Mindful Musings Blog

Poems of Presence – Spring 2023

The joy of springtime! These poems reflect and enliven our weekly class themes. I’m grateful to find and share these expressions of Awareness and Presence.

Equanimity (Upekka)

Forget About Enlightenment (John Welwood)

Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing, and the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are, right now,
Not who you would like to be… (entire poem here)

Perfect Equanimity (Hafiz)

Look how a mirror
will reflect with perfect equanimity
all actions

There is no act in this world
that will ever cause the mirror to look away.

There is no act in this world that will
ever make the mirror
say ‘no.’

The mirror, like perfect love, will just keep giving
of itself to all
it. (entire poem here)

Sympathetic Joy (Mudita)

Joy (Hilda Conkling)

Joy is not a thing you can see.
It is what you feel when you watch waves breaking,
Or when you peer through a net of woven violet stems
In Spring grass… (entire poem here)


Kind, Loving Presence (Metta and Karuna)

Compassion (Miller Williams)

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it… (entire poem here)

Black Cherries (W.S. Merwin)

Late in May as the light lengthens
toward summer the young goldfinches
flutter down through the day for the first time
to find themselves among fallen petals
cradling their day’s colors in the day’s shadows … (entire poem here)


Effortless Action

Enough (David Whyte)

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now.


Daily Praise (Miranda July)

Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it’s worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person’s face as you pass on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It’s okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise.


Finding Neutral (Sherry Sheehan) The poet is a longtime participant in our Friday Mindfulness Meditation practice group, now online

Friday at four

in a room at the Pinole Library


Folding chairs form a circle

to hold our selves,


muscles and bones at rest,

minds attending to each breath,


vehicles un-revved,

finding neutral in slowed flesh


that moves

mere millimeters for many minutes


as we follow the pull

toward oblivious presence,


leaving the world outside

for interior residence.


Effortless (Clea McLemore)


Were like breaths breathed

I, Inhaling, exhaling

loving you

Without even trying



Paradoxes of Being

(by Anais Nin, read by Charles in Friday’s meditation 5/5)

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically.

We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly

We grow partially.

We are relative.

We are mature in one realm, childish in another.

The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. 

We are made-up of layers, cells, constellations.

(Anais Nin)

[Angela Anais Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell (Feb 21, 1902-Jan 14, 1977; French-born American Diarist, essayist, novelist, and writer of short stories and erotica.]


Slowing Down (the breath & life)

All the Instructions Needed (Danna Faulds) 

posted by the poet’s permission


Open the back door

as well as the front.

Open the skylights and

side windows. Open your

heart and the door

to the basement. Let the 

divine pour in, presence

as palpable as breath —

and then sit in this

awareness. These are all

the instructions needed

for a full and joyous life.


Curiosity and Appreciation 

The Good News (Thich Nhat Hanh)

The good news

they do not print.

The good news

we do print.

We have a special edition every moment,

and we need you to read it.

The good news is that you are alive,

that the linden tree is still there,

standing firm in the harsh winter. (entire poem here)


Invitation (Mary Oliver)

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… (entire poem here)


Walk Slowly (Danna Faulds)

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still and just like that,
something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection… (entire poem here)

Allowing and Trust

“Don’t trust what you have been taught, what you think, what you believe, or what you hope.

Deeper than that, trust the silence of your being.” ~Gangaji


The Inner History of a Day (John O’Donohue)

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides… (entire poem here)


Savoring Pleasure [contributed by Marybeth F.]

The Materialism of Angels (Jack Ridl) 

Of course the angels dance. If not
on the head of a pin, then maybe
on the boardwalk along the ocean of stars.
And they eat hot and spicy: salsa,
tabasco, red peppers. They love
mangoes. They can munch
for hours on cashews. Olives
sit in bronze bowls on the cherry
tables next to their canopy beds
where the solace of pillows swallows
their sweet heads and the quiet
of silk lies across their happy backs. (entire poem here)


Lila (Playfulness)

Warning (Jenny Joseph)

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. (entire poem here)