Thursday, July 07, 2022

who dares say anything

 We don’t know what God

Is. Nor know who we are. Here

We stand, abject, gone

Trace of opinion scattered

Belief strewn on vacant street 

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

with voice, aspiration and inspiration

 Those who pray know just

One thing — that prayer is mere

Active wonder — voice

despite funny poem, she circles back to thây’s stark kind teaching

 So many hungry 

ghosts — the ninety plus year old

sangha elder mourns

now and then

 The deficient mental structure of consciousness seeke to eliminate what it considers, projecting its own deficiency, enemy or other.

We must get beyond this, transcending the deficiencies in order to allow a new structure of consciousness to emerge.

Gebser and Wilber write of this.

By remaining in our deadly dualistic either/or mentality we will perpetuate shootings, killings, hostile takeovers, and wars of all unkindnesses..

Yes it is guns. Yes it is mental illness. Yes it is ignorance and fundamentalist stupidity.

But more, and deeper than that, it is the fear of evolving out of familiar beliefs and opinions into authentic freedom of seeing proper relationality and wholesome inter-connectivity.

Fear.

Paralyzes.

And terrifies.

Let’s help one another through liberation and emancipation.

Now.

And.

Then.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

evil has no doubt, good is more circumspect

 I would pray but no

Matter thought and prayer — what

Counts most is resolve

person of disinterest

 Mitch McConnell aims

Weapon pointed into crowd —

He does so much wrong

if you don’t see it, you’re the problem

 Capitalism

And cowardice, these two things

Corrupt this country —

Give me money, House, Senate

Say — and we will run and hide

it's what we do, it makes us great (again)

 We shoot each other

this is America -- we

shoot, kill, each other

be alone

 My brothers and sisters are shot dead in Illinois in Ohio in Kentucky in New York in Texas in many other places in America. 

Can you hear the weeping through the silence?

Of course you can. 

What to do with this sorrow? 

We know.

Do not listen to those who say we must eliminate  one  another.

That’s how the mind kills everyone and everything.

Change that mind.

Don’t say you don’t know where to look.

You know.

Look where compassion looks.

Look where (what we once called) love looks.

It’s a lonely place, that looking.

Be alone.

Say what you see.

Monday, July 04, 2022

what will you have for dinner

 Nothing for me, I’m

Trying to avoid bitter

American fair*—

I’d have to wash it down with

Penance and absolution 

….  …   …

          *[sic]

just call me raca *

I remember when


I was not insane, a brief 


while — without this mind


Everyone was kind, said “You’re 


Lucky!” I didn’t know why


….  …   

      *    Matthew 5:22 is the only passage in the Bible where the term raca is used. Raca comes from the Aramaic term reqa. It was a derogatory expression meaning “empty-headed,” insinuating a person’s stupidity or inferiority. It was an offensive name used to show utter contempt for another person. Jesus warned that the use of such a word to describe someone was tantamount to murder and deserving of the severest punishment of the law. https://www.gotquestions.org/raca.html

benefit

 For its own sake, yes,

Philosophy — no other

Sake, only it’s own 

4th

 Dawn

Mourning Dove

Lamenting

after dream, darkening night, mare*

 America still

Born after all these years, grief

Mother republic

       …   …   …

 * cognate with the Greek μόρος (Indo-European *móros), meaning 'doom'.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mare_(folklore) 

hungry ghosts

Emotional wraiths

 Every opinion ghost

These former selves tag

Along on left and right, box

Of donuts everywhere crumbs

Sunday, July 03, 2022

like an unexpected thought

 Noisy hummingbird

Knows what it is doing, turns

My head to see it

nothing (to be) seen

It’s a curious thought, that there is nothing to be seen. As my eyesight gets more and more blurry I’m grateful for the sight I’ve had all these years.

Still, the prospect that there is nothing to be seen, intrigues. What does this mean, this nothing?

Imagine there is One Thing. That there is nothing other. That our notion of “other” is a delusional belief that posits separational fragmentation instead of communal wholeness as the fundamental ground of existence and being.

You might come to suspect that wholeness intimates there is nothing inside itself and nothing outside itself. There is only Itself.

This is odd stuff to us. Here’s Kierkegaard with his thinking on the matter:

“The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but that the relation relates itself to its own self.”

― Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening

Perhaps wholeness suggests there are circles within circles, that seeing anything is seeing everything, that nothing remains to be seen.


Wallace Stevens’ wonderful poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird includes this:

IX
When the blackbird flew out of sight,   
It marked the edge   
Of one of many circles.   

I suspect we consider our edges to be geographical demarcations signaling personal or property boundaries with ‘no trespassing’ signs aloft — rather than intimate embracing connectivity whose touch and trembling nearness longs to seed new life and growth along the rows of grounded fertilization.

There’s nothing to be seen because we are nothing other than the wholeness perennially becoming itself throughout what is itself emerging.

Richard Rohr writes of Reality as Communion with help from Thomas Merton:

We come to know who God is through exchanges of mutual knowing and loving. God’s basic method of communicating God’s self is not the “saved” individual, the rightly informed believer, or even a person with a career in ministry. God communicates primarily through the journey and bonding process that God initiates in community: in marriages, friendships, families, tribes, nations, schools, organizations, and churches who are seeking to participate in God’s love, maybe without even consciously knowing it. 

Thomas Merton wrote, “The Christian is not merely ‘alone with the Alone’ in the Neoplatonic sense, but [is] One with all ‘brothers and sisters in Christ.’ The Christian’s inner self is, in fact, inseparable from Christ and hence it is in a mysterious and unique way inseparable from all the other ‘I’s’ who live in Christ, so that they all form one ‘Mystical Person,’ which is ‘Christ.’” [1]

Until and unless Christ is experienced as a living relationship between people, the gospel remains largely an abstraction. Until Christ is passed on personally through faithfulness and forgiveness toward another, through concrete bonds of union, I doubt whether he is passed on by words, sermons, institutions, or ideas.

 (—from, Reality as Communion, Week Twenty-Seven: Humanity is a Community! Richard Rohr)

They say that no one has ever seen God. 

I don’t want to see God.

What some people over history have seen, I suspect, are projections of partiality that have been filed under partitioned beliefs affixed to segregated systems of who’s in and who’s out.

God is nothing to be seen. Or, nothing (to be) seen. We cannot see what is (to be).

There’s nothing there.

It’s all here. Not (to be) seen.

Or, as the first line of Daniel Martin, the novel by John Fowles, presents itself — (as a koan):

“Whole sight; or all the rest is desolation.”

Saturday, July 02, 2022

absentibus fratribus et sororibus

 Vespers bells ring clear

All the way from France — psalm tones

Summer evening

if you know life, what do you do with death

 I must be dying

(How do you know?) That’s just it —

I don’t, I don’t know!

summer sounds pushing air

 Blustering thunder

Disappears, only bashful

Rain scatters dry dust

passing the metaphorical baton

And this from the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) website: 

 

 Transformed People Transforming People 

As we see it, more and more people are being drawn to contemplative wisdom because it not only supports personally healing but is also vital to human and planetary flourishing. Considering the unprecedented crises we face, the task of developing a way of being in the world together that bridges difference and embodies the reality that all life is sacred and connected is an urgent one.

More and more people are seeking out this new way of being. A momentous shift is underway, a historic breakthrough for contemplative consciousness, born from the pains of our collective evolutionary process. Fr. Richard refers to this shift as the “Great Turning,” a phrase we borrow from beloved CAC friend and former teacher JoAnna Macy. And Father Richard’s message, drawing from Jesus and mystics from all traditions, is a vital part of contributing to it.
 

However, at this stage in his life, Richard’s deep desire is to create space for the rest of us to step in and carry his work forward. He has done his part to point the way, and it is increasingly up to the rest of us to now write the next chapter. Throughout history, spiritual movements have often begun with individual visionaries and then only truly flourished in successive generations. That’s true of Christianity, whose radical message of universal belonging and belovedness eventually upended the Roman empire, as well as renewal movements like the Franciscans, Quakers, and Anabaptists. 

“If history is a horizontal line of time, then there are a few times where the vertical line of God that is infinitely sustaining all things breaks in, and there is an eruption that reminds us of the mystery that is always arising in the depth dimension. We are on the verge of such a momentary eruption, a movement of the spirit.”

—James Finley

The Great Turning is much bigger than any one organization or even any single spiritual tradition. But by introducing seekers to contemplative wisdom, we believe that the CAC will continue being a catalyzing force for this change of consciousness within Christianity and each of our communities.  As Richard has said, “There is a deep relationship between the inner revolution of prayer and the transformation of social structures and social consciousness.” Our work seeks to bring Christianity’s greatest gifts alongside other spiritual traditions and movements in service to systemic change and a more life-sustaining future that serves all – ALL! — of us. 

This work invites each of us to play a part — a whole body, a whole community, a whole movement of people grounded in a shared vision, values, and experiential knowing of God’s presence in our life showing up in the world together. Our hope is not in avoiding the realities of death and discomfort, but instead in choosing to live meaningfully as witnesses to the mystery of Love with whatever we are given. 

Today, Father Richard and his contemporaries are passing the metaphorical baton to the next generation — “people who have done the necessary work to ground compassionate action in contemplative, non-dual consciousness” — to step up and continue with the work of the contemplative recovery well underway. So, let’s do it. Let’s show up to our meditation cushions and communities of practice and seek to become transformed agents of love in the world together. When you need support or guidance, we at CAC will be here with you and for you, as partners in the work of building a more just and connected world

https://cac.org/news/moving-forward-together/?utm_source=monthly+enews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=returning+to+the+center&utm_term=news&utm_content=june+monthly+news

things do (yes) fall (apart)

This was our Friday evening conversation.

Seemed appropriate for this holiday weekend.

Societal Collapse - Theories - Toynbee’s Theory of Decay 

Toynbee’s Theory of Decay 

The British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, in his 12-volume magnum opus A Study of History(1961), theorized that all civilizations pass through several distinct stages: genesis, growth, time of troubles, universal state, and disintegration. (Carroll Quigley would expand on this theory in his The Evolution of Civilizations.) 

Toynbee argues that the breakdown of civilizations is not caused by loss of control over the environment, over the human environment, or attacks from outside. Rather, ironically, societies that develop great expertise in problem solving become incapable of solving new problems by overdeveloping their structures for solving old ones. 

The fixation on the old methods of the "Creative Minority" leads it to eventually cease to be creative and degenerates into merely a "Dominant minority" (that forces the majority to obey without meriting obedience), failing to recognize new ways of thinking. He argues that creative minorities deteriorate due to a worship of their "former self," by which they become prideful, and fail to adequately address the next challenge they face. 

He argues that the ultimate sign a civilization has broken down is when the dominant minority forms a "Universal State," which stifles political creativity. He states: 

First the Dominant Minority attempts to hold by force - against all right and reason - a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the Proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence when it executes its acts of secession. Yet the whole movement ends in positive acts of creation - and this on the part of all the actors in the tragedy of disintegration. The Dominant Minority creates a universal state, the Internal Proletariat a universal church, and the External Proletariat a bevy of barbarian war-bands.

He argues that, as civilizations decay, they form an "Internal Proletariat" and an "External Proletariat." The Internal proletariat is held in subjugation by the dominant minority inside the civilization, and grows bitter; the external proletariat exists outside the civilization in poverty and chaos, and grows envious. He argues that as civilizations decay, there is a "schism in the body social," whereby:

  • abandon and self-control together replace creativity, and
  • truancy and martyrdom together replace discipleship by the creative minority.

He argues that in this environment, people resort to archaism (idealization of the past), futurism (idealization of the future), detachment (removal of oneself from the realities of a decaying world), and transcendence (meeting the challenges of the decaying civilization with new insight, as a Prophet). He argues that those who Transcend during a period of social decay give birth to a new Church with new and stronger spiritual insights, around which a subsequent civilization may begin to form after the old has died. 

