Home > Collected Poems > Spared for Seed
Spared for Seed
by Alan Harris
This book is meant for anyone
who likes his reading brief and fun.
Some phrase implanted like a seed
may bear fruit in a time of need.

The bad news is that you are the slave of your past.
The good news is that you are the master of your future.

Weak isn't wrong,
but meek is strong.

A loving thought is deeper than the night sky.

Heaven, earth, and hell are three radio stations playing inside you all the time, and your mind automatically tunes in the station that resonates most closely with the quality of your thoughts.

You can lead a friend to church,
but you can't make him pray.

Why impose virtue on someone else? Everyone needs to decide upon virtuous action from within, either from deepening insight or from reaction to the painful pressures caused by selfish action.

Love of looks
is love with hooks.

In brotherhood,
the group is the good.
The brother matters
and never his hood.

Give and live; keep and weep.

When light is shining within, no darkness from without can penetrate it.

We pay for our comforts
while hardships come free,
but our hardships pay debts
that we no longer see.

We spend our first forty years making mistakes, and our next forty years making more mistakes.

A man who lends
has many friends,
but he who shares
has fewer cares.

Rainbows are around us all the time, but it may take a very dark cloud to make them appear.

Perhaps God does things through us, not to us, and only when we ignorantly choose to restrict His natural flow through our being does it appear that God is doing bad things to us.

Friends bend where fakes break.

No teacher can give us anything not already inside us. He only helps us rearrange random intuitions and thoughts into a more orderly pattern.

A man of schools
can learn God's rules
and do well as a preacher,
but daily life,
with all its strife,
makes everyone a teacher.

Moderation in all things, including moderation.

Next to the Book of Life, even our "Great Books of the Western World" read like newspapers.

The shallower the brook, the more it babbles.

One wonders whether, if philosophers were banished from the world, life wouldn't go on pretty much as usual.

We cannot really break the laws of the universe, but if we ignore them, they will break us. That's one way we learn them. Another way is to pay close attention to what happens to others when they ignore those laws.

A kindly word soars like a bird.

Millions of inspiring books are not yet on paper. They are still exactly where they need to be.

Ride lightly in the saddle, and don't give the horse rotten oats.

If life gives us a load,
a great honor's bestowed.
Life knows, if we don't,
that we can when we won't.

What we plant, we eat.

If we only have enough presence of mind to reach out, someone will put just the right thing into our hand.

An oft-spurned bridesmaid asked her bride
what marriage hints she could provide.
The bride quipped, "Better men hate pride,
and lipsticked frowns are magnified."

Heaven's mansions are prefabbed on earth.

Many go about like fortresses, weighted down by the very walls they hope will protect them from others.

Shepherd thyself, else let the flock be.

We each play our instrument in the orchestra of humanity. To worry about who's playing first chair is to play our own part less well. If the first chair players were the only ones playing, the orchestra of humanity would sound awfully thin.

Some force, like a magnet
that cannot be spurned,
ever brings us those lessons
which haven't been learned.

An ounce of good will is worth a pound of prevention.

The bread of life,
however small,
must be fully eaten,
crust and all.

To feed on the best
and leave the rest
will fatten your tummy
and burst your vest.

Does battle blood's flow
make our wounded world grow?

Think late, suffer soon.

To pray for pay
is to lose the way.

A tear or a fear is a call to us all.

We can look beyond our noses and think beyond our brains.

We're indebted to our difficult acquaintances because they can teach us so much, and since our enemies push us to our limits, they're our best friends.

Where would humanity be without dirty hands?

Fulfill and be fulfilled.

Tell him some truth he didn't know he knew and gain a friend forever.

Magnets change pins; pains change people.

Work, and the world works with you. Shirk, and the world ignores you.

Silence is the purest speech.

He hated all who hate, and became a reformer. What was the net gain?

Wouldn't heaven be a terrible clutter if we could take it all with us?

Bears hibernate in their caves, people in their prejudices.

Even the best writing is a feeble substitute for action.

Sometimes we get an urge to do some great thing, and we'd really do it if someone could just tell us what it is.

If such great people have labored so diligently for so long, why is there still so much more to do?

Pity with care. Poverty may have all it wants.

Experience, like a good lecturer, repeats itself patiently to emphasize the lessons we most need to learn.

Until we understand silence, we only partially understand words.

Our deepest wound may heal to become our greatest strength.

Give a man what he really needs, and he may throw it back in your face.

Voice your choice,
make your break,
work your quirk,
reap your heap.
Pay your way,
stash your cash,
gain your cane,
sleep your sleep.

Will our educators ever forget units and teach unity?

Our educational system gives the children nice answers long before they care about the questions.

If you want his money,
just call him "Honey."
To win his esteem,
share in his dream.

Many folks devote a whole lifetime to the goal of earning as much as they spend.

As machines become more like minds, minds seem to become more like machines, but we'll be safe until they invent a machine that can cry, and mean it.

Sooner or later one's purpose in life comes pushing up through his mistakes like a delicate flower blooming in a trash heap.

Each human life is like a new symphony heard for the first time. It can't be understood or fully appreciated until after the final cadence.

Perhaps two universes, like two friends on a street, can meet, nod, and pass without either one giving the event more than a fleeting thought.

The Law always plays
in a very fair way:
flout and we're out,
obey and we stay.

Results may be quick
or require some delay,
but justice endures;
all debts we repay.

What man has done,
man can do.
Buddha did it;
so can you.

In dreams we float
in a glass-bottom boat
on the tranquil sea
of eternity.

Greed is a weed that will harden your garden.

When prophets turn to profits, wisdom turns within.

If every angry thought were a bullet, humanity would be in serious trouble.

