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This Shining Moment in the Now
David Budbill



When I work outdoors all day, every day, as I do now, in the fall,
getting ready for winter, tearing up the garden, digging potatoes,
gathering the squash, cutting firewood, making kindling, repairing
bridges over the brook, clearing trails in the woods, doing the last of
the fall mowing, pruning apple trees, taking down the screens,
putting up the storm windows, banking the house—all these things,
as preparation for the coming cold...

when I am every day all day all body and no mind, when I am
physically, wholly and completely, in this world with the birds,
the deer, the sky, the wind, the trees...

when day after day I think of nothing but what the next chore is,
when I go from clearing woods roads, to sharpening a chain saw,
to changing the oil in a mower, to stacking wood, when I am
all body and no mind...

when I am only here and now and nowhere else—then, and only
then, do I see the crippling power of mind

From While We’ve Still Got Feet (Copper Canyon Press).
Permission to use granted by Copper Canyon Press (

David Budbill (1940 - 2016) was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a streetcar driver and a minister's daughter. He is the author of seven books of poems, eight plays, a novel, a collection of short stories, a picture book for children, dozens of essays, and the libretto for an opera. A one-time commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, David received numerous awards in the course of his career. Learn more about him at


Post New Comment:
OH to find that blessed place in the moment. I will reread this often. L. Tanner
Posted 11/14/2010 07:45 AM
Carol Hauer:
What a gift to be "all body and no mind" on a Fall day. I am of the opinion that a lot of our personal troubles, indeed, a lot of the world's troubles, stem from thinking too much and working too little. I love all the images in the poem. I am inspired to go out into the back yard and finish up my Fall garden work. Thank you, David.
Posted 11/13/2010 09:22 AM

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