thorns

are a single thing —

that even the purest light, lacking the robe of darkness,

would be without expression —–

that love itself, without its pain, would be

no more than a shruggable comfort.

Lately, I have noticed, when the skunk’s temper has tilted

in the distance,

and the acids are floating everywhere,

and I am touched, it is all, even in my nostrils and my throat,

as the brushing of thorns;

and I stand there

thinking of the old, wild life of the fields, when, as I remember it,

I was shaggy, and beautiful,

like the rose.”

……………………MARY OLIVER, from the poem, A Certain
Sharpness in the Morning Air.

You may wonder how a forty-four-cent stamp can lead to feeling
shaggy and beautiful. I suppose it goes further back, to “the old,
wild life of the fields”, doesn’t it? How wonderful that the memory
of poetry can transform a simple moment of upset and retrieval
into the larger perspective of a life lived.

with love …


Sometimes three a.m. is a good time for some watermelon,
a half-slice spelt bread, spread thinly with strawberry jelly,
and, yes, coffee. Then, casually open the book on poetry.

Here’s what I found:

“S O M E H E R O N S

A blue preacher
flew toward the swamp,
in slow motion.

On the leafy banks,
an old Chinese poet,
hunched in the white gown of his wings,

was waiting.
The water
was kind of dark silk

that has sliver lines
shot through it
when it is touched by the wind

or is splashed upward,
in a small, quick flower,
by the life beneath it.

The preacher
made his difficult landing,
his skirts up around his knees.

The poet’s eyes
flared, just as poet’s eyes
are said to do

when the poet is awakened
from the forest of meditation.
It was summer.

It was only a few moments past the sun’s rising,
which meant that the whole long sweet day
lay before them.”


So, this whole, long, sweet day lies before us.
Let’s remember to be there.

with love …


One morning in July, just passed, I found a “summer book” which became
a practice. It didn’t start out to BE a practice, it moved in. It’s a hard back,
almost 8 ” x 9-3/4″, called True Nature by Barbara Bash.

Here is part of today’s practice:

“Morning walk. I head down the hill
and into the open fields. Sitting in the
sun, I draw the great rolls of hay —
heavy and weighed down. I am
weighed down, too, and so is my
I consider tearing it out of my sketch
book. I am utterly worn out and
I feel I can’t produce anything good.
What to do but accept this as well?
I am wearing something down,
wearing something out —
the expectation of who I think
I should be.

I paint the rolls of hay again,
feeling their massive forms
with my brush.”
…………………………….BARBARA BASH


One does not have to be an artist to experience this ennui of effort.
So, she picked up her brush and moved into the next moment.
I can do that.

Can I expect the same result of sudden simple accomplishment?
I can.

— ‘wearing something down, wearing something out — the
expectation of who I think I should be’ —

My summer practice book is jettisoning my unnecessary clothing,
leaving a sleeveless top to feel the summer breezes. Could be
a metaphor for the way to go.

with love …

“I hear my being dance from ear to ear”

“I hear my being dance from ear to ear” is a line from a poem
by Theodore Roethke. I had occasion to recall this as I sat in
a large, airy play room, the work and learning place called The
Pilot House in Fairfield, CT.

Too often our heavily scientific approach to health care reverses
Roethke’s lovely insight so that we try to ‘feel by thinking’. Going
in that direction, human beings get lost in the shuffle.

In the book, Poetic Medicine, I found the Roethke quote, and it said
so clearly what moved me profoundly as I watched young people in
groups of seven or eight, feel safe as they performed for us, the joy
shining in their faces as they followed the examples of their teaching
crew, facing them from the back of the room.

So, here is the poem:

“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.”

Those young people performing were a cross-section of what it
is to be born with difficult limitation. I saw in their sharing, of which
they were so proud, so brave, so focused on accomplishment, an
example of generosity. They truly embodied the precious and
passionate act of living.

Within me, I can sense an affinity of limitation, and this seeing
brings me to a place of allowing, of non-judgement of myself and
others, that makes of life a dance worth dancing.

What extraordinary young people! What an extraordinary crew and
volunteers. Thanking them, the applause was huge.

with love …