No One Hears

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (1591 – 1666),
best known as Guercino (Squinter)

 

Angels

They have little use. They are best as objects of torment.
No government cares what you do with them.

Like birds, and yet so human . . .
They mate by briefly looking at the other.
Their eggs are like white jellybeans.

Sometimes they have been said to inspire a man to do more with his life than he might have.
But what is there for a man to do with his life?

. . . They burn beautifully with a blue flame.

When they cry out it is like the screech of a tiny hinge; the cry of a bat. No one hears it . . .

 

Russell Edson (1935 – 2014)

 

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Published in: on January 23, 2018 at 5:47 pm  Comments (3)  
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A Boy Was Born

pallFederico Fiori (c. 1526 – 1612)


In Memoriam

 

https:// 
  www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt1rVw3N8ks

Benjamin Britten setting (1933) of a Middle English carol from an anonymous manuscript written around 1504.

Evening

carpaccio cupid stVittore Carpaccio (c. 1465 – 1525/1526)

 

Evening

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion of what becomes
a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.

 

Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926)

translated by Stephen Mitchell

Lullaby in Blue

Gerard_David_-_Madonna_and_Child_with_the_Milk_SoupMadonna and Child with the Milk Soup
Gerard David
 (c. 1460 – 13 August 1523)
–painter and manuscript illuminator. Only a bare outline of his life survives



Lullaby in Blue

[. . . . .]

Child, from this world now you will draw your breath
   and let out your moth flutter of blue sighs.
Now your mother will listen for each one,
   alert enough to hear snow starting to flake

   from the sky, bay water beginning to freeze.
Sleep now, little shadow, as your first world
   still flickers across your face, that other side

   where all was given and nothing desired.
Soon enough you’ll want milk, want faces, hands,
   heartbeats and voices singing in your ear.

   Soon the world will amaze you, and you
will give back its bird-warble, its dove call,
   singing that blue note which deepens the song,

   that longing for what no one can recall,
your small night cry roused from the wholeness
   you carry into this broken world


Betsy Sholl
from  ROUGH CRADLE (Alice James, 2009)
[This is an excerpt from Lullaby in Blue.
Please see the complete poem here: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/lullaby-blue]

 

Published in: on December 27, 2015 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Solstice

doveGerard David (c. 1460 – 13 August 1523) 

 

Interim

The earth is motionless
And poised in space …
A great bird resting in its flight
Between the alleys of the stars.
It is the wind’s hour off ….
The wind has nestled down among the corn ….
The two speak privately together,
Awaiting the whirr of wings.

 

Lola Ridge (December 1873 – May 1941)

 

 

Published in: on December 22, 2015 at 11:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Word Calling Forth the World

giottoGiotto di Bondone (1266 – 1337)

 

Jubilate Agno, Fragment

For TEA is a blessed plant and of excellent virtue. God give the Physicians more skill and honesty!

For nutmeg is exceeding wholesome and cherishing, neither does it hurt the liver.

For The Lightning before death is God’s illumination in the spirit for preparation and for warning.

For Lavender Cotton is exceeding good for the teeth. God be gracious to Windsmore.

For the Fern is exceeding good and pleasant to rub the teeth.

For a strong preparation of Mandragora is good for the gout.

For the Bark was a communication from God and is sovereign.

For the method of curing an ague by terror is exaction.

For Exaction is the most accursed of all things, because it brought the Lord to the cross, his betrayers and murderers being such from their exaction.

For an Ague is the terror of the body, when the blessing of God is withheld for a season.

For benevolence is the best remedy in the first place and the bark in the second.

For, when the nation is at war, it is better to abstain from the punishment of criminals especially, every act of human vengeance being a check to the grace of God.

For the letter ל [Hebrew character lamed] which signifies GOD by himself is on the fibre of some leaf in every Tree.

For ל is the grain of the human heart and on the network of the skin.

For ל is in the veins of all stones both precious and common.

For ל is upon every hair both of man and beast.

For ל is in the grain of wood.

For ל is in the ore of all metals.

For ל is on the scales of all fish.

For ל is on the petals of all flowers.

For ל is upon on all shells.

For ל is in the constituent particles of air.

For ל is on the mite of the earth.

For ל is in the water yea in every drop.

For ל is in the incomprehensible ingredients of fire.

For ל is in the stars the sun and in the Moon.

For ל is upon the Sapphire Vault.

For the doubling of flowers is the improvement of the gardners talent.

For the flowers are great blessings.

For the Lord made a Nosegay in the meadow with his disciples and preached upon the lily.

For the angels of God took it out of his hand and carried it to the Height.

For a man cannot have publick spirit, who is void of private benevolence.

For there is no Height in which there are not flowers.

For flowers have great virtues for all the senses.

For the flower glorifies God and the root parries the adversary.

For the flowers have their angels even the words of God’s Creation.

For the warp and woof of flowers are worked by perpetual moving spirits.

For flowers are good both for the living and the dead.

For there is a language of flowers.

For there is a sound reasoning upon all flowers.

For elegant phrases are nothing but flowers.

For flowers are peculiarly the poetry of Christ.

For flowers are medicinal.

For flowers are musical in ocular harmony.

For the right names of flowers are yet in heaven. God make gard’ners better nomenclators.

For the Poorman’s nosegay is an introduction to a Prince.


Christopher Smart (1722 – 1771)

Angelico,_linaioli_tabernacle

Fra Angelico (c. 1395– February 18, 1455)

Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 8:09 pm  Comments (4)  
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Drawing On Being

lamb drawing

Illumination from the “Edge of Life”

Rachel Naomi Remen’s telling of a formative story of hope:
On her fourth birthday, her grandfather, an Orthodox rabbi and a student of the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah, taught her about “the birthday of the world,” as he called it: In the beginning, the world was made of light. But by some accident, the light was scattered, and it lodged as countless sparks inside every aspect of creation. The highest human calling is to look for this original light from where we sit, to point to it and gather it up and in so doing to repair the world, tikkun olam.This might sound like an idealistic and fanciful idea. But Rachel Naomi Remen calls it an important and empowering image. It insists that each one of us, flawed and inadequate as we may feel, has exactly what’s needed to help repair the part of the world that we can see and touch. This story is a practical tool — the kind of practical tool religious traditions carry forward in time — for a world longing to address images of suffering that can otherwise overwhelm us.

Krista Tippett

http://www.onbeing.org/program/listening-generously/journal/844