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Poems

 


 

Der Heilige Gral, ~1860
Dante Gabriel Charles Rossetti
(1828-1882) englischer Maler

 

 

 

 

Australischer Korallenfinger-Laubfrosch
Magnificent tree frog (Litoria splendida), 6. January 2006

 


 

*

You are what I AM

 

'How could I love you?' said the owl to the rabbit. 'I am what you ARE.'
'Is that so indeed?' the rabbit replied, delicately munching a dandelion.
'How could you hate me?' continued the owl; 'you are what I AM.'
'I never noticed it', observed the rabbit musingly.
'How could it be otherwise?' asked the owl. 'Whatever we are – I AM.'
'Since when?' inquired the rabbit. 'Is it recent?'
'Since always,' answered the owl, 'there is no "Time".'
'Then where does it occur?'
'Everywhere; there is no "Space".'
'So we are really one?' suggested the rabbit cheerfully.
'Certainly not,' snapped the owl. 'there is no "one".'
'Then what is there?' the rabbit inquired dubiously.
'No "thing" whatever!' the owl replied with severity.
'So what?' asked the rabbit, mystified.
'So, life!' said the owl, flapping his great wings and clacking his beak.
'As the Masters said so often, "when I'm hungry – I eat, and when I'm weary – I sleep!"
'

 

Sources: ► Wei Wu Wei [Terence James Stannus Gray] (1895-1986) Irish aristocrat, Taoist philosopher, writer,
Unworldly Wise. As the Owl Remarked to the Rabbit,
enlightened parable, eighth and final book of the series, Sentient Publications, 1st edition 2. March 2004

The soul that rises with us

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.

Source: ► William Woodsworth (1770-1850) English Romantic poet,
Ode: Intimations of Immortality, completed in 1804, published in "Poems"
in Two Volumes, 1807, Arthur Quiller-Couch, editor, 1919

The impossible dream

 

To dream the impossible dream
To fight  the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow

Asymmetrical appearance of the
oscillating variable star Mira, NASA HST image,
Hubble space telescope, 6. August 1997
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest, to follow that star
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To fight for the right, without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause

 

And I know if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm,
when I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,

To reach the unreachable star

 

Source: ► Song The Impossible Dream, composed by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion, Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, 1964
Audio versions:
The Impossible dream (with lyrics), interpreter Frank Sinatra, YouTube film, 2:32 minutes duration, posted 13. June 2011
The Impossible Dream (1971), interpreter Elvis Presley YouTube film, 3:01 minutes duration, posted 22. October 2010

Fairy tales

   Fairy tales

 

enchantment
in the green skin of the frog
in the glass slipper
in the naked foot
in the midas touch
in the face reflected
in the shining armor
in the dragon's eye
large as a pool of clear green water
large enough to drown one's reason in.

Source: ► Indira Parsons, The Clear and Simple Way, 24. November 2008

Froglessness

              Froglessness              

 

The first fruition of the practice
is the attainment of froglessness.

 

When a frog is put
on the center of the plate,
she will jump out of the plate
after just a few seconds.

 

If you put the frog back again
on the center of the plate,
she will again jump out.

 

You have so many plans.
There is something you want to become.
Therefore you always want to make a leap,
a leap forward.

 

It is difficult
to keep the frog still
on the center of the plate.

 

You and I
both have Buddha Nature in us.
This is encouraging,
but you and I
both have Frog Nature in us.

 

That is why
the first attainment
of the practice –
froglessness is its name.

 

Source: ► Thich Nhat Hanh (*1926) Vietnamese France based Buddhist monk, peace activist, teacher,
poet, author, Call Me by My True Names. The Collected Poems, S. 180, Parallax Press, California, 1999

Poem Steps – Hermann Hesse

          Steps          

 


Pulpit staircaseJesuit Church, Heidelberg, Germany

As every blossom fades
and all youth sinks into old age,
so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
attains its prime and cannot last forever.
The heart must submit itself courageously
to life’s call without a hint of grief,
A magic dwells in each beginning,
protecting us, telling us how to live.

