Self-portraits, march 14, 2017

Sea Poppies by HD

Amber husk
fluted with gold,
fruit on the sand
marked with a rich grain,
treasure
spilled near the shrub-pines
to bleach on the boulders:
your stalk has caught root
among wet pebbles
and drift flung by the sea
and grated shells
and split conch-shells.
Beautiful, wide-spread,
fire upon leaf,
what meadow yields
so fragrant a leaf
as your bright leaf?

I Hear America Singing – Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or
at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows,
robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

master the mystery

What I am saying in this letter amounts to this. Let us try to master the mystey of technique to such an extent that people are deceived by it and will swear by all that is holy that we have no technique. Let our work be so savant that it seems naïve and does not stink of our sapience.

Vincent Van Gogh, letter to Amice Raspard, April 1884

The book of what one has lived

Either you look at the universe as a very poor creation out of which no one can make anything, or you look at your own life and your own part in the universe as infinitely rich, full of inexhaustible interest, opening out into infinite further possibilities for study and contemplation and praise. Beyond all and in all is God.

Perhaps the book of life, in the end, is the book of what one has lived, and if one has lived nothing, one is not in the book of life.

Thomas Merton, journal entry, 7.17.57