Saturday, November 28, 2015

the sky


I like it with nothing. Is it
what I was? What I will be?
I look out there by the hour,
so clear, so sure. I could
smile, or frown—still nothing.

Be my father, be my mother,
great sleep of blue; reach
far within me; open doors,
find whatever is hiding; invite it
for many clear days in the sun.

When I turn away I know
you are there. We won’t forget
each other: every look is a promise.
Others can’t tell what you say
when it’s the blue voice, when
you come to the window and look for me.

Your word arches over
the roof all day. I know it
within my bowed head where
the other sky listens.
You will bring me
everything when the time comes.

—William Stafford


Friday, November 27, 2015

i want



Thursday, November 26, 2015

forget it


forget it

now, listen, when I die I don't want any crying, just get the
disposal under way, I've had a full some life, and
if anybody has had an edge, I've
had it, I've lived 7 or 8 lives in one, enough for
we are all, finally, the same, so no speeches, please,
unless you want to say he played the horses and was very

good at that. you're next and I already know something you don't,


waiting for death
like a cat
that will jump on the

I am so very sorry for
my wife

she will see this
shake it once, then
Hank won't

it's not my death that
worries me, it's my wife
left with this
pile of

I want to
let her know
that all the nights
beside her
even the useless
were things
ever splendid

and the hard
I ever feared to
can now be

I love

–Charles Bukowski


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

everything has a secret soul


Everything that is dead quivers.
Not only the things of poetry, stars, moon, wood, flowers, but even a white trouser button glittering out of a puddle in the street …

Everything has a secret soul which is silent more often than it speaks.

–Wassily Kandinsky


Monday, November 23, 2015

the mystery of man


PARABOLA (magazine) celebrated the birthdate of American jazz singer, Sara Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990).

This particular track, “The Mystery of Man” was recorded in 1984 as part of the album The Planet is Alive, Let It Live, a symphonic piece composed by Tito Fontana and Sante Palumbo on Italian translations of Polish poems by Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II.

Here are the lyrics:
We come from a distant past that we’ve forgotten
And now we look up and aspire to the stars
We are the mystery that even we can’t decipher
The mystery of man

The story is told in stone and broken arrows
In traces of cities unknown lost in sand
In colours and castle walls silent and unseen statues
The mystery of man

The wind stirs in the trees likes voices in dreams
And then just when it seems we know what it means
Simply its gone

The miracle is the mind asking the questions
Seeking to find itself if it can
Only to see itself endlessly echoed in mirrors
The mystery of man

via: parabola-magazine


Friday, November 20, 2015

bird of vision


Our death is our wedding with eternity.
What is the secret? "God is One."
The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house.
This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes;
It is not in the juice made from the grapes.

For he who is living in the Light of God,
The death of the carnal soul is a blessing.

Regarding him, say neither bad nor good,
For he is gone beyond the good and the bad.

Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible,
So that he may place another look in your eyes.

It is in the vision of the physical eyes
That no invisible or secret thing exists.

But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God
What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?

Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light
Don't call all these lights "the Light of God";

It is the eternal light which is the Light of God,
The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh.

...Oh God who gives the grace of vision!
The bird of vision is flying towards You with the wings of desire.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Marcus Aurelius on Mortality and the Key to Living Fully


“The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly.
And be patient with those who don’t.”

“Death is our friend,” Rilke wrote in an exquisite 1923 letter, “precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.” And yet one of the defining features of the human condition is that we long for immortality despite inhabiting a universe governed by impermanence.
Eighteen centuries before Rilke, the great Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius addressed this abiding human paradox of life and death with astonishing lucidity in his Meditations (public library | free ebook) — his indispensable proto-blog, which also gave us the philosophic emperor’s enduring wisdom on how to begin each day for maximum sanity and what his father taught him about honor and humility.
Aurelius, translated here by Gregory Hays, considers how befriending this eternal interplay of life and death can inform and ennoble our existential priorities:
Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter.
Cold or warm.
Tired or well-rested.
Despised or honored.
Dying … or busy with other assignments.

Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life.
There as well: “to do what needs doing.”
In another meditation, he revisits the question of our inescapable impermanence:
Some things are rushing into existence, others out of it. Some of what now exists is already gone. Change and flux constantly remake the world, just as the incessant progression of time remakes eternity.
We find ourselves in a river. Which of the things around us should we value when none of them can offer a firm foothold?
Like an attachment to a sparrow: we glimpse it and it’s gone.
And life itself: like the decoction of blood, the drawing in of air. We expel the power of breathing we drew in at birth (just yesterday or the day before), breathing it out like the air we exhale at each moment.
With breath-stopping simplicity, Aurelius crystallizes the inevitable and indiscriminate nature of this inhale-exhale cycle that is life:
Alexander the Great and his mule driver both died and the same thing happened to both. They were absorbed alike into the life force of the world, or dissolved alike into atoms.
But rather than being dispirited by this awareness, he suggests, we can find it in an enlivening force of moral solidity in the face of our ephemeral existence:
Keep this constantly in mind: that all sorts of people have died — all professions, all nationalities. Follow the thought all the way down to Philistion, Phoebus, and Origanion. Now extend it to other species.
We have to go there too, where all of them have already gone:
… the eloquent and the wise — Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Socrates …
… the heroes of old, the soldiers and kings who followed them …
… the smart, the generous, the hardworking, the cunning, the selfish …
… and even [those] who laughed at the whole brief, fragile business.

All underground for a long time now.
And what harm does it do them? Or the others either — the ones whose names we don’t even know?
From this he extracts the ultimate moral:
The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly. And be patient with those who don’t.
Meditations is a requisite read in its entirety — the kind that stays with you for a lifetime and rewards anew with each rereading. Complement it with Seneca, a fellow Stoic, on how to fill the shortness of life with greater width of aliveness and Bertrand Russell on the paradox of immortality.

Monday, November 16, 2015

in time


tell your friend


Tell your friend that in his death, a part of you dies and goes with him. Wherever he goes, you also go. He will not be alone.

–Jiddu Krishnamurti


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Another Time and Farther South, closing lines


... how you can lose so much in life
and walk upon the earth …
wearing all the shrouds of mourning like a skin
and memory like a stone …
alone for all the rituals of yielding, giving up
and still walk home
finding your way among strewn ashes in the dark.

–Brenda Marie Osbey


Friday, November 13, 2015

in your turn


In your turn your eyes will become the sun and your breath the wind.

In your turn you will go to the sky and the earth and the waters.

Your limbs will become the roots of plants.

–The Rig Veda


Thursday, November 12, 2015

not to worry


I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

from The Oak Leaves


There is something to be learned, I guess, from looking at the dead leaves under the living tree ...

–Edna St. Vincent Millay 



Monday, November 9, 2015