Faith may move mountains, but did anyone think to ask the mountain if it wanted to be moved?

Trying to find the origin of life is like trying to remember your own conception.

When wealth speaks, greed listens.

Is the universe a mindless collection of spinning dirt, or does it know what it's doing? That is the question of the ages. If the former, why are we so intelligent? If the latter, why are we so ignorant?

Computers overly admired
can leave one's life quite uninspired.

Help a friend, a friend to keep;
help a foe, a heaven to reap.

Occasionally necessity takes its jackhammer to our expectations to make way for what the chief architect really wants.

The man who builds his own throne rules over a desert.

Love and gravitation keep the universe interesting.

The best comeback is silence, for who can argue with that?

A kind act is worth a dozen beliefs.

Life brings situations in which we feel like Jonah or Noah, who were each stuck inside something that moved slowly, smelled bad, and couldn't be steered.

A secret, if whispered carefully, will spread faster than the ten o'clock news.

Your child may later thank
an early, prudent spank.

Eternity isn't something we wait for--it's what we breathe.

Sooner or later we get what we want, which would be fine if we only knew how to want correctly.

Duty, though unflattering,
is far preferred to chattering.

Kindness finds the cracks in a grumpy person's crust.

Here's a sobering thought: by 4,000 AD these present days may be referred to as the Dark Ages.

Reading too much can leave the mind soft and useless.

Desire can't get you close enough to me,
but truest love ignores proximity.

When today's scare headlines are discovered 2,000 years from now, the archaeologists will have some hearty laughs. Why not laugh at the headlines now and avoid the delay?

Pain keeps an internal reform school for those who won't accept what is.

When mining in books,
remember two rules:
dig where there's gold
and leave glitter to fools.

Marry money:
days are sunny,
life is funny,
sweet as honey.

Markets crash:
no more cash,
tempers clash,
life is trash.

Once we're burned,
much is learned.
What's discerned?
"Bliss is earned."

What seems new
is deja vu.

When one sits to meditate, the mind may at first sound like a jukebox in a cathedral.

The silence in an elevator full of strangers is different from that in a forest on a summer evening. The former silence screams of crowded separateness, whereas the latter whispers of sequestered unity.

He labored so hard to establish his wealth
that he had no time left for his family's health.
Now his fortune's divided, his body is numb,
and his soul can afford but a heavenly slum.

Show him the rudder, but don't steer his boat.

"I," the thinnest word in the dictionary, easily slips into most of our thoughts.

Live like the bee, who distills the scent
of blossoms he's not even bent.

A deed of love pulls a hidden string
which makes a bell in heaven ring.

Of non-essential stuff
we never get enough.

Physicians, if they wish to heal,
must sometimes drop their tools and feel.

If some harvest isn't spared for seed,
we forfeit next year's crop to greed.

Some folks there are
who can see afar,
into auras, through walls,
down ancient halls,
but weird sights fill their life
with such anguish and strife
that they curse their clairvoyance
as a major annoyance.

Pain kindly wakes up stupidity
lest it slumber through eternity.

A sharp tongue cuts itself.

Love is the key that unlocks the door of the visible to reveal a magnificent invisible.

We storm and shout
when life caves in,
then blame without
and not within.

When Truth needs a voice, silence lies.

These troubles he calls
the work of the devil
may be waves of his old days
returning to level.

To suffer least,
control your beast.

Every love affair ends in marriage, ends a marriage, or just ends.

Competition may appear to be achieving great things for us, but it is forever dashing itself to pieces against the rocks of its inherent conflict. Cooperation is slow, quiet, and unspectacular, but it seems to work better, perhaps because it taps into a deeper spring.

Few men are unmoved by a gentle look, whether from a devoted dog, a pretty girl, a contented cow, or their mother.

Because they're on the climb,
the ambitious have no time,
but those who refuse to aspire
have time to sit by the fire.

Seeing believes, wisdom knows, and love is.

To please the crowd,
be bold and loud;
to know God's will,
be very still.

Truest gifts cannot be wrapped.

The best-laid plans of mice and men too often work.

Love can slip into a padlocked heart.

For heaven's sake,
all things break.

What God has put asunder, let no man paste together.

Let the weary past sleep.

A gift required by convention
is an uninspired invention.

A body gone wild
is a temple defiled.

Though we say we "knew better"
than to act thus and so,
our deeds show our needs
and reveal all we know.

Her anxiety about life's end
makes her piety seem like pretend.

Thank God if your car breaks down oftener than your body. Some bodies are lemons.

Happy are the wantless, whatever they have or lack.

Harsh words may fall short of fights,
but a human bark always bites.

Married couples do well to imitate the loyalty of dogs and the self-control of cats.

Dress like a fire
to hook his desire,
like a cool mountain stream
to win his esteem.

The main trouble with living as if there's no tomorrow is that there always is one.

No separateness, no crowds.

Each day is more evidence of forever.

Do your best and leave the rest.

The dog that quits barking can get some sleep.

Undeserved praise is like a hair in your milk.

The moon and computers are benignly unresponsive to anger.

Beware of a man with a mission.

We can speak only so many words during our lifetime, so why waste them with gossip?

The heart loves unity. The mind loves diversity. The body settles for flattery.

When the grass appears greener on the other side of the fence, the illusion lies not so much in the grass as in the fence.

See with your heart--it never needs glasses.

We all have free will. In fact, our will is so free that we seldom have much control over it.

The cause of anything is no less than everything.

We've wanted since youth
to see the truth,
but we spoil it competing
for front-row seating.

Only when the first janitor enters the library in the morning does it once again contain truth.

I cry out into the silence to let me hear it.
No reply but silence.