Unspoken Word
December 01, 2019
Rilke's Late Night Violin Music

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Rainer Maria Rilke, the genius German poet
who translated God in ways
no scripture has ever come close to,
once wondered why every time he walked
beneath a high window
(out of which violin music could be heard)
he thought it promised him a future lover.

When I die, I want to meet this man,
standing, as I imagine he will be, just beyond
the gathering of my long gone relatives waiting to greet me.
I don't think he will be saying much of anything,
just looking in my general direction, his dark eyes singing,
his body completely at ease, having just released
a thousand poems he never needed to write,
the lips of his high-windowed lovers still unkissed,
summoned as they were by violins to embrace him
far beyond the body's few pleasures.

Rilke will not be looking up,
remembering as he was, from a few years ago,
a beautiful young couple crossing the street before him,
laughing, talking, holding hands,
but not his glance, always reserved, it seemed, for someone else,
but if you dared to ask "for whom?"
he would only fumble for his pen,
reach inside the quiet pocket of his favorite coat,
and find the old notebook he always kept there
for precisely moments
like this one.

Painting: Leslie Dietrich

More of my poetry here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2019
Cruisin' With Rumi

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On a bone cold February afternoon, 23 miles from home, in a Japanese car leased three months ago, I listen to Rumi, 800 years gone from praising everything that breathed.

Lights are flashing everywhere, especially behind me, not white like those that lit up Rumi's eyes. No. More like red, the kind that signal stop and oops and maybe I should slow down and pull over.

Rumi, on the 5-CD changer, is completely unconcerned, his monologue of love making perfect sense, as I, poised, tribal, and whole, notice a large man of the law approaching and reach for my license -- not the poetic kind, but the other kind, the one with the photo no one shows their mother, even as the uniformed man standing tall by my door beckons me to roll down my window and announces, like a small town accountant wishing he was home for lunch with his wife, my speed, which, he informs me, was 20 over the limit, Rumi still holding forth beneath an ancient Persian moon.

He has kind eyes, my sudden companion for the moment in his well-pressed uniform, kind eyes and a smile that speaks of long winters keeping roads safe for travelers like me who, somehow, must have missed the sign about a mile back, veiled, as it was, by that old willow tree and the last few rays of light finding their way past the steepest hill in town, the one where all the kids go sledding, kids, as far as I can tell, who have never heard of Rumi, the officer of the law, or me.

TimelessToday
MitchDitkoff.com
Rumi and Kabir bowling (in the HuffPost)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:28 PM | Comments (2)

November 03, 2019
A GREAT SADNESS IS UPON ME

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ONE
A great sadness is upon me,
like a mist in a forest no one can see.
It does not lift, this mist,
even when butterflies find their way through it
and wolves.
Not yet a wise man, still I already know
what people will say
when I confess to them this feeling of mine.
"Get a hobby",
"Count your blessings",
"Look at the bright side of life."
Spare me, please,
I am not looking for answers, my friends,
nor am I looking for questions.
I am just sitting here,
an unopened love letter on a Thursday afternoon,
a great sadness upon me.

TWO
I have made the only decision worth making today --
stop trying so hard,
the glorious gifts of God cannot be gotten that way.
They can only be received,
like rain to the thirsty,
like a long embrace unrequested,
like the way a baby looks at a stranger
and the stranger no longer feels strange.
Discipline is not the path to the heart
and never will be,
being a disciple is.
Of what, you ask,
of that which exists everywhere, all the time, forever,
needing nothing but itself to shine,
radiant, self-effulgent, already free, alive.
It has no name, this mirror of light,
even if you give it one, like a lover,
in a fit of adoration,
needing an object of devotion.

THREE
Here's what I know:
Nothing.
Here's what I've accomplished so far:
Less than that.
There is a sky overhead
and ground beneath my feet.
Everything else
is simply way too much to think about.

