Different, and luckier

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
What do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprouts show there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.

All goes onward and outward. . . .and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

— Walt Whitman, 199 years old today

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The Box

Once upon a time, in the land of Hush-A-Bye,
Around about the wondrous days of yore,
They came across a kind of box
Bound up with chains and locked with locks
And labeled “Kindly do not touch; it’s war.”
A decree was issued round about, and all with a flourish and a shout
And a gaily colored mascot tripping lightly on before.
Don’t fiddle with this deadly box, Or break the chains, or pick the locks.
And please don’t ever play about with war.

Addie Hirschten, Oil on Canvas, 2012

The children understood. Children happen to be good
And they were just as good around the time of yore.
They didn’t try to pick the locks Or break into that deadly box.
They never tried to play about with war.
Mommies didn’t either; sisters, aunts, grannies neither
’Cause they were quiet, and sweet, and pretty
In those wondrous days of yore.
Well, very much the same as now,
And not the ones to blame somehow
For opening up that deadly box of war.

But someone did. Someone battered in the lid
And spilled the insides out across the floor.
A kind of bouncy, bumpy ball made up of guns and flags
And all the tears, and horror, and death that comes with war.
It bounced right out and went bashing all about,
Bumping into everything in store.  And what was sad and most unfair
Was that it didn’t really seem to care
Much who it bumped, or why, or what, or for.
It bumped the children mainly. And I’ll tell you this quite plainly,
It bumps them every day and more, and more,
And leaves them dead, and burned, and dying
Thousands of them sick and crying.
’Cause when it bumps, it’s really very sore.

Now there’s a way to stop the ball. It isn’t difficult at all.
All it takes is wisdom, and I’m absolutely sure
That we can get it back into the box, And bind the chains, and lock the locks.
But no one seems to want to save the children anymore.
Well, that’s the way it all appears, ’cause it’s been bouncing round for years and years
In spite of all the wisdom wizzed since those wondrous days of yore
And the time they came across the box,
Bound up with chains and locked with locks,
And labeled “Kindly do not touch; it’s war.”

— Lascelles Abercrombie

Pledge of Allegience

I bow to the lark and its tiny lifted silhouette, fluttering before infinity.
I promise myself to the mountain and to the foundation from which my future comes.
I make my vow to the stream flowing beneath, and to the water, falling toward all thirst,
and I pledge myself to the sea to which it goes and to the mercy of my disappearance.

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And though I may be left alone or abandoned by the unyielding present or orphaned in some far unspoken place,
I will speak with a voice of loyalty and faith to the far shore where everything turns to arrival,
if only in the sound of falling waves,
and I will listen with sincere and attentive eyes and ears for a final invitation,
so that I can be that note half-heard in the flying lark song,
or that tint on a far mountain brushed with the subtle grey of dawn,
even a river gone by still looking as if it hasn’t,
or an ocean heard only as the sound of waves falling and falling,
and falling, my eyes closing with them into some undeserved nothing,
even as they give up their strength on the sand.

~ David Whyte  (Pilgrim)

Missive from the Other Side

Jane Kenyon, born this day in 1947, never made it to her 48th birthday.  Still, she writes to let us know what we can expect.

I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.

Now there is no more catching
one’s own eye in the mirror,

there are no bad books, no plastic,
no insurance premiums, and of course

no illness. Contrition
does not exist, nor gnashing

of teeth. No one howls as the first
clod of earth hits the casket.

The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,

and God, as promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light.

Jane Kenyon

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Duality Paradox

All knowledge draws from two resources,
____science and the heart.
They both speak true, but quietly,
____to those who deep attend.
To weave two tales in one design,
____philosophy and art
Pursue the sacred mystery
____in quest that knows no end.

Never count on miracles,
____but know that they are real.
Pray for aid, but not confined
____to forms you understand.
Guard your mortal body well,
____but know that you can heal;
Work as though you had no help,
____and help you’ll find, unplanned.

— Josh Mitteldorf

Duality Paradox

Never count on miracles,
but know that they are real.
Pray for aid, but not confined
to forms we understand.
Guard your mortal body well,
but know that it can heal;
Work as though we had no help,
and help we’ll find, unplanned.

Logic with empirical
support is the foundation
«Le couer a ses raisons, qu la
raison ne connait point.»
Schemes of mice and men can ne’er
suffice for our salvation
Steer from danger, then let go:
«L’on crée ce que l’on craint.»

Of all our means to know what’s true,
dear science is the best–
Yet all the answers science yields
won’t fill a thimble’s hollow.
We’ll never know the limits of
our knowledge till we test
And question, question everything–
then follow, follow, follow…

— Josh Mitteldorf

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Volcanos

I measure satisfaction and self-worth by a particular look on a face in not so many words expressed by the opening of the fused inclines of the beautifully crafted volcano humans like to call ‘the mouth.’ Just the intonation of the word ‘mouth’ sounds like an eruption of hot, molten lava spewing out of a vibrantly decorated, volcanic mountain God sprinkled with His fingertips as a never-ceasing awe and wonder designed to destroy the gruesome, vile environment when necessary to paint a much more vividly fruitful Earth with the absence or limitation of words to inflame the volcano a 2nd time to erupt the powerful substance killing everything it touches. As long as the volcano remains contained, pleased, and most times inactive it will grow to be the most beautiful art exhibit God originally hoped and dreamed it would be for the other volcanos to admire the immense beauty and inspiration of God’s painting of this volcano of no particular size and pride in its final achievement in becoming inactive in the expression of words altogether and the activation God molded in the thoughts and emotions penetrating the soul while palpitating the heart in the internal love eruptions that pour out of the heart red as lava through the entire body, out of the beautifully created mouth, and into the heart of the one these life-giving, selfless words of irreplaceable seeds of love are spoken to. However, sometimes words are not enough. Like the volcano of the mouth, the volcano of the heart bleeds with burning lava when words have little or no feeling attached to it. The heart will also bleed when words of hatred and bitterness abuse the receiving heart, thus causing the heart to be fused together in an ever hardening cocoon that refuses to be opened protecting the heart from further damage either expressed or received. With this hardened heart the person is protected, but the damage that entered the heart is permanently sealed within the heart’s chambers parasitizing the love that once filled up the heart as well as the hearts of those people closest to this person. This parasitic cocoon now prevents the heart from being softened unless the person is willing and inspired to sacrifice the protection and confinement of the hurt feelings to allow the hardened cocoon to heat up the broken lava rocks of the cocoon lighting the rocks of fire allowing the heart to melt and soften into the heated lava of love which will be used to forgive all the damage foolishly inflicted upon this heart which is now free to love and be loved by others as the person’s lava flows and melts other hardened, cocooned hearts in a bubbly pool of warmth for all hearts aglow with the love that should always be there.
Bill Darrah
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