a coherent source of energy for living
When you hear a man speak
rough as rocks, slow as stone
like he’s trying to build a bridge
over river’s flow
there’s a feeling in the water
that’s wanting to come home
there’s a story in that place
wanting to be known
When you hear a man snap
like a twig on the ground
there’s a child in that man
trying not to make a sound
there’s a voice in that child
wanting to be found
there’s a secret in his voice
to which he feels bound
when you hear the wind sigh
see rocks cry
there’s a wetness in his pocket
treasured moments forgotten in time
shell blue sky
follows black of crack of day
each time harder
to begin again
When you hear a man speak
rough as rocks, slow as stone
like he’s trying to build a wall
so as not to feel so alone
the ruins of what he’s done and said
as they fall and fade away
like the stardust
from which he’s made
the ungraspable space
in which he’ll never be alone
the unutterable prayer
in which he’ll always be home
the hand he holds
the flesh and bone
the warmth at night
the seed sown
a drop in the ocean
the unstoppable waves
the pounding of his heart
on and on it goes
always coming home
(Simon Williams, 12.9.2013)
‘Just as passive aggressiveness causes suffering, so does passive non-aggressiveness. Passive aggression hurts those who fall victim to its misdirected arrows. Passive non-aggressiveness wounds those who bottle up their expression- their anger congealing into a cache of weapons that explode internally. The healthier approach is to learn how to express anger healthily and in a timely manner, so that it doesn’t turn outward and harm innocents, & so that it doesn’t turn inward and cause disease. Because of all the horrible things that humans have done in anger, anger has been given a bad name. But it is a legitimate emotion that signals that someone has been violated. Its time we raised healthy anger back to the rafters of acceptability, and worked together to clarify a way of expressing it that both holds everyone safe AND allows us to honor its inherent wisdom. Not abusing self or other, but seeing the feelings all the way through to the healing and lessons they contain.’
As a poet, you do not necessarily need to locate or define or understand where poetry and inspiration come from. What is absolutely necessary is to honour the place where inspiration gestates and poetry emerges, and to carefully cultivate this sense of honour in your daily experience. In other words, you need to know where you are coming from, which is not a static reality but a dynamic and continuous process. A sacred knowing and becoming. Let your muse be; and simultaneously be present to your reciprocal needs and impulses. Further, you do not need to fear or control these needs and impulses. Emerging from this sacred place within your everyday, they are potent and awesome; wholesome and ordinary. What is good may speak and may hold silence; both are poetry. What is written may be ‘you’, and may be greater than you: both are life.
(Simon Williams, 13.02.2013)
up in front
like a statue
and befriend you
come this way
down the half-tunnelled path
cool mud under your feet
mind brushed by springing leaves
honour your thoughts
as you put them to rest
life offers you
with your breath
(Simon Williams, for Geoff 29.1.13)
I hold a small poem
in my arms,
quiet and still
I feel warm breath
coming from dreams of earth
Suddenly and softly
eyes open wide -
and my eyes, the sky,
and rain love gently
When poems are alive
you can feel them,
whether they make sense or not
Like infants who hear the love
behind the words
So I talk on, sure and soft,
knowing my words will not be lost
Knowing love is always heard
(Simon Williams, 26.12.2012)
A profound poem!
Originally posted on ed21c:
It is not so much that the boat passed
and you failed to notice it.
It is more like the boat stopping
directly outside your bedroom window,
the captain blowing the signal-horn,
the band playing a rousing march.
The boat shouted, waving bright flags,
its silver hull blinding in the sunlight.
But you had this idea you were going by train.
You kept checking the time-table,
digging for tracks.
And the boat got tired of you,
so tired it pulled up the anchor
and raised the ramp.
The boat bobbed into the distance,
shrinking like a toy—
at which point you probably realized
you had always loved the sea.
Naomi Shihab Nye, Different Ways to Pray- Breitenbush Publications, 1980
I love how this poem points to us being blinded by our attachment to things being a certain way – the many good and beautiful experiences that we might miss through such an attachment. Such a sense of certainty builds a shield around us, blocking the intuition of the heart, and while this can feel safe, Shihab Nye’s humorous poem shows how this ‘safe’ certainty can blind us to the full spectrum of what is before us, limiting our experience of life. May we be open, curious, and vulnerable enough to entertain other possibilities.
One of the joyful tasks of a poet is to understand words,
to know their origins, to bring forth their meanings into our lives…
more deeply to imagine the context of those origins,
the breath that bore meaning, the glimmer that reflected love…
and deeper still (or perhaps returning to the surface to breathe),
to articulate the origins and conditions of life,
I don’t mean in an archaic way but in terms of where we are now,
in the writing of these words that connect and inspire and create
within the medium of our daily lives…
(Simon Williams, 19.10.2012)
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'...If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive...'
‘Yeah, you who must leave everything that you cannot control. It begins with your family, but soon it comes ’round to your soul’
'To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax and you float.'
'Nothing outside yourself can cause any trouble. You yourself make the waves in your mind. If you leave your mind as it is, it will become calm.'
(Shunryu Suzuki Roshi)
'If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything. When a child presents himself to you with his smile, if you are not really there-- thinking about the future or the past, or preoccupied with other problems-- then the child is not really there for you. The technique of being alive is to go back to yourself in order for the child to appear like a marvelous reality. Then you can see him smile and you can embrace him in your arms.'
(Thich Nhat Hanh)
'There are three aspects of mindfulness: learning to pay attention to what is happening in and around you, learning to bring kindness, curiosity, and acceptance to your experience, and learning to not take it all so personally.'
'The motivation for practice comes simply from looking into this present moment as it is and being willing to experience its edge of unsatisfactoriness if that is what is present or seeing its immeasurable wonder and love and joy if that is what is present. There is no practice or motivation for practice outside of this.'
'The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation.'
'Finally, just sit, just breathe, and if you feel like it, allow yourself to smile inwardly.'
I honour my birthplace Jos, Nigeria
and I acknowledge the Darug and Gundungurra peoples as traditional owners of the places I inhabit
Blue Mountains, Australia
ALLOWAH NGARRA TIATI
"SIT DOWN AWHILE - LISTEN AND LEARN"
'The seed in the soil, the dirt on our hands
is the story I know, and the song my soul understands'
'A man lives again through his children,
the trees that he has planted,
the words that he has uttered'
(Massongo Oral Tradition)
'The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.'
'We don't think ourselves into a new way of living; we live ourselves into a new way of thinking.'
'...As for us: We must uncenter our minds from ourselves; We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident as the rock and ocean that we were made from'
(Robinson Jeffers, 'Carmel Point')