Go Ask Alice


Do without doing,
make something from nothing;
recycle, repurpose,
revise on and conquer.

Gather resources,
interpret instructions;
imagine assembly
as other-directed.

Practice inclusion,
leave nothing untended;
let symmetry guide you
off-balance at times.

Do, or do not do,
remake while unmaking;
there is no old recipe
for what is baking.

Music and dancing,
bring drums for the solstice;
plug in the instruments,
join a new party.

Practice at something:
being and nothingness.
Wake in the morning;
the coffee is on.

for Alice Guffey Miller

26 JUN 2017

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The Use of Dreams: rondine


What is the use of dreams devoid of action,
that linger on as hopes before they die;
and while they last, convince us if we try
that in the end we will find satisfaction.
Such wistful shadows taunt us to distraction;
lost in the mist, we separate in factions
and dissipate and fade out, by and by.
    What is the use?

If dreams and hope are to have any traction,
they must inspire our deeds, not just reactions.
We must find rousing songs, not lullabies,
and exercise our wings if we would fly.
If not, life is continuing subtraction;
    what is the use?

11 MAY 2017

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Ode to Joy


Joy doesn’t “find” you;
good fortune won’t light
like bluebirds of happiness
on your slumped shoulders.

Joy doesn’t come up
like flowers in a garden,
some sudden epiphany
before your eyes.

Joy doesn’t “find” you;
it happens, on purpose,
the moment you seek it
in something you are.

Joy, much like happiness,
self, and fulfillment,
aren’t simply out there
like lottery picks.

Joy doesn’t “find” you.
You “find” it – by looking,
by acting according
to what you would be.

Joy doesn’t “find” you.
It does no good hoping,
unless you start moving
beyond listless dreams.

04 JAN 2017

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The Art of Happiness


The question was, “How can I be
more compassionate; how can my
efforts to be compassionate
be more effective?”

His answer, politically careful,
was that it was an individual
question; that each person’s
contribution was different,
that one’s answer was not
necessarily another’s.

Before he spoke, under my breath,
I said, “the answer
is: just start.”
If you spend all your days
in thought,
about whether you’re wasting time
or if your “talents”
could best serve
some other way,
you’ve missed the point.

The object will not ever be
to change the world,
but change yourself.
It does not matter the reward
if what you do you know is right.
One need not over-complicate
the matter; just begin,
and do not worry on
the end effect, the bottom line,
the dividend, spiritual gain.

Just do it. Start
by smiling. Now,
right here, where
you are at.

And just keep at it.
Never stop.

20 MAY 2013

for the His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama

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You Could Change: tanka


You could change the world
if just given half a chance;
why are you waiting?
It really doesn’t matter
once the moment’s gone away.

You could move mountains
if just sincerely inspired;
what more do you need?
It doesn’t really mean much
to speak loudly but not act.

You could light the way
if these clouds would only clear;
how is that helpful?
When the darkness has dissolved,
no one needs a raging fire.

You could change the world
in an instant, with a word;
why not start speaking?
You might as well say nothing
if no one will ever hear.

11 APR 2013

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It is not enough


It is not enough;
this sad waiting to evolve
serves no real purpose.

What good is this time,
if we long for what is next
and learn nothing here?

It is not enough
to stand around here waiting
expecting great change.

What good are those dreams,
if no one can be inspired
to act upon them?

It is not enough
just to think and talk and wish;
there must be movement.

What use are mere thoughts?
They cannot motivate us
until they catch fire.

08 APR 2013

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