Pastures of Plenty – Woody Guthrie

Pastures of Plenty – Woody Guthrie

It’s a mighty hard row that my poor hands have hoed
My poor feet have traveled a hot dusty road
Out of your Dust Bowl and Westward we rolled
And your deserts were hot and your mountains were cold

I worked in your orchards of peaches and prunes
I slept on the ground in the light of the moon
On the edge of the city you’ll see us and then
We come with the dust and we go with the wind

California, Arizona, I harvest your crops
Well its North up to Oregon to gather your hops
Dig the beets from your ground, cut the grapes from your vine
To set on your table your light sparkling wine

Green pastures of plenty from dry desert ground
From the Grand Coulee Dam where the waters run down
Every state in the Union us migrants have been
We’ll work in this fight and we’ll fight till we win

It’s always we rambled, that river and I
All along your green valley, I will work till I die
My land I’ll defend with my life if it be
Cause my pastures of plenty must always be free

Performed by Michael Hurley 

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Lost and Found

happiness is a fleeing bird,
don’t try to catch it
you’ll crush it’s tiny heart.

joy is the call of a blooming lotus,
if you tried to listen
you’d drown out the chorus.

peace is a still and infinite pond,
and you the frog
croaking at the shore.

love is a fragile spring breeze,
may it linger to
grace these transient skins.

hate is a fire we try to hide,
it splits and burgles,
burns out our insides.

war is the charred borders of the soul,
which spills from the empty heavens
where we are not known.

bliss is a burp in the universal giggle,
we are lonesome when we
cannot swallow down the thistle.

life is a fleeting chance,
shining from a window where
we seldom glance.

death is a punctuation mark,
where we all full stop,
to be released, to start.

nothing ends, nothing begins,
and we are lost and found,
fragile kites in mortal winds.

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There is bronze in my blood

AmCelticSteve

How sweet the silence,
The nectar in which we hide,
Fragments of our self
We seldom seek inside.

We are lost to pitch coal night
Like frozen stars we orbit,
The moon blade is silent in glory,
Rising in early, clear light.

Countless memories to trace
An inception, a birth;
Strung out in mist of mind games,
A lover once known
Dancer distant from grace.

There are fragile shards
Of what I have become
Woven into thick rope,
Tough to the touch
And feelings so bound
That I am merely a stone in
The urn.

There is bronze in my blood
And in my bones,
There is blood on my teeth
The stain of murder
In my wounds.

There are nameless Gods
Which chart my path,
Through the forests, the mountain back;
Led by the skins of sheep
And the sails of billowing
Highland heather.

I am a man freed of fate,
A twisted dagger
Sure to tame
The wilderness of barren corners,
The drum that beats my heart.

I am smoothed in the valley stream
By the gentle ripples of time,
I am one with the mighty seas
I am one with the fire
I am one with the trees.

This man has wandered far and wide
Taken in exotic wines
To return an infidel and cured
Of the yoke of fear
And the noose of hope.

For to trust in self
To realise ones fate
Is but a strike of a skilled axe
On the countless rings
Of the fallen world.

I love life for her charms
Are not lost in the keepers lake,
I see the gateway to divinity
Where her weary body lays,

Where her gold locks tumble down
I caress this hallowed ground,
Plant wheat to watch it brightly sway
Rise fresh each dawn of glory day.

For with this love I am whole,
Not man, not flesh and bone,
But a spirit not easily found
In this self in which we drown.

Battling for the right
To lift my head and cry,
Dying for the call
To take what is left
No more.

Praying for the epoch
When desire is peace,
There grows a fragrant rose
Of which petals shall
Never fall.

Oh warrior!
Oh fearless sage!
We call to you this day
Cleanse our fear of death
Make us whole within each
Forgotten breath.

Calling to the night,
Breathing in the dark,
I ache with gilt memories
And play in silent arts.

Teach us how to slay
The infant as it lays,
For innocent and pure
We yearn for a Mothers call,
To be close to our kin, to faith,
To the hearth;
To sacrifice the ashes we share
And the ghosts which fuss our hearts.

 

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First Light

When the dawn is breaking,

Some things found,

A knocking.

 

Fabled ships on shores of plenty

Nothing left to claim as own,

Drawn into the depths of greens

and blues

By the lull of a sirens whim

And the longing horizon.

 

The depth of hardship

Where ice hardens and love

Springs form; a mirror,

To the dark everything above,

Thirsty for eyes;

The wandering gaze.

 

Lost dark snakes

Of the Nile originate

And Damascus brooding,

All over the heather lament

Of these damp glacial hills

Where a fable cast a light shadow

Within the fogs of this age,

 

Mystical chimes from the silent

Bell tower,

Religion receding behind stony walls,

Silent cries from the high street graveyard

And a loner sparrow perches

Above the dew-rich cobwebs

Of the old post office nook

Where we once spoke in running inks,

Not so long in the scrape and

Fodder forms around the artery,

Crossroads.

 

Brains depleted by a lasting ennui

Of soul deep melancholy etching

A new dawn replica,

 

First light not found

On reflection, no measure,

No composition, no gain to lose,

 

The finger picking songsmith

Has passed us by,

The fireside rendition of life

Shadows on the cave,

Up against the current yet locked into

Some rich vein,

Tied to a weight without measure,

Sinking in profound words

And drunk on the joys of

The wavering shimmer.

 

True harmony has left us beyond the dunes,

Where the oystercatchers fly like arrows

Towards the straits, clumps of disgarded seaweed and

Cobalt currents a molten maelstrom of conflict

Caught in glistening fluidity,

 

Much like this morning

Without first lights dawn

A pale imitation alive

Casting no shadow of consequence

To breech this stately main,

To bridge the gaps in hearts

To cross broken fingers or ingrown

Stains

Or find the word key we seek.

 

First light unlocks the gate,

Breaks the stale crust,

First light delivers.

 

I am written in.

Inked.

A knocking.

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“Wait until your mud settles” Lao Tzu

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”

“If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.”

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect.”

“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”

“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.”

“Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water.   Have the patience to wait!  Be still and allow the mud to settle.”

“If you realise that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”

“To understand the limitation of things, desire them.”

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.

What difference between yes and no?

What difference between success and failure?

Must you value what others value,

Avoid what others avoid?

How ridiculous!”

“Embracing Tao, you become embraced.
Supple, breathing gently, you become reborn.
Clearing your vision, you become clear.
Nurturing your beloved, you become impartial.
Opening your heart, you become accepted.
Accepting the World, you embrace Tao.
Bearing and nurturing,
Creating but not owning,
Giving without demanding,
Controlling without authority,
This is love.”

“The further one goes, the less one knows.”

“Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.”

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”

—–

Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching

Photographs taken across China ’16

 

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The Cure At Troy – Seamus Heaney

Now it’s high watermark
and floodtide in the heart
and time to go.
The sea-nymphs in the spray
will be the chorus now.
What’s left to say?

Suspect too much sweet-talk
but never close your mind.
It was a fortunate wind
that blew me here. I leave
half-ready to believe
that a crippled trust might walk

and the half-true rhyme is love.

Seamus Heaney

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Life’s a joke! – Alan Watts

One of my favourites from Uncle Alan:

 

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