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Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House February 23, 2009

Posted by Jill S. Schneiderman in contemplative practice, poetry.
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Another Reason Why I Don’t
Keep a Gun in the House

Billy Collins
Poet Laureate of the United States
From Sailing Alone Around the Room, (Random House, 2001)

The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
That he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
And put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
But I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

billy collins: complete resource for Billy Collins poems, books, recordings

Sylvia Boorstein, meditation teacher, psychotherapist, and storyteller, read this poem in a recent dharma talk. I like it because it speaks to the creativity that can arise unexpectedly from what might otherwise be experienced as annoyances.




Mobile technology and quiet walks on campus February 22, 2009

Posted by Jill S. Schneiderman in contemplative practice.

 Image from the University of Chicago

Listen  to the NPR story “Distracted Pedestrians An Increasing Risk” 

My ears perked up when I listened to this story on Weekend Edition this morning.  Studies at Ohio State University reveal the sometimes fatal danger posed to pedestrians who walk while talking on a cell phone or listening to an MP3 player. A less catastrophic though still unfortunate consequence follows from this behavior. People do not greet or even acknowledge one another along campus walkways. In this way, members of a fragmented community become less connected to one another. What’s more, the multitasking involved causes the mind to be distracted, as evidenced by the study highlighted in the NPR story. Walking across campus after class students rush to turn on the electronic media or make a call instead of conversing with a classmate or strolling silently allowing class material to sink into the mind. Campuses need to cultivate contemplative spaces. Should we ban cell phones and electronic media from public walkways?