Tuesday, October 31, 2017

seek the mystery






The answer is never the answer. What's really interesting is the mystery. 

If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, 
you'll always be seeking. I've never seen anybody really find the answer. 

They think they have, so they stop thinking. 
But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery,
 plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. 

The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer. 




~ Ken Kesey

from The Art of Fiction - interview by Robert Faggen, 
The Paris Review No. 130 (Spring 1994)


while the music lasts








Men's curiosity searches past and future 
And clings to that dimension. 
But to apprehend 
The point of intersection of the timeless 
With time, is an occupation for the saint - No occupation either, 
but something given And taken,
 in a lifetime's death in love, 
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender. 
For most of us, there is only the unattended
 Moment, the moment in and out of time, 
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight, 
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning 
 Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply 
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music 
While the music lasts.



~ T.S. Eliot
excerpt from The Dry Salvages
 with thanks

song in the year of catastrophe







I began to be followed by a voice saying:
"It can't last.  It can't last.
Harden yourself.  Harden yourself.
Be ready.  Be ready."

"Go look under the leaves,"
it said, "for what is living there
is dead in your tongue."
And it said, "Put your hands
into the earth.  Live close
to the ground. Learn the darkness.
Gather round you all
the things that you love, name
their names, prepare
to lose them,  It will be
as if all you know were turned
around within your body."

And I went and put my hands 
into the ground, and they took root
and grew into a season's harvest.
I looked behind the veil
of the leaves, and heard voices
that I knew had been dead
in my tongue years before my birth.
I learned the dark.

And still the voice stayed with me. 
Waking in the early mornings,
I could hear it, like a bird
bemused among the leaves,
a mockingbird idly singing
in the autumn of catastrophe:
"Be ready.   Be ready.
Harden yourself.  Harden yourself."

And I heard the sound 
of a great engine pounding
in the air, and a voice asking:
"Change or slavery?
Hardship or slavery?"
and the voices answering:
"Slavery!  Slavery!"
And I was afraid, loving 
what I know would be lost.

Then the voice following me said:
"you have not yet come close enough.
Come nearer the ground.  Learn
from the woodcock in the woods
whose feathering is a ritual
of the fallen leaves,
and from the nesting quail
whose speckling makes her hard to see
in the long grass.
Study the coat of the mole.
For the farmer shall wear
the greenery and the furrows
of his fields, and bear
the long standing of the woods."

And I asked: "you mean a death, then?"
"yes," the voice said.  "Die
into what the earth requires of you."
Then let go all holds, and sank
like a hopeless swimmer into the earth,
and at last came fully into the ease
and the joy of that place,
all my lost ones returning.





~ Wendell Berry
from Farming Poems
art by Roderick Maclver



Monday, October 30, 2017

proverb







You must become brother and sister
to each and every thing
so that they flow through you
dissolving every difference
between what belongs to you and others.

No star, no leaf shall fall -
you fall with them -
to rise again
in every new beginning.



~ Hermann Hesse 
 translated by Ludwig Max Fisher, PhD
photo by Eliot Porter


 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The madness of love







The madness of love 
Is a blessed fate;
And if we understood this
We would seek no other:
It brings into unity to
What was divided,
And this is the truth:
Bitterness it makes sweet,
It makes the stranger a neighbor,
And what was lowly it raises on high.

  

~ Hadewijch of Antwerp
photo by Ansel Adams
.

happiness






As long as you chase happiness,
you are not ready to be happy, 
even if you owned everything.

As long as you lament a loss,
run after prizes in restless races,
you have not yet known peace.

But when you have moved beyond desire,
become a stranger to your goals and longings
and call no longer on happiness by name,

then you heart rises calmly
above the ebb and flow of action
and peace has reached your soul.


~ Hermann Hesse
translation by Ludwig Max Fischer 
 

Friday, October 27, 2017

metaphors and symbols







Someone who found the inner path
who, dedicated to deep meditation,
got a glimpse of this essential truth,
that we choose God and World
only as metaphors and symbols.
 Every thought and action then
becomes an inner conversation,
a meeting between God and World.


~ Hermann Hesse
from The Seasons of the Soul

 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

dew light








Now in the blessed days of more and less
when the news about time is that each day

there is less of it I know none of that
as I walk out through the early garden

only the day and I are here with no
before or after and the dew looks up.
without a number or a present age


~ W. S. Merwin





Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water

.

.


Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.
.

~ Dogen Zenji (1200 - 1253)
.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

enter singing








1.
The cloud is free only
to go with the wind.

The rain is free
only in falling.

The water is free only
in its gathering together,

in its downward courses,
in its rising into the air.

2.
In law is rest
if you love the law,
if you enter, singing, into it
as water in its descent.

3.
Or song is truest law,
and you must enter singing;
it has no other entrance.

It is the great chorus
of parts. The only outlawry
is in division.

4.
Whatever is singing
is found, awaiting the return
of whatever is lost.

5.
Meet us in the air
over the water,
sing the swallows.

Meet me, meet me,
the redbird sings,
here here here here.





~ Wendell Berry
photo by Beth Acherman



between heaven and earth





Sacred or secular
manners and conventions
make no difference to him

Completely free
leaving it all to heaven
he seems a simplton

No one catches
a glimpse inside
his mind

this old man
all by himself
between heaven and earth



~ Muso Soseki
translated by W. S. Merwin

the wind







The day we die
the wind comes down
to take away
our footprints.

The wind makes dust
to cover up
the markings we left
while walking.

For otherwise 
the thing would seem
as if we were
still living.

Therefore the wind
is he who comes
to blow away
our footprints.



~ Southern Bushmen
from A Book of Luminous Things
edited by Czeslaw Milosz 

congruence with the chosen








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 Hammarskjöld
from Markings

 liap

Thursday, October 19, 2017

foundations








I built on the sand
And it tumbled down,
I built on a rock
And it tumbled down.
Now when I build, I shall begin
With the smoke from the chimney.



~ Leopold Staff
translated by Czeslaw Milosz

Friday, October 13, 2017

You Are Tired (I Think) by e.e.cummings







You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And I knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the hyacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.



~ e.e.cummings


Sunday, October 8, 2017

the wise silence








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.




~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

from The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson,
The Over-Soul