Things of Speechless Strength and Kisses


Mycological studies. (Photos by Robert Smith.)


Of fungi, Ranier Rilke wrote:

Long since, it has ben their job to make the soil
vigorous with the source of their free marrow.
…as they sleep
beside the roots and grant us, from their riches
this hybrid Thing of speechless strength and kisses. 
 waubonsiefungus and moss
Sometimes in fact today, I want to wade through ferns and snakeroot under high canopies to quiet spot and breezy to read Rilke, letting the Sonnets to Orpheus become sonnets to oak and hickory, fungus and frog. Green shadows against hot sky. Let’s do that on Saturday!
We still have a few spots open for our Poetics of Sticky Mysteries retreat on Saturday with poet Genevieve Williams and mycologist Katie Thompson. We will hike and write and find quiet moments to wait for Sappho or Orpheus or the muse of your choice and maybe a beatnik or two, perchance wandering transcendentalists chasing the ghost of Thoreau. And there will be bright and slimy creatures to celebrate the flatness of being and the primal words that just might find us. The spores of a poem. And a cool cabin to take our rest, sack lunch, check for ticks.
Teloschistes chrysopthalmus
 Let me know if that sounds good and visit the Summer Nature Writing Retreat page above. And if you can come a day early for the ecology workshop, we still have a few openings. Visit the Summer Oak Woodland… page for those details. In any case, embrace the heavy hush of summer in a wild place nearby.
— Jack Phillips
More from Rilke:
Creatures of stillness crowded from the bright
and unbound forest, out of their lairs and nests:
and it was not from any dullness, not
from fear, that they were so quiet in themselves,
But from just listening….