Rumi

Your life is like a purse of gold:
day and night are like money changers.
Continually Time counts out that gold,
until your purse is emptied and death is here.

If you dig away at a mountain
and don’t replace anything of what you’ve taken
a desolate land is left behind.

So for every breath you breathe out,
put another in its place.
Fall in worship and draw near
so you may reach your aim.

when your tongue is silent…

When your tongue is silent, you can rest in the silence of the forest. When your imagination is silent, the forest speaks to you. It tells you of its unreality and the Reality of God. But when your mind is silent, then the forest suddenly becomes magnificently real and blazes transparently with the Reality of God.
Thomas Merton, journal entry, March 17, 1952

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photo: Assisi, January 2005

perfect joy

On a cold winter’s day, Saint Francis walked with Brother Leo from Perugia to the Porziuncola. Because of their poverty, they suffered much in the cold. At one point, Saint Francis said to Brother Leo: “If God desired that the Friars Minor should serve as a great example of holiness to all people in all lands, please write down that this would not be perfect joy.” At some point later in their journey, Saint Francis said to Brother Leo: “If the Friars Minor could make the lame walk; if we could straighten the crooked; if we could chase away demons; if we could give sight to the blind and speech to the dumb; and even if we could raise the dead after four days, please write down and note carefully that this would not be perfect joy.”

Soon after, Saint Francis said to Brother Leo: “If the Friars Minor could speak every language; if they knew everything about science; if they could explain all the scriptures; if they could predict the future and reveal the secrets of every soul, please write down and note carefully that this would not be perfect joy.” After a few more steps, Saint Francis cried: “Brother Leo, little one of God! If the Friars Minor could sing like angels; if they could explain the movements of the stars; if they knew everything about all animals, birds, fish, plants, stones, trees, and all men, please write down and note carefully that this would not be perfect joy.” Finally, Saint Francis cried again: “Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor could preach and thus convert every person to faith in Christ, please write down and note carefully that even this is not perfect joy.”

When this manner of discourse lasted for several miles, Brother Leo, who had been thinking about these sayings, asked: “Father Francis, I pray that you will teach me about perfect joy.” Saint Francis answered: “If we arrive at the Porziuncola and if we are drenched with rain and trembling with cold, covered in mud and exhausted from hunger; and if we knock on the convent gate; and if we are not recognized by the porter; and if he tells us that we are impostors who seek to deceive the world and steal from the poor; and if he refuses to open the gate; and if he leaves us outside, exposed to the rain and snow, suffering from cold and hunger; then if we embrace the injustice, cruelty, and contempt with patience, without complaining; and if we believe in faith, love, and humility that the porter knew us but was told by God to reject us, then, my dear Brother Leo, please write down and note carefully that this also is perfect joy!”

Saint Francis then said: “Brother Leo, if we knock again and if the porter drives us away with curses and blows; and if he accuses us of robbery and other crimes; and if we embrace this with patience without complaining; and if we believe in faith, love, and humility that the porter knew us but was told by God to reject us again, then, my dear Brother Leo, please write down and note carefully that this is finally perfect joy!” Saint Francis said once more: “If urged by cold and hunger, we knock again; if we call again to the porter; if we plead to him with many tears to open the gate and to give us shelter out of love for God; and if he returns more angry than ever; and if he calls us annoying rascals and beats us with a knotted stick; and if he throws us to the ground, rolls us in the snow, and beats us again with the knotted stick; and if we bear these injuries with patience without complaining; and if we think upon the sufferings of our Blessed Crucified Lord, then, most beloved Brother Leo, please write down and note carefully that this, finally, is perfect joy!”

from The Little Flowers of St. Francis

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what is the deepest loss that you have suffered?

Silent friend of many distances, feel
how your breath enlarges all of space.
Let your presence ring out like a bell
into the night. What feeds upon your face

grows mighty from the nourishment thus offered.
Move through transformation, out and in.
What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.

In this immeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your senses in their magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter.

And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

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Holy Moley!!!

The response to the first issue of Hole In The Head Review has been positive!

Holy Moley! I’d call this an auspicious debut, but that would be one very weak adjective. I’m usually very reluctant to contribute to Inaugural Issues. Now, I’m sorry I missed the boat.

It’s easy to create a website; blog a bit when one has time. Takes a lot more vision and ambition to launch a literary/art review that has inspiring poetry by noted poets, compelling art and a muscular intelligence. I highly recommend Hole in the Head Review. Take some real time, nourish your mind, eyes and heart… and enjoy!

Sometimes we need more professional sports like we need a hole in the head ! Thanks Hole In the Head Review. (written during the Super Bowl)

I really enjoyed seeing the first issue! Congratulations!!

Very excited to have my poem appear in Hole In the Head Review’s first issue alongside some very great poets and artists.

To my pages-and-words mates, I am so proud to be among you, and to rediscover, especially right now, the joy & comfort that craft and companionship have to offer. And so we persist.

Congratulations! This new litmag IS what we need right now. Cheers to Hole In The Head!

…graphically beautiful and full of engaging work!

It is truly, truly beautiful. The music of the many poems, the different tones, points of view, levels of emotions, differences in location and voices—cannot believe you made this art so quickly and elegantly.

Please take a minute to tell us what you think. We’d love to hear from you. http://www.holeintheheadreview.com