Time to pull in the boundaries and lift the drawbridge

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It’s a season when one gets spread out almost too thin in too many human directions, but come January first I am determined to batten myself down, tighten up, go inward. I feel the day must be marked by a change of rhythm, by some quiet act of self-determination and self-assertion. Everyone earns such a day after the outpourings of Christmas. We are overextended. Time to pull in the boundaries and lift the drawbridge.

~ May Sarton, The House by the Sea: A Journal


Notes:

A soft gray morning

bird-solitude-sky-alone

Such a tightly packed weekend …
I shall never be able to sort it all out today.
But there are things I must capture here this morning …
a soft gray morning, well-suited to a quiet think.

~ May Sarton, The House by the Sea: A Journal


Notes:

Saturday Morning. Tasting it fully.

nap-sleep-rest-red-hair

Without the interruptions,
nourishing and maddening,
this life would become arid.
Yet I taste it fully only
when I am alone here and
“the house and I resume old conversations.”

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude: The Journals of Mary Sarton


Source: Photograph – exercice de style

 

Morning Walk

James-reebanks-photo-england

[…]

Stillness. I would say to them
About living in the country, peace
Can deafen one, beauty surprise
No longer.
There is only the thud
Of the slow foot up the long lane
At morning and back at night.

~ R.S. Thomas, The Country


Credits: Photo of Lake District in England: James Reebanks.  Poem Source: James Reebanks: The Shepherd’s Life 

 

Saturday Morning: Close your eyes and ears.

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Have a seat. Stretch out your legs. Close your eyes and ears. I shall say nothing for five minutes so you can think about Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. See, and this will be more perfect still, if you manage not to think in words, but rather create a state of feeling. See if you can halt the whole whirlwind and clear a space for the Fifth Symphony. It is so beautiful. Only thus will you have it, through silence. Understand! If I perform it for you, it will fade away, note by note. As soon as the first one is sounded, it will no longer exist. And after the second, the harmony will no longer echo. And the beginning will be the prelude to the end, as in all things. If I perform it you will hear music and that alone. Whereas there is a way to keep it paused and eternal, each note like a statue inside you.

~ Clarice Lispector, “Letters to Hermengardo” from The Complete Stories.


Notes:

For the deepest moments in life—for love, for prayer—we close our eyes. I wanted to see that way

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(Two years in the woods.) I brought no computer, no television, no cellphone. There was a land line, which rang maybe twice a month, so a wrong number was an event…

Five years earlier, during my junior year at Harvard, a freak accident had blinded me in my right eye. During a pick-up game of basketball, as we scuffled for a rebound, a boy’s finger hooked behind my eyeball and severed its attachment to my optic nerve, the cable that connects the eye to the brain. The pain was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. There was nothing the doctors could do. The loss of vision to my right eye was permanent. With vision in only one eye, there’s no stereopsis, no depth perception. And without depth perception, the world looked simultaneously flat and permeable, like I’d crossed the threshold into a fantasy land, where nothing was solid, including my sense of myself…

To compound my disorientation, after the blood dissipated, my eye looked as it always had. The gap between how I presented myself and how people saw me widened into a gulf. And the track I’d been on, which headed toward law school, and the old track of my thinking, which often allowed the comfort of achievement to substitute for meaning, and which had kept me from entering into the passing landscape to forge my own values, became impossible to live by… [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly

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[…]

And I have dreamed
of the morning coming in
like a bird through the window
not burdened by a thought.

the light a singing,
as I had hoped.

[…]

Wendell Berry, from “The Design of The House: Ideal and Hard Time” from New Collected Poems


[Read more…]

Sunday Morning

fern-woods-forest-nature

In all the mountains,
Stillness;
In the treetops
Not a breath of wind.
The birds are silent in the woods.
Just wait: soon enough
You will be quiet too.

~ Robert Hass, “After Goethe” from Time and Materials.


Credits: Photo – Wolerxne.  Poem – Nemophilies

Lightly child, lightly

raining-texture

To be held
by the light
was what I wanted,
to be a tree drinking the rain,

— Linda Hogan, “To Be Held” from Dark. Sweet.


Notes:

  • Poem Source: I Hear It In The Deep Heart’s Core. Photo: uiethma with Rain
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Which year was the best?

poet

Jane Kenyon and I were married for twenty-three years. For two decades we inhabited the double solitude of my family farmhouse in New Hampshire, writing poems, loving the countryside. She was forty-seven when she died. If anyone had asked us, “Which year was the best, of your lives together?” we could have agreed on an answer: “the one we remember least.”  […] The best moment of our lives was one quiet repeated day of work in our house. Not everyone understood. Visitors, especially from New York, would spend a weekend with us and say as they left: “It’s really pretty here” (“in Vermont,” many added) “with your house, the pond, the hills, but … but … but … what do you do?”

What we did: we got up early in the morning. I brought Jane coffee in bed. She walked the dog as I started writing, then climbed the stairs to work at her own desk on her own poems. We had lunch. We lay down together. We rose and worked at secondary things. I read aloud to Jane; we played scoreless ping-pong; we read the mail; we worked again. We ate supper, talked, read books sitting across from each other in the living room, and went to sleep. If we were lucky the phone didn’t ring all day… Three hundred and thirty days a year we inhabited this old house and the same day’s adventurous routine.

~ Donald Hall, The Third Thing from The Poetry Magazine. [Read more…]

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