High purposed we shall traverse realm on realm,
cleaving to none as to a home,
the world of spirit wishes not to fetter us
but raise us higher, step by step.
Scarce in some safe accustomed sphere of life
have we establish a house, then we grow lax;
only he who is ready to journey forth
can throw old habits off.

Maybe death’s hour too will send us out new-born
towards undreamed-lands,
maybe life’s call to us will never find an end
Courage my heart, take leave and fare thee well.

Source: ► Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) German-born Swiss poet, novelist, translated by
Walter A. Aue, Words Between Worlds, philosophical poem Steps, written 4. May 1941,
excerpted from Sämtliche Gedichte in einem Band, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1995

True peace

             The True Peace             

 

The first peace, which is the most important,
is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship,
their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize
at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit,
and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.

The second peace is that which is made between two individuals,

and the third peace is that which is made between two nations.

But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations
until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men.

Source: ► Black Elk ['Wičháša Wakȟáŋ; Hehaka Sapa'] (1863-1950) North American medicine elder and heyoka of the
Oglala Lakota tribe (Sioux) of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux), Catholic katechist, Pine Ridge reservation, South Dakota,
The Sacred Pipe. Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux, 1953

Peace poem – Tao Te Ching

If there is to be peace in the world,
there must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
there must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
there must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
there must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
there must be peace in the heart.

Source: ► Tao Te Ching [The Book of the Way] 800-200 BC

The road not taken

             The road less travelled             

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh
somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.

 

Source: ► Robert Frost (1874-1963) US American poet, The Road Not Taken, 1916
Video references:
► Video presentation The Road Not Taken, published 1916, read by the author Robert Frost and Alan Bates, YouTube film, 1:18 minutes duration, posted 12. September 2011
► Video presentation by Kevin Murphy, US American professor of English, Ithaca College, Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken", YouTube film, 23:47 minutes duration, 29. June 2008
Examination of the discrepancy between Robert Frost's popularity during his lifetime and the darker implications of his poetry, as exemplified by one of his most cherished poems.

Law of life

The Law Of Life

Whatever you give away today,
Or think or say or do;
Will multiply about ten fold,
And then return to you.

It may not come immediately,
Nor from the obvious source;
But the law applies unfailingly,
Through some invisible force.

Whatever you feel about another,
Be it love or hate or passion;
Will surely bounce back to you,
In some clear or secret fashion.

If you speak about some person,
A word of praise or two;
Soon tens of other people,
Will speak kind words of you.

Our thoughts are broadcasts of the soul,
Not secrets of the brain;
Kind ones bring us happiness,
Petty ones, untold pain.

Giving works as surely as,
Reflections in a mirror;
If hate you send, hate you’ll get back,
But loving brings love nearer.

Remember, as you start this day,
And duty, crowds your mind;
That kindness comes so quickly back,
To those who first are kind.

Let that thought and this one,
Direct you through each day;
The only things we ever keep,
Are the things we give away.

 

Author unknown

Time to stand and stare

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

Source: ► W. H. Davies (1871-1940) Welsh poet, writer, vagabond
in the United States and United Kingdom, poem Leisure, 1911

Don’t chase the big chariot

Don’t chase the big chariot
You’ll only choke on dust
Don’t’ think about the world’s pain
You’ll only make yourself miserable

Don’t chase the big chariot
You’ll be blinded with dust
Don’t think about the world’s pain
Or you will never escape from despair.

Taoist poem

Avocation and vocation

My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.

Source: ► Robert Frost (1874-1963) US American poet,
Two Tramps in Mud Time, Spiral Press, New York, 1934

Blind men discovering an elephant

            The Blind Men and the Elephant           

 


Blind men and an elephant
Martha Adelaide Holton, Charles Madison Curry,
Holton-Curry Readers, pg. 108, Rand McNally & Co., Chicago, 1914

It was six men of Indostan to learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant (though all of them were blind),
That each by observation might satisfy his mind

Is very like a wall!
Is very like a spear!
Is very like a snake!
Is very like a tree!
Is very like a fan!?
Is very like a rope!

