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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
From Parker Palmer’s column, "A Hymn to the Passing of Summer":
Here’s a poem that seems more beautiful to me every time I read it. It’s a poem to be read aloud, and slowly, a poem to be felt even more than understood, as one might feel a song…

Seasonby W.S. Merwin
This hour along the valley this light at the end     of summer lengthening as it begins to gothis whisper in the tawny grass this feather floating     in the air this house of half a life or sothis blue door open to the lingering sun this stillness     echoing from the rooms like an unfinished soundthis fraying of voices at the edge of the village     beyond the dusty gardens this breath of knowingwithout knowing anything this old branch from which     years and faces go on falling this presence alreadyfar away this restless alien in the cherished place     this motion with no measure this moment peopledwith absences with everything that I remember here     eyes the wheeze of the gate greetings birdsongs in winterthe heart dividing dividing and everything     that has slipped my mind as I consider the shadowall this has occurred to somebody else who has gone     as I am told and indeed it has happened againand again and I go on trying to understand     how that could ever be and all I know of themis what they felt in the light here in this late summer

(W.S. Merwin received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in both 1971 and 2009 and served as U.S. Poet Laureate in 2010-2011.)
From Parker Palmer’s column, "A Hymn to the Passing of Summer":
Here’s a poem that seems more beautiful to me every time I read it. It’s a poem to be read aloud, and slowly, a poem to be felt even more than understood, as one might feel a song…

Seasonby W.S. Merwin
This hour along the valley this light at the end     of summer lengthening as it begins to gothis whisper in the tawny grass this feather floating     in the air this house of half a life or sothis blue door open to the lingering sun this stillness     echoing from the rooms like an unfinished soundthis fraying of voices at the edge of the village     beyond the dusty gardens this breath of knowingwithout knowing anything this old branch from which     years and faces go on falling this presence alreadyfar away this restless alien in the cherished place     this motion with no measure this moment peopledwith absences with everything that I remember here     eyes the wheeze of the gate greetings birdsongs in winterthe heart dividing dividing and everything     that has slipped my mind as I consider the shadowall this has occurred to somebody else who has gone     as I am told and indeed it has happened againand again and I go on trying to understand     how that could ever be and all I know of themis what they felt in the light here in this late summer

(W.S. Merwin received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in both 1971 and 2009 and served as U.S. Poet Laureate in 2010-2011.)

From Parker Palmer’s column, "A Hymn to the Passing of Summer":

Here’s a poem that seems more beautiful to me every time I read it. It’s a poem to be read aloud, and slowly, a poem to be felt even more than understood, as one might feel a song…

Season
by W.S. Merwin

This hour along the valley this light at the end
     of summer lengthening as it begins to go
this whisper in the tawny grass this feather floating
     in the air this house of half a life or so
this blue door open to the lingering sun this stillness
     echoing from the rooms like an unfinished sound
this fraying of voices at the edge of the village
     beyond the dusty gardens this breath of knowing
without knowing anything this old branch from which
     years and faces go on falling this presence already
far away this restless alien in the cherished place
     this motion with no measure this moment peopled
with absences with everything that I remember here
     eyes the wheeze of the gate greetings birdsongs in winter
the heart dividing dividing and everything
     that has slipped my mind as I consider the shadow
all this has occurred to somebody else who has gone
     as I am told and indeed it has happened again
and again and I go on trying to understand
     how that could ever be and all I know of them
is what they felt in the light here in this late summer

(W.S. Merwin received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in both 1971 and 2009 and served as U.S. Poet Laureate in 2010-2011.)

Tagged: #sunrise #poetry
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Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
- Percy Shelly
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When the rabbi’s words are too obscure
for my child’s mind,
I reach for your tallis.
I find patience in each thread,
and weave the melodies into them.
Journeying to sacred places on each strand,
my fingers braid the tassels.
Crisscrossing them into paths
that carry me across ancient desert sands.
They bring a quiet contentment,
moments of gentle peace between us.
- Anita Getzler, from this breathtaking meditation on memory and grief for the High Holy Days.
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He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise
- William Blake, quoted in our upcoming show with public intellectual for the millennial generation, Nathan Schneider.
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When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

- Kahlil Gibran, from “On Joy and Sorrow” as quoted in response to this magnificent post by Parker Palmer about creating a supple heart.
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As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.
-

Philip Booth, from his poem “First Lesson”

I soooo appreciate how our readers leave these lovely citations in our comments sections.

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Time comes into it.
Say it. Say it.
The universe is made of stories,
not of atoms.
- Muriel Rukeyser, "The Speed of Darkness"
Tagged: #poetry
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The sun of the first day
Put the question
To the new manifestation of life —
Who are you?
There was no answer.
Years passed by.

The last sun of the last day
Uttered the question
on the shore of the western sea,
In the hush of evening —
Who are you!
No answer came.

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Buttercup walk by Alex J White. Inspired by this poem from Willow Harth.
Buttercup walk by Alex J White. Inspired by this poem from Willow Harth.
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You don’t read or overhear the voice in the poem, you are the voice in the poem.
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All others talked as if
talk were a dance.
-

Denise Levertov, from "Caedmon"

Thanks to Phip Ross for sending me this lovely poem.

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Poetry prevents everybody from feeling lonely.
- Nikki Giovanni, from The Read Around
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The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life…the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity, and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not. Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds, and join in the general dance.
-

Thomas Merton, from New Seeds of Contemplation

Picked up this killer quotation from a comment on our Facebook page. People are amazing.

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"When Death Comes" by Mary Oliver

As you read this poem, ask yourself a simple question and take some time to ponder it: "How, then, shall I live?"

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited the world.

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The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

- Elizabeth Bishop, from "One Art"
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