Tag Archives: discovery

Willy Oppenheim’s “Solstice”

Willy Oppenheim is the founder and president of omprakash, a free online platform that connects grassroots health, education, and environmental organizations in over 30 countries with a global audience of volunteers, donors, and classrooms that can learn from and support their work. Willy is also the winner of the 2013 Oxonian Review Poetry Competition at Oxford University for his poem Ambition, which you can find here. Willy is an American Rhodes Scholar reading for a DPhil in Education at Pembroke College, Oxford; he will be defending his thesis there in early 2014. With his permission I will be posting several of his wonderful poems over the next little while.


You arrive and arrive.
No heat in moonlit room,
the space between two windows,
the space held by walls and words
we root in.

You go back,
you keep moving,
you walk circles
on frozen ground.

You sleep low
under still air
and want to say
something is teeming,
the world is waiting
to undress in poetry.

You go back to the bookshelves
of people you love
and return to the texture of paper
and return
and no one speaks.

Something is rising there
in the trees;
it makes a round
burning in the cold,
it is the words we carry,
it is the moon.

As with all of Willy’s poems, there is an incredible sense of atmosphere and presence, as if one is standing in a holy spot and is amazed and dumbfounded by the beauty and wonder found there.

Thank you for reading Willy Oppenheim’s “Solstice”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


The poem Solstice is ©2013 by Willy Oppenheim; all rights reserved.


Filed under Poetry

Where you draw your line

No matter how short you think it is
told true, the trail is always long.
If you want to know what it all means,
it means exactly and only what you think it does:
you do not hike a path, you blaze it as you go.

So do not talk of the distance you’ve trod
but of the way you’ve left to go.
And if you think I am telling you exactly
what I want of you, you are correct—
I want exactly and only what you think I do:
you do not yearn in vain, it burns you as you go.

This is how I make the miles of a long hike disappear, by writing poetry in my head. It doesn’t do a lot for my practice of mindfulness, but it sure can make a trail go faster.

Human beings are such curious things. How much do we yearn to be safe and careful and free of worry and doubt? How much do we fear the unknown, when it is in the unknown that we find our strength, our purpose? How often do we do and want things that are inimical to our well-being? I am as puzzled by me as you are by you and as we all are by each other.

Thank you for reading Where you draw your line. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.


Filed under Poetry