And so these men of Indostan disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

So oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant not one of them has seen!

Source: ► John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) American poet,
poem of the Indian parable The Blind Men and the Elephant, 19th century
Siehe auch: ► Die Schaulustigen und der Elefant

Balancing wants and needs

* * *
I want to love you ... without clutching.
I want to appreciate you ... without judging.
I want to invite you ... without demanding.
I want to ask you ... without pleading.
I want to leave you ... without guilt feelings.
I want to join you ... without invading.
I want to criticize you ... without blaming.
I want to help you ... without insulting.
If I can have the same from you,
we can meet and truly enrich each other.

 

Source: ► Virginia Satir ['Mother of Family Therapy'] (1916-1988) US American
social worker, family constellations therapist, author, Making Contact,
poem "Goals for Me", Celestial Arts, 1976

Poems on depression

A lazy part of us is like a tumbleweed.
It doesn’t move on its own. Sometimes it takes
A lot of Depression to get tumbleweeds moving.

Robert Bly (*1926) US American activist, leader of the Mythopoetic Men's Movement, poet, author, Morning Poems

Hiding in my room, safe within my womb,
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Paul Simon (*1941) US American singer-songwriter, guitarist, poet,
cited in: I Am a Rock (song)

Benefit of dark hours

I love the dark hours of my being
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.
Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that's wide and timeless.

 

Source: ► Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) Bohemian-Austrian poet, novelist, Rilke's Book of Hours.
Love Poems to God
, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy, April 1905,
Riverhead Trade, 8th edition 1. April 1997

Love the questions (problems)

Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart.
Try to love the questions themselves


Bridal Pink Boerner, United States, 1967

like locked rooms and like books written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not seek now the answers, which cannot be given to you because
you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it,
live along some distant day into the answer.'''

Source: ► Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) Bohemian-Austrian poet, novelist,
Letters to a Young Poet (1903-1908), published in 1929

Afflictions rendered by if, lies, sins, death

In our life – there is "if"
In our beliefs – there is "lie"
In our business – there is "sin"
And in our bodies – there is "die"

 

Source: ► Dave Mustaine (*1961) US American founder, main songwriter,
guitarist, lead vocalist of the American heavy metal band Megadeth

Patterns

Patterns
From the moment of my birth
To the instant of my death
There are patterns I must follow
Just as I must breathe each breath.
Like a rat in a maze
The path before me lies
And the pattern never alters
Until the rat dies.
And the pattern still remains
On the wall where darkness fell
And its fitting that it should
For in darkness I must dwell.
Like the color of my skin
Or the day that I grow old
My life is made of patterns
That can scarcely be controlled.

Source: ► Paul Simon (*1941) US American singer-songwriter, poet

To the unknown God

To the Unknown God

Once more, before I wander on
And turn my glance forward,
I lift up my hands to you in loneliness —
You, to whom I flee,
To whom in the deepest depths of my heart
I have solemnly consecrated altars
So that
Your voice might summon me again.

 

On them glows, deeply inscribed, the words:
To the unknown god.
I am his, although until this hour
I've remained in the wicked horde:
I am his – and I feel the bonds
That pull me down in my struggle
And, would I flee,
Force me into his service.

 

I want to know you, Unknown One,
You who have reached deep into my soul,
Into my life like the gust of a storm,
You incomprehensible yet related one!
I want to know you, even serve you.

Source: ► Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) German classical scholar,
philosopher, critic of culture, Dem unbekannten Gotte, 1864

Road to success

The road to success is not straight.

 

There is a curve called Failure,
A loop called Confusion,
speed bumps called Friends,
red lights called Enemies,
caution lights called Family.
You will have flats called Jobs.

 

But,
if you have a spare called Determination,
an engine called Perseverance,
an insurance called Faith,
a driver called GOD,
you will make it to a place called Success.

 

Author unknown

Traits of a successful life

What is success?

He has achieved success
who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
who has enjoyed the trust of pure women,
who has won the respect of intelligent men
and the affection of little children;
who has earned the approval of honest critics
and endured the betrayal of false friends;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
who has never lacked to appreciate Earth's beauty
or failed to express it always;
who has left the world a bit better than he found it,
whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm
and sung with exultation;
who has always looked for the best in others
and given them the best he had;
whose life was an inspiration;
whose memory a benediction.

