Sunday, May 28, 2017

death letter blues






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I got a letter this mornin, how do you reckon it read?
It said, "Hurry, hurry, yeah, your love is dead"
I got a letter this mornin, I say how do you reckon it read?
You know, it said, "Hurry, hurry, how come the gal you love is dead?"

So, I grabbed up my suitcase, and took off down the road
When I got there she was layin' on a coolin' board
I grabbed up my suitcase, and I said and I took off down the road
I said, but when I got there she was already layin on a coolin' board

Well, I walked up right close, looked down in her face
Said, the good ol' gal got to lay here 'til the Judgment Day
I walked up right close, and I said I looked down in her face
I said the good ol' gal, she got to lay here 'til the Judgment Day

Looked like there was 10, 000 people standin' round the buryin' ground
I didn't know I loved her 'til they laid her down
Looked like 10, 000 were standin' round the buryin' ground
You know I didn't know I loved her 'til they damn laid her down

Lord, have mercy on my wicked soul
I wouldn't mistreat you baby, for my weight in gold
I said, Lord, have mercy on my wicked soul
You know I wouldn't mistreat nobody, baby, not for my weight in gold

Well, I folded up my arms and I slowly walked away
I said, "Farewell honey, I'll see you on Judgment Day"
Ah, yeah, oh, yes, I slowly walked away
I said, "Farewell, farewell, I'll see you on the Judgment Day"

You know I went in my room, I bowed down to pray
The blues came along and drove my spirit away
I went in my room, I said I bowed down to pray
I said the blues came along and drove my spirit away

You know I didn't feel so bad, 'til the good ol' sun went down
I didn't have a soul to throw my arms around
I didn't feel so bad, 'til the good ol' sun went down
You know, I didn't have nobody to throw my arms around

I loved you baby, like I love myself
You don't have me, you won't have nobody else
I loved you baby, better than I did myself
I said now if you don't have me, I didn't want you to have nobody else

You know, it's hard to love someone that don't love you
Ain't no satisfaction, don't care what in the world you do
Yeah, it's hard to love someone that don't love you
You know it don't look like satisfaction, don't care what in the world you do

Got up this mornin', just about the break of day
A-huggin' the pillow where she used to lay
Got up this mornin', just about the break of day
A-huggin' the pillow where my good gal used to lay

Got up this mornin', feelin' round for my shoes
You know, I must-a had them old walkin' blues
Got up this mornin', feelin' round for my shoes
Yeah, you know bout that, I must-a had them old walkin' blues

You know, I cried last night and all the night before
Gotta change my way a livin', so I don't have to cry no more
You know, I cried last night and all the night before
Gotta change my way a livin', you see, so I don't have to cry no more

Ah, hush, thought I heard her call my name
If it wasn't so loud and so nice and plain
Ah, yeah
Mmmmmm
Well, listen, whatever you do
This is one thing, honey, I tried to get along with you
Yes, no tellin' what you do
I done everything I could, just to try and get along with you

Well, the minutes seemed like hours, hours they seemed like days
It seemed like my good, old gal outta done stopped her low-down ways
Minutes seemed like hours, hours they seemed like days
Seems like my good, old gal outta done stopped her low-down ways

You know, love's a hard ol' fall, make you do things you don't wanna do
Love sometimes leaves you feeling sad and blue
You know, love's a hard ol' fall, make you do things you don't wanna do
Love sometimes make you feel sad and blue

Saturday, May 27, 2017

sigh






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A sigh isn’t just a sigh. 
We inhale the world and breathe out meaning. 
While we can. 
While we can.



–Salman Rushdie



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Friday, May 26, 2017

Afterlife






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When we are gone
our lives will continue without us

- or so we believe and,
at times, we have tried to imagine

the gaps we will leave being filled
with the brilliance of others:

someone else gathering plums
from this tree in the garden,

someone else thinking this thought
in a room filled with stars

and coming to no conclusion
other than this -

this bungled joy, this inarticulate
conviction that the future cannot come

without the grace
of setting things aside,

of giving up
the phantom of a soul

that only seemed to be
while it was passing.
 


 –John Burnside




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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Half-Finished Heaven, excerpt







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Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside.  It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.
One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.

It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.