Toynbee's use of the word 'church' refers to the collective spiritual bond of a common worship, or the same unity found in some kind of social order. 

The great irony expressed by these and others like them is that civilizations that seem ideally designed to creatively solve problems find themselves doing so self-destructively.

 https://www.liquisearch.com/societal_collapse/theories/toynbee’s_theory_of_decay

Friday, July 01, 2022

incarcerated, meditating, he looked up

 Do you see eagle?

Then, it can never leave you —

Seeing as itself

Thursday, June 30, 2022

אָמֵן (em’a)

 Our Being

Which is Reality Itself

That which is Holy


See through Oneself

Be what we Desire

Grounding here and now


As it is —

What we’ve called 

Heaven


Give us today

(Our everyday 

Communion)


And may we be

Forgiven as we

Forgive illusory other —


Rather, accompany

Us through the Way

Of Non-Separation


Coming to Be

With What-Is

Whole and True


em'a (אָמֵן)

Creative (One), yes

Care-Itself!

in which there is no other meaning, itself

A saint is a curious anachronism. Today, everything is explained either by psychological aberrancy or cynical playacting.

But, a true and traditional saint? 

One of the first signs of a saint will be the fact 

That other people do not know what to make of him.¹*  

     (--p.103, Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation)

Perhaps the classification of saint should be recategorized as a fleeting blur of perceptual uncertainty -- as was the earlier brown and white wraith caught in disappearing streak out foyer window in passing through mottled sunlight 

Medical materialism seems indeed a good appellation for the too simple-minded system of thought, which we are considering. Medical materialism finishes up Saint Paul by calling his vision on the road to Damascus a discharging lesion of the occipital cortex, he being an epileptic. It snuffs out Saint Teresa as an hysteric, Saint Frances of Assisi as an hereditary degenerate. George Fox’s discontent with the shams of his age and his pining for spiritual veracity, it treats as a symptom of a disordered colon . . . All such mental overtensions, it says, are, when you come to the bottom of the matter . . . due to the perverted action of various glands which physiology will yet discover.² 

(--p.29, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience)

Saints demand sinners. Those are two categories we no longer cultivate. 

Today there are those who've not yet been caught out, and those who have but whose accusers are liars and untrustworthy.

No one is good. No one is guilty. There is only the narrative, and those who control the narrative.

Or, perhaps another way to ponder the matter -- the narrating itself.

Wallace Stevens pointed to it:

THE HOUSE WAS QUIET AND THE WORLD WAS CALM 

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night 

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm. 

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page, 

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom 

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be. 

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page. 

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself 

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there. 

(—Poem by Wallace Stevens)

 Too often, when one is not completely what one is, but described by another, one is enveloped in what is said, in as much as anyone is liable to be the tale being told. 


THE GOOD MAN HAS NO SHAPE 

Through centuries he lived in poverty.
God only was his only elegance. 

Then generation by generation he grew
Stronger and freer, a little better off. 

He lived each life because, if it was bad,
He said a good life would be possible. 

At last the good life came, good sleep, bright fruit,
And Lazarus betrayed him to the rest, 

Who killed him, sticking feathers in his flesh
To mock him. They placed with him in his grave 

Sour wine to warm him, an empty book to read;
And over it they set a jagged sign, 

Epitaphium to his death, which read,
The Good Man Has No Shape, as if they knew.

 

(Poem by Wallace Stevens)

for that suspended momentum

 The pendulum swings

upward right far off center --

wait, wait for it, wait

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

stain

 Ketchup on a wall

May be all that remains of

What once was justice

to enter the silence portion

 In prison last Friday and at Tuesday evening conversation we spent time with this Jane Hirshfield poem:

Against Certainty                 



There is something out in the dark that wants to correct us.

Each time I think “this,” it answers “that.”

Answers hard, in the heart-grammar’s strictness. 


If I then say “that,” it too is taken away. 


Between certainty and the real, an ancient enmity.

When the cat waits in the path-hedge,

no cell of her body is not waiting.

