Tunes for a Monday Morning
Into the Woods, 1: The Language of the Earth

Inhaling, Exhaling...

Standing Stone Near Merrivale by Stu Jenks

Scorhill Circle by Stu Jenks

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
to eternity…

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)

Tallest Stone, Scorhill Circle by Stu Jenks

“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)

Three Stones, Scorhill Circle by Stu Jenks

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.

White Pony at Scorhill Circle by Stu Jenks

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."

A Brown Pony Rubbing His Ass Against An Ancient Stone, A White Pony Scratching Her Neck Against Another, Scorhill Circle by Stu jenks


love this post the photos and words... the sacred and profane especially that last one! have been thinking a lot about influence and inspiration and when it comes down to the essence of it, it's the music "... It's music that holds down the friction" as Ray Bradbury once said. Thinking about all the songs that have sparked the dreams, brightened the darkest hours & helped me feel like I belong to a tribe of wild artists, poets, musicians & madmen who live out on the edges dreaming into being... the song that comes to mind tonight is Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home"... except maybe I have found the one who holds the key and a home right here after all these years...

Brown Pony Rubbing His Ass Against A Standing Stone
After a photograph by Stu Jenks

Dartmoor ponies have no need
to worship landscape;
it is there for the scratching.
Ass or chin on standing stone,
they satisfy an itch.
Elephants pounding
through the scrub,
never admire the sunset
though they may look
forward to night.
Wolves howl at the moon,
not with longing or prayer
but to signal their packmates.
They all live within the acres
of their plodding,
hunt food without regret,
lie down without worry,
birth babies without midwives,
choose husbands, wives, partners
without matchmaker or priest,
walk forward into the future,
never the past.

©2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

Wonderful words, beautiful images, and I particularly loved Jane Yolen's accompanying poem today!

That's perfect, Jane.

And for some reason I'm reminded of this old George Carlin line: "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."

Fine poem and delighted to see George Carlin's wise wit here. I think I love him for his
clever insights about words. And heart.

Reading all of this and seeing the haunting photos I was once again lifted up from the mundane and
worrisome. Wendell Berry's poem reminds me of William Stafford who has a calm and wisdom that
inspires. For a poem I probably would have chosen "There are no unsacred places..." but Brown Pony
Rubbing His Ass Against A Standing Stone" is precious.

I'm inspired by all of this. Quotes, thoughts, pictures, poems, comments, humour, all of it. Ponies. Ancient standing stones. A collaboration through time and from four corners of the world. Terri, I don't know how you do it, but this blog is pure magic. Including those quiet spaces that you leave for others to weave bits of magic in too. Thank you Jane and Stu and Mo and Jennifer and Phyllis too.

For me, too, it's always the music. First and last and inbetween.

Wise words, Terri & Jane.

I adore Wendell Berry, I adore the black and white photos-they are so beautiful and vast-and the Terry Tempest Williams quote was ABSOLUTELY what I needed today!

The comments to this entry are closed.