Monday, May 25, 2015

in succession, in division








We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. 
Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence;
 the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; 
the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist, 
and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing
 and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, 
the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. 
We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree;
 but the whole, of which these are the shining parts, is the soul. 




~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
from the essay The Over-Soul
art by gene kloss

Sunday, May 24, 2015

co-inherence







The chooser's happiness lies in his congruence with the chosen,
The peace of iron filings, obedient to the forces of the magnetic field -
Calm is the soul that is emptied of all self,
In the eternal moment of co-inherence.
A happiness within you - but not yours.



~ Dag Hammarskjold
from Markings

Saturday, May 23, 2015

love impels





...love impels people to service.  If love starts with a downward motion, borrowing into the vulnerability of self, exposing nakedness, it ends with an active upward motion.  It arouses great energy and desire to serve.  The person in love is buying little presents, fetching the glass from the next room, bringing a tissue when there's flu, driving through traffic to pick the beloved up at the airport. Love is waking up night after night to breastfeed, living year after year to nurture.  It is risking and sacrificing your life for your buddy's in a battle.  Love ennobles and transforms.  In no other state do people so often live as we want them to live.  In no other commitment are people so likely to slip beyond the logic of self-interest and unconditional commitments that manifest themselves in daily acts of care.

Occasionally you meet someone with a thousand-year heart.  The person with the thousand-year heart has made the most of the passionate, tumultuous phase of love. Those months or years of passion have engraved a deep commitment in their mind.  The person or thing they once loved hotly they now love warmly but steadily, happily, unshakably.  They don't even think of loving their beloved because they want something back.  They just naturally offer love as a matter of course.  It is gift-love, not reciprocity-love.



~ David Brooks
from The Road to Character



at rest






In the point of rest at the center of our being, 
we encounter a world where all things are at rest in the same way. 

Then a tree becomes a mystery, 
a cloud a revelation, 
each man a cosmos of whose riches we can only catch glimpses.



~ Dag Hammarskjöld
from Markings


Saturday, May 16, 2015

on friendship and love






Such a friendship has no model but itself, and can only be compared to itself. It was not one special consideration, nor two, nor three, nor four, nor a thousand; it was some mysterious quintessence of all this mixture which possessed itself of my will,  and led it to plunge and lose itself in his, which possessed itself of his whole will, and led it, with a similar hunger and a like impulse, to plunge and lose itself in mine.  I may truly say lose, for it left us with nothing that was our own, nothing that was either his or mine.


~ Montaigne
from Essays of Michel de Montaigne



In any true love - a mother's for her child, a husband's for his wife, a friend's for a friend - there is an excess energy that always wants to be in motion.  Moreover, it seems to move not simply from one person to another but through them toward something else.  ("All I know now / is the more he loved me the more I loved the world" - Spencer Reece.) That is why we can be so baffled and overwhelmed by such love (and I don't mean merely when we fall in love; in fact, I'm talking more of other, more durable relationships): it wants to be more than it is; it cries out inside of us to make it more than it is.



~ Christian Wiman
from My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

Friday, May 15, 2015

we say







We say release, and radiance, and roses,
and echo upon everything that's known;
and yet, behind the world our names enclose is
the nameless: our true archetype and home.

The sun seems male, and earth is like a woman,
the field is humble, and the forest proud;
but over everything we say, inhuman,
moves the forever-undetermined god.

We grow up; but the world remains a child.
Star and flower, in silence, watch us go.
And sometimes we appear to be the final
exam they must succeed on. And they do.



~ Rainer Maria Rilke
translation by Stephen Mitchell
photo by Carsten Meyerdierks

Monday, May 11, 2015

well of darkness





If each day falls
inside each night,
there exists a well
where clarity is imprisoned.

We need to sit on the rim
of the well of darkness
and fish for fallen light
with patience.




~ Pablo Neruda
from The Sea and the Bells
translated by William O'Daly
with thanks to Love is a Place


Sunday, May 10, 2015

on another's sorrow




Wiping all our tears away.
O! no never can it be.
Never never can it be.
Can I see anothers woe,
And not be in sorrow too.
Can I see anothers grief,
And not seek for kind relief.

Can I see a falling tear
And not feel my sorrows share,
Can a father see his child,
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill'd.

