Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Tip of the Hat

The smallest act of kindness make change the world forever.



After Archbishop Desmond Tutu won a Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle against apartheid in South Africa, he was asked to recall some of the formative experiences in his life.

He replied, "One incident comes to mind immediately. When I was a young child, I saw a white man tip his hat to a black woman. Please understand that such a gesture is completely unheard of in my country. The white man was an Episcopal bishop and the black woman was my mother."

I'm going to see how many small acts of kindness I can give today.

This story about Desmond Tutu is excerpted from a column written by Rev. Gene Nelson for my local paper. Last night my wife and I enjoyed dinner and warm conversation with Gene, who is the Minister of Sebastopol's Community Church.

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's a Small World After All

Many of you know that I'm a kindergarten teacher by day. Sometimes I sing that saccharine song that Walt Disney made famous: "It's a Small World, After All."

This is another way of understanding that idea:



 Small World, an Etheree

our universe holds a hundred billion
galaxies and each galaxy holds
a hundred billion stars most of
them many times larger than
our green earth—we cannot
quite understand just
how small our world
really is
after
all.

Would you like me to read it to you?
Just press the orange play button:

  Small World, An Etheree by Dan Gurney

*********************************
*Consisting of ten lines, the Etheree poem starts with a one syllable line, then adds one syllable per line, ending with a final line of ten syllables yielding an overall syllable count of 55. In other words the syllabic structure is as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. It's also okay, and still and Etheree to reverse the sequence from 10 down to 1 and even to combine such progressions into compound forms of Etherees. It’s an uncomplicated, unpretentious form of poetry that has the quality of slowly opening, like a flower.  Try composing one; it won't take you too long. Who knows?  You may like it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sun Etheree

We believe what we see to be the whole truth.

The world is whole. It is complete. If we look deeply, the world will reveal to us more and more of its endless wonder, beauty and wholeness.

I took this photo yesterday at sundown on the coast of California.





Day’s sun slides down beyond the horizon.
Night’s cold darkness draws ever nearer.
 Brine breath of wind off the sea chills
my bare ears, cheeks, neck & nose.
Sweet voice calls out. My heart
leaps around the world.
Turning east, Look!
See the warm
rising
sun?

Let me read it to you:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Like a Jigsaw

This one's for Sabio who wonders if there's any special magic to the Etheree form. I'd say, no, there isn't any special magic; it's more like working a jigsaw puzzle:




No, there’s no special magic in breaking
lines just so to make an Etheree
“poem” (if you insist on using
quotation marks on that word),
but counting syllables
does force me to take
more care writing
“poems” than
writing
“prose.”




*********************************
*Consisting of ten lines, the Etheree poem starts with a one syllable line, then adds one syllable per line, ending with a final line of ten syllables yielding an overall syllable count of 55. In other words the syllabic structure is as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. It's also okay, and still and Etheree to reverse the sequence from 10 down to 1 and even to combine such progressions into compound forms of Etherees. It’s an uncomplicated, unpretentious form of poetry that has the quality of slowly opening, like a flower.  Try composing one; it won't take you too long. Who knows?  You may like it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shelter in the Dunes

A walk in the dunes close to home....

 we follow a "trail" that leads from the
seacoast town of Bodega out to
Salmon Creek Beach


and find the sort of facility for the public
that California is no longer willing to build




and find this little shelter
built by hand of driftwood
 (at no cost to the taxpayer)
by beach visitors who came before us




we crawl inside
and find it's cramped
and not too comfortable...


 yet the view out the front door is splendid.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Space Etheree

The Rosette Nebula
Credit & Copyright: Brian Lula







When
staring
at deep space
images of
stars, nebula so
distant in space and time,
i marvel at how we can
imagine that we are somehow
not intimately related to
ALL earthlings both human and non-human.

—Dan Gurney




*********************************
*Consisting of ten lines, the Etheree poem starts with a one syllable line, then adds one syllable per line, ending with a final line of ten syllables yielding an overall syllable count of 55. In other words the syllabic structure is as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. It’s an uncomplicated, unpretentious form of poetry that has the quality of slowly opening, like a flower.  Try composing one—you may like it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Scripture of the Landscape

The Pacific Ocean from Red Hill 2/6/11


Sarah and I have enjoyed several hikes recently. We're planning to go out into nature again today—this time out to the dunes by the Pacific.

Deng Ming-Dao wrote a wonderful book of contemplations called 365 Tao which I include in my daily morning activities. Here's the passage for Feb. 11—


Trail beside stream,
Fragrant pine.
Rocky red earth,
Steep mountain.

Walking may be a good metaphor for spiritual life, but there are times when simple hiking is literally the best activity. When one walks in the woods or climbs mountains, there is a wonderful unity of body, mind, and spirit.  Hiking strengthens the legs, increases stamina, invigorates the blood, and soothes the mind. Away from the madness of society, one is freed to observe nature’s lessons.

Erosion. Gnarled roots. The carcass of a dead deer. A flight of swallows. The high spirals of hawks. Bladed reflections of rushing water. Just budding bare branches. Gray rock, cracked, shattered, and worn. A fallen tree. A lone cloud. The laughter of plum branches. Even a little circle of rocks beside the trail—who put them there, or did any hand arrange them, and no matter which, what are the secrets of that circle?

There are a thousand meanings in every view, if only we open ourselves to see the scripture of the landscape.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wireless World




winter moon needs no
wireless communication 
to talk to poets

-dan gurney

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Myriad Miracles


our playful minds will run—scattering
in a thousand directions.
when we learn to guide our minds


skillfully


with determination and the help of friends on the path



we can decide


to look for and see

to listen for and hear

to know and feel

myriad MIRACLES

at hand right here

right now

with this breath.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What Iris Said



let your feet
take you everyplace you go today



bring along
your ancient animal nose

and exercise your imagination
until it can conjure
 
fruit

from sun and wind and soil
like a flower.



Lift your eyes
up to the azure skies


Let our winter sun
warm your skin


Strum the ukulele you hold
over your heart—

and



from your heart




let your song
come forth

sing to the birds,
the trees,
the breeze


let this sweet spring air
breathe in you
and breathe out you even sweeter
as a melody


celebrate this day
this moment with me as i
nod and dance,

in this wind
on this Earth

join me 
and be beautiful beyond reason

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Moon and Venus in Switzerland

Click to enlarge. Photo taken this past Sunday © by David Kaplan


Sometimes a morning sky can be serene and surreal. This past Sunday a sublime sky appeared above a snowy slope in eastern Switzerland. Quiet clouds blanket the scene, lit from beneath by lights from the village of Trubbach.  Mittlerspitz, the snow covered mountain, posing dramatically on the upper left, hovers over the small town of Balzers, Liechtenstein. The Alps can be seen across the far right, just below the rising sun. Visible on the upper right are the crescent Moon and the bright planet Venus. Venus will remain in the morning sky all month. Text (adapted) and photo are from Astronomy Picture of the Day LINK.