Leaves of Faith


Merrit Malloy

When I die, Give what’s left of me away
To children And old me that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me, Put your arms Around anyone
And give them What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better Than words Or sounds.
Look for me In the people I’ve known Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes And not your mind.

You can love me most By letting Hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go Of children That need to be free.
Love doesn’t die, People do.
So, when all that’s left of me Is love,
Give me away.

A Song on the End of the World

Czeslaw Milosz

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,

Cast All Your Votes For Dancing

Hafiz (trans. by Daniel Ladinsky)

I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life
still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way
And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
And Love.

Whenever you say God's name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

O keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter

And from the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,
Be wise.
Cast all your votes for Dancing!

Dear Earth

Max Kapp

Often I have felt that I must praise my world
For what my eyes have seen these many years
And what my heart has loved.
And often I have tried to start my lines:

"Dear Earth," I say, and then I pause
To look once more.

Soon I am bemused
And far away in wonder.

So I never get beyond "Dear Earth."


Rainer Maria Rilke

Tell us, O poet, what do you do?—I praise

But those dark, deadly devastating ways,

How do you bear them, suffer them?—I praise.

And the Nameless, beyond guess or gaze,

How can you call it, conjure it?—I praise.

And whence your right, in every kind of maze

In every mask, to remain true?—I praise.

And that the mildest and the wildest ways


Know you like star and storm?—Because I praise.

Don't Hesitate

Mary Oliver

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Perfection, Perfection

Kilian McDonnell

(“I will walk the way of perfection.” Psalm 101:2)

I have had it with perfection.
I have packed my bags,
I am out of here.

As certain as rain
will make you wet,
perfection will do you

It droppeth not as dew
upon the summer grass
to give liberty and green

Perfection straineth out
the quality of mercy,
withers rapture at its

Before the battle is half begun,
cold probity thinks
it can’t be won, concedes the

I’ve handed in my notice,
given back my keys,
signed my severance check, I

Hints I could have taken:
Even the perfect chiseled form of
Michelangelo’s radiant David

the Venus de Milo
has no arms,
the Liberty Bell is

Food is not merely something we eat

Marc David

Food is not merely something we eat. It is a ceaseless

reminder that we are mortal, earthbound hungry and in need.

We are bound by a biological imperative that forever keeps us

returning to the soil, plants, animals, and running waters for

replenishment. Eating is life. Each time we eat, the soul

continues its earthly journey. With every morsel of food

swallowed a voice says, “I choose life. I choose to eat, for a I

yearn for something more."

What We Need

David Budbill

The Emperor,

his bullies

and henchmen,

terrorize the world

every day

which is why

every day

we need

a little poem

of kindness,

a small song

of peace,

a brief moment

of joy.

Power and Capitalism

Stokely Carmichael

If a white man wants to lynch me, that's his problem. If he's got the power to lynch me, that's my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it's a question of power. Racism gets its power from capitalism. Thus, if you're anti-racist, whether you know it or not, you must be anti-capitalist. The power for racism, the power for sexism, comes from capitalism, not an attitude.


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