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prompt 164 listening

July 4, 2013

listening, week one
first, much thanks and appreciation to Irene for the rich tapestry series of prompts now completed. a challenge to follow her! story is not my realm, however for the next four weeks we’ll engage ourselves within a theme.
listening. that’s our theme. some call that meditation, and while accurate we’ll use the more common word. think not the less, no matter how ordinary it seems. it is one whole half of our existence, listening. it is directed both outwardly and inward to include our personal sense of reality. further, who you are, that one who listens may just be someone else or beneath even your thoughts, your emotions. as some say, if you are hearing thoughts, feeling emotions, then who is doing the listening? maybe we can tap at that door, see who answers.
don’t we already know how to listen? fair question. loudness is harder to ignore, like an approaching train! however existence includes many subtle layers as well. and to some measure we are trained from childhood to only hear what we “should” hear. read some good poems. notice how some poets seem to hear and see what’s near invisible? that’s listening!
listening is about trust. trust that what’s given is enough. trust that you are able to receive. trust that you don’t need to change, to do anything with what you hear. and yes, listening happens with more than your ears. eyes listen, fingers listen, arms and legs, your whole body does. trust and allow what comes to you from listening.

some poems for you to read:

      Lily Magnolia Enclosure, by Wang Wei
      The autumn hill gathers the remaining light
      A flying bird chases its companion before it
      The green color is momentarily bright
      Sunset mist has no fixed place

notice this poem is only doing simple direct observation (listening). it’s not even trying to be poetic. neither are there any evaluations or judgments. it does not attempt to “make meaning”, yet the expression of natural truth is self evident.

      Duckweed Lake, by Wang Wei
      Beside this spring lake deep and wide, I find
      myself waiting for your light boat to return;
      duckweed slowly drifted together behind you,
      and now hanging willows sweep it open again.

while the writer is here joined into the environment this poem continues the direct sense of observation without added comment upon what is witnessed.

      The Light by the Barn, (excerpts) by William Stafford
      The light by the barn that shines all night
      pales at dawn when a little breeze comes.
      The little breeze follows the slow windmill
      and the chickens at work till the sun goes down –
      Then the light by the barn again.

we see the poem begin and end with the same image here, with no poetic point pushed onto us. it simply states what is, with no worry to explain or justify itself. don’t be averse to allowing simple honest expression.

Mountains do not lack the qualities of mountains. Therefore, they always abide in ease and always walk. ~Dogen

little pencilHere’s the prompt. Write one (or a few) simple poems about your natural environment. We suggest you keep poems to 2 – 6 lines (each). Simple direct observation is important here. Refrain from trying to make your poem mean something more than what it observes.

paraphrased from Natalie Goldberg, The True Secret of Writing
What we want ultimately is for us to get out of our way. Let go of our little wills and ideas and allow something larger to come through.

Post your poems any time during this following week. And yes, if you have a different poem to share, that’s welcome too.

  1. July 4, 2013 6:05 am

    The sign says
    “Horses for Sale”
    Your fields are empty
    You’ve sold those horses
    Now what
    You going to do


    Clouds rise up
    Like cathedrals
    Over the mountains
    Into a cobalt sky
    Meadows green
    Stretch out before us

  2. July 4, 2013 9:34 am

    I suppose this is better than nothing: Aesthetics (II)

  3. July 4, 2013 3:50 pm

    No discipline, but no nature, either.

  4. July 4, 2013 6:14 pm

    Even the weeds, the sweet clover, the orange-lilies
    no longer drooped but raised their blossoms
    above the tangle of grass and poison ivy.
    Their colors bright and freshly painted
    as if they grew in some suburban garden
    where they were freshly sprinkled every day.

  5. July 5, 2013 3:58 am

    I did manage to mention birds …

  6. July 10, 2013 6:30 am

    This week I was inspired by Night Garden Music.


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