Tuesday, December 31, 2019

lute music





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Let us celebrate.
The Earth will be going on a long time
Before it finally freezes;
Men will be on it; they will take names,
Give their deeds reasons.
We will be here only
As chemical constituents—
A small franchise indeed.

Right now we have lives,
Corpuscles, Ambitions, Caresses,
Like everybody had once—
Here at the year's end, at the feast
Of birth, let us bring to each other
The gifts brought once west through deserts—
The precious metal of our mingled hair,
The frankincense of enraptured arms and legs,
The myrrh of desperate, invincible kisses—

Let us celebrate the daily
Recurrent nativity of love,
The endless epiphany of our fluent selves,
While the earth rolls away under us
Into unknown snows and summers,
Into untraveled spaces of the stars.


—Kenneth Rexroth




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to the new year





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With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning
so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible


—W. S. Merwin
to the new year



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and now





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Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Ring Out, Wild Bells


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Monday, December 30, 2019

from where it begins





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At the end of the year the stars go out
the air stops breathing and the Sibyl sings
first she sings of the darkness she can see
she sings on until she comes to the age
without time and the dark she cannot see 

no one hears then as she goes on singing
of all the white days that were brought to us one by one
that turned to colors around us 

a light coming from far out in the eye
where it begins before she can see it
burns through the words that no one has believed


—W.S. Merwin
The Pupil, 2001



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the round earth rolls





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This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.

—John Muir

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

the crossing





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There is but one world and everything that is imaginable is necessary to it. For this world also, which seems to us a thing of stone and flower and blood, is not a thing at all but is a tale. And all in it is a tale and each tale the sum of all lesser tales and yet these are also the selfsame tale and contain as well all else within them. So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is the hard lesson.

Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seams are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to know what could be taken away. What omitted. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall. 

And those seams that are hid from us are of course in the tale itself and the tale has no abode or place of being except in the telling only and there it lives and makes its home and therefore we can never be done with the telling. 

Of the telling there is no end. And in whatever place by whatever name or by no name at all, all tales are one. Rightly heard all tales are one.


—Cormac McCarthy



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Saturday, December 28, 2019

love is a place





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I know of a place not ruled by flatness 
Or constant risings and depressions, 
and those alive are not afraid to die. 

There wild flowers come up through the leafy floor, 
and the fragrance of "I am he" floats on the wind.

...There the love bee stays deep inside the flower 

and cares for no other thing.


—Kabir

...


... love
Says,

"I will, I will take care of you,"

To everything that is
Near.


—Hafiz
The Gift
Daniel Ladinsky version


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Friday, December 27, 2019

Silence will carry your voice like the nest that holds the sleeping birds. —Rabindranath Tagore





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All that matters is to be at one with the living God,
to be a creature in the house of the God of Life.
Like a cat asleep on a chair
at peace, in peace
and at one with the master of the house, with the mistress,
at home, at home in the house of the living,
sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire.

Sleeping on the hearth of the living world
yawning at home before the fire of life
feeling the presence of the living God
like a great reassurance
a deep calm in the heart
a presence
as of the master sitting at the board
in his own and greater being,
in the house of life.


—D. H. Lawrence
pax


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Monday, December 23, 2019

bless





💖



friend




 
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Written on Christmas Eve, 1513


I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.


No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace! 

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel's hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.

And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.



–Fra Giovanni



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would the heart





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Ah! would the heart but be a manger for the birth,
God would become once more a little child of earth.

Immeasurable is the Highest! Who but knows it?

And yet a human heart can perfectly enclose it.


—Angelus Silesius


 





if you want

 




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If
you want
the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy
and say
“I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart,
my time is so close.”

Then, under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime
intimacy, the divine, the Christ
taking birth
forever,
as she grasps your hand for help, for each of us
is the midwife of God, each of us.

Yes there, under the dome of your being does creation
come into existence externally, through your womb, dear pilgrim—
the sacred womb of your soul,
as God grasps our arms for help; for each of us is
His beloved servant
never
far.

If you want, the Virgin will come walking
down the street pregnant
with Light and
sing . . .



—St. John of the Cross

Daniel Ladinsky translation,
Love Poems from God



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to be true





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The gift, to be true, must be the flowing of the giver unto me, correspondant to my flowing unto him.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Thursday, December 19, 2019

at the heart of time





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I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age-old pain,
It's ancient tale of being apart or together,
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you,
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours
And the songs of every poet past and forever. 



—Rabindranath Tagore



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Love is not consolation. It is light. —Friedrich Nietzsche






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And if I forget how many times I have been here, and in how many shapes, this forgetting is the necessary interval of darkness between every pulsation of light.

—Alan Watts
On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


...


All that passes descends,
and ascends again unseen
into the light: the river
coming down from sky
to hills, from hills to sea,
and carving as it moves,
to rise invisible,
gathered to light, to return
again. "The river's injury
is its shape." I've learned no more.

We are what we are given
and what is taken away;
blessed be the name
of the giver and taker.

For everything that comes
is a gift, the meaning always
carried out of sight
to renew our whereabouts,
always a starting place.
And every gift is perfect
in its beginning, for it
is "from above, and cometh down
from the Father of lights."
Gravity is grace.


—Wendell Berry
The Gift of Gravity, excerpt


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i will say i want it all





 
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If you ask how much do I want,
I'll tell you that I want it all.
This morning, you and I
and all men
are flowing into the marvelous stream
of oneness.

Small pieces of imagination as we are,
we have come a long way to find ourselves
and for ourselves, in the dark, the illusion
of emancipation.

This morning, my brother is back from his
long adventure.
He kneels before the alter,
his eyes full of tears.
His soul is longing for a shore to set anchor at
(a yearning I once had).
Let him kneel there and weep.
Let him cry his heart out.
Let him have his refuge there for a thousand years,
enough to dry all his tears.

One night, I will come
and set fire to his shelter,
the small cottage on the hill.
My fire will destroy everything
and remove his only life raft after a shipwreck.

In the utmost anguish of his soul,
the shell will break.
The light of the burning hut will witness
his glorious deliverance.
I will wait for him
beside the burning cottage.
Tears will run down my cheeks.
I will be there to contemplate his new being.

And as I hold his hands in mine
and ask him how much he wants,
he will smile and say that he wants it all -
just as I did.


—Thich Nhat Hanh



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