Thursday, August 29, 2013

peace





Perhaps peace is not, after all, something you work for,
or "fight for."  It is indeed "fighting for peace" that starts all 
the wars.  What, after all, are the pretexts of all these Cold
War crisis, but "fighting for peace"?  Peace is something you have
or do not have.  If you are yourself at peace, then there is at least 
some peace in the world.  Then share your peace with everyone,
and everyone will be at peace.  Of course I realize that arguments
 like this can be used as a pretext for passivity, for indifferent 
acceptance of every iniquity.  Quietism leads to war as surely as 
anything does.  But I am not speaking of quietism, because quietism 
is not peace, nor is it the way to peace.



~ Thomas Merton
from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander



how




Pardon all runners,
All speechless, alien winds,
All mad waters.

Pardon their impulses,
Their wild attitudes,
Their young flights, their reticence.

When a message has no clothes on
How can it be spoken.




~ Thomas Merton
from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

unnameable heart







The cricket who
kept me company three days
has fallen silent
I don't know where.

There are so many
lives of which I know nothing.
Even my own.  It moves now
through my fingers toward yours
and I know nothing
I can say that will name its heart.

A boat drifts far out
on the river below the mountains,
and below it
the fish, the great fish
that the one in the boat has come for,
swims in the shadow.

Perhaps the cricket is there, inside the fish.
Stranger things have happened.
I have looked everywhere else
for my lost companion.

From here the shadow looks small,
but to the fish it is huge.
Range after range of mountains,
and still the old painters
found a place
where two could walk together, side by side.



~ Jane Hirshfield
from Lives of the Heart