Tag Archives: Travel

WRITING THE AUSTRALIA TRIP

WRITING THE AUSTRALIA TRIP

We went to teach, we went to learn
we did a lot of both and more of some

We met amazing people – they met us
perhaps none will be the same again

Details I leave for further poems
which I hurry to hurry to write

before the ripples rippling out
are lost
clockwise and counter clock
down the toilet bowl of time

ON THAT NOTE

ON THAT NOTE

Classical music fills the car
as we home from the airport in traffic

Our host is from Bulgaria
he plays the trombone, his wife the violin
sometimes they tour, sometimes he drives cab
He loves Austin, he loves his wife

Ahead and around
drivers speed and weave

I wonder what they’re listening to

GRANDFATHER’S MOUSTACHE

GRANDFATHER’S MOUSTACHE

The moustaches
of my grandfather and Carl Jung
(Twins separated at birth)
have lives of their own

Jung’s stays in Switzerland
combing the unconscious

My grandfather’s travels to Brazil and Canada
gathers rainforest moisture, dirty thirties dirt
and remnants of strong cheese and pipe smoke
(Carl’s certainly contains some of that too)

When grandfather sneezes, I get to share it all

NEW TRIBES

NEW TRIBES

From the old tribe of Isaac
and the old tribe of Ishmael

Israeli and Palestinian
couples and their children
come together by the sea and share

We are teaching the skills of listening
the skills of sharing and skills of hearing

The rules are simple
tell your truth as your truth only

Assume as you listen
that the person makes sense
If they do not seem to make sense
assume you need more information,

By the end of the weekend
the eight year olds are sleeping over
teenage walk on the beach till dawn

A new tribe being formed

RED STICK WEDDING – BATON ROUGE

RED STICK WEDDING – BATON ROUGE

When you get married at the Alligator Bayou
in the middle of a Louisiana swamp
it is well to expect some magic

When you get married on the anniversary
of Granny Jean’s death in her 100th year
you can pretty much expect she’ll be here

The sky cracking open with lightening
just as the preacher starts preaching
and the thunder and rain and hail
rattlering off the big tin roof
all through poem and ceremony
might have happened anywhere

But when the wedding vows slow
that rain to a stop, so we can go out
on the flat bottomed boat at dusk
come around the corner and see

Two cypress stumps fifty paces apart
struck by the wedding party lightning
firefly sparks against the night
we know we’re not in Kansas

MARY OLIVER

MARY OLIVER

Of all the poets I admire
only one did I envy

How she could take us all on her journey
remind us of the wild beauty of our lives
and the soft animal of our bodies

It is disowned parts of us I know
that we hold to high or low

And yet I wanted to go where she could go

This year in the merry month of May
on a trip in search of other things
a book I didn’t know she’d written
in a town where I didn’t know she’d lived

I hung five days like her hummingbird
on the green wheel of its wings

Her flowers were my food
her town became my town
her dunes became my dunes

Sip by sip on that Cape Cod shore
I began to envy her less
and love her more

And that pretty green stone
I was taking with me
I threw it back into the sea

THE BELLS OF LE CROTOY

THE BELLS OF LE CROTOY

In the little village by the Baie
bells still wake you every day

And since not all the churches agree
we wait while each has its pretty say
then snuggle back for a little nap
because a bell is just a bell
and we’re on holiday

If we had really listened
we might have have heard them say

We are the bells Jeanne d’Arc heard
breaking over walls of prison stone
the morning of her walk to Rouen
and then never heard again

We are the bells Jules Verne heard
rattling rough shuttered windows
get up lazy writer and grasp for that pen
you have leagues to write ‘fore you rest again

We are the bells that the fishermen heard
on the mornings behind their names
on the monument to men lost at sea
heard last before going to sea

GREECE 2001

GREECE 2001

We take the boat back to Athens
cold and windy and a little rough

Dorsey lies down on the way

If she is Helen returned
she might again cause the launching
of a thousand ships
but she would not sail on one

I have an ouzo and man the bow
swells rising through my feet
feeling the eternity of the sea

When the islands are out of site
I still feel and could steer
by the shape of the winds

PROLOGUE TO 2001 GOD BLESS THE WORLD

PROLOGUE

November 22, 2001
U.S. Thanksgiving – Houston, Texas

Having decided to fast instead of gorge, and looking back in gratitude and awe at the last year, I have decided to prepare for you a small meal of impressions

Dorsey, ever a source of inspiration and joy, is tapping out changes to a new manual in the next room. Feel good to know that her gifts are for others as well as myself.

Probably go to Galveston Beach tomorrow, where she walked on September tenth.
Profoundly, and as it turns out, prophetically touched by a feeling of the end of summer and an end of innocence

I was in Canada at the time and remained T.V. free; A week helping my brother re-floor his cabin at Candle Lake in Saskatchewan, and then joining some wonderful old friends and new for Canadian Thanksgiving at an Alberta Rocky Mountain retreat.

Can’t help but think that we are indeed in ‘speed up’ and on the teetering edge of something profound here. I still remember a Tibetan, Rimpoche, at Esalen teaching us about having compassion for all beings in the universe. The problem, he said, was that we had no idea how to do that, or where to start. He suggested that we should sit in silence and think of one person whose pain would be as our own. A child, parent, lover, or whoever. To really feel that pain, and to then add people one at a time as long as we could maintain that feeling. When we were unable to do this we should stop, and try again later. We have up to now been unable to get our heads and hearts around the thousands of deaths from war and natural disasters around the world. September the 11th cracked that open to a point where 6,000 people got into our hearts at one time. There is evidence that this is spreading to our concern for the citizens of Afghanistan and other parts of the world. I pray that it is true.

Part of the ‘speed up’ is in the learning curve. In the last year we have been in five Canadian Provinces, and sixteen U.S. States (seven of them new to me), as well as Holland, Greece and France. Learning lots, and passing some of it along at workshops and readings.

Want to express deep gratitude to two of our principal teachers, Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone, originators of the Psychology of the Selves , or Voice Dialogue work. The timeliness of their vision of how each of us as persons, as well as all nations contain a multitude of selves, covering the whole spectrum from saint to terrorist; some owned, and some disowned, and how different our choices and actions can be when we embrace all of them, hold the tension of the opposites and act from a place of awareness.

On the following page is a story off of the internet that I would like to share

Would also like to say that I remain excited and hopeful that maybe the world is indeed unfolding as it should, and that in any case I do not really have enough information to be a pessimist.

Love and happy thanksgiving to all,

Neil