Source: ► Elisabeth-Anne "Bessie" Anderson Stanley (1879-1952) US American writer, contest winner of Brown Book Magazine, George Livingston Richards Co., Boston, Massachusetts, poem "Success", 1904,
Incorrectly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson or Robert Louis Stevenson

Choosing between freedom and love

* * *
I saw a woman sleeping.
In her sleep she dreamt Life stood before her,
and held in each hand a gift –
in the one Love,
in the other Freedom.
And she said to the woman,

"Choose!"

And the woman waited long: and she said,
"Freedom!"

And Life said,
"Thou hast well chosen.
If thou hadst said Love,
I would have given thee
that thou didst ask for;
and returned to thee no more.
Now the day will come when I shall return.
In that day I shall bear both gifts in one hand.
I heard the woman laugh in her sleep.
''

* * *

Source: ► Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) South African author,
anti-war campaigner, intellectual, Life's Gifts, 1892

Love is our master

Love is our lord and master.
It is not a wanton decay of the flesh,
Nor the crumbling of desire
When desire and self are wrestling;
Nor is it flesh that takes arms against the spirit.
Love rebels not.
It only leaves the trodden way of ancient destinies for the sacred grove,
To sing and dance its secret to eternity.
Love is youth with chains broken,
Manhood made free from the sod,
And womanhood warmed by the flame
And shining with the light of heaven deeper than our heaven.
Love is a distant laughter in the spirit.
It is a wild assault that hushes you to your awakening.
It is a new dawn unto the earth,
A day not yet achieved in your eyes or mine,
But already achieved in its own greater heart.

Source: ► Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanese American painter, philosopher, poet, author
The Earth Gods, '"The Earth Gods", Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 18th edition 1. January 1971

I myself am heaven and hell

I sent my soul into the invisible
Some glimpse of that afterlife to spell.
And by and by my soul returned to me
And answered,
I myself am heaven and hell.
Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, poet,
Rubaiyat (Rubaiyat) devotional scripture

  

Real work

The Real Work
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
Source: ► Wendell Berry (*1934) US American academic, cultural and economic critic, farmer, man of letters, The Collected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1957-1982, North Point Press, March 1987

The Serpent and the Lily


"Whence came you hither?" asked the golden king.
"Out of the clefts where the gold dwells," replied the serpent.
"What is more glorious than gold?"
"Light."
"What is more quickening than light?"
"Conversation."
Source: ► Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) German polymath, poet, playwright,
dramatist, novelist, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, Hawthorn Press, 1999
cited in: Marjorie Spock, The Art of Goethean Conversation, 1983

Imagine

Imagine all the people living life in peace.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one.

 

John Lennon (1940-1980) English musician, singer-songwriter, founding member of the music band The Beatles

First they came...

On April 22nd, 1946 Niemöller claimed that if Germany's 14,000 pastors had stood together to shun
the Nazis in the beginning, they might all have been shot. However, their deaths might
have opened the eyes of the world and saved at least 35,000,000 lives.

 

* * *

First they came
for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Poem First they came... by Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) German pastor,
imprisoned for eight and one-half years in a Nazi concentration camp,
speech to the representatives of the Confessing Church, Frankfurt, 6. January 1946

 


Animated unity ring

 

When Hitler attacked the Jews
I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics,
I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists,
I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church –
and there was nobody left to be concerned.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) German pastor,
address to the U.S. Congress, Congressional Record, page 31636, 14. October 1968

 

Whoever wants peace must want to live together with their opponents.
We have to risk trusting each other. There stops the arms race.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) German pastor

 

Source: ► Harold Marcuse, US American professor of German history, University of California,
Santa Barbara (UCSB), Martin Niemöller's famous quotation, 12. September 2000
See also: ► Mustering moral courage

 

* * *

Without the pain

Without the pain
there'd be no learning,
without the hurting
we'd never change.

