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Some of my favorite poetry

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Quatrain 36

Omar Khayyám, The Rubáiyát

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit.
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.


Alone With Everybody

Charles Bukowski

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
and nobody finds the
but keep
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than

there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else


The Journey

Mary Oliver, Dream Work

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life that you could save.


Everything is Waiting For You

David Whyte

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and to invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.


To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Robert Herrick

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
     Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
     Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
     The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
     And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
     When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
     Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
     And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
     You may forever tarry.


The Guest House

Rumi (trans. Coleman Barks)

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


This is what you shall do

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms ​​to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to ​​others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the ​​​people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go ​​freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of ​​​families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine ​all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own ​soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its ​​words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in ​​every motion and joint of your body.