FOUR
One of the illusions of life
is that something needs to be done:
a field to mow,
a room to clean,
a destination to reach.
Actually, it's quite the opposite.
something needs to be undone,
untangled, unraveled, unmade,
like the spider web I weave each morning
pearled with dew,
to catch what I already have.

FIVE
On my death bed,
where I will not make love,
it is very likely,
after my long, slow ascent
into whatever comes next,
that I will find myself
apologizing to all the people
I was never quite able to love enough,
wishing I had been a much bigger field
for them to dance in,
dance and sing and laugh or do nothing at all
if that's what they wanted.
Like you, for example.

SIX
I have come to the end of the line.
This one!
The one above,
the one with only two words:
This
as in what is now before me,
free of assumption, story, and belief,
and one --
that which is irreducible,
what was there in the very beginning,
though I realize, of course,
it is certainly possible that something existed long before it,
something pristine, holy, and divine,
but please don't call it zero,
really, don't, I beg you,
your cleverness only reminds me of mine.
Before that, too.

SEVEN
I am a guest in my own house,
I am not the owner
even if you think I am.
I am just passing through,
like a breeze through a half-opened window
like a thought in your mind,
like a piece of thread through the eye of a needle,
tailor nowhere in sight.

EIGHT
Beethoven, the first time he realized he was deaf,
still listened,
what he heard was far beyond sound,
more like the place where sound originates.
You can call it music if you like,
but the real symphony is playing
inside the impulse to listen
even when there is nothing to hear
and no one on stage
to applaud for.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:32 AM | Comments (1)

October 26, 2019
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE HEART

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

There Is a Lemon Tree

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There is a lemon tree in my garden
and a peach tree needing
just a bit of fertilizer to return itself
back to its pristine state of ultimate juiciness,
which, they tell me, will take a year.
In between them both is a white clothesline.
No clothes, just clothespins:
blue, orange, yellow, and green.
Off in the distance, the sound of church bells
interrupts nothing, red bougainvilleas
blooming in all four corners of the garden.
Yes, it has come to this: watching flowers grow.
Now I know why those 80-year old Chinese poets,
wrinkles like hieroglyphics of an unspoken poem,
spent so much time tending their plum trees.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2019
Radiant Being of Light

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TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2019
Laugh Lines

The only lines
I want to wait on
are the ones
around your eyes.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2019
No Portal, No Gate

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There is a place between day and night, between now and later, between body and soul. There is no entry to this place, no portal, no gate. You cannot get there by going, only by already being there. It is, this place, a secret chamber of the heart, but only for those who can keep a secret. You have no proof it exists and never will. The more you look for it, the less you will see. The more you listen for it, the less you will hear. This mystery cannot be attained, only received. A bestowal it is, a gift, like the first few drops of dew in this morning's spider web.

Photo: unsplash-logomichael podger
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2019
The Swing

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TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2019
The Holiest of Prayers

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2019
The Poetry of Portraiture

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If you are looking for a wonderful, easy-to-work-with artist to paint your portrait or the portrait of a loved one, Unspoken Word recommends San Miguel de Allende resident Evelyne Pouget. Now available for commissions. Oil on canvas or oil pastels. For more information, contact: Mitch Ditkoff (mitch@ideachampions.com)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2019
The Relationship

She wanted
more space,
I gave her
the universe.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2019
AN ODE TO SELF IMPROVEMENT

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If you are trying to improve yourself,
please take a moment
to consider the possibility
that the self you are trying to improve
either doesn't exist
or is totally self-invented
and what you are really trying to do
is improve your persona,
the wind-up doll of yourself that you have, somehow, conjured up
to make your way forward in the world,
an understandable past time, indeed,
but probably not the real purpose
of your life.
And, just to make matters even more interesting,
who is it that is trying
to improve your self?
Upon what ground
is that person standing
and why are they trying so hard?
Is there something wrong with you? Really?
And, if so, who is judging whom?
Maybe that's the self that needs improvement.
Just for the moment, consider the possibility
that it's not so much a matter of self-improvement.
Maybe it's more a matter of knowing your self,
Perhaps, once this so-called self is known,
there will be no more need for self-improvement.
Wouldn't that be interesting?
Imagine what you could do with all that extra time!
Think about what a big, beautiful space might open up for you --
kind of like one of those fields Rumi liked to wander in.
With all that newly found dimension in your life
maybe you could take up gardening or learn the piano.
Or what about volunteering at your local hospice
or maybe you could just make somebody a cup of tea.
Like yourself, for example.

