What merely Is.
A sparrow exulting
in the mist,
this unfolding fern,
the sorrow of crushed
plastic bottles
on mossy stones
along the creek bank where
once mighty
daffodils grew.
The tear that, filling
your eye,
fills the world.
What is, is.
What may be
has no Presence.
Oh mind, please listen
to the sparrow,
attend the fern.
Be saved
by nothing more.

Fred LaMonte



The first thing I heard this morning
was a rapid flapping sound, soft, insistent—

wings against glass as it turned out
downstairs when I saw the small bird
rioting in the frame of a high window,
trying to hurl itself through
the enigma of glass into the spacious light.

Then a noise in the throat of the cat
who was hunkered on the rug
told me how the bird had gotten inside,
carried in the cold night
through the flap of a basement door,
and later released from the soft grip of teeth.
On a chair, I trapped its pulsations
in a shirt and got it to the door,
so weightless it seemed
to have vanished into the nest of cloth.

But outside, when I uncupped my hands,
it burst into its element,
dipping over the dormant garden
in a spasm of wingbeats
then disappeared over a row of tall hemlocks.

For the rest of the day,
I could feel its wild thrumming
against my palms as I wondered about
the hours it must have spent
pent in the shadows of that room,
hidden in the spiky branches
of our decorated tree, breathing there
among the metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn,
its eyes open, like mine as I lie in bed tonight
picturing this rare, lucky sparrow
tucked into a holly bush now,
a light snow tumbling through the windless dark.


I love to watch them sheathe themselves mid-air,
shut wings and ride the light’s poor spine

to earth, to touch down in gutters, in the rainbowed
urine of suicides, just outside Bellevue’s walls.

From in there the ransacked cadavers are carried
up the East River to Potter’s Field

as if they were an inheritance,
gleaned of savable parts,

their diseases jarred and labeled, or incinerated,
the ashes of metastasized vision

professing the virus that lives beyond the flesh,
in air…

The first time I saw the inside of anything
alive, a downed bird opened cleanly

under my heel. I knelt
to watch the spectral innards shine and quicken,

the heart-whir magnify.
And though I can’t say now what kind of bird it was,

nor the season, spring or autumn, what
dangerous transition,

I have identified so many times that sudden
earnest spasm of the throat in children,

or in the jaundiced faces of the dying,
the lower eye-lids straining upward.

Fear needs its metaphors.
I’ve read small helplessnesses make us maternal.

Even the sparrows feel it
nesting this evening in traffic lights.

They must have remembered, long enough to mate,
woods they’ve never seen,

but woods inbred, somehow, up the long light of instinct,
the streaked siennas of a forest floor

born now into the city,
the oak umbers, and the white tuft

of tail feathers, like a milkweed meadow
in which their song, as Burroughs heard it,

could be distinguished:

here, where every history is forfeited,

where the same names of the different dead greet
each other and commingle

above the hospital’s heaps of garbage.
From the ward windows, fingerprinted,

from the iron-grated ledges,
hundreds flock down for the last feed of the day

and carry off into the charitable dusk what
cannot be digested.sparrow gathering


sparrow in the dogwoodsparrow in the dogwood

“Real Spring weather—these are the precise days when everything changes.  All the trees are fast beginning to be in leaf, and the first green freshness of a new summer is all over the hills.  Irreplaceable purity of these days chosen by God as His sign! Mixture of heavenliness and anguish.  Seeing ‘heavenliness’ suddenly, for instance, in the pure white of mature dogwood blossoms against the dark evergreens in the cloudy garden.  ‘Heavenliness’ too of the song of the unknown bird that is perhaps here only for these days, passing through, a lovely, deep, simple song.  Seized by this ‘heavenliness’ as if I were a child—a child’s mind I have never done anything to deserve to have and which is my own part in the heavenly spring.  Not of this world, or of my making.  Born partly of physical anguish (which is really not there, though.  It goes quickly).  Sense that the ‘heavenliness’ is the real nature of things, not their nature, but the fact they are a gift of love and of freedom.”

A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals by Thomas Merton, selected and  edited Jonathan Montaldo. HarperSanFrancisco, New York, NY, 2004, p 120.

Sparrow and the monkey….

sparrow and monkey

“…..Indian fable of the monkey and the sparrows. When autumn seemed to be approaching the sparrows said, ‘We must have a nest. We must build it and it must be ready soon, for autumn is coming nearer.’ A little monkey overheard this and was very frightened because it was the first time this young monkey had had to face the winter. It went with great anxiety to its parents and said, ‘We must build a home, we must build a nest where we can be protected. I did not know the autumn was coming, but someone told me so.’ While they were discussing this the sparrows made their nest ready, but the monkeys put it off from one day to another until autumn was upon them.

And so it is in the world. We find people who say, ‘What does it matter? We shall wait and see what will come.’ But when they are faced by a difficulty, by a need, then they begin to realize that it would have been better if they had been prepared. ”

Inayat Khan

It is the same with global warming.

Not only the thirsty…

Rumi sparrows water

Not only the thirsty seek the water,

the water as well seeks the thirsty.

~ Rumi


on a winter’s night


sparrow through the hallway


“As if when on a winter’s night you sit feasting with your ealdormen and thegns, a single sparrow should fly swiftly into the hall, and coming in at one door should instantly fly out through another. In that time in which it is indoors it is indeed not touched by the fury of winter, but yet, this smallest space of calmness being passed almost in a flash, from winter going into winter again, it is lost to your eyes. Somewhat like this a[[ears the life of man; but of what follows or what went before, we are utterly ignorant.”   Bede

The Mystical Path

Pathway to Joel S. Goldsmith or Infinite Way spirituality, authentic mysticism, meditation, enlightenment, illumination, peace, and healing.

The Value of Sparrows

Writings of a Christian Mystic