As For Me

Psalm 73 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Book III: Psalms 73–89
73 (0) A psalm of Asaf:

(1) How good God is to Isra’el,
to those who are pure in heart!
But as for me, I lost my balance,
my feet nearly slipped,
when I grew envious of the arrogant
and saw how the wicked prosper.
For when their death comes, it is painless;
and meanwhile, their bodies are healthy;
they don’t have ordinary people’s troubles,
they aren’t plagued like others.

So for them, pride is a necklace;
and violence clothes them like a robe.
Their eyes peep out through folds of fat;
evil thoughts overflow from their hearts.
They scoff and speak with malice,
they loftily utter threats.
They set their mouths against heaven;
their tongues swagger through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return here
and [thoughtlessly] suck up that whole cup of water.
11 Then they ask, “How does God know?
Does the Most High really have knowledge?”

12 Yes, this is what the wicked are like;
those free of misfortune keep increasing their weal…


Vivid grace

Bent from vase

Toward my face—


Time gone—

What’s going on?

Gaze kept—

Heart leapt—


Chimney Rock

(This story was originally a dedication in a foreword to a book of poetry that I gave my Dad, Robert S. Sanford, for his birthday.)
I can only think of one thing I can give you on your 70th birthday that might be adequate. Yesterday I went hiking in the mountains with friends and we had a conversation about courage. We were delighted by our discovery that we like to be scared. We found ourselves describing to each other the instant just before the leap into danger, and we described to each other what happens in the mind at that instant. We all agreed that one has to stop thinking at that crucial instant in order to able go forward into the danger. That was when I realized that it was you who taught me about courage, and so I told my friends a story about you and a place called Chimney Rock:
My love of adventure has a beginning place in my memory— A place in the eastern mountains where a great platform of rock juts out over a valley brimming with trees, and two turkey vultures circle in …


It can’t be described. It might be possible to demonstrate it to someone who was interested in the idea. Presence is being in the moment. Awful, trendy phrase, I know. I recognize presence by its absence, and learn its benefits by rediscovering it. Presence is easy when it comes to beauty, serenity, and solitude. When the air in your lungs is the same air that blows upward from the mountain top, presence is like the dancing kite of which you are the tail: effortless.

Presence is not so easy when it comes to people. Toxic people who batten on to others in their need and can’t recognize ease or comfort when it comes to them. Busy people who never stop to look or listen, and insist on chattering like monkeys. Pushy, domineering people who have hidden feelings riding their backs with whips. Sick people who spread misery like a stain in the air around them. Angry people who carry invisible weapons in both hands, loaded and cocked. Sad people, floating silently by on a dark greasy river wi…

My Dog

My dog is not a “fur-baby,” and I am not her Mama.

My dog is not a human being; she belongs to another species called Canis Lupus Familiaris. She comes from an ancient lineage of pack hunters that somehow managed to domesticate human beings and teach them how to cooperate and co-exist with an alien species.

My dog has a name that I gave her: “Tully,” and she recognizes it, but she doesn’t give a shit about names, or politics, or money. She barely gives a shit about the weather, although she loves to lie in the sun.

I am glad my dog is not a human being, because she helps me forget about all the awful things that human beings do to each other. She doesn’t even think about global warming, immigrants, real-estate prices, LGBTQ rights, poverty, or anti-vaccers.

To her ‘social justice’ means that her expectation of being fed in the morning is perfectly justified.

She knows things that no human being knows. She sees things that human beings can’t see, and smells things that human beings c…

Maundy Thursday

From 'Celtic Daily Prayer - Prayers and Readings from The Northumbria Community'.

“I was dreaming that I was treading the streets of the Holy City, pottering about like a tourist. In my wandering I came upon the museum of that city of our dream. I went in, and a courteous attendant conducted me round. There was some old armour there, much bruised with battle. Many things were conspicuous by their absence. I saw nothing of Alexander’s, nor of Napoleon’s. There was no Pope’s ring, nor even the ink-bottle that Luther is said to have thrown at the devil, nor Wesley’s seal and keys. I saw a widow’s mite and the feather of a little bird. I saw some swaddling clothes, a hammer, and three nails, and a few thorns. I saw a bit of a fishing-net and the broken oar of a boat. I saw a sponge that had once been dipped in vinegar, and a small piece of silver. But I cannot enumerate all I saw, nor describe all I felt. Whilst I was turning over a common drinking cup which had a very honorable pl…

One Sparrow

Psalm 102

I am like a great owl in the desert,
I’ve become like an owl in the ruins.
I lie awake and become
like a bird alone on the roof.

Tao te Ching -Twenty

Give up learning and put an end to your troubles.
Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
(But) I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.

Hafiz – Effacement

Is a golden gun.
It was not easy to hold it against my head
And fire.

I needed great faith in my master
To suffocate myself
With his holy bag
Full of truth.

I needed great courage
To go out into the dark
Tracking God into the unknown.

And not panic or get lost
In all the startling new scents, sounds,

Or lose my temper
Tripping on those scheming
Night and day around me.

Effacement is the e…