This is how she is able so completely to disappear. 


I would like to enter the silence portion as she does. 


To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live,

one shadow fully at ease inside another.


                                                                     (Poem by Jane Hirshfield)

Surely you see why so!

crackling serenades

 Twenty six years ago this morning we opened the doors of meetingbrook bookshop and bakery at Camden Harbor.

We had the shop for thirteen years until the building was sold and the new owner wanted it for himself. We closed the end of May 2009.

Many visitors, plenty of local irregulars, a continuing bunch of attendees at evening conversations, Saturday poetry group, fireplace crackling serenades and and patio watchful silence at boats, Camden Hills, and next-door restaurant deck diners.

It was a good run. We went into debt. There was an angel who helped erase it. We were lucky. 

"We've been really lucky," the woman packing for today's Healing Respite Sail says in the Wohnkuche. 

She's right.

Gifts have been given. By more than one. We've learned gratefulness.

Thanks Peter. Thanks Paul.

Friendship and fidelity to us all! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

waddya think

Our brothers and sisters are watching. 

"When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent." (Isaac Asimov) 

Neither money nor power substitute for intelligence.

Don't be fooled!

source of all activity throughout creation

There are times when the wording of something catches attention. 

 Second Reading

From the treatise "Against the Heresies" by St Irenaeus

Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God

The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason God, who cannot be grasped, comprehended or seen, allows himself to be seen, comprehended and grasped by men, that he may give life to those who see and receive him. It is impossible to live without life, and the actualisation of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy his goodness.

Men will therefore see God if they are to live; through the vision of God they will become immortal and attain to God himself. As I have said, this was shown in symbols by the prophets: God will be seen by men who bear his Spirit and are always waiting for his coming. As Moses said in the Book of Deuteronomy: On that day we shall see, for God will speak to man, and man will live. 

God is the source of all activity throughout creation. He cannot be seen or described in his own nature and in all his greatness by any of his creatures. Yet he is certainly not unknown. Through his Word the whole creation learns that there is one God the Father, who holds all things together and gives them their being. As it is written in the Gospel: No man has ever seen God, except the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father; he has revealed him. 

From the beginning the Son is the one who teaches us about the Father; he is with the Father from the beginning. He was to reveal to the human race visions of prophecy, the diversity of spiritual gifts, his own ways of ministry, the glorification of the Father, all in due order and harmony, at the appointed time and for our instruction: where there is order, there is also harmony; where there is harmony, there is also correct timing; where there is correct timing, there is also advantage. 

The Word became the steward of the Father’s grace for the advantage of men, for whose benefit he made such wonderful arrangements. He revealed God to men and presented men to God. He safeguarded the invisibility of the Father to prevent man from treating God with contempt and to set before him a constant goal towards which to make progress. On the other hand, he revealed God to men and made him visible in many ways to prevent man from being totally separated from God and so cease to be. Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God. If the revelation of God through creation gives life to all who live upon the earth, much more does the manifestation of the Father through the Word give life to those who see God.

(—from Office of Readings, Tuesday, 28june2022, feast of st Irenaeus)

Monday, June 27, 2022

uneasiness

 Mit dem Wissen wächst der Zweifel

“Doubt grows with knowledge”  (-Goethe)

[or]

Knowledge grows, and with it uneasiness.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

sentences can have a physical signature

 Sitting in wohnkuche, listening to book The Existentialist's Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age, by Gordon Marino, I hear.


If you have ever received the body blow of a “Dear John” letter, you will not need anyone to prove to you that sentences can have a physical signature, .... https://b-ok.cc/book/5651738/ce2c9b  

 

The news about Roe superseded by Dobbs had this effect on many. Many religious types rejoiced. Many, whose values are not defined by selective interpretation of scriptural canonicity, were devastated.


I fall into the absolute middle. 


So much philosophical debate and consequent legal thinking is based on highly subjective interpretations of research and diagnosis that does not have the precision, evidence, or verifiable data to say, with significant certainty, that life attains. (in utero), the status of human life, with what is called 'a soul', and with the capability of surviving outside of the host's protective environment. 


