Sunday, March 27, 2016
As timely as a river
God's timeless life passes
Into this world. It passes
Through bodies, giving life,
And past them, giving death.
The secret fish leaps up
Into the light and is
Again darkened. The sun
Comes from the dark, it lights
The always passing river,
Shines on the great-branches tree,
And goes. Longing and dark,
We are completely filled
With breath of love, in us
~ Wendell Berry
from Sabbaths 2000
I wish I could speak like music.
I wish I could put the swaying splendor
Of the fields into words
So that you could hold Truth
Against your body
I am trying the best I can
With this crude brush, the tongue,
To cover you with light
I wish I could speak like divine music.
I want to give you the sublime rhythms
Of this earth and the sky's limbs
As they joyously spin and surrender,
Against God's luminous breath.
Hafiz Wants you to hold me
Against your precious
from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz
translations by Daniel Ladinsky
art by van gogh
I wake, doubt, beside you,
like a curtain half-open.
I dress doubting,
like a cup
undecided if it has been dropped.
I eat doubting,
go out to a dubious cafe with skeptical friends.
I go to sleep doubting myself,
as a herd of goats
sleep in a suddenly gone-quiet truck.
I dream you, doubt,
for what is the meaning of dreaming
if not that all we are while inside it
is transient, amorphous, in question?
Left hand and right hand,
doubt, you are in me,
throwing a basketball, guiding my knife and my fork.
Left knee and right knee,
we run for a bus,
for a meeting that surely will end before we arrive.
I would like
to grow content in you, doubt,
as a double-hung window
settles obedient into its hidden pulleys and ropes.
I doubt I can do so:
your own counterweight governs my nights and my days.
As the knob of hung lead holds steady
the open mouth of a window,
you hold me,
my kneeling before you resistant, stubborn,
offering these furious praises
I can't help but doubt you will ever be able to hear.
~ Jane Hirshfield
art by van gogh
now all the fingers of this tree(darling)have
hands, and all the hands have people; and
more each particular person is(my love)
alive than every world can understand
and now you are and i am now and we're
a mystery which will never happen again,
a miracle which has never happened before–
and shining this our now must come to then
our then shall be some darkness during which
fingers are without hands; and i have no
you: and all trees are(any more than each
leafless)its silent in forevering snow
—but never fear(my own, my beautiful
my blossoming)for also then's until
luminous tendril of celestial wish
luminous tendril of celestial wish
(whying diminutive bright deathlessness
to these my not themselves believing eyes
adventuring,enormous nowhere from)
querying affirmation; virginal
immediacy of precision: more
and perfectly more most etereal
silence through twilight's mystery made flesh–
dreamslender exquisite white firstful flame
—new moon! as(by the miracle of your
sweet innocence refuted)clumsy some
dull cowardice called a world vanishes,
teach disappearing also me the keen
illimitable secret of begin
~ e. e. cummings
There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility. This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator's Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister, Wisdom.
I am awakened, I am born again at the voice of this my Sister, sent to me from the depths of the divine fecundity.
Let us suppose I am a man lying asleep in a hospital. I am indeed this man lying asleep. It is July the second, the Feast of Our Lady's Visitation. A Feast of Wisdom.
At five-thirty in the morning I am dreaming in a very quiet room when a soft voice awakens me from my dream. I am like all mankind awakening from all the dreams that ever were dreamed in all the nights of the world. It is like the One Christ awakening in all the separate selves that ever were separate and isolated and alone in all the lands of the earth. It is like all minds coming back together into awareness from all distractions, cross-purposes and confusions, into unity of love. It is like the first morning of the world (when Adam, at the sweet voice of Wisdom awoke from nonentity and knew her), and like the Last Morning of the world when all the fragments of Adam will return from death at the voice of Hagia Sophia, and will know where they stand.
It is like being awakened by Eve. It is like being awakened by the Blessed Virgin. It is like coming forth from primordial nothingness and standing in clarity, in Paradise.
In the cool hand of the nurse there is the touch of all life, the touch of Spirit.
Thus Wisdom cries out to all who will hear (Sapientia clamitat in plateis) and she cries out particularly to the little, to the ignorant and the helpless.
Who is more little, who is more poor than the helpless man who lies asleep in his bed without awareness and without defense? Who is more trusting than he who must entrust himself each night to sleep? What is the reward of his trust? Gentleness comes to him when he is most helpless and awakens him, refreshed, beginning to be made whole. Love takes him by the hand, and opens to him the doors of another life, another day.
(But he who has defended himself, fought for himself in sickness, planned for himself, guarded himself, loved himself alone and watched over his own life all night, is killed at last by exhaustion. For him there is no newness. Everything is stale and old.)
When the helpless one awakens strong at the voice of mercy, it is as if Life his Sister, as if the Blessed Virgin, (his own flesh, his own sister), as if Nature made wise by God's Art and Incarnation were to stand over him and invite him with unutterable sweetness to be awake and to live. This is what it means to recognize Hagia Sophia.
~ Thomas Merton
from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton