Why, in the middle of your busy life, would you pause to read poetry?
Because good poetry points us to what truly matters, which is why I use poetry so much in my work. A good poem offers sanctuary, reminding us of the necessity, power and beauty of contemplation. In a world hell-bent on filling space with activity and silence with noise, this is a subversive act. So slow down, digest a poem, let it take you by the hand. Allow yourself be touched, even changed. Indeed, poetry has been know to save lives. Nuff said. Onward!
Image: Paul Cezanne, Still life, pitcher and fruit
In a seemingly small act, poet Rudy Francisco shines the light
of compassionate awareness on what we fearfully name “other.”
after Nikki Giovanni
She asked me to kill the spider
Instead, I got the most
peaceful weapons I can find
I take a cup and a napkin.
I catch the spider, put it outside
and allow it to walk away
If I am ever caught in the wrong place
at the wrong time, just being alive
and not bothering anyone,
I hope I am greeted
with the same kind
Rudy Francisco from Helium
More on Rudy Francisco: https://www.iamrudyfrancisco.com/bio
Bonus poem by Nikki Giovanni
I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn’t
And she scared me
And I smashed her
I don’t think
To kill something
Because I am
— Nikki Giovanni, from Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid
More on Nikki Giovanni:
Need some Coyote right about now? Yeah, thought so.
Okay, here you go. Get enlightened.
A student asked, “Can Essential Nature be destroyed?”
Coyote said, “Yes, it can.”
The student asked, “How can Essential Nature be destroyed?”
Coyote said, “With an eraser.”
The Jewel-Net of Indra
A student asked, “What is the Jewel-Net of Indra?”
Coyote drew the student toward him, and bumped heads with him.
The student said, “If I had known that, I wouldn’t have asked.”
Everyone knows how Coyote Roshi loves to collect Buddhist images.
Once a disciple of Rahjneesh wrote to him, saying, “You collect wooden Buddhas.
You should come to India and meet a living Buddha.”
Coyote mentioned this letter to his students, and remarked,
“Living Buddhas are all over the place, but a good wooden Buddha is hard to find.”
By Robert Aitken Roshi, excerpts from Coyote Roshi Goyoku, found in Coyote’s Journal; edited by James Kofler, Carroll “Gogisgi” Arnett, Steve Nimirow, and Peter Blue Cloud.
Image: Coyote Leaping, mixed media painting by Harry Fonseca.
To the simple, humble stone: All praises!
Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.
From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill—
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star-charts
On the inner walls.
By Charles Simic, from What the Grass Says