I'm not sure about this gift. This tangle
of dried roots curled into a fist. This gnarl
I've let sit for weeks beside the toaster
and cookbooks on a bed of speckled granite.
What am I waiting for? Online I find
Rose of Jericho prayers and rituals for safe birth,
well-being, warding off the evil eye.
At first I thought I'd buy some white stones,
a porcelain bowl. But I didn't and I didn't.
I don't believe in omens. This still fist
of possibility all wrapped up in itself.
( There it sat through the holidays, into the New Year. / Through all the days I've been gone. Dormant. )
(reposted with thanks from browngirl)
If a good man were ever housed in Hell
By needful error of the qualities,
Perhaps to prove the rule or shame the devil,
Or speak the truth only a stranger sees,
Would he, surrendering quick to obvious hate,
Fill half eternity with cries and tears,
Or watch beside Hell's little wicket gate
In patience for the first ten thousand years,
Feeling the curse climb slowly to his throat
That, uttered, dooms him to rescindless ill,
Forcing his praying tongue to run by rote,
Eternity entire before him still?
Would he at last, grown faithful in his station,
Kindle a little hope in hopeless Hell,
And sow among the damned doubts of damnation,
Since here someone could live, and live well?
One doubt of evil would bring down such a grace,
Open such a gate, and Eden could enter in,
Hell be a place like any other place,
And love and hate and life and death begin.
By Edwin Muir
Originally posted by duathir at Edwin Muir, 'The Good Man in Hell'
God would perform miracles in the old days,
Father said, but nowadays if he set a bush
on fire, like he did for Moses, the fire department
would rush to put it out. The newspapers
would send our photographers. There’d be
an investigation. A reward would be given
to help find the arsonist. Some innocent person
would get blamed. God has enough people
believing in him. Why does He need
all that commotion for the sake of a few more?
Originally posted by exceptindreams at Why There Are No More Miracles | Hal Sirowitz
Thank God for life: life is not sweet always.
Hands may be heavy-laden, hearts care full,
Unwelcome nights follow unwelcome days,
And dreams divine end in awakenings dull.
Still it is life, and life is cause for praise.
This ache, this restlessness, this quickening sting,
Prove me no torpid and inanimate thing,
Prove me of Him who is of life the Spring.
I am alive!--and that is beautiful.
Thank God for Love: though Love may hurt and wound,
Though set with sharpest thorns its rose may be,
Roses are not of winter, all attuned
Must be the earth, full of soft stir, and free
And warm ere dawns the rose upon its tree.
Fresh currents through my frozen pulses run;
My heart has tasted summer, tasted sun,
And I can thank Thee, Lord, although not one
Of all the many roses blooms for me.
The nestling church at Ovingdean
Was fragrant as a hive in May;
And there was nobody within
To preach, or praise, or pray.
The sunlight slanted through the door,
And through the panes of painted glass,
When I stole in, alone once more
To feel the ages pass.
Then, through the dim grey hush there droned
An echoing plain-song on the air,
As if some ghostly priest intoned
An old Gregorian there.
Saint Chrysostom could never lend
More honey to the heavenly Spring
Than seemed to murmur and ascend
On that invisible wing.
So small he was, I scarce could see
My girdled brown hierophant;
But only a Franciscan bee
In such a bass could chant.
His golden Latin rolled and boomed.
It swayed the altar-flowers anew,
Till all that hive of worship bloomed
With dreams of sun and dew.
Ah, sweet Franciscan of the May,
Dear chaplain of the fairy queen,
You sent a singing heart away
That day, from Ovingdean.
by Alfred Noyes
Originally posted by duathir at Alfred Noyes, 'The Bee In Church'
James Weldon Johnson
O mighty, powerful, dark-dispelling sun,
Now thou art risen, and thy day begun.
How shrink the shrouding mists before thy face,
As up thou spring’st to thy diurnal race!
How darkness chases darkness to the west,
As shades of light on light rise radiant from thy crest!
For thee, great source of strength, emblem of might,
In hours of darkest gloom there is no night.
Thou shinest on though clouds hide thee from sight,
And through each break thou sendest down thy light.
O greater Maker of this Thy great sun,
Give me the strength this one day’s race to run,
Fill me with light, fill me with sun-like strength,
Fill me with joy to rob the day its length.
Light from within, light that will outward shine,
Strength to make strong some weaker heart than mine,
Joy to make glad each soul that feels its touch;
Great Father of the sun, I ask this much.
Originally posted by exceptindreams at Prayer at Sunrise | James Weldon Johnson
If I had any pull with God, everything you need
would appear right now in front of you.
A door would open and inside it
a rose-strewn path, the yearned-for embrace.
I’d take the broken pieces of the afikomen
and restore them as if by magic.
But that isn’t how it works. God isn’t
a diner waitress saying what can I get you, hon?
That’s why our sages taught: a clay vessel
is purified when it breaks and is glued.
A human heart, charged with a lifetime’s losses
becomes real when lovingly mended.
All I can do: ask God to cradle your heart
in Her own hands and make you whole.
Originally posted by exceptindreams at Find | Rachel Barenblat
There is a City where God's happy children
I cannot dream of walls upbuilt of jasper,
And when the harpers in that land are making
"There is no God," the wicked saith,
"And truly it's a blessing,
For what He might have done with us
It's better only guessing."
"There is no God," a youngster thinks,
"or really, if there may be,
He surely did not mean a man
Always to be a baby."
"There is no God, or if there is,"
The tradesman thinks, "'twere funny
If He should take it ill in me
To make a little money."
"Whether there be," the rich man says,
"It matters very little,
For I and mine, thank somebody,
Are not in want of victual."
Some others, also, to themselves,
Who scarce so much as doubt it,
Think there is none, when they are well,
And do not think about it.
But country folks who live beneath
The shadow of the steeple;
The parson and the parson's wife,
And mostly married people;
Youths green and happy in first love,
So thankful for illusion;
And men caught out in what the world
Calls guilt, in first confusion;
And almost everyone when age,
Disease, or sorrows strike him,
Inclines to think there is a God,
Or something very like Him.
Arthur Hugh Clough
Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven images may be
Worshipp'd, except the currency:
Swear not at all; for, for thy curse
Thine enemy is none the worse:
At church on Sunday to attend
Will serve to keep the world thy friend:
Honour thy parents; that is, all
From whom advancement may befall:
Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive
Officiously to keep alive:
Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it:
Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
When it's so lucrative to cheat:
Bear not false witness; let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly:
Thou shalt not covet; but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.
Arthur Hugh Clough
"All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well" ~Julian of Norwich
(from Julian of Norwich group on FB)
(amazing, the range of topics for FB groups and pages...)
(and thanks to debriswoman, for mentioning this quote a while back)
Added from elenbarathi's comment, with thanks:
( Lyrics and history: )
Mimnermus in Church
YOU promise heavens free from strife,
Pure truth, and perfect change of will;
But sweet, sweet is this human life,
So sweet, I fain would breathe it still;
Your chilly stars I can forgo,
This warm kind world is all I know.
You say there is no substance here,
One great reality above:
Back from that void I shrink in fear,
And child-like hide myself in love:
Show me what angels feel. Till then
I cling, a mere weak man, to men.
You bid me lift my mean desires
From faltering lips and fitful veins
To sexless souls, ideal quires,
Unwearied voices, wordless strains:
My mind with fonder welcome owns
One dear dead friend's remember'd tones.
Forsooth the present we must give
To that which cannot pass away;
All beauteous things for which we live
By laws of time and space decay.
But O, the very reason why
I clasp them, is because they die.
William (Johnson) Cory. 1823–1892
Man says that He is jealous,
Man says that He is wise,
Man says that He is watching
From His throne beyond the skies.
But perchance the arch above us
Is one great mirror's span,
And the Figure seen so dimly
Is a vast reflected man.
If it is love that gave us
A thousand blossoms bright,
Why should that love not save us
From poisoned aconite?
* It's complicated.
= = = = = = = = =
The Music Of Darkness ~ Rabbi Karyn Kedar
It was early September. My husband and I went on a high-speed car chase around the valleys and mountains of the Grand Tetons to capture a glimpse of the setting sun. With five minutes to spare before the spray of light turned dark, we found a spot nestled in a valley on the side of the road with no mountain crag to obscure our view. Simply the horizon, the setting sun, and majestic colors of miracle and awe.
As we watched the spectacle before us, I heard a sound that I had never heard before. I rolled down the car window and saw hundreds of black birds that had come to nest for the night in a small grove of trees. The birds were barely visible except for a dance that looked like the shadow of wings and leaves fluttering against the dusk.
Out of the far distance, as if from thin air, appeared a solitary bird racing at what seemed like the speed of light toward the grove to join the others. As she landed on the treetop, birds fluttered, rising and settling until they all made room for the new arrival and found their place.
As the trees, leaves, and birds became mere dark silhouettes against the blackened sky, the sound of them became somehow louder. And as the sky grew darker and darker, the music brought light to my soul. Black birds disappearing in the trees at night sing an eternal song, echoing a truth, a melody that is easily forgotten. Even in the darkness there is music. It is what makes us holy and good, moral and compassionate, fully alive, aware, kind.
That music is the sound of our humanity brushing up against our divinity.
Teach us, dear God, how to listen.
Karyn Kedar is a prolific writer and the Rabbi of Congregation BJBE in Deerfield Illinois.
This entry was originally posted at http://thnidu.dreamwidth.org/1434961.
Благодарю, Господи, что создал меня такой...
Много лет назад пришла ко мне поговорить одна молодая женщина; она села в ризнице на диван, свесила голову и с горьким, кислым выражением лица сказала загробным голосом: Я грешница…
Я ей бодро ответил: Это не новость, ясно, что вы грешница — мы все грешники!..
Да, сказала она, но я особенно гнусная…
"Thank You, Lord, that you created me thus..."
Many years ago, a young woman came to talk to me; she sat down on the couch in the back room of the church, hung her head, and with a bitter, sour expression on her face, said, in a dull voice, "I'm a sinner..."
I replied cheerfully, "That's not news, of course you're a sinner--all of us are sinners!"
"Yes," said she, "but I'm an especially hardened sinner..."
There is a Chinese Proverb that goes something like this…
A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”( A few days later, the horse returned home... )
(the two versions in Russian provided by leto_12--many thanks!)
Один старик нашел в лесу прекрасную белую кобылицу. Он привел ее к себе домой, и стал за ней ухаживать. И все соседи говорили: "Надо же, как тебе повезло! Ведь такая красивая кобыла, это же целое сокровище!" А старик отвечал: "Не знаю, повезло мне или нет, но знаю, что надо теперь для лошади строить конюшню", и вместо рассуждений шел строить конюшню.
В один далеко не прекрасный день лошадь убежала. И все соседи опять собрались у старика, рассуждая: "Ох, какое невезение! Лошадь сбежала, какая потеря!". А старик сказал: "Не знаю, везение это или невезение, знаю только, что конюшню мне можно не строить".
( По-русски, в двух вариантах: )
Bill Bowler's review of "It's Hard to be a God" by Strugatsky brothers
And here's the discussion near the end of the book, specifically upon the mentioned topic:
"Man's nature," said Budach while chewing leisurely, "is characterized by his ability to adjust to everything. There is nothing in this world that man cannot adjust to. Neither horses nor dogs possess this ability. Presumably when God created man he considered the tortures to which he would subject man on this earth, and therefore equipped him with a tremendous capacity for endurance. Of course, it's difficult to say whether this is good or bad. If man had not been endowed with such potential for patience and suffering, then all good people would have perished long ago and only the wicked and soulless would remain. On the other hand, tolerance and adaptability make men dumb beasts, distinguishable from animals only on corporal structure, even surpassing the lowly beasts in their lack of ability to defend themselves. And each new day brings forth new horrors of wickedness and brutality ..."
Rumata glanced over in Kyra's direction. She sat opposite Budach and attentively listened to his words, one cheek resting on her hand. Her eyes were filled with grief: it was obvious how sorry she felt for mankind.
"You are probably right, dear Doctor Budach," said Rumata. "But take me, for instance. I am nothing but a simple don of high birth."
Budach's high forehead became wrinkled like a washboard and his eyes grew wide with amazement and amusement. "I love learned people more than anything; I admire their nobility of spirit. But on the other hand I completely fail to understand why you, who are men of science and the sole representatives of intellectual life and wisdom, remain so hopelessly passive? Why do you surrender without any resistance to contempt, why do you permit yourselves to be thrown into prisons, why do you accept your fate and let yourselves be burnt at the stake? Why do you separate your raisond'etre -- the search for new knowledge -- from the practical demands of life, the fight against all evil?"
Budach pushed back his empty dish.
( Read more... )
Ellen M. Huntington Gates
Sleep sweet within this quiet room,
O thou, whoe'er thou art,
And let no mournful yesterdays
Disturb thy peaceful heart.
Nor let tomorrow mar thy rest
With dreams of coming ill:
Thy Maker is thy changeless friend,
His love surrounds thee still.
Forget thyself and all the world,
Put out each garish light:
The stars are shining overhead -
Sleep sweet! Good night! Good night!