Wednesday, November 6, 2019


Put my head in the ground
and from it will grow a tree, a fruit
who will remind you of me.

Samoan myth of Thun


Sunday, October 27, 2019

START CLOSE IN by David Whyte



START CLOSE IN
Start close in
don't take 
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
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
question,
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
simple.
To hear
another’s voice,
follow
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes an
intimate
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
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.
START CLOSE IN
in River Flow
New & Selected Poems
Many Rivers Press © David Whyte
….
This piece was inspired by the first lines of Dante's Comedia written in despair in the midst of exile from his beloved Florence. It reflects the difficult act we all experience, of trying to make a home in the world again when everything has been taken away; the necessity of stepping bravely again, into what looks now like a dark wood, when the outer world as we know it has disappeared, when the world has to be met and in some ways made again from no outer ground but from the very center of our being. The temptation is to take the second or third step, not the first, to ignore the invitation into the center of our own body, into our grief, to attempt to finesse the raw vulnerability and the absolutely necessary understanding at the core of the pattern, to forgo the radical and almost miraculous simplification into which we are being invited. Start close in.
...
Woman Walking
Yorkshire Dales
Photo © David Whyte
December 2015

Penland Spring Concentration : Parts Unknown



Come join me this Spring at Penland School! 
CLAY SPRING CONCENTRATION
MARCH 8 – MAY 1, 2020
Jenny Mendes
Parts Unknown
https://penland.org/clay-spring-concentration/

The launching point for this workshop will be an exploration of surfaces and a deep mining of personal content. Working primarily with low-fire clay, we’ll push the boundaries of the material through explorations of form and narrative. Experimentation with slips, underglazes, terra sigilatta, and different firings will lead students to develop unique bodies of work. Using Penland’s landscape as genius loci, visiting sculptor Hester Pilz will collaborate with students for two weeks as we discover how the spirit of the landscape can inform our work. All levels.



Monday, August 19, 2019

To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
by Mary Oliver

1.
Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?

Behold, I say–behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings of this gritty earth gift.

2.
Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are thrillingly gluttonous.

For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.

And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs.

3.
The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.

Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of the single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life—just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe still another.

4.
Someday I am going to ask my friend Paulus,
the dancer, the potter,
to make me a begging bowl
which I believe
my soul needs.

And if I come to you,
to the door of your comfortable house
with unwashed clothes and unclean fingernails,
will you put something into it?

I would like to take this chance.
I would like to give you this chance.

5.
We do one thing or another; we stay the same or we change.
Congratulations if you have changed.

6.
Let me ask you this.
Do you also think that beauty exists for some fabulous reason?

And if you have not been enchanted by this adventure—your life—
what would do for you?

7.
What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements, though with difficulty

I mean the ones that are thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment somehow or another).

And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.

Monday, August 5, 2019

for the artist at the start of day

for the artist at the start of day ~o’donohue

May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.
May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear
Of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings,
And fixed fortress corners,
A Morning when you become a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend from silence,
May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,
Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved
Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.
May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light
To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.
~John O’Donohue