Of Mere Being


The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.


A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.


You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.


The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

~Wallace Stevens, 1954~

Thank you, Karen Sharp.
I couldn’t find words to thank you for the gift you sent,
so I stitched an altar cloth for it,
and today it is my altar . . .
that feather you sent wrapped in your note.
so much more than a feather and a note.
divine energy.
alchemy, i’d call it.
alchemy through the experience of seeing.


More about 365 Altars


  1. Karen Sharp

    Ohh, and the gift of your altar today is salve to me, lifts my soul on wings that it so badly needed today.

    Alchemy indeed.

    • whollyjeanne

      how i loved opening your envelope. how i loved stitching the cloth for this. how i loved taking the photos today. thank you, my friend. for this feather, this note, this salve and so much more, thank you.

      • Karen Sharp

        I’ve been waiting in delicious anticipation to share the photo of the feather where I saw it. 🙂

        • whollyjeanne

          oh, i so hoped you’d have that to share! i can’t wait.

          • wholly jeanne

            i have often said i’d love to go to walk with you. alchemy through the experience of seeing – takes on a whole new meaning now. thank you, karen.

  2. Lindsey

    I love Wallace Stevens.  Love reading his words here, with yours.  xo

    • whollyjeanne

      thank you, lindsey. my son introduced me to stevens long time ago – one of the best gifts he ever gave me. and it was fun to stitch and snap today when words were inadequate and unreachable. xoxo

    • whollyjeanne

      p.s. did you know that in the original version of this poem, the word was “decor” instead of “distance”? his daughter changed it after his death.

  3. noelrozny

    Altar cloth! Magnificent!!!

  4. Julie Daley

    beautiful, in all kinds of ways…

    • whollyjeanne

      thank you, jewels. it’s been so long since i visited that poem. was good to reconnect with it. xoxo

  5. ☆little light☆

    You got to touch fabric, that is an alter to the heart!
    Absolutely! ( and thanks for the new link!)

    • whollyjeanne

      it is absolutely an altar to and for the heart, moonbeam. and oh did that cloth feel good to my hands. like coming home. xoxo

  6. Sally_G

    Karen is such a gift to, and from, the Universe. What an absolutely beautiful feather ~ and your Altar Cloth, how perfect. I’ve been feeling Prayer Flags in my system lately. I don’t stitch, nor do I participate in any kind of group that would use Prayer Flags ~ but there’s something about them that calls to me. I may create something that roots in that magic yet looks different. The energy here is wonderful.

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