No heaven above, no hell below,
Just this, this bliss and thunder.
To dance beneath the diamond sky
(Sing it, Bob Dylan)
With both hands shackled tight
Sightless, deaf and mute,
No maps no roads
Traversing nowhere at all
Because you’re home already.
(With a long way still to go…)
Kindness is the core,
The coin of every realm,
Hippocrates said it once
And it’s worth saying again:
First, do no harm.
His other dictum worth our time:
I will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption.
Yet who are we without our dose of those,
The mischief and corruption, I mean,
Adam and Eve in the Garden,
Knowing not who they were,
Innocent and none the wiser for it,
Dull beyond measure until that fateful bite.
Self-knowledge is a ferocity,
A stare into the abyss of a
Life waiting to be built,
One brick and breath after another,
Be with me Sisyphus in my daily labors,
Allow me happiness rolling this rock called love.
A notion for this day, this first day
Of all First Days still to come:
I will engage in every voluntary act of love and gratitude.
Paying attention, intending kindness,
Though practice never makes perfect,
Perfect being the enemy of so much simple good.
In my failures, too, is a God worth adoring.
In these sounds of deep silence,
In this cocoon of night,
I take a renewed pledge,
I will immerse myself in every voluntary act of compassion and forgiveness,
Starting with myself, the tiny pebble I am,
One small chip freed from the rock,
Cast into the pond, this very pond before me,
Forming perfectly imperfect circles, lapping and joining
The eternal waters of the world.
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Deep appreciation to the photographers:Rotating banner photos top of page courtesy of Elizabeth Haslam, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/
Photo of Venus near the Pleiades by Luis Argerich, Buenos Aires, Argentina, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lrargerich/
beautiful brother! One thing to continue feeding us with sharp wit and concise reflections on life, but to put yourself out there like this today…we are lucky readers indeed. For your kind spirit, discipline, and today your sweet example of vulnerable creativity….THANK YOU!
First thought: beautiful. Surely poetry is a language of the soul. It is also, I have discovered, a promise—a promise of one’s intent for life. In his letter to the churches of Ephesus, the Apostle Paul speaks of the saints being the “workmanship of God.” The word “workmanship” comes from the Greek poiema, literally poetry. Those living life like the saints are God’s poetry in the world.
Don, Robert & Joan, Thanks so much; so glad you got something from it!
Lovely. The twist on Sisyphus, especially, will stay with me.
Amy, when I wrote about Camus’s “The Myth of Sisyphus” back in May I had to leave out probably the most astonishing lines, which wait till the end of his essay to spring themselves: “The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Love and life are both themselves so soul-stirring it’s easy to overlook just how much sheer work they also entail, but Camus saw both the need and the joy in intention and tenacity. He was onto something profound, I think, when he dissected the Sisyphus myth at first from the framework of “Given life’s absurdity, why don’t we just kill ourselves?” and then concluding, 88 pages of philosophical ruminations later, with, “Ah, but the struggle itself is worthy.”