June 7th, 2007

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Carl Jung -

Perhaps I myself am the enemy who must be loved.

    - Carl Jung

Good words to read as we learn that people are now "disappearing" in this country.  Keep focused on the good each of us can do even as we work to change this military regime.

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Morning poem - -

I couldn't escape the Carl Jung quote, wanted to make it more thoroughly my own and so it entered my morning poem

Guantanamo 2007


            “Perhaps I myself am the enemy who must be loved.”

                                                Carl Jung



The trees are still this morning.

The day is warm. 

I look out on a painting, a photograph,

no sign of life, only the sound of caw, caw

and I read of a place where we torture

and people disappear, and if they don’t,

probably wish they might.

There is no information to be gained and if there ever was,

these people have been held too long for any validity

and yet we allow our own people

to torture. What does that say about us?


I want to write poetry of witness,

but poetry requires a wider stance, an ability to distance.

William Wordsworth said, “Poetry is emotion recollected in tranquility.”

What do I do with my boiling stomach, gobbling these scraps like soup?

Can I take pain and nourish

like Cornelia Parker with her artwork, “Anti-Mass”?

She hung from wire the charred remains

of a Southern Black Baptist Church destroyed

by arson, hung them

in such a way that all who enter and look,




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Cats -

Recently I read that there is healing purpose in the purring of cats, that it heals bones.  I wonder now if it serves the same purpose as chanting, reaching to unite.

Now, I come across this poem by Coleman Barks called "Purring."   He says the poem is about the nature of poetry.


The internet says science is not sure how cats purr,
    probably a vibration of the whole larynx,
        unlike what we do when we talk.  Less

likely, a blood vessel moving across the chest wall.
    As a child I tried to make every cat
        I met purr. That was one of the early

miracles, the stroking to perfection. Here's something
    I've never heard: a feline purrs in
        two conditions, when deeply content and when

mortally wounded, to calm themselves, readying for the
    death-opening. The low frequency
        evidently helps to strengthen bones and

heal damaged organs. Say poetry is a human purr, vessel
    mooring in the chest, a closed-mouth
        refuge, the feel of a glide through dying: one

winter morning on sunny chair inside this only body,
    a faroff inboard moterboat
        sings the empty room, urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    - Coleman Barks

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a cry by Robert Bly -

        Call and Answer

Tell me why it is we don't lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

 I say to myself: "Go on, cry. What's the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!"

We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.

Have we agreed to so many wars that we can't
Escape from silence? If we don't lift our voices, we allow
Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.

How come we've listened to the great criers-Neruda,
Akhmatova, Thoreau, Frederick Douglas-and now
We're silent as sparrows in the little bushes?

Some masters say our life lasts only seven days.
Where are we in the week? Is it Thursday yet?
Hurry, cry now! Soon Sunday night will come.

    - Robert Bly

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more Robert Bly -

Here is an excerpt from Country Roads by Robert Bly.

"Country Roads."

So many times this week I've felt like weeping.
It's natural, like the cry of Canada Geese
Who call to each other over the darkening reeds

In my early poems I praised so many lost things.
The way the crickets' cries in October carried
Them into the night sky felt right to me.

Every way of knowing is blessed by bootleggers.
Because the government does not allow delight
To be sold, you have to find it on the country roads.

    - Robert Bly

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Ah, Awe!!

Zen teacher Toni Packer -

    “The emergence and blossoming of understanding, love, and intelligence has nothing to do with any outer tradition.  It happens completely on its own when a human being questions, wonders, listens and looks without getting stuck in fear.  When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open.”

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John Tarrant writes about Awakening in the July Shambhala Sun.  He says transformative experience can happen just like that.  Here are two examples.

Garcia Marquez tells how he began writing fiction.

“One night (at college) a friend lent me a book of short stories by Franz Kafka. I went back to the pension where I was staying and began to read The Metamorphis. The first line almost knocked me off the bed, I was so surprised. The first line reads, “As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known I would have started writing long ago. So I immediately started writing short stories.”

                From The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton (Viking)


From The Invisible Writing by Arthur Koestler (Macmillan)


Arthur Koestler writes what happened to him when he was in a prison during the Spanish Civil War, facing execution.


                “I must have stood there for some minutes, entranced, with a wordless awareness that “this is perfect - perfect.” … Then I was floating on my back in a river of peace, under bridges of silence. It came from nowhere and flowed nowhere.  Then there was no river and no I.  The I had ceased to exist …. when I say “the I had ceased to exist,” I refer to a concrete experience that is verbally as incommunicable as the feeling aroused by a piano concerto, yet just as real - only much more real.  In fact its primary mark is the sensation that this state is more real than any other that has been experienced before.”

Who knows what will wake us up today, and it is fun to consider the myriad ways.