Two about Prayer

Mary Oliver was sent by the Hackett family, and Galway Kinnell, I found

Praying, Mary Oliver

It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another may speak.
Prayer, Galway Kinnell

Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what 
I want. Only that. But that.

My mom used to joke about death in her later years. I used to glower at her — it made me uncomfortable, and I didn’t want to think about losing her — but I get it now. she was coaching herself. I think about death all of the time, and it’s perfectly okay.

Poem 102: When Death Comes, by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bears in autumn,
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle pox;

when death comes 
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, 
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
Anxiety about Dying by Alicia Ostriker

It isn’t any worse than what
I discover in the dentist’s chair
under the nitrous oxide.

The whole jaw is going, I complain, the gums, the bone,
two enormous fillings lost.  What do I need?
Maybe a guillotine? says my dentist, the joker.

The only thing I have to fear is fear itself, I tell him.
You believe that bullshit? he says
setting to work on my rotting bicuspid.

Now comes the good part. Breathing the happy gas.
I get answers to all the questions I had
about death but was afraid to ask.

Will there be pain? Yes.
Will my desires still be unsatisfied? Yes.
My human potential remain unrealized? Yes.

Can a person stop minding about that? Certainly.
Can I commend my spirit to the seventeen
angels whistling outside the dentist’s window? Of course.

How nice the happy gas.
What a good friend.
I unclench my sweaty little hand.

I wave goodbye to my teeth.
It seems they are leaving by train for a vacation.
I’ll meet them in the country when I can.

Many great spiritual teachers recommend a daily meditation on death. It serves to wake us up to the day around us — a day nobody promised us we would have.

I had the idea I was going to write more haiku

january 7 2022

bring yoga into it
the day wakes in your hips
sunlight in the bones
Fooling around in Procreate: January 26, 2022
the body may ache but it can do everything it needs to do and for that I am grateful

When Rasmi discovered this one, he sent it right away

Poem #133:  the Summer Day, by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-- 
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she shifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, now to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I've been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?