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Early April in Maryland

Spring is here, let the celebration linger

Dear friends,

Three weeks into sheltering in place, and I have to admit, it suits me. We are very lucky and I hope that you are as well. Most of my walks now are in the neighborhood, alone, but there is still so much to see. In my Zoom poetry class this morning we read William Carlos Williams--he captured this time of year so well:  Lifeless in appearance, sluggish dazed spring approaches- They enter the new world naked, cold, uncertain of all save that they enter. All about them the cold, familiar wind- Now the grass, tomorrow the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf One by one objects are defined- It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf But now the stark dignity of entrance-Still, the profound change has come upon them: rooted, they grip down and begin to awaken

Somehow this flower found a place to grip and grow.

Trout lilies emerged overnight.

One morning I saw faces everywhere. I have walked this trail everyday, and have not seen this again.

Do you

see this one?

Last weekend I did a meditation retreat via Zoom with 144 others from all over North America and Europe. One shared this astonishingly relevant poem with us. (I regret that I cannot name the translator):


by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve

and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,

let’s not speak in any language;

let’s stop for one second,

and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment

without rush, without engines;

we would all be together

in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea

would not harm whales

and the man gathering salt

would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,

wars with gas, wars with fire,

victories with no survivors,

would put on clean clothes

and walk about with their brothers

in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused

with total inactivity.

Life is what it is about;

I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded

about keeping our lives moving,

and for once could do nothing,

perhaps a huge silence

might interrupt this sadness

of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us

as when everything seems dead

and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve

and you keep quiet and I will go.

My poetry class on Zoom sold out, so I'm offering it again next week. We're reading poems that use Nature as metaphor, and writing our own. This morning we had a lovely group of poets from Maryland, California, Ontario, and Colorado. Join us!

In the words of one student, who has taken my classes in person and online:

Great class. If you need an affirmation that it went really well in online format— it did indeed.

All my classes welcome new writers but will also be valuable for experienced writers. I hope you can join me on this journey.

May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering. May you be filled with lovingkindness. May you be filled with joy. May you be at peace and at ease.

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