Paper-White Narcissus

Strange, how they got their name
a boy, barely a man,
looked into sunlit water
and saw himself so beautiful
he spent his life pursuing
that treacherous reflection.
There is no greater loneliness.

Here they are, risen
from the darkness of the pebbled pool
we have made for them in a dish
risen and broken through
the long, green capsules
to show us their faces:

they are so delicate they invite
protection or violation,
and they are blind.

Lisel Mueller

CultFit Paper White


The Widow’s Lament in Springtime

Sorrow is my own yard
where the new grass
flames as it has flamed
often before but not
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
Thirtyfive years
I lived with my husband.
The plumtree is white today
with masses of flowers.
Masses of flowers
load the cherry branches
and color some bushes
yellow and some red
but the grief in my heart
is stronger than they
for though they were my joy
formerly, today I notice them
and turn away forgetting.
Today my son told me
that in the meadows,
at the edge of the heavy woods
in the distance, he saw
trees of white flowers.
I feel that I would like
to go there
and fall into those flowers
and sink into the marsh near them.

William Carlos Williams

CultFit Shine


Spring Vibes

Walking within the garden of his heart, the pupil suddenly came upon the Master, and was glad, for he had but just finished a task in His service which he hastened to lay at His feet.

See, Master,” said he, “this is done; now give me another teaching to do.

The Master looked upon him sadly yet indulgently, as one might upon a child which can not understand.

There are already many to teach intellectual conceptions of the Truth,he replied. “Thinkest thou to serve best by adding thyself to their number?

The pupil was perplexed.

Ought we not to proclaim the Truth from the very housetops, until the whole world shall have heard?” he asked.

And then-

Then the whole world will surely accept it.

Nay,replied the Master,the Truth is not of the intellect, but of the heart. See!

The pupil looked, and saw the Truth as though it were a White Light, flooding the whole earth; yet none reaching the green and living plants which so sorely needed its rays, because of dense layers of clouds intervening.

The clouds are the human intellect,said the Master.Look again.

Intently gazing, the pupil saw here and there faint rifts in the clouds, through which the Light struggled in broken, feeble beams. Each rift was caused by a little vortex of vibrations, and looking down through the openings thus made the pupil perceived that each vortex had its origin in a human heart.

Only by adding to and enlarging the rifts will the Light ever reach the earth, said the Master. “Is it best, then, to pour out more Light upon the clouds, or to establish a vortex of heart force? The latter thou must accomplish unseen and unnoticed, and even unthanked. The former will bring thee praise and notice among men. Both are necessary: both are Our work; but – the rifts are so few! Art strong enough to forego the praise and make of thyself a heart center of pure impersonal force?”

The pupil sighed, for it was a sore question.

William Quan Judge

CultFit Bliss


April Chores

When I take the chilly tools
from the shed’s darkness, I come
out to a world made new
by heat and light.

The snake basks and dozes
on a large flat stone.
It reared and scolded me
for raking too close to its hole.

Like a mad red brain
the involute rhubarb leaf
thinks its way up
through loam.

- Jane Kenyon

CultFit April


Moose in the Morning

Oh wild and gentle beast,
Immense antlered shape,
This morning in the meadow!
Like something ancient, lost
And found now, promise kept,
Emerging from the shadow,
Emerging while I slept—
Wilderness and escape!
You set me free to shirk
The day’s demanding work
And cast my guilt away.
You make a truant of me
This moose-enchanted day
When all I can is see,
When all I am is this
Astonishment and bliss.

- May Sarton

CultFit Tilt