Evening Poetry, August 20

For Longing

by John O’ Donohue

Blessed be the longing that brought you here

And quickens your soul with wonder.

May you have the courage to listen to the voice of

desire

That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

May you have the wisdom to enter generously into

your own unease

To discover the new direction your longing wants

you to take.

May the forms of your belonging–in love, creativity,

and friendship–

Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your own soul.

May the one you long for long for you.

May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of

your desire.

May a secret Providence guide your thought and

nurture you’re feeling.

May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness

with which your body inhabits the world.

May your heart never be haunted by ghost-

structures of old damage.

May you come to accept your longing as divine

urgency.

May you know the urgency with which God longs

for you.

You can find this in the collection To Bless the Space Between Us.

Evening Poetry, August 19

Sunset

by Emily Dickinson

A sloop of amber slips away

Upon an ether sea,

And wrecks in peace a purple tar,

The son of ecstasy.

You can find this poem in Hope is the Thing as Feathers.

Evening Poetry, August 18

You can find this in The Book of a Monastic Life in Rilke’s Book of Hours.

I,6

by Rainer Maria Rilke

You, God, who live next door–

If at times, through the long night, I trouble you

with my urgent knocking–

this is why: I hear you breathe so seldom.

I know you’re all alone in that room.

If you should be thirsty, there’s no one

to get you a glass of water.

I wait listening, always. Just give me a sign!

I’m right here.

As it happens, the wall between us

is very thin. Why couldn’t a cry

from one of us

break it down? It would crumble

easily.

it would barely make a sound.

Evening Poetry, August 17

The Waterwheel

by Rumi

Stay together, friends,

Don’t scatter and sleep,

Our friendship is made

of being awake.

The waterwheel accepts water

and turns and gives it away,

weeping.

That way it stays in the garden,

whereas another roundness rolls

through a dry riverbed looking

for what it thinks it wants.

Stay here, quivering with each moment

like a drop of mercury.

You can find this in the collection The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, August 16

Old Lovers at the Ballet

by May Sarton

In the dark theatre lovers sit

Watching the supple dancers weave

A fugue, motion and music melded.

There on the stage below, brilliantly lit

No dancer stumbles or may grieve;

Their very smiles are disciplined and moulded.

And in the dark old lovers feel dismay

Watching the ardent bodies leap and freeze,

Thinking how age has changed them and has mocked.

Once they were light and bold in lissome play,

Limber as willows that could bend with ease–

But as they watch a vision is unlocked.

Imagination springs the trap of youth.

And in the dark motionless, as they stare,

Old lovers reach new wonders and new answers

As in the mind they leap to catch the truth,

For young the soul was awkward, unaware,

That claps its hands now with the supple dancers.

And in the flesh those dancers cannot spare

What the old lovers have had time to learn,

That the soul is a lithe and serene athlete

That deepens touch upon the darkening air.

It is not energy but light they burn,

The radiant powers of the Paraclete.

You can find this in Collected Poems 1930-1993.

Evening Poetry, August 15

II. Love: VII.

by Emily Dickinson

Wild nights! Wild nights!

Were I with thee,

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!

Futile the winds

To a heart in port,–

Done with the compass,

Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!

Ah! the sea!

Might I but moor

To-night in thee!

You can find this in the collection Hope is the Thing With Feathers.

Evening Poetry, August 14

(Happy Birthday to my daughter, Ella, who is 16 today!)

The Birthday Child

by Rose Fyleman

Everything’s been different

All the day long,

Lovely things have happened,

Nothing has gone wrong.

Nobody has scolded me,

Everyone has smiled,

Isn’t it delicious

To be a birthday child?

You can find this poem in the collection Favorite Poems Old and New.