Friday, February 20, 2009


Three feathers
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
Last night, at my Taoist meditation group, I was given an object with which to meditate.
My eyes were already closed, so I never knew it was a skull – until after the fact.
It was a very powerful meditation that challenged and moved me deeply.
I wouldn’t recommend meditating with skulls for the weak of heart.
Still, I’m glad I had the opportunity for seeing and for learning.

And though I am a collector or skulls and antlers, tooth and bone, at the end of the meditation I wanted to smash that skull with my foot – the way a glass is crushed in celebration under the chuppah.
There! Be done! A new beginning has begun…

Or better still, I found these words of Mary Oliver today:


My dog came through the pinewoods dragging a dead fox – ribs and a spine, and a tail with the fur still on it. Where did you find this? I said to her, and she showed me. And there was the skull, there were the leg bones and the shoulder blades.

I took them home. I scrubbed them and put them on a shelf to look at – the pelvis, and the snowy helmet. Sometimes, in the pines, in the starlight, an owl hunches in the dense needles, and coughs up his pellet – the vole or the mouse recently eaten. The pellets fall through the branches, though the hair of the grass. Dark flowers of fur, with a salt of bones and teeth, melting away.

In Washington, inside the building of glass and stone, and down the long aisles, and deep inside the drawers, are the bones of women and children, the bones of old warriors. Whole skeletons and parts of skeletons. They can’t move. They can’t even shiver. Mute, catalogued – they lie in the wide drawers.

So it didn’t take long. I could see how it was, and where I was headed. I took what was left of the fox back to the pinewoods and buried it. I don’t even remember where. I do remember, though, how it felt. If I had wings I would have opened them. I would have risen from the ground.

from New and Selected Poems, volume II

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