Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2016

A powerful poem by Mary Oliver

The Fire from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
That winter it seemed the city
was always burning -- night after night
the flames leaped, the ladders pitched forward.
... Scorched but alive, the homeless wailed
 as they ran for the cold streets.
That winter my mind had turned around,
shedding, like leaves, its bolts of information--drilling down, through history,
toward my motionless heart.  Those days I was willing, but frightened.
What I mean is, I wanted to live my life
but I didn't want to do what I had to do
to go on, which was: to go back.
All winter the fires kept burning,
  the smoke swirled, the flames grew hotter.
I began to curse, to stumble, and choke.
Everything, solemnly, drove me toward it --the crying out, that's so hard to do.
Then over my head the timbers floated,    my feet were slippers of fire, my voice
crashed at the truth, my fists
smashed at the flames to find the door
--wicked and sad, mortal and bearable,
   it fell open forever as I burned.


Within the last decade since I moved away from California, I sent a card to my father. And I included this poem in it--

The Secret
By Denise Levertov

Two girls discover  
the secret of life  
in a sudden line of  

I who don’t know the  
secret wrote  
the line. They  
told me

(through a third person)  
they had found it
but not what it was  
not even

what line it was. No doubt  
by now, more than a week  
later, they have forgotten  
the secret,

the line, the name of  
the poem. I love them  
for finding what  
I can’t find,

and for loving me  
for the line I wrote,  
and for forgetting it  
so that

a thousand times, till death  
finds them, they may  
discover it again, in other  

in other  
happenings. And for  
wanting to know it,  

assuming there is  
such a secret, yes,  
for that  
most of all.

Denise Levertov, “The Secret” from O Taste and See: New Poems. Copyright © 1964 by Denise Levertov. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.


Self boundaries

From May 28, 2012

“Self-boundaries determine even what one is able to think. While it is true that different impressions stimulate different thoughts in the same person, still these thoughts are pretty much determined by the person’s sense of who he is, that is, his self-image. So the thoughts that go through a person's mind are not really accidental, chaotic, or di...sconnected, although they may sometimes appear so. They appear chaotic because a large segment of the self-image is unconscious or preconscious, and thus shapes thoughts and experiences in a way that the conscious mind cannot be aware of. This fact makes it possible for a person, by careful observation of the patterns and trends in his thoughts, to gain much information concerning his sense of identity. (Almaas, 1986, p. 15)"