Quiet Now

Quiet Now
Ed Coletti
kapala press
2007 Sebastopol
32 pp hand sewn

(Including the Twelve Month
I Ching Poems)

The less one thinks about the theory of the I Ching, the more soundly one sleeps.
- Carl Gustav Jung

This little collection represents two phenomena, one involves a bit of effort, and the second does not.

In the first instance, I, during January 2006, determined to cast an I Ching hexagram once a month for a year and let the resulting words from the I Ching inspire me to write a monthly poem on anything whatsoever. In the beginning, I did the casting and writing at home. During the second half of the year, I worked quietly in the beautiful little Poetry House at Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, California. The quiet pastoral surroundings lent me the necessary tranquility and inspiration.

In the second instance, early in 2007, I reviewed the I Ching poems and realized that they shared the single characteristic of quietness. This led me to seek out and include a few other recent quiet little poems.

So shhhh, let's listen together.

Quiet Now

At this my stillest point—
About me—flowers,
Clock ticking,
Music from slack strings
I lower my voice
Raise my attention.

Softer Now

When you lose something which defines you
as you knew yourself, a cloud obscures more
than may have shone so brightly it never was
much of anything more than a small part
of the entire learning, all to you, once
lost it looms for a time valuable as life itself,
guitar out front of its combo riffing
softer now bass bumping drums brushing
scratching out a wistful smile—reminded
you fall smoothly into nodding tempo.

New Years Eve

Sitting here astride
the thinnest meniscus
separating two years I
find no go back go
forth choice all we
can be certain about
is that this membrane
inexorably wears
away and so soon
straddling nothing we
have settled into a
familiar new place.


Just still enough
to hear the brook,
my black dog chanting
the unspeakable
name of god,

not elohim
not yahweh,
panting chanting
huuh huuh huuh
huuh huuh huuh

Now let us inhale
all of this
all of this

When All Electric Power Shuts Off

And the tight-wound spring
flaccidly loosens,

Time as we know it
unwinds to an end.

When the sun disappears at dusk
and low clouds shut out stars,

When newspapers stop arriving
and snail mail ceases crawling,

Cars run out of gasoline
their radios falling mute;

Then only walking begins
to measure anything

For as long as food and water
remain more than metaphors.

The Twelve Month
I Ching Poems


and at such time
when I have fears that I
may want to rhyme
I'm wont to finally fling
again another synchronistic
hexagram as though I seek
from any just one evening star
Hesperus (for example will do)
the meaning of one point in time
the fruit of pennies not worth a dime
I ask about importance to not be
misunderstood by any of my readers
when I'm fortunate enough to have just one
Can I make a pregnant difference in shared meaning
through all or any of my line breaks? What's this
sparrow doing with its darting? The answers
flicker from a bulb I've kept hidden, the one
oozing any way this way and that like
the dart of the sparrow not quite in
flight outside through the dark rain
wisteria purr pulling purpling not
blazing yet.            Hexagram's
changing line nine in the third
place cautions slow slowly
you've been here too long
to expect to blaze full-
-bloomed too fast

Hold fast
to small visions
large seeds wet for Spring
bursting       Six at the top the darkness
bloomed full sodden and rotting
to fertilize light the foundations of smiling
forming as curlicue corners of mouth (feeding myself
I will feed them) Mother warns eat slowly, chew this food.
Darting sparrows know this, take feed first only then give later.


Moon wanes two cranes weave wind                ripple streams.
Below, small snows salt reddening poppies, spruce blue tines.
Wing-wind's waters churn as cranes crowd closer
whipping foam frothy to mist till nothing left of froth or foam
frees soul from self or sake and only cranes remain
descending circling each the other bow-necked red-crested
watching searching perhaps mistaking
poppies for other cranes seeing and being seen;
this tapestry now more of earth
we sense within our own evaporating parts.


Adobe Clay
sponging full
inland sea
since receded
grows within
when waters fall
earth lies still
swelling up,
sleepy actor,
trusting gourd,
no sense of
soon or when
It or What
will come to
sprout and bloom,
It simply
will anew


If we wish to compress something
we must first let it fully expand.

                  -     Lao tse

The stars appearing fixed
travel doggedly
shedding light.
Collect this as it falls.
Do not rush to gather stars.
Instead glean
their gleaming sticky lint,
roll it about in your own hands
over and over;
watch a new small sun flame
oh, you wondrous creator, you!


the tender

to arouse,
ticking gently

to quiet
arousing hearts
to quiet quieting
aroused hearts,

Hearts beat
in rhythm
tocking ticking
soft and smooth


As to memory of things future,
forget this for now—Be
obedient to your present
master who dwells here now
endlessly here now.
Bow as deeply as your back
permits. This, after all, god is
not proud at all, so prostrate
yourself before this leaf of a moment

Robed mentor falling before me
last autumn, my attention returns
to your breeze-lifted climb here.
In summer I notice; I'll listen closely
to each swush or crackle.
I'll join the sun to glint from your gold
I'll attend and obey this moment joyfully.


Quiet Now

At this my stillest point—
About me—flowers,
Clock ticking,
Music from slack strings
I lower my voice
Raise my attention.


Chewy sourdough turkey sandwich
enters mouth between the teeth.

What joy such chewing brings before
communion bread has tumbled

down to where no effort is of
any use but where nutrition,

absent effort, promotes
my present transformation.



poetry house
at paradise ridge,

just another oak
sheltering the poet—

the mystery today
how we and the forest grass

earn such a gift
as sunlight—

peace, the guest
stays in the heart

when we do not admit
much coarser lodgers



A juggler seeking rest
must never begin

A juggler juggling
rests juggling
never seeking.


Men Who Approach Me After a Reading

Men who are not poets
or at least men
who do not write poetry
act differently
toward my poetry
than do women who
do not write poetry

With the women
it's texture
they tell me

"Your poetry is
very nice"

But the men who come to me
after my reading or
after they read my poems
tell me what there is
moved them how
reading of my daughter
raised in them a daughter
how my war is
their war.
how to them
my dying


Continuing Life As a Bird Flies
Living trust dying brain morbidity lucidity i.r.a. social security demons
lisanopril zocor hydrochlorathiazide glucosamine chondroitin ibuprofin
destiny legacy manuscripts infamy creations blunt death's tiny sting.

Writing reading chess scrabble help out keeping brain alive,
wife I cannot do without , C.S. Lewis offers loss as price of love.
Parents children generations nurture nature's dreamy dance.

Sailing flying running diving singing driving acting-
ponder what you get for being free to do whatever you want.
Travel money inspiration doing nothing human being.
Working earning bearing babies going going human doing.

Stop a moment-          just compare what you are
with Mexican beaches mountains ruins and deserts
chiles serapes tortillas tequilas mercados murals noon siestas.

Crucify Moloch just before dinner time. Where is the lacking
in beans corn tomatoes chiles and cheese?
Will voices of light keep coming back like Luis Garcia's?

I want I want these gifts to keep on coming. But wanting
say the Buddhists is suffering so I suffer wanting what I'm getting
knowing getting is a gift from nowhere known to me on a lawn swing
faintly fluttering as a bird flies until it hits another window.