Evening Poetry, June 30

The Last Supper

by Rainer Maria Rilke

They are assembled–astonished, panicked–

around him, who like a sage concludes himself

and who withdraws from those he’s gathered

and who ungraspable flows past them.

The old solitude comes over him,

which reared him for his deep action;

now he will wander through the olive woods again,

and those who love him will flee before him.

He has summoned them to the last meal

and (as a shot scatters birds from the wheat)

he scatters their hands from the loaves

with his word: they fly up to him;

they flap, terrified, all around the table

and seek a way out. But no use: he,

like a twilight hour, is everywhere.

You can find this poem in The Book of Images.

Evening Poetry, June 29

Barefoot Days

by Rachel Field

In the morning, very early,

That’s the time I love to go

Barefoot where the fern grows curly

And grass is cool between each toe,

On a summer morning-O!

On a summer morning!

That is the when the birds go by

Up the sunny slopes of air,

And each rose has a butterfly

Or a golden bee to wear;

And I am glad in every toe–

Such a summer morning-O!

Such a summer morning!

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

Evening Poetry, June 28

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 poem in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, June 27

Poem by Rumi from collection The Essential Rumi.

A night full of talking that hurts,

my worst held-back secrets. Everything

has to do with loving and not loving.

This night will pass.

Then we have work to do.

Evening Poetry, June 26

VI. from Life

by Emily Dickinson

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

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

Evening Poetry, June 25

Guardian Angel

by Rainer Maria Rilke

You are the bird whose wings came

when I wakened in the night and called.

Only with my arms I called, because your name

is like a chasm, a thousand nights deep.

You are the shadows in which I quietly slept,

and your seed devised in me each dream,—

you are the image, but I am the frame

that makes you stand in glittering relief.

What shall I call you? Look, my lips are lame.

You are the beginning that gushes forth,

I am the slow and fearful Amen

that timidly concludes your beauty.

You have often snatched me out of dark rest

when sleep seemed like a grave to me

and like getting lost and fleeing,—

then you raised me out of heart-darknesses

and tried to hoist me onto all towers

like scarlet flags and bunting.

You: who talk of miracles as of common knowledge

and of men and women as of melodies

and of roses: of events

that in your eyes blazingly take place,—

you blessed one, when will you at last name Him

from whose seventh and last day

shards of glory can still be found

on the beating of your wings …

Do I need to ask?

You can find this poem in The Book of Images.

Evening Poetry, June 24

The TrueLove

by David Whyte

There is a faith in loving fiercely

the one who is rightfully yours

especially if you have

waited years and especially

if part of you never believed

you could deserve this

loved and beckoning hand

held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now

and the testaments of loneliness

and what we feel we are

worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides

I remember an old man

who walked every morning

on the grey stones

to the shore of baying seals

who would press his hat

to his chest in the blustering

salt wind and say his prayer

to the turbulent Jesus

hidden in the water,

and I think of the story

of the storm and everyone

waking and seeing

the distant

yet familiar figure

far across the water

calling to them

and how we are all

preparing for that

abrupt waking,

and that calling,

and taht moment

we have to say yes,

except it will

not come so grandly

so Biblically

but more subtly

and intimately in the face

of the one you know

you have to love.

So that when

we finally step out of the boat

toward them, we find

everything holds

us, and everything confirms

our courage, and if you wanted

to drown you could,

but you don’t

because finally

after all this struggle

and all these years

you don’t want to any more

you’ve simply had enough

of drowning

and you want to live and you

want to love and you will

walk across any territory

and any darkness

however fluid and however

dangerous to take the

one hand you know

belongs to yours.

You can find this poem in the collection The Sea in You.

The Moment of Lift (Book Review)

I recently finished reading The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. Before choosing it as an audiobook, I had no real idea what it was about; I wanted to be able to join the bookish community in conversation about it.

Sometimes it’s a good thing to have zero expectations about a book. In this case, I was completely unprepared for the powerful, positive message that this book contains. Melinda alternated between writing about research and sharing stories of women around the world.

My eyes were opened to the gender bias and inequality that persists in the U.S. even in 2019. In first-world countries like the U.S., it has taken women millennia to get where we are today and we still have a way to go. Women in developing nations suffer much more extreme gender bias and inequality every day of their lives.

But this book is filled with stories of women who changed their circumstances by challenging those in authority and standing up for themselves and their children.

Melinda is clearly a woman in a position of wealth, privilege, and power, but she also possesses humility, a willingness to learn and change, and an awareness of the dangers associated with wealthy people trying to do good. I was surprised by her down-to-earth manner. I think listening to her narrate her own book made it much more personal. And she is a really good narrator; I am super picky about voices, but hers is just right for listening.

As a person of faith (she is Catholic), Melinda takes into account the Bible’s words about serving the poor and being a voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. She travels the world and spends time with the poorest, most marginalized people, which I was impressed by, and which is certainly Christ-like. But as much as her and Bill’s charitable foundation impacts the lives of others, she has been impacted and changed by them as well.

In case you were wondering, this isn’t a book that puts down men in any way, or that preaches that women should be above men. The book has a respectful tone toward everyone: man, woman, child, rich, and poor. Instead this book is about women taking their places alongside men in every area of life. And the message woven throughout the book is about love as the missing link, as the needed element that can heal social ills.

The Moment of Lift will challenge you, educate you, surprise you, break your heart for the suffering of others, and, yes, it will lift your spirit! I hope you put it on your TBR list and read this important book very soon. I’d love to hear what you think when you read it!

Evening Poetry, June 23

A Service of Song

by Emily Dickinson

Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.

Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.

God preaches, — a noted clergyman, —
And the sermon is never long;
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I’m going all along!

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

Evening Poetry, June 22

From “The Turn” by Rumi, found in The Essential Rumi.

Dance, when you’re broken open.

Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.

Dance in the middle of the fighting.

Dance in your blood.

Dance, when you’re perfectly free.