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time is a tree (this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough

E.E. Cummings

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My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Mary Oliver



You who never arrived in my arms, Beloved,

who were lost from the start,
I don’t even know what songs would please you.

I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment.

All the immense images in me —

the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean you,

who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at, longing.

An open window
in a country house,

and you almost stepped out, pensive, to meet me.

Streets that I chanced upon,
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled,

gave back my too-sudden image.

Who knows?

Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening…

Rainer Maria Rilke

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Being a Person

Be a person here.

Stand by the river, invoke the owls.

Invoke winter, then spring.

Let any season that wants to come here make its own call.

After that sound goes away, wait.

A slow bubble rises through the earth and begins to include sky, stars, all space, even the outracing expanding thought.

Come back and hear the little sound again.

Suddenly this dream you are having matches everyone’s dream, and the result is the world.

If a different call came, there wouldn’t be any world, or you, or the river, or the owls calling.

How you stand here is important.

How you listen for the next things to happen.

How you breathe.

William Stafford

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The Fine Print

You stop in your tracks,

Thinking you know me.

I do not have another half.

No soul mirrors mine.

I have scratched and clawed and bitten for this tenuous grasp.

I cannot let it go.

Your confidence.

Your smile.

The way laughter spills easily from your mouth.

How did you arrive at that place?

No border

Nor barrier

Pulpy heart beating for all to see.

If I remove this thin veil,

My nakedness will show

And perhaps that I am a fool

And lived my days


For the me I’ve only just discovered in you.


Art & Letters is a collaboration:

Water color by Maren Jensen

Interpreted by Colleen Sohn


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