ripples of hope

FB_IMG_1591395915191“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

― Robert F. Kennedy

Whenever I groan within myself…

Whenever I groan within myself and think how hard it is to keep writing about love in these times of tension and strife which may at any moment become for us all a time of terror, I think to myself, “What else is the world interested in?” What else do we all want, each one of us, except to love and be loved, in our families, in our work, in all our relationships. God is Love. Love casts out fear. Even the most ardent revolutionist, seeking to change the world, to overturn the tables of the money changers, is trying to make a world where it is easier for people to love, to stand in that relationship with each other of love. We want with all our hearts to love, to be loved. And not just in the family but to look upon all as our mothers, sisters, brothers, children. It is when we love the most intensely and most humanly, that we can recognize how tepid is our love for others. The keenness and intensity of love brings with it suffering, of course, but joy too because it is a foretaste of heaven. – Dorothy Day

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken – Rainer Maria Rilke

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
(Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

A Two-Headed Thing – Rumi (…never think that you are worthless. God has paid an enormous amount for you…)

The universe swings again into orbit around us.
Am I looking for you or you for me?
The question is wrong.

As long as I keep using two pronouns,
I am this in-between, two-headed thing.

Some of the water in my stream flows quickly by.
Some stays frozen in an ice ledge along the bank.

Sun says to stone, Let me shine inside you
and change your center to ruby.

As the sun of infinite love
comes into your love,
you are given more humble work,
something common like streetsweeping;
then you are given mastery.

The sun says to the unripe grape,
There is a kitchen inside you
where you can make vinegar,
or if I help, sweet juice.

The king says to the falcon, I cover your eyes
with a hood, so that you will break
with your kind and see only my face.
The falcon replies, Yes.

The rose says to the garden,
I display these robes,
so that you will let the other flowers go
and be a one-rose garden.

Imagine a man selling his donkey
to be with Jesus.

Now imagine him selling Jesus
to get a ride on a donkey.
This does happen.
Jesus can transform a drunk into gold.
If the drunk is already golden,
he can be changed to pure diamond.
If already that, he can become the circling
planets, Jupiter, Venus, the moon.

Never think that you are worthless.
God has paid an enormous amount for you,
and the gifts keep arriving.

Dates from a withered branch,
the sweet light that came to Jesus in the cradle.

My face now makes the world’s bathhouse hot.
Don’t look at the wet wall paintings.
Look here.

There is something in us
that has nothing to do with night and day,
grapes that never saw a vineyard.

WE ARE ALL RETURNING.

says the Qur’an. Enjoy Shams,
or if you cannot do that, at least
consider what honest people tell you.

DSC_8165

Today a Leaf (for William Merwin) – Gerald Stern

Today it was just a dry leaf that told me
I should live for love.
It wasn’t the six birds sitting like little angels
in the white birch tree,
or the knife I use to carve my pear with.
It was a leaf, that had read Tolstoi, and Krishnamurti,
that had loved William James,
and put sweet Jesus under him where he could be safe forever.
“The world is so bright,” he said. “You should see the light.”
“We are born without defenses, both babies and leaves.”
“The branch is necessary but it’s in the way.”
“I am not afraid. I am never afraid.”
The he stretched his imaginary body
this way and that.
He weighs half a gram, is brown and green,
with two large mold spots on one side, and a stem
that curls away, as if with a little pride,
and he could be easily swept up and forgotten,
but oh he taught me love for two good hours,
and helped me with starvation, and dread, and dancing.
As far as I’m concerned his grave is here
beside me,
next to the telephone and the cupful of yellow pencils,
under the window, in the rich and lovely presence
of Franz Joseph Haydn and Domenico Scarlatti and Gustav Mahler
forever.

DSC_7896

Photo: Grindstone, Maine – September 2019

spiritual privacy

Secrecy and solitude are values that belong to the very essence of personality.
A person is a person in so far as he has a secret and is a solitude of his own that cannot be communicated to anyone else. If I love a person, I will love that which most makes him a person: the secrecy, the hiddenness, the solitude of his own individual being, which God alone can penetrate and understand.
A love that breaks into the spiritual privacy of another in order to lay open all his secrets and besiege his solitude with importunity does not love him: it seeks to destroy what is best in him, and what is most intimately his. – Thomas Merton