Tomas Tranströmer
Robert Bly translation




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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

solitude






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I was nearly killed here, one night in February.
My car shivered, and slewed sideways on the ice,
right across into the other lane. The slur of traffic
came at me with their lights.
My name, my girls, my job, all
slipped free and were left behind, smaller and smaller,
further and further away. I was a nobody:
a boy in a playground, suddenly surrounded.

The headlights of the oncoming cars
bore down on me as I wrestled the wheel through a slick
of terror, clear and slippery as egg-white.
The seconds grew and grew – making more room for me –
stretching huge as hospitals.

I almost felt that I could rest
and take a breath
before the crash.

Then something caught: some helpful sand
or a well-timed gust of wind. The car
snapped out of it, swinging back across the road.
A signpost shot up and cracked, with a sharp clang,
spinning away in the darkness.

And it was still. I sat back in my seat-belt
and watched someone tramp through the whirling snow
to see what was left of me.

Tomas Tranströmer




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 Osamo Komatsu
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

just traveling through






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Death is a favour to us,
But our scales have lost their balance.
The impermanence of the body
Should give us great clarity, deepening the wonder in our
Senses and eyes
Of this mysterious existence we share
And surely are just traveling through.

If I were in the tavern tonight,
Hafiz would call for drinks
And as the Master poured, I would be reminded
That all I know of life and myself is that
We are just a mid-air flight of golden wine
Between His Pitcher and His cup.

If I were in the tavern tonight,
I would buy freely for everyone in this world
Because our marriage with the Cruel Beauty
Of time and space cannot endure very long. 

Death is a favour to us,
But our minds have lost their balance. 
The miraculous existence and impermanence of
Form
Always makes the illumined ones
Laugh and sing.

–Hafiz



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Saturday, May 20, 2017

this mystery

 

 
 

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As we walk into words that have waited for us to enter them,
so the meadow, muddy with dreams, is gathering itself together
and trying, with difficulty, to remember how to make wildflowers.



–Marie Howe


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Friday, May 19, 2017

what is it that you contain?





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What is it that you contain? The dead. Time. Light patterns of millennia opening in your gut. 

Every minute, in each of you, a few million potassium atoms succumb to radioactive decay. The energy that powers these tiny atomic events has been locked inside potassium atoms ever since a star-sized bomb exploded nothing into being. 

Potassium, like uranium and radium, is a long-lived radioactive nuclear waste of the supernova bang that accounts for you.

Your first parent was a star.



–Jeanette Winterson



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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

say out loud





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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

sisters and brothers





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In your clay body, things are coming to expression and to light
that were never known before, presences that never came to
light or shape in any other individual.  

To paraphrase Heidegger, who said, "Man is a shepherd of being,"  
we could say, "Man is a shepherd of clay."

You represent an unknown world that begs you to bring it to voice. 
Often the joy you feel does not belong to your individual biography
but to the clay out of which you are formed.

At other times, you will find sorrow moving through you,
like a dark mist over a landscape.  
This sorrow is dark enough to paralyze you. 

It is a mistake to interfere with this movement of feeling. 
It is more appropriate to recognize that this emotion belongs more
to your clay than to your mind.

It is wise to let this weather of feeling pass;
it is on its way elsewhere.

Regardless of how modern we seem, we still remain ancient,
sisters and brothers of the one clay.

In each of us a different part of the mystery becomes luminous.
To truly be and become yourself, 
you need the ancient radiance of others.


–John O'Donohue
(© John O'Donohue. All rights reserved.)
for more: johnodonohue.com




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Sunday, May 14, 2017

East Coker V, Four Quartets, excerpt






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Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.

Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.


T. S. Eliot



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Saturday, May 13, 2017

this existing, that arises ... there is no real production, only interdependence






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In the Mahayanist interpretation of the Chain of Interdependent Originations* ... birth, decrepitude, death, are no longer represented as the stages of life in the human individual who is born, develops, grows old and dies ... in the sun or in the grain of dust, each atom which constitutes it individually lives the perpetual drama of birth, old age and death.

...

The cycle ... takes place in everything, everywhere, in the infinitely small as in the infinitely great.
Its development does not take place in time
: the twelve causes listed are always present, co-existent and interdependent, their activity is interconnected and they only exist one with the other.

In fact, the "Interdependent Origins" are in no way a description of incidents occurring to a being which would exist apart from them. Each being is the "chain of interdependent origins" as this latter is the universe and outside its activity neither being nor universe exists.



