Quoets for Poets 5/6/13

“In taking the everyday details of life for granted, we fail to appreciate the extraordinary fact that we are conscious at all.”

—Stephen Batchelor


“That could almost be cited as the definition of a poet: someone who notices and is enormously taken by things that somebody else would walk by.”

—James Dickey



Anger and Attention

“If you’re not angry,
you’re not paying attention.”

When I am angry,
I can not pay attention
to anything
but my anger

and I owe
too much.

When I really
pay attention,
the voice is
all I can hear
and the mind runs
from the numbers.

This is a debt
that I can never

Into / Hope

Alice's hope rode into town and spun and turned and wound my mind around...

hope for the future
or regret of the past
both hold our helpless
awaiting first and last

dreams pulling from back
and front to any when 
but the one that we rack
our selves on to defend

to any death that will
do the dance do the jig    
that we love to watch
but can not stand to rig

our selves into as if
we’d rather dig the whole
inside and pitch what
comes out of any bowl    

we do not turn ourselves
at all the gifts given
spinning into before
and after these riven

wishes ride on jealous
horses and draw and quarter
these moments that we
give away steal or barter

but cannot seem ourselves 

we huddle

our hope springs 
eternally birthing beasts 
from the ground dreams 
of all our ancestors 

we care, about

we care

about things that nobody thinks

about and we think

about things that nobody cares

about and we often don’t think

about the things we’re supposed to think

about but we care

about what we care

about because

we care

about thought

and we think

with care

Two from Stephen

“There is nothing so lowly or mundane that it is unworthy of being embraced by mindful attention.  Mindfulness accepts as its focus of inquiry whatever arises in one’s field of awareness, no matter how disturbing or painful it might be.  One neither seeks nor expects to find some greater truth lurking behind the veil of appearances.  What appears and how you respond to it:  that alone is what matters.”


“Siddhattha Gotama rejected the idea that freedom or salvation lay in gaining privileged access to an eternal, non-contingent source or ground, whether it be called Atman or God, Pure Consciousness or the Absolute.  Freedom, for Gotama, meant freedom from greed, from hatred, and from confusion.  Moreover, such freedom (nirvana) was to be found not by turning away from the world but by penetrating deep into its contingent heart.”

from “Confession of a Buddhist Atheist”

Stephen Batchelor


“…its contingent heart,” like Susan’s wild strawberries