Mindful Musings Blog

Poems of Presence – Spring 2024

Blessed are the flowers — they have no wrist watches, they just know it’s time and they are here. Perhaps the pace of nature can remind us to take a “mindful gap” and just BE for one conscious breath. Each week I enjoy finding and sharing a poem to highlight our weekly class themes:


Ordinary Moments

Threading the Needle (Larry Schug)

To find (or lose) yourself
seek the place
you go where you go
when you thread a needle;
to the timeless, seamless place
where there exists only
the fingers on your one hand
holding the thread,
wetted in your mouth,
twisted to a point;
the fingers on your other hand
holding a needle
eye to eye,
Only when the thread
passes through the needle’s eye
do you return
to your turbulent, breathing life.


Tea Tasting – excerpt (Adyashanti)

…People go looking far and wide
for the Buddha’s enlightenment
but I just sip my tea
and my tea swallows me…


In Early Evening(Kirsten Dierking)


around the lake

assents to silence.

All birds

agree to hush.

All feathers, all fur, 

are felted thick

with fading light.

The boat comes to a gentle rest

on the blue cusp 

of still water.

Take it with you,

this interlude,

the sweet middle eye

of the storm.



On Pain (Kahlil Gibran)

And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.
     And he said:
     Your pain is the breaking of the shell 
that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break,
that its heart may stand in the sun,
so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder
at the daily miracles of your life
your pain would not seem less wondrous
than your joy; And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons
that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity
through the winters of your grief.

The Facts of Life (Pádraig Ó Tuama)

That you were born and you will die.

That you will sometimes love enough and sometimes not.

That you will lie
if only to yourself.

That you will get tired.

That you will learn most from the situations you did not choose.

That there will be some things that move you more than you can say.

That you will live
that you must be loved.

That you will avoid questions most urgently in need of your attention.

That you began as the fusion of a sperm and an egg of two people who once were strangers
and may well still be.

That life isn’t fair.
That life is sometimes good
and sometimes better than good.

That life is often not so good.

That life is real
and if you can survive it, well, survive it well
with love
and art
and meaning given
where meaning’s scarce.

That you will learn to live with regret. That you will learn to live with respect.

That the structures that constrict you may not be permanently constricting.

That you will probably be okay.

That you must accept change before you die
but you will die anyway.

So you might as well live and you might as well love. You might as well love.
You might as well love.


Awakened Heart

There is an Old Woman Inside Me (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

There is an old woman inside me
with long gray hair and fuzzy green eyes.
She is soft in the way stones are soft
when tumbled by waves for a hundred years.
She is still as I run from room to room
content to listen to my bluster,
to watch the day unfold.
Her smile is gentle as dawn light
as she hums a wordless tune.
And as I make calls and check schedules,
she curls in the lap of my busyness
like an ash-colored cat,
her body warm and relaxed.
I love the old woman inside me,
gnarled as the branches of an old peach tree.
She is no stranger to how the world changes.
Every day I practice to be more like her,
slow as honey, quiet as moonlight,
familiar as the woman in the mirror.


Today’s Meditation (Danna Faulds)

I choose not to say the 

usual prayers as I sit 

for meditation. I skip

all techniques and simply

open to what’s here.

There is no clap of thunder,

no bolt from the blue,

but I do have a sense

of groundedness and listening.

My inner world doesn’t

grow still, but neither is it

overwhelming or chaotic.

I sit as if I belong,

as if there is no right

or wrong way to be

present with what is.

Minutes pass, sometimes

slowly, sometimes fast.

Nothing much happens,

yet I feel whole.

Just as I am, no addition

or subtraction needed,

I am content to rest

inside the mystery.


This Ordinary Spring Day (Danna Faulds)

How quickly I gain energy

from the trees, from all the

green and growing beings

in the woods. The fern fronds

have unfurled their fetal curls

and every leafing thing is

bursting with chlorophylled

vitality. I sneeze, then sneeze

again, pollen clearly visible

on the bench where I rest.

The heartbeat of the earth is

strong beneath my feet and

the morning birdsong loud

and lusty. I wouldn’t trade

this ordinary spring day

for any future promise.


The Moment (Marie Howe)

Oh, the coming-out-of-nowhere moment

when, nothing


no what-have-I-to-do-today-list


maybe half a moment

the rush of traffic stops.

The whir of I should be, I should be, I should be

slows to silence,

the white cotton curtains hanging still.


Meeting the Light Completely (Jane Hirshfield)

Even the long-beloved
was once
an unrecognized stranger.
Just so,
the chipped lip
of a blue-glazed cup,
blown field
of a yellow curtain,
might also,
flooding and falling,
ruin your heart.
A table painted with roses.
An empty clothesline.
Each time,
the found world surprises—
that is its nature.
And then
what is said by all lovers:
“What fools we were, not to have seen.”


Inner Listening

Feather at Midday (Sister Dang Nghiem)

If I had not stopped to watch a feather flying by,
I would not have seen its landing–
a tiny pure white feather.

Gently, I blew a soft breath
to send it back to the spring.

If I had not looked up to watch
the feather gliding over the roof,
I would not have seen
the crescent moon
hanging at midday.


What’s In the Temple (Tom Barrett)

Pause with us here a while
Put your ear to the wall of your heart

Listen for the whisper of knowing there
Love will touch you if you are very still

[I only read an excerpt; See entire poem HERE]



The Love Field (Danna Faulds)

Inside the love field

it’s not that problems

disappear, but dealing

with difficulties happens

in an embrace of love.

And since there is no

place or situation that

isn’t pervaded, imbued,

and shot through by love,

it becomes a simple matter

of opening to receive it.

Just as I am, with all

my strengths and

weaknesses writ large,

love is always with me.

I pray not to forget this

when the going gets tough

or the day doesn’t go as

I planned. The love field

is everywhere I am.