Can a mother sit and hear,
An infant groan an infant fear-
No no never can it be.
Never never can it be.

And can he who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small birds grief & care
Hear the woes that infants bear—

And not sit beside the nest
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near
Weeping tear on infants tear.

And not sit both night & day,
He doth give his joy to all.
He becomes an infant small.
He becomes a man of woe
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not, thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy maker is not by.
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy maker is not near.

O! he gives to us his joy,
That our grief he may destroy
Till our grief is fled; gone
He doth sit by us and moan




~ William Blake
from The Complete Poetry and Prose
of William Blake




Friday, May 8, 2015

you can go






There is a place you can go
where you are quiet,
a place of water and the light

on the water. Trees are there,
leaves, and the light
on leaves moved by air.

Birds, singing, move
among leaves, in leaf shadow.
After many years you have come

to no thought of these,
but they are themselves
your thoughts. There seems to be

little to say, less and less.
Here they are. Here you are.
Here as though gone.

None of us stays, but in the hush
where each leaf in the speech
of leaves is sufficient syllable

the passing light finds out
surpassing freedom of its way.




~ Wendell Berry
from Sabbaths 1998, VII




Thursday, May 7, 2015

lost







Stand still.

The trees ahead and the bushes beside you 
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.




~ David Wagoner
from Collected Poems 1956-1976
with thanks to Love is a Place


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

the look of its landlord






For in this house, everything
has the look of its landlord.

While the hand moves
the shadow must follow.
Since the shadow gains its substance
from the hand
it has none of itself,
That which derives existence
from something else 
how can we say
it truly exists?

It has a name, yes,
but is not that existence
which subsists through God.



~ Fakhruddin Iraqi
from Divine Flashes



Some thought that all these loves were copies of 
our love for the landlord.


~ C.S. Lewis 
from God in the Dock

that crookedness is straightness itself





They asked al-Hallaj, "To which religious School do you belong?
he answered, "God's own."

He who limned 
a thousand worlds with paint-
you layabout! - do you expect
He'll use your color or mine?
Our paints and tints
are but opinions and fantasy,
He is colorless
and we must adopt His hue.

Look: a shadow lies crooked upon the ground because the very earth is laid rough; but no, 
that crookedness is straightness itself, for the perfection, the "straightness" of the eyebrow is in its 
sinuous curve.

Only because it is bent
is this piece of wood a bow.

Reality is a sphere: wherever you place your finger,
there is its dead center.




~ Fakhruddin Iraqi
from Divine Flashes


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

phoenix









Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, cancelled,
made nothing?
Are you willing to be made nothing?
dipped into oblivion?

If not, you will never really change.
The phoenix renews her youth
only when she is burnt, burnt alive, burnt down
to hot and flocculent ash.

Then the small stirring of a new small bub in the nest
with strands of down like floating ash
shows that she is renewing her youth like the eagle,
immortal bird.



~  D.H. Lawrence

go deeper







Go deeper than love, for the soul has greater depths,
love is like the grass, but the heart is deep wild rock
molten, yet dense and permanent.

Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself.
And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.

Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep living heart.

But say, in the dark wild metal of your heart
is there a gem, which came into being between us?
is there a sapphire of mutual trust, a blue spark?
Is there a ruby of fused being, mine and yours, an inward glint?

If there is not, O then leave me, go away.
For I cannot be bullied back into the appearances of love,
any more than August can be bullied to look like March.

Love out of season, especially at the end of the season
is merely ridiculous.
If you insist on it, I insist on departure.

Have you no deep old heart of wild womanhood
self-forgetful, and gemmed with experience,
and swinging in a strange union of power
with the heart of the man you are supposed to have loved?

If you have not, go away.
If you can only sit with a mirror in your hand, an ageing woman
posing on and on as a lover,
in love with a self that now is shallow and withered,
your own self–that has passed like a last summer’s flower–

then go away–

I do not want a woman whom age cannot wither.
She is a made-up lie, a dyed immortelle
of infinite staleness.




~ D. H. Lawrence
from The Complete Poems of D.H. Lawrence
with thanks to Love is a Place

Thursday, April 23, 2015

no one home







No one home
Fallen pine needles
scattered at the door.




~ Ryokan
from Sky Above, Great Wind
by Kazuaki Tanahashi