 

Kate Bush (*1958) British singer, pianist, songwriter

Awful grace of God

He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.

 

Aeschylus (525/524-455/456 BC) Ancient Greek tragedian, Agamemnon, play

Concentrating upon the unseen

Fools scatter about their many attributes, the wise keep such within
A piece of straw floats upon the surface of water, a precious gemstone sinks to the bottom!
Therefore, it is best to disregard the seen and concentrate upon the unseen.
Only within the latter may riches be found.

Ancient Greek parable

Engage me and I learn

Tell me and I forget,
Teach me and I remember,
Engage me and I learn.

Chinese Proverb

There's a hole in my sidewalk


Autobiography in five chapters
༺༻1st station2nd station3rd station4th station5th station
Situation
Subject
I walk down the street.I walk down the same street.I walk down the same street.I walk down the same street.I walk down a DIFFERENT street.
Situation
Object
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.There is a deep hole in the sidewalk../.
Denial./.I pretend I don't see it.I see it is there../../.
Problem
SubjectObject
I fall in.I fall in again.I still fall in — it's a habit../../.
Victim stance / LearningI am lost — I am helpless.I can't believe I'm in the same place.My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
./../.
ResponsibilityIt isn't my fault.But it isn't my fault.It is MY RESPONSIBILITY../../.
SolutionIt takes forever to find a way out.It still takes a long time to get out.I get out immediately.I walk around it../.
NOTE: This poem is used in numerous 12-step substance-abuse programs.
Source: ► Portia Nelson (1920-2001) US American singer, composer, painter, photographer, actress, lyricist, writer excerpted from her autobiography There's a Hole in My Sidewalk. The Romance of Self-Discovery, Autobiography in five short chapters, Popular Library, 1977, Beyond Words Publishing, 35th anniversary edition 21. February 2012
See also: ► Four collective denial patterns – Breaking taboos

No man is an island.

All mankind is of one author, and is one volume;
when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language;
and every chapter must be so translated. [...]
As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon,
calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all:
but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. [...]
No man is an island, entire of itself, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

[...] any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind;
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

 

Source: ► John Donne (1572-1631) English lawyer, priest, satirist, metaphysical poet,
poem Meditation XVII, famous line No man is an island, 1623

Letting go

 

Letting Go

To let go doesn't mean to stop caring;
It means I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off.
It's the realization that I can't control another.

To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.

To let go is not to be protective,
It is to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny, but to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more.
'

 

Author Unknown

Not tied or bound

 

If I could only let it go

Drop what's in my hand, without a second thought.
But with layers, layers, layers of frustration, hold on with all I've got.
Take the anger. Grip it tighter. Grip it tighter yet.

This feeling of discomfort; closed as a fist can get.
I open up my sweaty palm and roll the object 'round.
Notice that it's not attached; that I'm not tied or bound.
I am it, or I have it.
Why struggle to hold on?
If I could only let it go, my hurting would be... G o n e.

Find my comfort. Focus Inward. Live with open hand.
I needn't grip things any longer, blown away like sand.
At core I'm silent, I'm at Peace.
Air in a bubble, finds r e l e a s e.

No more with pain or darkness, no longer hurt by lies.
No longer blinded by scales, which once covered my eyes.
This is what the wind feels like. Unhindered by confine.
Set free all my frustrations; they're here but they're not mine.
'

 

* * *

If you love someone let them go.

If you love someone let them go.
If they stay away then they were never yours to begin with.
If they come back then they are yours to keep.

  Unknown

Attitude of 'Anyway'

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

 

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

 

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

 

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

 

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

 

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

 

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

 

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

 

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

 

Mother Teresa
Originally taken from a poem The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith, written in 1968, renewed 2001.
Mother Teresa changed his lines to some extent. Above poem was engraved at the wall of her children's home in Calcutta, India.

Holy longing

* * *
The Holy Longing
Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
Because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.


In the calm water of love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you see the silent candle burning.


Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love making
sweeps you forward.


Distance does not make you falter
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.


And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.

