Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bone Poem - February 17, 201


The litter under the tree

Where the owl eats - shrapnel

Of rat bones, gull debris-

Sinks in the wet leaves...

...The long fall back to the center-

The seepage, the flowing,

The equity: sooner or later

In the shimmering leaves

The rat will learn to fly, the owl

Will be devoured.

I do other daily readings besides Mary Oliver. I read poetry from Latin America, daily nonviolent communication meditations, and Rumi Sufi poetry. Some days there seems to be a confluence of meaning that awakens me more thoroughly in these dark hours.

Today's poetry was an Amazonian oral tradition in the book Revelation: Latin American Wisdom for Everyday by Danielle and Olivier Follmi that said:

Your body is the place of memory,

A privileged place, the junction of Matter,

Energy, Spirit, and Conscience.

The entire universe is in your body,

your body is a Temple.

The message from Peaceful Living, Daily Meditations for Living with Love, Healing, and Compassion by Mary Mackenzie:

In Toltec cultures, this is called a Puja. It is a sacred act of honoring your body. Every morning while you're lathering yourself in the shower, caress every part of your body and say aloud all the reasons you appreciate it. I embrace radical self acceptance.

And also from A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings by Coleman Barks: The Worm's Waking:

This is how a human being can change.

There is a worm

Addicted to eating grape leaves.

Suddenly, he wakes up,

call it grace, whatever, something

wakes him, and he is no longer a worm.

He is the entire vineyard,

and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,

a growing wisdom and joy

that does not need to devour.

In this weaving of wisdom, I sense a rising joy. There is no self. There is no death. We are here to love this body, for it is the whole universe that one day will learn to fly. In this knowing, there is an unbearable responsibility to live devouring no more than what life needs as it flows through us, from stars into earth, and rising once again.

How do you treat your body? Do you "feel" that you are part of everything and if so, how does this influence your daily actions?


  1. I treat my body better than I have sometimes in the past. I do feel a part of everything in the universe. Some ways this influences my daily life include: getting enough sleep, not wearing makeup when I leave the house, making time to sit surrounded by nature each day, leaving television off for the most part, talking with my children for renewal and to renew them, and helping the children in my neighborhood to connect with nature and appreciate themselves and others. The best teacher is a model. When I appreciate and respect myself they learn to do the same.

  2. My body often seems as an impediment. It’s an obstacle to true, wild experience. It is cumbersome and one-dimensional. I cannot fly, cannot leap from branch to branch, cannot swim naked to the deep sea floor. I am trapped in fat and muscle. Gravity holds me down. I am human – that dull, boring creature that thinks and wishes and despairs.
    Honestly, I desire to trade this human brain and grossly inadequate body for that of a wild creature. Does a wild creature ever wish it were human? Does it have the biological capacity to wish? The body of the wild creature protects, each species with its own type of armor; and the body of the human, civilized or not, needs artificial protection. Clothes, helmets, shoes, eyeglasses…… You might say, “Yes, we are blessed with cognitive skills and a consciousness based on language and meaning. We can create our armor. We are more protected.” Rubbish! We also ‘create’ more danger, more need of protection. Give me one day in the body of a wild creature. How would that affect how I experience my human body?

  3. Dear Sally and Anonymous,

    Thank you both for sharing on this poem. I'm struck about how Mary pairs up her poems in the way they are arranged in this book. For instance, the poem for today is about turning into an animal, which reminds me of your words Anonymous.

    For spiritual discipline/practice, integral theory and others ask us to put ourselves into the bones,fins, fur, and bark of other beings. In this way we might know that we are the other being, and perhaps find a way to care for all of life, and perhaps even more importantly, to love ourselves as our neighbors.

    Peace this day,