Monday, December 29, 2014

to Mary






A child unborn, the coming year
Grows big within us, dangerous,
And yet we hunger as we fear
For its increase: the blunted bud

To free the leaf to have its day,
The unborn to be born.  The ones
Who are to come are on their way,
And though we stand in mortal good

Among our dead, we turn in doom
In joy to welcome them, stirred by 
That Ghost who stirs in seed and tomb,
Who brings the stones to parenthood.



~ Wendell Berry
from This Day - Collected and New Sabbath Poems



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

for those with eyes to see






The Angel Standing in the Sun
~ J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851)
from The Tate Gallery, London




their prefabricated picture




English and German troops together, Christmas 1914



It was on this day in 1914 that the last known Christmas truce occurred along the Western Front during World War I. In the week leading up to Christmas, soldiers all over the battlefields had been decorating their trenches with candles and makeshift trimmings when groups of German and British soldiers began shouting seasonal greetings and singing songs to each other. On occasion, a soldier or two would even cross the battlefield to take gifts to the enemy. Then, on Christmas Eve, the men of the Western Front put the war on hold and many soldiers from both sides left their trenches to meet in No Man's Land, where they mingled and exchanged tobacco, chocolate, and sometimes even the buttons from their own uniforms as souvenirs. They played games of football, sang carols, and buried fallen comrades together as the unofficial truce lasted through the night.


The most remarkable group is the group of soldiers who, after having met the enemy between the trenches, started thinking about all they had read and heard about them.

For many, the former hatred was vanished. They now recognized the soldiers from the other side of the trenches as human as themselves. They were not mercenaries, no inhuman monsters eager for war, just humans. The stereotypes they knew from the time before the war and before they met their enemies did not fit after meeting their enemies. Not all Germans acted like it was described in the newspaper and were not as arrogant as the German Kaiser. On the other hand not all the English soldiers were mercenaries fighting for material well-being.

These soldiers started to reflect their own experiences and started to compare their experiences with what they knew before about their enemies. The conclusion they made was that their prefabricated picture and the experiences they gained did not fit together. It was hard for the soldiers, faced with the reality of the war, to keep the black and white picture. The reality they saw was a grey picture with blurry boundaries.










Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hallelujah








Saturday, December 20, 2014

there is a brokenness






There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken, 
a shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable. 
There is a sorrow beyond grief which leads to joy 
and a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength. 
There is a hollow space too vast for words 
through which we pass with each loss, 
out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being. 
There is a cry deeper than all sound 
whose serrated edges cut the heart as we break open 
to the place inside which is unbreakable and whole, 
while learning to sing. 




~ Rashani


Sunday, December 14, 2014

one loss





One loss
folds itself inside another.
It is like the origami
held inside a plain sheet of paper
Not creased yet.
Not yet more heavy.
The hand stays steady.





~ Jane Hirshfield
from Come Thief

Saturday, December 13, 2014

a "real you?"









~ Julian Baggini


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

what Jesus said








The wind blows where it likes: that is what
Everyone is like who is born from the wind.
Oh now it’s getting serious. We are the ones
Born from the wind that blows along the plains
And over the sea where no one has a home.
And that Upsetting Rabbi, didn't he say:
‘Take nothing with you, no blanket, no bread.
When evening comes, sleep wherever you are.
And if the owners say no, shake out the dust
From your sandals; leave the dust on their doorstep.’
Don’t hope for what will never come. Give up hope,
Dear friends, the joists of life are laid on the winds





~ Robert Bly
from Eating The Honey of Words. New and Selected Poems



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

don't wander aimlessly





My heart, sit only with those
who know and understand you.

Sit only under a tree
that is full of blossoms.

In the bazaar of herbs and potions
don't wander aimlessly,
find the shop with a potion that is sweet.

If you don't have a measure
people will rob you in no time.

You will take counterfeit coins
thinking they are real.

Don't fill your bowl with food from
every boiling pot you see.

Not every joke is humorous, so don't search
for meaning where there isn't one.

Not every eye can see,
not every sea is full of pearls.

My heart, sing the song of longing
like nightingale.

The sound of your voice casts a spell
on every stone, on every thorn.

First, lay down your head,
then one by one
let go of all distractions.

Embrace the light and let it guide you
beyond the winds of desire.

There you will find a spring and 
nourished by its sweet waters
like a tree you will bear fruit forever.




~ Rumi
Ghazal 563 
from Divan-e Shams
translation by Kolin and Mafi
and Professor Arberry



Sunday, December 7, 2014

embracing otherness, embracing self,








~ Thandie Newton


Friday, December 5, 2014

casida of the rose

     .


The rose
was not searching for the sunrise:
almost eternal on its branch,
it was searching for something else.

The rose
was not searching for darkness or science:
borderline of flesh and dream,
it was searching for something else.

The rose
was not searching for the rose.
Motionless in the sky
it was searching for something else.





~ Federico Garcia Lorca
translation by Robert Bly