*The Chain of Interdependent Origins
(The 12 Causes)


Ignorance
Samskara (mental formation or compounds)
Consciousness
Name and form (Body and Mind)
Sphere of the Senses (senses and their objects; the mind being counted as the sixth sense)
Contact
Sensation
Desire–thirst
Prehension
Existence (becoming)
Birth
Old age–Death

–Alexandra David-Néel
The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects




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yikes
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Friday, May 12, 2017

orphan wisdom





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Here's what happens every day: The past has tangible presence and isn't gone.
People are born, and people die and there are signs.

–Stephen Jenkinson
Die Wise
(highly recommended)


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Thursday, May 11, 2017

people like us





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Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. 
People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. 


—Albert Einstein


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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

if (and when)roses complain





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i shall imagine life
is not worth dying,if
(and when)roses complain
their beauties are in vain

but though mankind persuades
itself that every weed's
a rose,roses(you feel
certain)will only smile


–E. E. Cummings


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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Enriching the Earth


 

 
 
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To enrich the earth I have sowed clover and grass

to grow and die. I have plowed in the seeds

of winter grains and various legumes,

their growth to be plowed in to enrich the earth.

I have stirred into the ground the offal

and the decay of the growth of past seasons

and so mended the earth and made its yield increase.

All this serves the dark. Against the shadow

of veiled possibility my workdays stand

in a most asking light. I am slowly falling

into the fund of things. And yet to serve the earth,

not knowing what I serve, gives a wideness

and a delight to the air, and my days

do not wholly pass. It is the mind's service,

for when the will fails so do the hands

and one lives at the expense of life.

After death, willing or not, the body serves,

entering the earth. And so what was heaviest

and most mute is at last raised up into song.


–Wendell Berry



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Sunday, May 7, 2017

looking





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I had seen birth and death

but had thought they were different.


–T. S. Eliot



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thingsthatsing
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Saturday, May 6, 2017

projection

 




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There is nothing that exists in a substantial and real way outside the mind. The way that we define any object, as well as our experience of it, is simply our mind’s projection.

Whether fearful or blissful, our experiences arise from our mind. Whatever after-death experiences we may have, they are also simply projections of our mind.

If we can transcend our confusion through understanding the nature and qualities of mind, then our experience of all appearances becomes very workable.


Dzogchen Ponlop
Mind Beyond Death












Friday, May 5, 2017

dear ones





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How
Fascinating the idea of death
Can be.

Too bad, though,
Because
It just is not
True.


–Hafiz


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Thursday, May 4, 2017

not to worry





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I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time.

–Walt Whitman


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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

a warrior sets her life





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A detached person, who knows she has no possibility of fencing off her death, has only one thing to back herself with: the power of her decisions. She has to be, so to speak, the master of her choices. She must fully understand that her choice is her responsibility and once she makes it there is no longer time for regrets or recriminations. Her decisions are final, simply because her death does not permit her time to cling to anything.

And thus with an awareness of her death, with her detachment, and with the power of her decisions a warrior sets her life in a strategical manner. The knowledge of her death guides her and makes her detached and silently lusty; the power of her final decisions makes her able to choose without regrets and what she chooses is always strategically the best; and so she performs everything she has to with gusto and lusty efficiency.


–Don Juan Matus
A Separate Reality





Tuesday, May 2, 2017

“When you’re dead, the pond will be gone, too — at least for you.”





Death gave her a friendly smile.
Actually he was nice (if you forgot for a moment who he was).
Really quite nice.










Monday, May 1, 2017

resurrection





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It is very much the longing to be born anew, the way nature is. All these elements fit together.
Easter is calculated as the Sunday that follows the first full moon after the vernal equinox. It is evidence of a concern centuries before Christ to coordinate the lunar and solar calendars.
What we have to recognize is that these celestial bodies represented to the ancients two different modes of eternal life; one engaged in the field of time, like throwing off death - as the moon it’s shadow - to be born again; the other, disengaged and eternal.
The dating of Easter according to both lunar and solar calendars suggests that life, like the life that is reborn in the moon and eternal in the sun, finally is one.


—Joseph Campbell
Thou Art That



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Sunday, April 30, 2017

the matter





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Sunday, January 15, 2017

from Ode to a Nightingale





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Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath

–John Keats