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How to Be Idle and Blessed

By August 27, 2023No Comments

Go to the altar of water
and let your thoughts drown
as its ripples replace them.

Stroll through the murmuring pines
and the hemlocks and let your thoughts
be swept away in their shade.

Enter the meadow of permission
and let your feelings find free range
amidst the dalliance of flowers.

Go to your corner, your core, your coeur
and let the unbinding of what has been
bound unwind itself in idleness.

Step back from the busy archeology
of your psyche and let layers
of life reveal themselves.

Lift your unlit stick of incense
and let it waft the blessed scent
of nothing to everything.

—Geoffrey Oelsner 8/14/23

The title of this poem comes from a line in the Mary Oliver poem The Summer Day. “The altar of water” in the first line is a variation on a phrase from the musical duo Still on the Hill’s CD of songs about Beaver Lake,  Once a River, from a song by Donna Mulhollan called “When I Go to Water.”  That CD and many others are available at