Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Guest House

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing,
And invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.


Fun to imagine that the basis for a story or a novel.

Running an inn in Virginia hunt country, with the autumn and early darkness advancing, the woman I am (a verger of the Episcopal church, with airdale terrier named Walter Mitty) welcomes
  • the man who’s hard of hearing, or would rather not hear, a retired astrophysicist who wants to find stories in stars instead of always numbers, calculations [depression]
  • his carping wife, mouth with its downturned corners opening and closing like a carp, nails painted with Cajun Shrimp polish [malice]
  • a curly-headed child, who loves baby smoked clams and Harry Belafonte songs [joy], her mother an actress at the Stratford Festival, Ontario (last summer Alais in The Lion in Winter) [shame]
  • a loan officer with a secret tattoo (anchor, the soul of a drowned sailor; or Minoan swallows fighting) [meanness]
  • a family of thieving Corfiotes with a party rental business, dance floors, tents, glittery Cinderella coach with pony and plumes; linens, glasses, fairy lights [crowd of sorrows]
  • male cook, Athabascan, flashing his knives and reading Schopenhauer [dark thought]


  1. poets. good poets come and go.
    but nobody touches my heart like rumi.
    unless it would be ee cummings himself.
    and thanks to you i get to read them both here effortlessly!
    and your own amazing take on things.
    i haven't figured you out.
    but it is worth the figuring!!! LOL.