Posts Tagged ‘words’

Wendell Berry’s stepping over stones in a stream shows us how he writes a poem and takes a stand

September 5, 2018

“What I stand for is what I stand on.” — Wendell Berry

I love the playful music in this brilliant little poem by Wendell Berry from Leavings: Poems. As if imitating the sounds and poetry of nature, Berry’s stepping over stones in a flowing stream demonstrates his own creative flow, the way he uses words to show us how he writes a poem, and takes a stand for nature and his place in it.

The Book of Camp Branch

How much delight I’ve known
in navigating down the flow
by stepping stones, by sounding
stones, by words that are
stepping and sounding stones.

Going down stone by stone,
the song of the water changes,
changing the way I walk
which changes my thought
as I go. Stone to stone
the stream flows. Stone to stone
the walker goes. The words
stand stone still until
the flow moves them, changing
the sound – a new word –
a new place to step or stand.

Here’s another of his poems I posted: Wendell Berry’s “No going back” is about the generosity of the evolving self through time.

For more on this environmental legend and writer, see Wendell Berry: Poet and Prophet. Produced by Bill Moyers, it aired on PBS 10/03/13.

Selected Wise Words From Rumi

February 28, 2015

There are many wise sayings from Rumi. Some were posted on the blog: something to tell. I copied a few thoughtful and instructive ones:

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.

When someone is counting out gold for you, don’t look at your hands, or the gold. Look at the giver.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.

You are not just the drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in the drop.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.

See more quotes and images from this blogger at rumi’s wise words.

You may also enjoy Two kinds of knowledge about living and learning.

Here’s another one: Poems by Rumi and Octavio Paz open our minds to a more cosmic perspective. Also see several inspiring poems by Hafiz.

 

Not the loss alone — a poem by Gregory Orr

October 22, 2013

Not the loss alone,
But what comes after.
If it ended completely
At loss, the rest
Wouldn’t matter.

But you go on.
And the world also.

And words, words
In a poem or song:
Aren’t they a stream
On which your feelings float?

Aren’t they also
The banks of that stream
And you yourself the flowing?

~ Gregory Orr ~

 (Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved)

See two other poems by Gregory Orr from the same book:

Let’s remake the world with words

Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved

 

Words—a poem on the nature of words and mind

February 19, 2012

Ever looked at a legal document and wondered what the heck you just read? Depending on the way we use language, communication can obfuscate or elucidate, confuse or clarify.

Words can mean different things to different people. The English language uses different words to mean the same thing, and different things use similar sounding words. It can get confusing, especially if English is not your first language. Apparently only Sanskrit has a direct one-to-one relationship between a word and its meaning, between name and form, nama-rupa.

One way to use words to create clarity of mind is in meditation, where the mind, if allowed, can refer to its own essential nature. In the case of Transcendental Meditation, a technique that automatically transcends its own activity, a different kind of word, or thought, is employed—a mantra—a suitable harmonious meaningless sound. With the appropriate mantra, and instructions how to use it properly, the mind can effortlessly transcend words, thinking, its own activity, and arrive at the source of mind, a state of pure awareness, the meditator’s inner Self.

Hope this introduction helps you to better understand this abstract poem I wrote in the late 1980’s. For lack of a better title, I just called it, Words.

Words

the mind is of two minds
one listens to the sounds of words
the other follows their meanings
words help the mind to know things

names are the words for things
things are the forms of names
sounds and meanings of names and forms
things are contained within words

when words become things in themselves
then words get contained within words
sounds and meanings within names and forms
names and forms within sounds and meanings

layers of communication get built up create complex structures
and break down under the weight of their own words
too many words hinder the mind’s ability to know things
the mind cannot know its own mind

. . . . .

when words use themselves
to lose themselves
they allow the mind
to experience itself

experiencing itself
losing itself
to the Self
left to its Self

alone
the silent home
where things and words are one
all one

© Ken Chawkin

Poetry—The Art of The Voice

September 12, 2009

Poetry—The Art of The Voice

How fine will your breath become
from listening to these words?
How soft will they seem to be
as they settle through the mind
like silent snowflakes falling
from a windless winter sky?

I often marvel at the mystery—
how words can work
on a listener’s heart and mind,
upon hearing a poet’s thoughts,
a poet’s breath, flowing
from an inner voice—
a windless wind, speaking
through a voiceless voice.

—Ken Chawkin

This poem was published in THIS ENDURING GIFT, A Flowering of Fairfield Poetry, 76 Poets Who Found Common Ground in One Small Prairie Town:, and later selected as the POEM OF THE DAY: Poetry – The Art of the Voice, by Ken Chawkin.


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