Still...


A distinct an autonomous human being is a rare and questionable actuality. There is an interweaving corresponding mutual dependence that involves and includes all live on planet earth, particularly the human species in its physical, social, cultural, and nescient contexts.


To be nescient is to not be in possession of all the information, knowledge, and wisdom surrounding and integrating life systems, intellectual vistas, and spiritual unknowns that weave the fabric of existence pervading the known and the unknown world and worlds.


My absolute middle is the pinpoint instant/place where two things can be and are true at the same time.


For example: woman should have choice concerning their bodies, a preferred yes; society should be able to say that stoppage of life and life-coming-to-be is a preferred no.


I'm for the considered choice of life. Deliberation of well-being to prevail.


I'm against the intentional taking of life. State sponsored executions included.


We live within the koan of Roethke's final three lines of his poem "The Manifestation":


What does what it should do needs nothing more.

The body moves, though slowly, toward desire.

We come to something without knowing why. 

 

"Knowing why" is more often than not a rare arrival and a fool's errand.


We, mostly, don't know.


Every tradition, religious and scientific, when honest, admit to not knowing.


In Tolstoy's words, therefore: "What then are we to do?"


I don't know. Not yet. 


And yet, and yet, and yet... the willingness to think, to ask, to meditate, and to be at home for a while in aporia*...


a·po·ri.a·| əˈpôrēə |  

 

noun. an irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument, or theory: the celebrated aporia whereby a Cretan declares all Cretans to be liars

Rhetoric the expression of doubt.  

 

ORIGIN 

mid 16th century: via late Latin from Greek, from aporos ‘impassable’, from a- ‘without’ + poros ‘passage’. 

 

For an ongoing tutorial, there's always Tolstoy to help us frame our considerations:


“The doctrine of Christ, which teaches love, humility, and self-denial, had always attracted me. But I found a contrary law, both in the history of the past and in the present organization of our lives – a law repugnant to my heart, my conscience, and my reason, but one that flattered my animal instincts. I knew that if I accepted the doctrine of Christ, I should be forsaken, miserable, persecuted, and sorrowing, as Christ tells us His followers will be. I knew that if I accepted that law of man, I should have the approbation of my fellow-men; I should be at peace and in safety; all possible sophisms would be at hand to quiet my conscience and I should ‘laugh and be merry,’ as Christ says. I felt this, and therefore I avoided a closer examination of the law of Christ, and tried to comprehend it in a way that should not prevent my still leading my animal life. But, finding that impossible, I desisted from all attempts at comprehension.” 

Leo Tolstoy, What I Believe

 

“And yet our existence is so organized that every personal enjoyment is purchased at the price of human suffering contrary to human nature.” 

Leo Tolstoy, My Religion - What I Believe

 

“What is the law of nature? Is it to know that my security and that of my family, all my amusements and pleasures, are purchased at the expense of misery, deprivation, and suffering to thousands of human beings—by the terror of the gallows; by the misfortune of thousands stifling within prison walls; by the fear inspired by millions of soldiers and guardians of civilization, torn from their homes and besotted by discipline, to protect our pleasures with loaded revolvers against the possible interference of the famishing? Is it to purchase every fragment of bread that I put in my mouth and the mouths of my children by the numberless privations that are necessary to procure my abundance? Or is it to be certain that my piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that every one else has a share, and that no one starves while I eat?” 

Leo Tolstoy, My Religion - What I Believe

 

“Our existence is now so entirely in contradiction with the doctrine of Jesus, that only with the greatest difficulty can we understand its meaning. We have been so deaf to the rules of life that he has given us, to his explanations,—not only when he commands us not to kill, but when he warns us against anger, when he commands us not to resist evil, to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies; we are so accustomed to speak of a body of men especially organized for murder, as a Christian army, we are so accustomed to prayers addressed to the Christ for the assurance of victory, we who have made the sword, that symbol of murder, an almost sacred object (so that a man deprived of this symbol, of his sword, is a dishonored man); we are so accustomed, I say, to this, that the words of Jesus seem to us compatible with war. We say, "If he had forbidden it, he would have said so plainly." We forget that Jesus did not foresee that men having faith in his doctrine of humility, love, and fraternity, could ever, with calmness and premeditation, organize themselves for the murder of their brethren.” 

