Morning Poems

I don’t write much poetry, but occasionally poems find me, and I write them down. This week I’ve had a couple of those visitations, all in the early hours of the morning. We live in strange times, and the world refuses to conform to my idealistic ideas about how things “should” be. That refusal of reality to let me off the hook is actually terrific grist for practice, whether I like it or not. And occasionally, good grist for poetry too.

Waking Up From The Dream

Waking up from the dream of self -

the nattering project I call “me” -

is harder than I thought.

It was supposed to be easy.


All those gurus and teachers and roshis and shamans

who used to say, “Just wake up!”

“Pay attention, damn it!”

"Just sit!"

Well . . . . . . . . .. .

I’ve been sitting every day for years now.

I can’t remember how many.

And sure, sometimes I have those moments of clarity.

Sure, sometimes I work with my difficult emotions

a little better than I used to.

But mostly, it's still “me” doing it.

It’s still the waking up project.

And as far as I can tell

I just get another year older.

And what have I gotten for all this effort?

Donald Trump? Global warming?

And those fleeting moments

When things seem to make sense?

It’s humbling, kind of. 

And funny, actually.

And I do laugh, more often now.

The poignant wheel of generations

just keeps turning.

We keep inventing new ways 

to make the same mistakes.

And the earth keeps turning full circle, every day.

Dishing up beauty everywhere.

- Kurt Hoelting 6/12/19

Maxwelton Beach, near my home on Whidbey Island

Maxwelton Beach, near my home on Whidbey Island

I Found Myself Thinking

I found myself thinking this morning

And that’s when I knew

I was off on the wrong track.

Don’t get me wrong

I’m grateful for the miracle of mind

I’m very chummy with my thoughts

But they have a way of subjugating

The miracle of Now.

Like for example,

The goldfinch in my feeder as I write

That flash of pure gold

Against the lush green canopy of spring

That pulls me back to Here

The explosion of morning birdsong

As I throw the door open to the day.

All that was buried beneath the curtain

Of thoughts, that have already flown

beyond recall

Vanished behind this instantaneous

Upwelling of Yes.

The sudden symphony

That is the only moment

I will ever have.

- Kurt Hoelting 6/19/19

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