/ Poems

Poems and almost poems

Barnyard Mommy
(Coming to) My Senses


Consciousness with soft edges.
How I happen to feel
Today's Lesson
Patient reaction, balanced control
Beloved Morning

Consciousness with soft edges.

The empty space between
the things experienced:
Is it a hard, cold, life-killing vacuum?
Or is the hardness in those sensations and thoughts themselves?

It is the fear of the emptiness
that pulls back, panicked,
from the edge of definite experience,
which builds a feeling of hardness into that boundary
between something and nothing.

A formless form of love is like
a feeling of warmth and softness
in that emptiness.
It is only a melting,
an opening, gently, softly,
to the tender oblivion in all the expanses
between the finite, few, distant,
definite-seeming flickers of semi-graspable experience.

In love I do not panic;
the ephemeral grip of things, this grip ON things, is loosened
in love and the growing knowledge of this.
Like another billow of steam released from a pot cover,
it melts from visible to invisible
before my eyes, in a fearless, emptiness-
focussed consciousness,
with soft edges.

Tom Veatch / October 12, 1994



How I happen to feel

I am an invisible flame
sending up clouds of intricate smoke,
discrete, dynamic, dissipating.
My thoughts, energetic at first, fade and slip through my fingers.
I must return, if not to see the invisible
then to be closer to the heat,
warmed and enlivened
by the ever new ungraspable
core of being.

TV, 7/30/1995, 11am.




Don't judge me for being "spiritual"
If you're not into it, let's not fight.
Be wherever, but I am here: Let me be.
Play does not demand, it invites.
My inner play thinks, looks into deep pools, shares.
I offer it to you, but you need not accept!

Today's Lesson

Preparing my place, my body, respectfully,
I cry, surprised at my solicitude.

Confused recently (especially? or no more than ever)
I wonder what to do with my feelings,
what feelings to do.

Good, good, this is good, that is good.
is my recent answer, solving many questions
of how to feel.
Wishing well
to another solves the question?
How to treat them.

("Good" seems a good feeling.
How could it be otherwise?)

Wanting to get somewhere
before growing that much older.
Next week.

Constructing emotions
Building feelings
is altogether disturbing, confusing, mystifying.

Crying, thinking, I'm tired. I don't know what to do and
I don't have to
do anything. That's the answer.
Just rest, let me be.

Reality is closer, almost visible now.

(I disapppoint myself, "almost" is "not".)

Nowhere, older, unsatisfied. Going to sleep.
But I'm not dead yet.

TV, 8/29/1995, 12:33am.



Patient reaction, balanced control

Not yet a poem, on wisdom, kittens, and batting balls

The problem is, How to react to experience?
-- Sometimes frightening, painful, shocking.

Attention is restless,
a wave of something comes up, is noticed, and
in that instant all ready to chase,
is chased after, jumped onto, surfed
until it peters out or another wave comes along
in a different direction.

Something like a kitten, chasing and playing with
this ball, or that, or maybe its tail.
It comes into view,
it doesn't know quite what to do,
and in fascinated confusion bats it wonderingly,
then again, maybe one or many times,
until it encounters something else, maybe its tail to chase
or maybe it doesn't know how to chase it yet, or
lost track of where it bounced,
So it sits somewhere between attentive and sleepy,
ready to be distracted
and to chase the next ball that swims into view.

Readiness to chase is also a reaction to shock and disturbing stimulation.
It's a will to power, a measure for overcoming the disturbance,
a method of control.
If the wave would knock you over, jump
on it and surf, control it:
(Screaming away the ice cream headache from a kayak flip in
winter rapids. Ten seconds at most and you're up, floating
safely, water mostly drained from scalp, warming up out of pain
-- "control" is less noisy now.)

Rumi says, Be a ball, not a bat. Patience is your best friend.
How *do* I deal with experience!?

Habituation makes life easier with age, lessening
the impact and confusion.
But life is ever new and surprising

Surf it if you have to, control it if you want to,
It's not bad to be a kitten chasing one's tail.

But just suppose you roll with that surprising skew wave, and,
not surfing it further than it carries you, patiently letting
it carry you a bit further if it has to, then let it go
(Weebles wobble back, after leaning into the wave)

Thus may I wrestle with my restless attention.

Real ease is knowing exactly your mix,
the right balance between impassive patience
and doing the wild thing.

Tom Veatch / February 8, 1996




To the tune of "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones
Float upon a deep blue sea
Sparkling up comes ecstasy
Then I realize this is me,
Feel a sleepy settling

My heart is full of love
Hope is all I have
Grace grace grace

Floating on my endless sea
Sparkling up comes what I see
Then I realize it's just me
And rest because I'm free

This heart is full of love
Hope is all I have
Grace grace grace

In a still and empty sea
Sparkling up comes everything
I am all that I can see
Turn and settle inwardly

The heart is full of love
Hope is all we have
Grace grace grace

Tom Veatch / September 17 & November 24, 2002

Beloved Morning

Envelop my tired shoulder
   with your morning breasts.
Breathe your loving hmm
   into my ear.
Press the saving snooze bar
   awake me to the day
   inside this life,
   inside this heart,
   yes in this love.


Kitty Song

Pee you gilistically,
That's how we like to be.
But then you mess with me,
and I run up a tree.
I'm just a small kitty!

My sister's so pretty.
We're so tough and gritty!

An itty bitty gritty kitty
committee. I.e.,





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