Arts & Culture · Poetry

Poetry Sunday: Cris Mulvey on Doing Nothing Well

That headline up there can be read two ways. One way would imply that nothing the meditative and multi-gifted Cris Mulvey does comes out right. That couldn’t be more wrong.  As you will see when you read her uplifting “Meditation,” she is really, really good at being deliberate when she is seemingly unoccupied. Here, on this day in the season meant for doing less, we present and pay tribute to a poet who teaches us that silence and stillness are classrooms of the sacred.



I am shaving off the layers of thought
with the thin sharp steel
of the knife of silence.

Alone on my cushion,
light splashing the windowsills,
sifting in veils through the doorway.

Outside the river murmurs its ravishment,
swoons beneath the wide, blue arc of the raven’s wing,
the satin sheen of its waters, darkening.

I sit in silence while the world springs up around me,
over and over again.
I am doing nothing.

There are days on the inside when I appear in pink,
pale rose and shining. Days when I arise like fire,
flashing its hair in the sunshine

or water pouring over the earth.
Days when I sink into darkness
Longing only to learn how

to love simply, as clouds empty themselves into rain
holding nothing back, working magic, turning stone
to scent, soil to stem green brightness,

just by opening.


Published with the poet’s permission

IMG_1489 Cris Mulvey was born and raised in Ireland. She immigrated to Montana at the age of 40 to “embark on a heroine’s quest for a deeper, more soulful life by immersing herself in solitude and wild nature.” She found her gift for writing poetry as she continued her quest in America’s West. After 16 years that included breast cancer and chronic illness, she says, she has “gained a body of values and principles, rooted in soul and spirit” that now guide her journey into the second half of her life.

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  • Judith A. Ross June 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    “… light splashing the windowsills,
    sifting in veils through the doorway.”

    Thank you for this and every other stanza of this vividly drawn painting of words.