Leo Tolstoy, My Religion 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

from ancient greek δρᾶμα (drâma, “an act, a theatrical act, a play”), and -ology, -λογία (-logía, “study of”)*

 “Love!” 

That’s what he said, the incarcerated resident of Maine’s maximum security prison, responding to a rhetorical question: “If ‘persona’ means to sound through, and a person is that which is being sounded through, what is it that we long to have sounded through us so as to be a true person of  character?”

Then he got up, excused himself, and said he’d be soon back.

One might easily overlook the subtle symbolic allusion in such a throwaway narrative recitation.

I sense, having posed the question, and heard the response, and seen the incarnated incidence of incarcerated explication and activated dramatology, something needed to be captured and related before natural forgetfulness follows, as it always does.

Sic fuit, sic est! 

(So it was, so it is!)

…   …   …

*(see wictionary)

Friday, June 24, 2022

the delusion of victory, the illusion of defeat

 Do not be too triumphant in victory

Nor too devastated in defeat

The pendulum goes back and forth

And each of us will die — 

If you win today, be humble

If you lose today be gracious

Nothing lasts forever

Everything changes on a dime

Do not be deluded

Things have a way of

Balancing out

Bending back into the middle

The center where home

Begins and ends

Remaining true to itself

rethinking this

In my end is my beginning. 

 In this volume, which reaffirms the uncompromising brilliance of his mind, Cioran strips the human condition down to its most basic components, birth and death, suggesting that disaster lies not in the prospect of death but in the fact of birth, "that laughable accident." In the lucid, aphoristic style that characterizes his work, Cioran writes of time and death, God and religion, suicide and suffering, and the temptation to silence. In all his writing, Cioran cuts to the heart of the human experience. (Goodreads)

All’s well that ends.

Well? 

the trouble with being born

Sunder substitutes

For Sunday. So few, I guess,

Would recognize God —

Hard to connect with righteous

Wan religiousity 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

making a distinction

                 (after 6jan hearing)

It’s not evil. It’s 

unconscionable. It’s what

being a jerk means.

there's a new gang in town

 I've watched westerns

holsters on hips, bad, good, guys

draw, shoot, -- (Supreme Court)

gun smoke, paladin, roy

rogers -- it was on TV

whatever prayer is

 At night, ending Compline, this blessing:


            May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.

There are nights it feels close. 

For many of our brothers and sisters, it was close and closest.

Whatever prayer is, I pray for them, for each, for all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

bay ridge avenue to barnestown road

Haiku

                (22june) 


When my father died

 forty seven years ago

a different porch


                (wfh)

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

going through this solstice, a hospice haiku

Haiku


            (for CK, as spring steps into new season)



So many watched


Your going through this solstice  


Looking after you


(wfh / 21june2022)

Monday, June 20, 2022

denial of common truth

 Thinking is being twisted by non-thinkers into ugly propaganda laced with cynicism.

It feels right-wing arrogance and counter-accusation is standard attack.

It is more than worrisome, this bellicose barbarism and bare-faced denial of common truth.

I think there will be great harm done in the cynical smugness and folksy down-home hatred.

take my word, it's been fun(da)mental

 If you've got

nothing

to do --

Do this!

...   ...   ...

    (or perhaps)

Book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki, narrated by Peter Coyote,  YouTube,

https://youtu.be/vjpXPECBi5o

pieces of 89/90

 Without beginning

Or end

You are


And most of these

Are emptiness

And pain


Give success

To the works

Of our hands

Sunday, June 19, 2022

body

 All of it

Without exception


Is

Body of creation


Given us

For its own


Delight

and one day like any other


This from Ricardo Blanco's blog about The last days of Antonio Machado:

 

" This, however, was my first effort at one of his poems, before abandoning the idea of translating him:"  

 

I have walked down many roads

and cleared many paths.

