Showing posts from January, 2009

A place I know not yet....

Whispers: by Mary Oliver

Have you ever
tried to
slide into
the heaven of sensation and met

you know not what
resistance but it
held you back? have you ever
turned on your shoulder

helplessly, facing
the white moon, crying
let me in? have you dared to count
the months as they pass and the years

while you imagined pleasure,
shining like honey, locked in some
secret tree? have you dared to feel
the isolation gathering

intolerably and recognized
what kinds of expressions can follow
from an intolerable condition? have
you walked out in the mornings

wherever you are in the world to consider
all those gleaming and reasonless lives
that flow outward and outward, easily, to the last
moment the bulbs of their lungs,

their bones and their appetites,
can carry them? oh have you
looked wistfully into
the flushed bodies of the flowers? have you stood,

staring out over the swamps. the swirling rivers
where the birds like tossing fires
flash through the trees, their bodies
exchanging a certain happiness

in the sleek, amazing
humdrum …

Epiphany 2

A reflection on 1 Samuel 3:1-20 and John 1:43-51

The rectory at my former parish in the Chicago area had a wooden deck outside the kitchen that over looked 2-1/2 acres of land, bordered by a small section of woods. At one time this deck had surely been the site for family cookouts and fun, but, because the house had been empty for three years, the deck was practically unusable due to a tilt from end to the other. Underneath the deck various animals had built dens and so it had also become a wild life habitat.

One day, as we were moving in, my dog stated barking wildly at the sliding glass door that led to the deck. And, there outside, standing on its hind legs, was a woodchuck, baring its big buck teeth. Eventually the woodchuck moved on, finding a better home somewhere in the neighborhood.

Over the next few years the various underground dens that resided under the deck, became home to rabbits and an occasional possum. The rabbits we enjoyed, but the possum we evicted, immediately …

More thoughts about poetry

I am moving deeper and deeper into my love of reading poetry. I am a picky poetry reader - not all poems speak to me and I will breeze through many before I stop and ponder one. That, or I simply don't give some poems the time they need in order to ripen in me. In reality I think that I have acquired such a short attention span these days, filled as I am with other stuff that rattles around in my head, that I only have the energy to read a poem, and a short one at that.

It's true my attention span is very short. I haven't read an entire book in months, many many months. I read a bit here and there. I read a lot of blogs and stuff on the internet. I skim through the newspaper. I save sections of the NY Times for a week, even two, thinking I will actually read it. Sometimes I do. Like when I'm on vacation and sitting in a coffee shop with the intention of reading the NY Times. But other times I will allow a few weeks of the paper to accumulate on the coffee table before I…



Proverbs of Hell: William Blake

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.

Drive your cart and plow over the bones of the dead.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

She who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.

The cut worm forgives the plow.

She whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.

The hours of folly are measur’d by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure.

All wholsom food is caught without a net or a trap.

Bring out number weight & measure in a year of dearth.

No bird soars too high, if she soars with her own wings.

The most sublime act is to set another before you
If the fool would persist in her folly she would become wise.

Folly is the cloke of knavery.

Shame is Pride’s cloke.

Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.

Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps.

The fox condemns the trap not himself.

Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth.

The bird …

Receiving Our Challenges

Gunilla Norris in her book "Simple Ways" offers a number of reflections on life. One of her reflections is called, "Receiving Our Challenges." She writes this:

"Trusting God with all our life means also to be able to trust the difficulties that come our way. Challenges and bitter sufferings can be gifts as well. To open to them is a profound act of humility. When the door slams and our hopes are dashed, when our health fails, a loved one dies, when the world closes in and the air we breath is full of despair, it is hard to receive such experiences as gift.

Years after a dreadful difficulty or loss, many people will say that it was the difficulty that was somehow a profound turning point, a gift in disguise. But in the middle of the suffering we simply want it "not to be." To pray for endurance, reprieve, help of any kind, is only natural then. But when the challenge is the kind that will not go away, we have no choice but to be in it, and with it, and…