Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning

but for sheer delight and gratitude—
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

I have recently come back from a weekend Zen Buddhist retreat. We spent the weekend in silence, sitting on black mats, and had some spots of laughter. Mostly though it was serious business this wanting to change our lives. Then one morning a Barred Owl came to a tree outside our meditation rom. S/he began cackling, hooting, and doing that mocking squirrelly laugh that they do. I broke out in smiles, laughing with this bird who might have actually been laughing at us, and not just with us. We humans engage in such ridiculous acts. I wonder if were to look at what triggered us with joyful mirth, perhaps a bit on the loving mocking side, we might be able to keep our hearts open a little longer and a little larger before we become triggered into rushing on to somewhere we might deem safe. No safety, on life and love in a broken world, this perfect world.

Where in your life do you see or engage in ridiculous acts?


  1. A beautiful poem. A beautiful moment. Yours gives me hope. Thank you....

  2. pursuing amazing blogs

  3. Thank you for challenging all of us to open our eyes & see things that are more significant than all of the "stuff" that this world makes us see as important. I agree that in stopping to actually see a gold finch, a field daisy, the greenest of grass in the spring, snow flakes, and so much more, our eyes can be opened to see the reality of God's amazing power, beautiful creativity, grace, and love for us, His creation. Let's not even stop with seeing the gold finch but lift our eyes & heart to thank God, Himself, the creator of all.

  4. Does anyone know what book this is printed in?