I have sailed a hundred seas

made fast to a hundred shores.

 

Everywhere I’ve seen

caravans of sadness,

proud people sad people

drunks in black shadow,

 

and pedants offstage

who watch on, keep silence, think

they know better, because they don’t

drink wine in humble bars.

 

Bad people who carry on

like pests polluting the earth.

 

And everywhere I’ve seen

people who dance and play

when they can, and work

their four palms of earth.

 

If they arrive somewhere

they never ask where they are.

When they travel, they ride

on the shanks of an old mule,

 

they never hurry

not even on fiesta days.

Where there is wine they drink wine;

where there is no wine they drink cold water.

 

Good people who live

and work, get by and dream.

And one day like any other

they go under the ground.

 

And in the original:

He andado muchos caminos,
he abierto muchas veredas;
he navegado en cien mares,
y atracado en cien riberas.

 En todas partes he visto
caravanas de tristeza,
soberbios y melancólicos
borrachos de sombra negra,

 y pedantones al paño
que miran, callan, y piensan
que saben, porque no beben
el vino de las tabernas.

 Mala gente que camina
y va apestando la tierra…

 Y en todas partes he visto
gentes que danzan o juegan, 

cuando pueden, y laboran
sus cuatro palmos de tierra.

Nunca, si llegan a un sitio,
preguntan a dónde llegan. 

Cuando caminan, cabalgan
a lomos de mula vieja,

y no conocen la prisa
ni aun en los días de fiesta.
Donde hay vino, beben vino;
donde no hay vino, agua fresca.

Son buenas gentes que viven,
laboran, pasan y sueñan,
y en un día como tantos,
descansan bajo la tierra. 

(from Soledades, 1903).

https://richardgwyn.me/2016/10/02/the-last-days-of-antonio-machado/ 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

unkind domination

 Even if unscrupulous politicians and hangers-on manage to dominate and take over our governmental halls of power, they will remain unscrupulous and demeaning of the offices they hold.

Nothing will add character to the deficient of character. 

Nothing will suggest they are other than failed people grabbing and profiting from their failure of character and lack of integrity.

Winning and dominating is no substitute for what actually matters, namely, authentic service and compassionate leadership.

I wish us a good recovery from the sickness of inauthentic power and unkind domination!

heart

 I know basketball isn't real life. Nor is it a metaphor of anything. It's hard word and unrelenting effort on the part of magnificently talented athletes.

That said -- 

A good finals for Boston and Golden State.

Sympathy for Celtics.

Big kudos for Warriers.

Plenty of heart.

Friday, June 17, 2022

through and through

 Fact is we are more intimately connected than any awareness indicates as the case.

When someone dies, something is ripped from us.

Grief is that pain and loss.

Let it linger.

Let it occupy the place left vacant by the intimate loss.

Let no one say “Get over it!”

There is no getting over it.

Feel it through and through.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

three poems for hospice meditation

1.

[Traveler, your footprints]

            BY ANTONIO MACHADO
                 Trans. By MARY G. BERG AND DENNIS MALONEY
Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship's wake on the sea.

[also]

                (Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar
.

Pathmaker, your footsteps
are the path and nothing more;
pathmaker, there is no path,
you make the path by walking.)


2,

A STEP

       Things


           come and go


       Then


           let them. 


(from, Pieces, p.6, by Robert Creeley, 1969)



3.


Enough


Enough. These few words are enough. 

If not these words, this breath. 

If not this breath, this sitting here.


This opening to the life 

we have refused 

again and again 

until now.

Until now 



             (David Whyte, from, Where Many Rivers Meet)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

whatever split second

 When your name is called, answer “Here I am!”


 BE STILL IN HASTE


How quietly I

begin again

from this moment

looking at the

clock, I start over

so much time has

passed, and is equaled

by whatever

split-second is present

from this

moment this moment

is the first

                        (—poem by Wendell Berry )

 And if you’re not here, don’t say anything.