existentialist cafe

life is sacred

Tag: poetry

Abide in me

Amylase begins
to catalyze the sugars,
the brain registers
the deluge
this the beginning
I in Thou in I in Thou


Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

One of my favorite poems:

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

~wendell berry

The colored world wakes up

After so much time time in the city, finally got to breath some country air and walk through the woods. No matter that it was in ~12 inches of snow. It was 61 degrees! Wonderful. I saw two pileated woodpeckers(!), some green shoots growing in a puddle of snow melt, and the most amazingly blue sky I can remember. When I got home there was a torrent of starlings in the trees behind my mom’s house all talking about the weather. They are an invasive species, but that isn’t their fault.

The green like jewel shoots under a
sapphiric blue sky blasted away
the numbing white noise of winter

One poem and one haiku

The Pangs of Memory
Even in the city, I remember the stars;
In the winter, I remember the bath of spring;
In loneliness, I remember laughter;
In the cold, I remember the salty sea air;
In adulthood, I remember the wooded kingdom;
In the town, I remember the Brandywine;
In my body, I remember the garden;
In the city, I remember the stars.

in Pennypack Park:

as the red-tail soars
a single maple leaf falls
and floats towards the sea

Two haiku about the winter wind

I think everyone north of the Mason Dixon line has been very cold this week.

On epiphany
a devouring winter wind
is the city’s gift

Fire-warmed voices
talking about the smell of
the sea’s salty air


No words of my own today, but here are some from Erazim Kohak:

The golden leaves line the river bottom, setting the water aglow in the autumn sun. The forest dies and is renewed in the order of time; the sparkling river bears away grief. In the pained cherishing of that transient world, the human, a dweller between the embers and the stars, can raise it up to eternity. That is the task of the human.

And Saigyo:

inviting the wind to carry
salt waves of the sea
the pine tree of Shiogoshi
trickles all night long
shiny drops of moonlight

Now that I’ve died

now that I’ve died
they’ll open my side
and maybe they’ll see
the bird inside me

In daylight

In daylight
comforted in a fragrant mist
a salamander
patters gently on a fallen leaf
and drinks
water left from a sudden rain

Heron flies south, toward winter sun

Heron flies south, toward winter sun
arrow of heaven pulled and sent
from earth’s horizon tracing an arc
unerring into the blinding blue.
I can not fly, but he will carry me

2 Haiku about the rain

light autumn rain
the clerk says it will snow
maybe tomorrow

light autumn rain
no one wants to sit down
just hurry home