Poetry

The Guest House

by Jelaluddin Rumi

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

Love After Love

by Derek Walcott

The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other's welcome,


and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you


all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,


the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

Love Sorrow

by Mary Oliver

Love sorrow. She is yours now, and you must

take care of what has been

given. Brush her hair, help her

into her little coat, hold her hand,

especially when crossing a street. For, think,


what if you should lose her? Then you would be

sorrow yourself; her drawn face, her sleeplessness

would be yours. Take care, touch

her forehead that she feel herself not so


utterly alone. And smile, that she does not

altogether forget the world before the lesson.

Have patience in abundance. And do not

ever lie or ever leave her even for a moment


by herself, which is to say, possibly, again,

abandoned. She is strange, mute, difficult,

sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child.

And amazing things can happen. And you may see,


as the two of you go

walking together in the morning light, how

little by little she relaxes; she looks about her;

she begins to grow.

Kindness

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.


Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.


Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters and

purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

it is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you every where

like a shadow or a friend.

Crying

by Galway Kinnell

Crying only a little bit

is no use. You must cry

until your pillow is soaked!

Then you can get up and laugh,

Then you can jump in the shower

and splash-splash-splash!

Then you can throw open your

window and "Ha ha! Ha ha!"

And if people say, "Hey,

What's going on up there?"

"Ha ha!" sing back, "Happiness

was hiding in the last tear!

I wept it! Ha ha."

Be Gentle With Anger

by Jeff Foster

Be gentle with anger.

Bow before it.

It is not what you think it is.


Let it come closer, let it enter you if it must.

Feel its power.

Until there is no division between 'self' and 'anger'.

Until you cannot call it 'anger' at all.

Until there is only fire, passion.

But no violence.


Anger is the roar of a lion, the cry of a universe longing to be born.

It reminds you, when you have forgotten,

That the power of life moves through you.

That you have a voice.


Do not push your anger away, or label it 'negative' or 'unspiritual'.

Do not pretend it is not there.

No need to act it out, either.


Feel its pounding, its vibrations, its longing to be acknowledged, held.

At its burning core, discover courage.


The courage to be yourself.

To hold your path, fearlessly.

To speak for those without a voice.

To stand up for truth, with passion and dignity.

To roar with love.


Know that your heart is vast and spacious,

and anger, so often misunderstood,

has a home in you,

a sanctuary. 


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