life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life


Olmstead, Kentucky

And on those hot afternoons in July,

when my father was out on the tractor

cultivating rows of corn, my mother

would send us out with a Mason jar

filled with ice and water, a dish towel

wrapped around it for insulation.

Like a rocket launched to an orbiting

planet, we would cut across the fields

in a trajectory calculated to intercept—
or, perhaps, even—surprise him

in his absorption with the row and the

turning always over earth beneath the blade.

He would look up and see us, throttle

down, stop, and step from the tractor

with the grace of a cowboy dismounting

his horse, and receive gratefully the jar

of water, ice cubes now melted into tiny

shards, drinking it down in a single gulp,

while we watched, mission accomplished.


Carrying Water to the Field by Joyce Sutphen

You are really very brave

to live fearlessly…

to hold the heavens in your heart

and to give it all away…

to pray and to listen to the God in your mouth

to the people who are thirsty

to the shouting of pain,

You are really very brave

to have died and come from the womb

as tender and kind, as Christ holding the bread between thin bones of resurrection, 

as empty and waiting

for moonlight to breathe open a new door,

You are really very brave

to cherish the loss,

to celebrate the union

to break free…

to live for eternity

while pouring from the water jugs,

while living for only the Beloved…


Rev. Donna Knutson

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,

vacation with pay. Want more

of everything ready-made. Be afraid

to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.

Not even your future will be a mystery

any more. Your mind will be punched in a card

and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something

they will call you. When they want you

to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something

that won’t compute. Love the Lord.

Love the world. Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace

the flag. Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand. Praise ignorance, for what man

has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rotted into the mold.

Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world. Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.

Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head

in her lap. Swear allegiance

to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it. Leave it as a sign

to mark the false trail, the way

you didn’t go. Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.


Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry

Meanwhile, back at the resurrection 

night has turned to day 

here I stand amazed

at my own rebirth

dazed and a bit confused

eyes blinking in the morning sun

attempting to adjust 

I am completely changed 

from my life to death 

back to life experience 

more than a bit claustrophobic

due to the burial, no doubt

I am no longer sure 

if my bank account is active

or my passport still relevant 

how will I go on here in the world now?

what will my friends and family do with this who-is-now me? 

they who have done with grief 

and moved along with life in-between 

I am, for sure, no longer the way I used to be

I have, for sure, experienced things they will never understand

I have flown with angels

and seen what lies beyond the Milky Way 

I have, for sure, left my fear behind me in that fresh, unmarked grave

I know, for sure, there will be no turning back,

no compromise of this wild and exquisite thing beating within me

this life of mine is mine

this heartbeats miracle will be never forgotten gift

I can only take this first step

away from this boneyard

named and dated final markers  

a place I no longer belong

I can only start close in 

in silent revelry walking

along this uncharted path

which will only be revealed by my footsteps 

I discard my grave clothes 

and turn to see the colors of my new self shining 

I take a small shaky step

and find the ground holds my weight 

I breathe deep 

inhale – exhale

soon I will attempt to speak

with my new voice

there is a song being written 

which must be sung

a beauty seeking to burst 

which will no longer be denied

a love now known 

which will never be unknown

I raise my hands and kiss the sky

I bow my knees and kiss the ground

I rise and begin the journey 

through the narrow gate

that leads home to LIFE


Amy Lloyd 


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