I move to keep things whole.

The Prompt: Mark Strand, Poet Laureate

Venn Diagrams

The self, the edge of the self, and the edge of the world.
Poetic territory.
That shadow land between self and reality.
Using paper he made by hand...
Physical self meets physical reality.
How useful to dwell in ones' own self.
Undeterred by those who say the self does not exist.
Perhaps theirs does not?
Yet here the poet dwells.
A vessel to hold his many gifts.
A vessel—like  a Venn Diagram.
Allowing him to embrace the edge of the world.
He knows himself.
There is that pesky word again “The self.”

Dwelling in His self
He finds his poems evenly lit.
The dark and light embrace
As Venn Diagrams meet and share
But do not lose their own selves.
“I empty myself and my life remains.”
He has observed the great mystery.
Emptyness is ‘not separate.’

—Janelle Curlin-Taylor


I am
what I am not
and sometimes
I am

I move
to exist
to connect the dots
from one moment
to the next

I move
so I can sit
without fidgeting
in silence

I move
in joy
pedaling, swimming,
walking, dancing
to be joyful

I move
my pen across a page
to listen to the thoughts
as they filter
through my mind

I move
I must
I always come back
to myself

to the space
In my heart
that longs to be
into the still pool

—Francine Fowler


Walking in Dark

Walking in dark we enjoy
the intimacy of not seeing.
The earth holding
our feet in the soft embrace
that remains.

Walking out of worn out shoes,
into just my own skin.

—Jeffery Taylor


Qi and Air

It is hard to be nondualistic when doing qigong, or when thinking about being separate from the air we displace. We have stale qi and fresh qi. We move out the stale and move in the fresh. I doubt that one qi is better or worse than the other. It is more like how we get hungry or tired.

In Strand’s poem, he ends with, “I move to keep things whole.” In fact, we do the same in qigong, moving qi to keep us energized.

The air moves as the man moves. They switch places for a moment until the air is returned. Is it the same air, having been displaced by a man? It now has been stirred up. It has a little tale to tell its grandchildren.

“I move to keep things whole.” I thought in college sometimes that I’d learn something and then I could ride in this sweet Cadillac and not have to struggle one bit. Ha Ha. That was a joke.

Even a poet laureate needs to move to stay alive. Even the Dalai Lama needs to meditate four hours a day. Is meditation and moving much the same? I think so. And what is movement? When I am still, I really move. My thoughts can be as chaotic as Niagara Falls. And when I move, I am still—busy but somewhere else. Is one better than another? Or are they brother and sister—one complementing the other.

Wordsworth wrote that “Art is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, recalled in tranquility.” It is one action for a man to walk around displacing air, and a much different action, after the fact, to remember and admit that one had done such an interaction with the world. It might be a obvious to a very precocious third grader, but not one ordinarily observed by an adult, unless, of course, they were a poet laureate… and a meditative one at that.

Kim Mosley