 

Source: ► Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) German polymath, playwright, poet,
dramatist, novelist, West-Eastern Divan, collection of lyrical poems (1819-1827)

 

Guest house

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

 

Source: ► Jalal ad-Din Muḥammad Rumi (1207-1273) Persian Muslim poet, Sufi mystic, jurist, theologian,
The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne,
Harper, San Francisco, 1995, 7th edition 28. May 2004

Stillness ♦ movement ♦ everything

Stillness is what creates love,
Movement is what creates life,
To be still, yet still moving –
That is everything!

Source: ► Do Hyun Choe, Sugi master
Sugi = fishing tackle made from fluorocarbon instead of plastic monofilament

Perfect nobodyness

I am nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore I am perfect.
Unknown

Much madness

 

Much madness
is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
’T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, – you’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

 

Source: ► Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) US American poet
Complete Poems, Part One: Life XI, 1924

We're all mad here.

* * *

'But I don’t want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can’t help that,' said the Cat:
'We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.'
'How do you know I’m mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,' said the Cat,
'or you wouldn’t have come here.''''

 

* * *

 

Alice: Am I crazy?

Dad: Yes, Alice, I think you are.
But I’ll tell you something. All the greatest people are.

 

* * *

 

Alice: There is no use trying, said Alice; one can't believe impossible things.
Queen: I dare say you haven't had much practice, said the queen.
When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day why sometimes
I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

 

* * *

 

  Source: ► Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) English writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon, photographer,
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 1865

When death comes

* * *

 

When Death Comes

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

 

* * *

 

  Source: ► Mary Oliver (*1935) US American poet, New and Selected Poems, Volume One,
Beacon Press, reprint edition 15. April 2004

Do not stand at my grave

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Source: ► Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004)
US American housewife, florist, Baltimore, Do not stand at my grave

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Source: ► Lord Byron [George Gordon Noel Byron, 6th Baron Byron] (1788-1824) English Romantic poet, lengthy narrative poem in four parts Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, 1812-1818

Auguries of innocence

Auguries of Innocence

 

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

 

><)))°> * <°)))><

Source: ► William Blake (1757-1827) English poet, painter, engraver, illustrator

Poetic quotes

(↓)

Insights of a poem created after three weeks of spiritual crisis

Personal avowals

  • I cannot believe how much of my creativity I have used to keep life away from me rather than to participate in the great gift of life. Julia B. Cameron (*1948) US American teacher, journalist, film director, author, poet, poem Eagle or Sun

 

  • Poems are maps to the place where you already are. Jane Hirshfield (*1953) US American poet, ordinated lay person in Soto Zen, source unknown

  • When in these sessions of gratifying silent thought
    I think of the past,
    I lament my failure to achieve all that I wanted,
    And I sorrowfully remember that I wasted the best years of my life:
    Then I can cry, although I am not used to crying,
    For dear friends now hid in death's unending night,
    And cry again over woes that were long since healed,
    And lament the loss of many things that I have seen and loved:
    Then can I grieve over past griefs again,
    And sadly repeat (to myself) my woes
    The sorrowful account of griefs already grieved for [fore-bemoaned moan],
    Which (the account) I repay as if I had not paid before.
    But if I think of you while I am in this state of sadness, dear friend,
    All my losses are compensated for and my sorrow ends.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist, playwright, lyricist, actor, paraphrased version of Sonnet 30

 

  • Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
    These rebel powers that thee array;
    Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
    Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
    [...] So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
    And, Death once dead, there's no more dying then.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist, playwright, lyricist, actor, Sonnet 146 Poor Soul, the Centre of my Sinful Earth

 

  • To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour.

    William Blake (1757-1827) English poet, painter, engraver, illustrator, Auguries of Innocence, poem, line 1, ~1803

 

  • O joy of suffering!
    To struggle against great odds! to meet enemies undaunted!
    To be entirely alone with them! to find how much one can stand!
    To look strife, torture, prison, popular odium, death, face to face!
    To mount the scaffold! to advance to the muzzles of guns with perfect nonchalance!
    To be indeed a God!
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) US American Quaker, journalist, poet, essayist, Leaves of Grass, 196. Poem of Joys, 4 July 1855

 

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