Mindful Musings Blog

Poems of Presence – Summer 2024

“Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?” “…The saints and poets, maybe they do some…”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town

Each week I’m grateful to find and share a poem to highlight our weekly class themes. What a joy to practice being present together, season by season, moment by moment. 


Wage Peace (Judyth Hill)

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists 
and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothespins, clean rivers.
Make soup.

Play music, memorize the words for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit, and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,

imagine grief 
as the outbreath of beauty 
or the gesture of fish

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious:

Have a cup of tea …and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Celebrate today.



“The mind is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in.”

Sylvia Boorstein


Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain (Li Bai)

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and I,
until only the mountain remains.



There is This Moment (Rosemary Wahtola Trommer)
with the full moon rising
and a large bird of prey
gliding spirals in the sky
and my husband on my right
my sweet friend on my left
and the two-person band
transforming sorrow into joy
just by singing it in harmony
and giving the song their everything,
and maybe that’s what is ours to do—
to give ourselves wholly to a moment
as if we are the singers and life the song,
so I give myself to the low summer sun
and the dust on my feet,
to the pucker of lime
and the tears of my friend,
give myself to the ache that never leaves
and the relentless beauty that ever arrives,
and the more I give myself to the world,
the more the world rushes in
and says home, home, home,
you are home.
From Blossoms (Li-Young Lee)
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward   
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into   
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.