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.

Evening Poetry, August 13

For Work

by John O’ Donohue

May the light of your soul bless your work with love and warmth of heart.

May you see in what you do the beauty of your soul.

May the sacredness of your work bring light and renewal to those who work with you.
and to those who see and receive your work.

May your work never exhaust you.

May it release wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.

May you never become lost in bland absences. May the day never burden.

May dawn find hope in your heart, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.

May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.

May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected.

May your soul calm, console, and renew you.

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

Evening Poetry, August 12

Water

by Mary Oliver

What is the vitality and necessity

of clean water?

Ask the man who is ill, who is lifting

his lips to the cup.

Ask the forest.

You can find this poem in the collection Evidence.

Evening Poetry, August 11

The Work of Happiness

by May Sarton

I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room;
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall—
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical.

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life’s span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.

You can find this poem in Collected Poems 1930-1993.

Evening Poetry, August 10

Everything Is Waiting For You

(After Derek Mahon)

by David Whyte

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

You can find this poem in the collection Everything is Waiting for You.

Evening Poetry, August 9

Deep Summer

by Mary Oliver

The mockingbird

opens his throat

among the thorns

for his own reasons

but doesn’t mind

if we pause

to listen

and learn something

for ourselves;

he doesn’t stop,

he nods

his gray head

with the frightfully bright eyes,

he flirts

his supple tail,

he says:

listen, if you would listen.

There’s no end

to good talk,

to passion songs,

to the melodies

that say

this branch,

this tree is mine,

to the wholesome

happiness

of being alive

on a patch

of this green earth

in the deep

pleasure of summer.

What a bird!

Your clocks, he says plainly,

which are always ticking,

do not have to be listened to.

The spirit of his every word.

You can find this poem in the collection Evidence by Mary Oliver.

Evening Poetry, August 8

To Come Home To Yourself

by John O’ Donohue

May all that is unforgiven in you

Be released.

May your fears yield

Their deepest tranquillities.

May all that is unlived in you

Blossom into a future

Graced with love.

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