Mindful Musings Blog

Poems of Presence – Winter 2022/2023

A new season — the last days of one year and the beginning of the next — moment by moment. These poems reflect and enliven our weekly class themes. It’s truly a joy to curate these expressions of Awareness and Presence.

Inner Light

Solstice (Robyn Sarah)

A sly gift it is, that on the year’s
shortest day, the sun
stays longest in this house– (entire poem here)


Kind Presence

Twenty-four Hours (Thich Nhat Hanh, from Peace is Every Step)

Every morning, when we wake up

we have twenty-four brand new hours to live.

What a precious gift!

We have the capacity to live in a way

that these twenty-four hours

will bring peace, joy and happiness

to ourselves and others. 


What Are You Practicing?

My Work is Loving the World (Mary Oliver)

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished… (entire poem here)


From True Meditation (Adyashanti)

“Effortless doesn’t mean no effort; effortless means just enough effort to be vivid, to be present, to be here, to be now, to be bright…We each need to find out for ourselves what this means. Too much effort and we get too tight; too little effort and we get dreamy. Somewhere in the middle is a state of vividness and clarity and inner brightness.”


One Cleaning the Closet of the Mind (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

how threadbare these thoughts

I’ve chosen to wear every day–

replacing them with nothing


For a New Year (Holly Wren Spaulding)

Let plain things please you again

and every ordinary Monday.

Bean soup in a white bowl,

firewood in your arms. 

The weight of longing. (entire poem here)


Being With Things As They Are

Smart Cookie (Richard Schiffman)

The fortune that you seek is in another cookie, 
was my fortune. So I’ll be equally frank—the wisdom 
that you covet is in another poem. The life that you desire  
is in a different universe. The cookie you are craving 
is in another jar. (entire poem here)

Fluent (John O’Donohue)

I would love to live

Like a river flows,

Carried by the surprise

Of its own unfolding.


Threads (Rainer Maria Rilke)

“She who reconciles the ill-matched threads of her life, and weaves them gratefully into a single cloth— it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall and clears it for a different celebration   where the one guest is you…” (entire poem here)


Radiating Love

Aimless Love (Billy Collins)

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table. (entire poem here)


Because (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

So I can’t save the world—
can’t save even myself,
can’t wrap my arms around
every frightened child, can’t
foster peace among nations,
can’t bring love to all who
feel unlovable.
So I practice opening my heart
right here in this room and being gentle
with my insufficiency. I practice
walking down the street heart first. (entire poem here)



“Tension is who you think you should be; relaxation is who you are.” (Chinese Proverb)

“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)


Resting with the Breath

May there only be a Letting Go (Lissa Edmond)

May I be with this breath
resting my senses
against the way
the body breathes
rising and falling
in response to the breath’s
comings and goings. (entire poem here)