Poems read at the 2019 Spring Weekend Retreat

11 Apr 2019 4:06 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

Poems read, and songs sung, at the 2019 Spring Weekend Retreat at Samish Island Campground.

Naomi Shihab Nye - Shoulders

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.

We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

Eric Clapton - Let it Grow

Kilian McDonnell - Perfection, Perfection

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 in.


It droppeth not as dew

upon the summer grass

to give liberty and greenjoy.


Perfection straineth out

the quality of mercy,

withers rapture at itsbirth.


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


John Austin - Awareness


her gaze is so constant,

our every move


with such affection,

a ceaseless vigil

without condition

or agenda,



unrelenting in her



There is endless room in

the heart of this lover,

infinite space for whatever

foolishness we may

toss her way.


But she is also

crafty, this one-

a thief who will steal away

everything we ever cherished,

all our beliefs,

all our ideas,


all our philosophies,

until nothing is left

but her shimmering



this simple love

for what is.

Five Treasures Qi Gong

Robert Aiken - The Path is Personal

It is essential at the beginning of practice to acknowledge that the path is personal and intimate. It is no good to examine it from a distance as if it were someone else’s. You must walk it for yourself. In this spirit, you invest yourself in your practice, confident of your heritage, and train earnestly side by side with your sisters and brothers. It is this engagement that brings peace and realization.  -Robert Aitken Roshi

David Whyte - Enough

Enough. These few words are enough.

If not these words, this breath.

If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life

we have refused

again and again

until now.

Until now. 

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