1. The Essential Rumi
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!…
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— “The Guest House”
2. Letters To A Young Poet
So you must not be frightened, Dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall.
— “letters (insert your name for Mr. Kappus)”
3. Dream Work
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves…
— “Wild Geese”
4. 73 Poems
so damn sweet when Anybody—…
—does doesn’t unsays says looks smiles
or simply Is
you feel you
6 or 6
teen or sixty
but for once
— “since feeling is first”
5. Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter
Barn’s burnt down —
I can see the moon.
— “Barn’s burnt down,” by Masahide
6. Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965–1990 Complete
…No. I am finished with living
for what my mother believes
for what my brother and father defend
for what my lover elevates
for what my sister, blushing, denies or rushes
— “On Stripping Bark from Myself”
…If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive…
— “Keeping Quiet”
8. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf
…Somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff. Not my poems or dance I gave up in the street, but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff. Like a kleptomaniac working hard & forgetting while stealing. This is mine! This ain’t your stuff. Now why don’t you put me back & let me hang out in my own self…
— “Somebody almost walked off with all of my stuff”
9. Leaves of Grass
…Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes…
10. The Subject Tonight Is Love
This place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.
Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
Against the earth and the sky,
The Beloved has bowed there –
Our Beloved has bowed there knowing
You were coming…
— “This Place Where You Are Right Now”
11. And Still I Rise
…Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise…
— “Still I Rise”