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Solitude Poem


Mark Nepo | Posted 07.26.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

There are times when how we operate in the world just turns upside down. This poem speaks to such a time for me. Bareback No question I've been knoc...

You Ask about Poetry

Mark Nepo | Posted 07.12.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

The longer I'm blessed to be here, the more I realize (make real) the wonder that poetry is a state of being and not a craft of language. You Ask abo...


Mark Nepo | Posted 07.05.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Throughout history, there has always been a dissonant conversation between those who feel we as humans are dark creatures who need to be controlled an...

Without Knowing

Mark Nepo | Posted 06.28.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Our first encounters with love shape us and have a lasting impact on how we meet the world. Triggered by a young couple in a café, this poem helped m...

Turn Around

Mark Nepo | Posted 06.21.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

It was in a dream in my sixtieth year that I realized that for all my efforts to protect my inwardness from a brutal world, my inwardness is the sourc...

In the Interior

Mark Nepo | Posted 06.14.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

This poem speaks to a lifelong journey with my oldest friend Robert. We have known each other for close to thirty years. In the Interior When you le...

For My Brother

Mark Nepo | Posted 06.01.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

During my father's slow avalanche to death, my brother was a tireless advocate on his behalf, a bodhisattva in the way he cleared debris and made things easier for everyone around him. I was in a plane over the Pacific Ocean when I finally wrote this poem for him.

The Murmur of Life

Mark Nepo | Posted 05.24.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

That our heart can receive and hold anything and that we feel that the intensity of living is too much to bear is a paradox we can only live into. Under what is both unbearable and endlessly uplifting is the murmur of life.

Out of the Way

Mark Nepo | Posted 05.17.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Kindness and suffering are wordless teachers, ready to bend us and soften us until we accept that we are here; that, try as we will, we can't build our way out of existence or dream our way out of being human. Once opened in this way, we come to realize that the only way out is to love being here.

The Dilation of What Seems Ordinary

Mark Nepo | Posted 05.03.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

The normal way we meet the world is full of bumps and bruises and noise that scratches up the heart. And yet, if we can endure and lean in, we are widened and opened to a depth that weaves the tissue of the Universe together.


Mark Nepo | Posted 04.28.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

An old friend died several years ago. At the time, I wrote this poem. I still can't delete his phone number from my contact list. To do so would seem so final, but I also still feel in contact with him.

To Cultivate Wonder

Mark Nepo | Posted 04.22.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

We have only a few seconds to love the wonder out in the open or those we meet will swallow it. Seconds to let this timeless resource come into our knowing so it can save us from the brutality of surface living.


Mark Nepo | Posted 04.13.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

In the days after my father died, there were many quiet moments and many stories told. It was a small thing my mother said while crying over tea that allowed me to connect these small stories of my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father. I never realized that they form a legacy I'm a part of.

The Moon Hears My Confession

Mark Nepo | Posted 03.29.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

When I remember that I'm one small part in a very complex and numinous Whole, I may feel frustrated but I feel engaged in an ongoing process of aliveness that keeps demanding my cooperation.

Midway in Our Journey

Mark Nepo | Posted 03.23.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Part of everyone's journey in life is to arrive at precipice or fork in the road or at the end of a path and to realize we no longer know our way. Hard as this is, this is where the inner journey begins, when all we've carried has served its purpose and now we must burn it for warmth and to see what's next.


Mark Nepo | Posted 03.15.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

My father used to quip that old is always 10 years out from wherever you are. I'm 62 and to think of how old I once thought this was! What I'm learning is that age is not the distance from the beginning of our lives but the distance at any moment from the heart of our aliveness.


Mark Nepo | Posted 03.09.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

No matter what we're going through, the opposite is happening somewhere else at the same time. This awareness doesn't minimize our own experience but adds context and medicine to the truth of any given moment, the way a rip in the curtains we have drawn seems like a violation of the privacy we so wanted though it is only letting the light of the world in. This poem tries to understand this paradox.

Next to a Gull

Mark Nepo | Posted 03.01.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

When in the crucible of a difficult life change, I went to be by the sea, to clear my head, to open my heart, to imagine next steps. What I found was the beauty and resilience of life waiting under my trouble and all trouble. It helped me look beneath my pain and confusion to remember that while what happens when we're alive can be alarming and disappointing, the fact that we're alive is all that matters.

Where the Snow Begins

Mark Nepo | Posted 02.22.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

During his last year, my father suffered four strokes and a heart attack. We watched him be yanked back and forth between life and death. This piece was written during this time.

Things Dark and Light

Mark Nepo | Posted 02.15.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Without dark and light working together, we'd lose all depth perception and be lost in the flatness of the surface world. Living our story and working with dark and light helps us perceive depth.

I Bow to All

Mark Nepo | Posted 02.08.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Sooner or later, just by living, we are reduced to what matters, as so many things we thought were important and irreplaceable are broken or snapped like small branches in a storm. And somehow, we stand taller with less coverings. It is then we begin to feel gratitude, even though it's hard to be grateful for what is difficult.


Mark Nepo | Posted 02.04.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Leaving and being left is such a painful part of life that it's hard to make sense of its place in a living Universe. This poem is one attempt

On My Way

Mark Nepo | Posted 01.25.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

My mother leans on a chair in the kitchen, her heart breaking wider than she ever imagined. How to be without him after sixty-seven years. After all we've been through, I will hold her when I get there.


Mark Nepo | Posted 01.25.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

If you have one hour of air and many hours to go, you must breathe slowly. If you have one arm's length and many things to care for, you must give freely. If you have one chance to know God and many doubts, you must set your heart on fire.

Approaching Integrity

Mark Nepo | Posted 01.23.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

We are always approaching integrity, never arriving at it. In working toward a thoroughness of character, we dream of arriving at a state of completeness where who we are and what we do are forever one. We dream of living the rest of our lives this wholly.