To  bring proportion  to our doubts

Inside my heart, this sacred place
Where freely mingle truth and grace
Where friends and enemies alike
Are viewed as equals for love’s sake

Inhabited by deeper self
In touch with all that in me dwells
I leave  my failures  gladly here
I will not live in morbid fear

I don’t insult the force divine
By pride in any good that’s mine
For willpower cannot birth virtue
But  can  attend to the eye’s  view

By trusting in   the vast unknown
We turn attention from the known.
Our eyes relax and  gaze without
To  bring proportion  to our doubts

Trust, itself. will widen gaze
And enable us to find our ways.
With terror, fear or loss of pride
Constriction comes to human eyes.

Perception is the highest good
By what we see, we choose our road.
The blind rush like the swine to hell
In patient, watchfulness  let’s  dwell.

“Look on my works, ye mighty and despair.” I looked and there was nothing there.

Pride  isolates us from our human friends
The dignity is false , we’re stiff  with shame
It makes us lonesome when we cannot bend

We all come to nothing in the end
As poets wrote of kings from  long lost times
Pride  isolates us from  potential friends

Everyone  has feelings they must tend
Pluck the weeds,  be by  flowers beguiled
We are lonesome when we cannot bend

Be not ashamed when you’re at your wits end
These seas have been explored by other minds
Pride  isolates us from aspiring friends

If Darwin’s right  from  apes we all descend
And apes  do not drop bombs on their own kind
We are   tortured for we cannot mend

Poetry will change us   with its rhythmic lines
We  can dance our lost ones  from their chains
Pride  isolates us from our human friends
If  you’re lonely,come now,try again!

Undo souls

The villanelle is like a  song in form
Though it is no music but its own
Its repeated lines  will make us calm

Singing is for many souls a balm
When their sorrows overwhelm the  soul
The villanelle is like a  song in form

Yet some writing  can do all wicked  harm
Mein Kampf is such and  it is not the sole
Though soft repeated lines  will make us calm

Some write lies ; they anguish,even maim
The  hearts and souls of those who are disowned
The villanelle  could be a curse in form

If we always find some other is to blame
Our hearts will freeze and splinter  our deep soul
Soft repeated lines  might make us calm

Some seek ruin like the poor seek  gold
Others are hospitable to all
The villanelle is like a  song in form
The singer makes its affect undo souls

Poetry is important


You may never have read a poem in your life, and yet you can pick up a volume of Mary Oliver say, or Neruda, or of Rumi, open it to any page, and suddenly find yourself blown into a world full of awe, dread, wonder, marvel, deep sorrow, and joy.

Poetry at its best calls forth our deep being. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind; it calls to us, like the wild geese, as Mary Oliver would say, from an open sky. It is a magical art, and always has been — a making of language spells designed to open our eyes, open our doors and welcome us into a bigger world, one of possibilities we may never have dared to dream of.

This is why poetry can be dangerous as well as necessary. Because we may never be the same again after reading a poem that happens to speak to our own life directly. I know that when I meet my own life in a great poem, I feel opened, clarified, confirmed somehow in what I sensed was true but had no words for. Anything that can do this is surely necessary for the fullness of a human life.