Innocence

I do not blame the cat who torments mice
Nor scold the child who overturns his food
I cradle both without e’en thinking twice
And reckon love a cause for gratitude.

But me—I mark my blameless days long gone
I dare not dream of innocence regained.
It’s guilt my daily nightmares dwell upon
My frank facade I know is frankly feigned.

Why not expand the compass of my ruth
Beyond the years which I excuse with youth?
Is universal innocence a truth
That’s viable and worthy of acclaim?
To view all souls about me without blame
And in the end to lift my veil of shame.

— JJM = #15 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,  
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,  
And hooked a berry to a thread;  
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,  
I dropped the berry in a stream  
And caught a little silver trout.  

When I had laid it on the floor  
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,  
And someone called me by my name:  
It had become a glimmering girl  
With apple blossom in her hair  
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.  

Though I am old with wandering  
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,  
I will find out where she has gone,  
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,  
And pluck till time and times are done,  
The silver apples of the moon,  
The golden apples of the sun.

— W. B. Yeats

Whitley Strieber tells how his wife, Anne, visited him after her death and counseled him to memorize this poem.

The human species is too young to have beliefs.
What we need are good questions.

— Anne Strieber, as conveyed through Whitley Strieber from the heareafter

 

The Children’s Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
      When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
      That is known as the Children’s Hour.
I hear in the chamber above me
      The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
      And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight,
      Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
      And Edith with golden hair.
A whisper, and then a silence:
      Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
      To take me by surprise.
A sudden rush from the stairway,
      A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
      They enter my castle wall!
They climb up into my turret
      O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
      They seem to be everywhere.
They almost devour me with kisses,
      Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
      In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!
Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
      Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
      Is not a match for you all!
I have you fast in my fortress,
      And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
      In the round-tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever,
      Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
      And moulder in dust away!
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1860)
Today is International Children’s Day
by some reckonings, but not others

This classic poem is reckoned overly sentimental by some,
and by others is seen as a call to liberation from the round-tower
dungeon where children are inexorably confined as they grow to
maturity.

Zhong Fu =Inner Truth

One day, you’ll choose to die. You won’t decide
With conscious mind, but somewhere deep inside
Is knowledge of a portal you’ll pass through.
Another world is beckoning to you.

One day, you chose to live. That was before
You had a brain or corpse. Sensation nor
Cognition were entailed, the barest gist
Of you resolved (corporeally) to exist.

And while you’re here, that essence uncongealed
Remains elusive, its soft whispers drowned
By sound and light and most especially pain.
When you will ask, “Who am I”, when you’ve peeled
Away all thought and feeling, you’ll astound
Yourself in being you again.

— JJM = #61 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

Wind stirs water by penetrating it. Thus the superior man, when obliged to judge the mistakes of men, tries to penetrate their minds with understanding, in order to gain a sympathetic appreciation of the circumstances. In ancient China, the entire administration of justice was guided by this principle. A deep understanding that knows how to pardon was considered the highest form of justice. This system was not without success, for its aim was to make so strong a moral impression that there was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness. For it sprang not from weakness but from a superior clarity.</small>

Josh Responds to his Internal Critic

I’m often hard on those I love, I know.
It is not kind to them, and (what is more)
This attitude degrades my sacred core
And hinders my ability to grow.

It seems to you that I’m fore’er at war,
My invitation, beating down your door.
Please recognize from whence my passions flow
Conformity is all that I abhor.
When friends repeat what they have heard before
They spurn the loving ear that I bestow.

My quest is for your individual light
And I lament when those I love take flight.
I wish not to disrupt or gather storms,
But liberate from strict, confining norms.

— JJM

Radical Faeries

Mountain, keeping still

You have impressive talents, gifts to give;
That doesn’t make you better than the rest.
Your wish to win the race, to ace the test
Eclipses your capacity to live.

You thrive on praise, but you are like a sieve—
Unsatisfied, you have to be the best.
The body and the mind with which you’re blessed
Have drained you of the power to forgive.

Your wish for mystic union is sincere,
But, mired in your loneliness and pain,
You cannot see that it’s your own disdain
That drives off your beloved as you near.

So take your time. Cling fast until the pride
No longer serves—then let it slide.

— JJM = #52 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

I-Ching-Hex52

The Work of Happiness

I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room;
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall—
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical.For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life’s span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.

— May Sarton, born this day in 1912

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