Tuesday, August 05, 2008

tenderness only breaks open the earth

Another beautiful offering from Panhala's daily listserv.

Poet and translator Jane Hirshfield will be in Seattle on March 12 as part of the Seattle Arts and Lectures 2008-2009 Poetry Series (which will also feature W.S. Merwin and Gary Snyder)

Standing Deer

As the house of a person
in age sometimes grows cluttered
with what is
too loved or too heavy to part with,
the heart may grow cluttered.
And still the house will be emptied,
and still the heart.

As the thoughts of a person
in age sometimes grow sparer,
like a great cleanness come into a room,
the soul may grow sparer;
one sparrow song carves it completely.
And still the room is full,
and still the heart.

Empty and filled,
like the curling half-light of morning,
in which everything is still possible and so why not.

Filled and empty,
like the curling half-light of evening,
in which everything now is finished and so why not.

Beloved, what can be, what was,
will be taken from us.
I have disappointed.
I am sorry. I knew no better.

A root seeks water.
Tenderness only breaks open the earth.
This morning, out the window,
the deer stood like a blessing, then vanished.

~ Jane Hirschfield ~
(The Lives of the Heart)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

party favors

Last year when my brother-in-law Eric turned 40, he took some friends out to dinner and also gave them each a bag containing his Top 5 Favorite things (special cashmere socks, his favorite wine, a CD of his favorite drum solos, Sugar hand lotion, and I forget the 5th thing but maybe it had to do with donuts or bagels).

That inspired me to think, if I were turning 50 today, what favorite things would I give to the friends I'm having dinner with tonight?

For a party favor bag, a sturdy, snazzy and re-usable one like the ones they give customers at Lululemon (and which they might give you without charge when you go in and ask how much they cost to buy without having made a purchase). Then I'd put inside a magazine or a book. Some flowers, and some color. And some oolong tea from the Teahouse Kuan Yin in the Wallingford neighborhood (my favorites are the flowery ones like the High Mountain Jin Xuan and the Wen Shan Bao Zhong) (and now the Shan Lin Xi Green, too, thank you to teahouse owner Marcus!)

I also thought about adding some of my favorite Maple Pecan cereal, but without the soy milk and spoonful of peanut butter it is an incomplete experience so I left it out this time.