- Mitch Ditkoff
2:02 pm, July 2, 2019

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:35 PM | Comments (1)

June 27, 2019
FOR LIA

Here is a wonderful poem recently written by my friend, Robert Esformes, in honor of his friend, Lia Lynn Rosen who has recently opened up a lovely pottery store and studio in Rosendale, NY. Pottery and poetry. They both begin with "P" and they're both good for the soul. Read it and leap. Then check out Lia's new store...

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Slippery clay on the wheel spins round center,
Not unlike how we turn and turn in our time.
The mud of history becomes a dervish dancing,
Tethered to this moment while praising
The Circumference that is everywhere.

The rains fall and reservoirs fill
While the earth sings chorales
for old bones decomposed, ready to take new shape.
Clay's thirst is slaked with a cup of poured water.
Mud meanders towards bowl, dust gathers from dust.

Unfinished vessels head for the furnace of fire;
Fire kindly offers its heat to make firm the form.
Earth, water, fire invite the air into a pas-de-quatre.
Air accepts and conjures a healing breeze,
Stirring up the stillness, refreshing the dance.

All is, in time, finished in its final form,
The cup ready for service to the eye, the tongue,
The nose, the echoing ear.

Ah, the spaciousness of this tea, and cup,
Dancing in our hands, satisfying in perfection
Of the alchemy of the elements!

You are in good company.
Sip responsively.

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LIA'S STORE: A Potter on Main Street
430 Main Street, Rosendale, NY
845.658.2163

Think Global, Buy Local

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2019
Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma, Isadora Duncan, and the Creative Process

OK. If you are an artist, dancer, sculptor, writer, poet, photographer, musician or anyone else for whom creativity is paramount, this performance by Meryl Streep and Yo-Yo Ma is your sweet tasting medicine of the day. Or perhaps every day. Turn up the volume. Go full screen. Let's here it for Isabella Duncan, whose words are memorialized in this fantastic reading. Go for it! The door is open! No doubt!

A Poem Reading with Meryl Streep and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma from Center on US-China Relations on Vimeo.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2019
The One for Whom

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:48 PM | Comments (1)

June 18, 2019
You Are the Water

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Day Three of Amaroo video
TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2019
Date Night

She wants to go out,
I want to go in.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2019
How to Make a Poem

Akka's website

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2019
The Still Point of Creation

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The still point of creation is
like arriving, late at night,
at an empty railway station,
no trains coming, no trains going,
just a big sky overhead
and all the rivers flowing,
there's nothing left to do here
and there's nowhere left to go,
simply sitting on a wooden bench
with a cup of morning joe.
It's a place of no beginning,
no start, no stop, no end,
just the space between each breath you take,
your lover, mother, and your friend.
Or how about this?
Why birds sing when they are all alone.

MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

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December 2019, November 2019, October 2019, September 2019, August 2019, July 2019, June 2019, May 2019, April 2019, March 2019, February 2019, January 2019, December 2018, November 2018, October 2018, September 2018, August 2018, July 2018, June 2018, May 2018, April 2018, March 2018, February 2018, January 2018, December 2017, November 2017, October 2017, September 2017, August 2017, July 2017, June 2017, May 2017, April 2017, March 2017, February 2017, January 2017, December 2016, October 2016, September 2016, August 2016, April 2016,
“I have nothing to say, I am saying it, and that is poetry.”
— John Cage

Welcome to my new blog — brief ruminations on what it is that moves me (and maybe YOU, too). If any of my poems inspire you, please forward them to friends. Good muse travels fast. Or could, with your help.

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