Thursday, February 21, 2013

in the moment

Most of us live very little in the present.
If we could watch our thoughts,
we would be surprised to see how much time
we spend in the past or future –
or simply daydreaming, out of time altogether.
Very seldom can we say we are fully present
in the present moment.
Yet now is the only time there is. 
                Eknath Easwaran

The glorious reality of Spring seems to help me stay in the moment, 
at least for a moment
It made me think of this quote from an important teacher in my life. 
Easwaran's focus on living in the moment
is one of my most difficult challenges.

Friday, February 15, 2013

When a painted lady touched my arm

Today’s unseasonably warm weather reminded me of a beautiful moment.

As I walked west on 19th St. in front of my house, on one of the warmest Spring days in SF history, I slowed to watch a beautiful butterfly--a painted lady--it flew up and slowly lit on my left hand--stunned--I just watched and held my hand perfectly still. After a time, it gently dropped to the warm sidewalk--maybe to catch some of the last warmth of the day. I watched for a long time and then turned up the slightly curving staircase to my front door. I could barely see to put the brass key into the lock--tears filled my eyes and sped down my cheeks. An angel? A departed spirit? I thought of the line from my love poem, Paradox,

Certainty emerging
from passion
Constancy woven
of desire, fantasy, hope

Catching time as it flows
missing its immediacy

Intricate contingencies of love
cannot bear stasis

Unsure waft of a butterfly’s passing
as real as death 

 Sadly, I did not have a photo of the painted lady (vanessa cardui), but love this photo from another Spring.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

what was ordinary

The meaning of life changes when we confront loss.
Our search for meaning and purpose
leaves us wandering and bewildered.
What was ordinary yesterday
becomes precious today,
and what was precious yesterday
seems dull and lusterless.
What we liked becomes uninteresting,
but what we love becomes everything.
~ Stephen Levine

Sunday, February 10, 2013

on a city street

 A chill fog touches
the gray sidewalk.

A tall woman and a tiny girl,
hand in hand, move slowly.

At the corner, a long pause,
perhaps a rest.

The girl looks up.
In slow grace

the woman bends forward,
kisses the child.

(c) Duff Axsom, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

petals on a bough

The small bird
let a chirp
from its beak:
    I heard
woodnotes, whin-
gold, sudden.
The Lagan 

The Blackbird of Belfast Lough

(Early Irish poem) The title of this post is from Seamus Heaney,
who sees a similarity between ancient Irish poetry and haiku.

"this worldness. ... Both are alert to their physical surroundings yet possess a strong sense of another world to which poetry promises access. In each case, it’s as if the poet is caught between the delights of the contingent and the invitations of the transcendent."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

corners of the sky

'It is in the wild places, 
where the edge of the earth 
meets the corners of the sky, 
the human spirit is fed.'
                                          Art Wolfe, nature photographer

The photo is one that I took near Pelican Bay where the edge and corners meet.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

the spirit runs, intermittently

Water’s my will and my way,
And the spirit runs, intermittently,
In and out of the small waves,
Runs with the intrepid shore birds─
How graceful the small before danger!

                                 Theodore Roethke

These marvelous birds were dancing for me at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

the edges of time

I saw this astoundingly perfect line of poetry yesterday and it reminded me of one of my favorite photos from a couple of years ago. Not quite the small stone observation of the past month, but wanted to share it.

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf

                                                                                Rabindranath Tagore, from The Gardener

Perhaps it is time to share some of my favorite photos over the next weeks and lines of poetry from some of the wonderful poets that have been in my life. Or, a few poems of my own.