How to be a Poet (to remind myself)
by Wendell Berry
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill -- more of each
than you have -- inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensional life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
(from Given: New Poems)
"The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves." - Terry Tempest Williams (Leap)
“I breathe in the soft, saturated exhalations of cedar trees and salmonberry bushes, fireweed and wood fern, marsh hawks and meadow voles, marten and harbor seal and blacktail deer. I breathe in the same particles of air that made songs in the throats of hermit thrushes and gave voices to humpback whales, the same particles of air that lifted the wings of bald eagles and buzzed in the flight of hummingbirds, the same particles of air that rushed over the sea in storms, whirled in high mountain snows, whistled across the poles, and whispered through lush equatorial gardens…air that has passed continually through life on earth. I breathe it in, pass it on, share it in equal measure with billions of other living things, endlessly, infinitely.” - Richard Nelson (The Island Within)
“Breathing involves a continual oscillation between exhaling and inhaling, offering ourselves to the world at one moment and drawing the world into ourselves at the next.” - David Abram (Becoming Animal)
Making art is like breathing. Creation is the exhalation, putting ideas, emotions, patterns, rhythms, and revelations of beauty out into the world through the materials of our chosen art forms. But first comes the inhalation. We can't produce and produce without stopping to breathe. We must take the world in: land and wind, books and song, love and passion, silence and conversation; all those things that inspire us, fill us, delight us, enrage us, alchemize into art inside of us; all those things that form and change and batter our lives and give us something to say; all those things that, mixed together in unique proportions, give us tales that are truly our own.
The Dartmoor photographs here are, once again, by Stu Jenks, from his visit here a couple of weeks ago. Above: "Standing Stone Near Merrivale," "Scorhill Circle," "Tallest Stone: Scorhill Circle," "Three Stones: Scorhill Circle," and "White Pony at Scorhill Circle." (Click on the images for larger versions.)
Below: "A Brown Pony Rubbing His Ass Against An Ancient Stone, A White Pony Scratching Her Neck Against Another." About this one, he says: "This, in visual metaphor, pretty much expresses my spiritual belief of finding the balance between the sacred and the profane."