No Sooner — Michael Leunig

I love this poem, below, shared today at the closing of The Circle Way Practicum. The author, Michael Leunig is an Australian writer, poet, cartoonist and philosopher. I became much more aware of his work when in Australia just over a year ago — the place that I was staying was  stewarded by a Leunig aficionados. I love the way that this poem speaks to the temporariness of experience, that embraces such fullness of human experience in these many paths we humans encounter together.


No Sooner

No sooner do you arrive than it’s time to leave.
How beautiful it is, how glorious, yet it’s nearly time to go. So you take it in, you take it in.
And you take a few small souvenirs, some leaves: lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus.
A few small pebbles, a few small secrets, a look you received, nine little notes of music,
and then it’s time to go.
You move towards the open door and the silent night beyond.
The few bright stars, a deep breath, and it really is time to go.
No sooner does it all begin to make sense, does it start to come true,
does it all open up, do you begin to see, does it enter into your heart…no sooner do you arrive than it’s time to leave. Yes, it’s the truth.
And then you will have passed through it, and with mysterious consequence it will have passed through you.

Live Slowly


Michael Leunig is an Australian Cartoonist and Writer. I was introduced to his work in the most beautiful ways over the last week. His art hangs on each wall at the retreat center, The Big House, which housed and hosted us for The Circle Way Practicum. His poems were used by participants to host some of our process together. His books populated shelves of the main room. I got really excited about Michael Leunig.

Yesterday I memorized one of his poems, included in the book above, When I Talk To You, which I’m now carrying with me.

God help us to live slowly.
To move simply.
To look softly.
To allow emptiness.
To let the heart create for us.

I love having these words as memory from Australia, and as guide as I adapt to return.