If you wish to be wealthy, duck beneath
the topcoat of a well-dressed river
until you come up with a mossy boot
filled with shiners. Spend them wisely.
To tread lightly on the earth,
first breathe in and out slowly
to sense how oxygen walks barefoot,
then observe butterflies, so weightless
even our poetry burdens them.
Avoid mistaking sadness for blueberries,
but if this happens remember only one
of the two tastes like a somersault.
Make nothing more of the moon
than what it is, a great big pebble
hunting for a shoe, not to be confused
with the heart, likewise a vagabond.
Inside of every stray cat lurks a person
who discarded love. Remember this
when you bend over to wind them up.
If you feel compelled to fly a flag,
note how it struggles in vain to be a rainbow
and how envy will make it twist and flap
like a tongue. Consider instead a kite.
If you desire to reach heaven,
have your body buried in an aspen grove.
In time, all of you will wick up
into a loud version of it.
If the din of the human world overwhelms you,
trace the voicebox of an orchid with your finger.
When you get to the aria, listen.
But beware, for beauty can be a lacewing
or a meteor, and lands wherever it pleases.
When you finish reading a poem,
bend it around so you can see
yourself in it. Then laugh out loud.
Everything else now should come easy.
- Malcolm Alexander
I dwell in Possibility—
A fairer House than Prose—
More numerous of Windows—
Of Chambers as the Cedars—
Impregnable of Eye—
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky—
Of Visitors—the fairest—
The spreading wide of narrow Hands
To gather Paradise—
- Emily Dickinson
Below is a video of Bill Murray reading same, to a group of construction workers, during the construction of the new location for Poets House in lower Manhattan. I got a kick out of it. Enjoy.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
- Marianne Williamson, from A Return to Love (often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela)
her voice and body dance
turn leap and laugh
(not making fun of
look what a geek
we are rare and precious
let’s deafen the world
with the bells of our love
- beating out of her round
a bird unbarred -
knows everything about dance:
the choreography of lumps in the throat
executed with open ears
naked from the heart up
her moving mirth knows
- unexplained exits, dying clowns,
elephants’ feet smashing glass,
fucking it up and falling down -
even falling apart can be a dance
- Diane L. Tucker, from God on His Haunches, 1996