Search Results for: "may sarton"

Thanksgiving?

starvation

Saleh Hassan al-Faqeh holds the hand of his four-month-old daughter, Hajar, who died of malnutrition at the al-Sabeen hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, Nov. 15, 2018.  “She was like skin on bones, her body was emaciated,” he said.  Hajar was one of thousands of Yemeni children suffering from malnutrition in a country that has been pushed to the brink of famine by more than three years of war.  (Source: Father mourns baby who died of starvation in Yemen, ABC News, November 15, 2018)


Who can imagine hunger who has never experienced it, even for one day?

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

Lightly Child, Lightly.

“I can tell you that solitude
Is not all exaltation, inner space
Where the soul breathes and work can be done.
Solitude exposes the nerve,
Raises up ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it.”

May Sarton, from “Gestalt at Sixty: Part 1″, in A Durable Fire: Poems

 


Notes:

  • Photo: (via Your Eyes Blaze Out) Poem: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels
  • 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.”

 

Saturday Morning

Stand still,

stand still, and

stop the sun.

~ May Sarton, from “Now I Become Myself” in Halfway to Silence: Poems 


Photo: Louis Caya with Shiba Inu

Lightly Child, Lightly.

May the poems be
the little snail’s trail. Everywhere I go,
every inch: quiet record of the foot’s silver prayer.

I lived once.
Thank you.
It was here.

Aracelis Girmay, “Ars Poetica,” Kingdom Animalia


Notes:

  • Photo:  Julie Renée Jones Rewrites Memory In ‘Umbra.’ Since 2001, photographer Julie Renée Jones has been capturing places somewhere in between reality and figments of imagination (via ignant).
  • Poem: via lifeinpoetry
  • 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.”
  • Related posts: May Sarton

 

Lightly Child, Lightly.

I wonder whether it is possible … to change oneself radically. Can I learn to control resentment and hostility, the ambivalence, born somewhere far below the conscious level? … There is nothing to be done but go ahead with life moment by moment and hour by hour—-put out birdseed, tidy the rooms, try to create order and peace around me even if I cannot achieve it inside me. Now at 10:30 there is such radiant light outside that the house feels dark. I look through the hall into the cozy room, all in darkness, right through to the window at the end, and a transparent sheaf of golden and green leaves. And here in my study the sunlight is that autumn white, so clear, it calls for an inward act to match it … clarify, clarify.

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude


Notes:

  • Photo: Laura Makabresku with “birds” (via Mennyfox55)
  • 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.”
  • Related posts: May Sarton

 

Saturday Morning

lights-holiday-christmas

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

 


Photo: Kevin Farris (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

It’s been a long day

rainy-evenings-red-hair-bird-in-hand

The phoebe sits on her nest
Hour after hour,
Day after day,
Waiting for life to burst out
From under her warmth.
Can I weave a nest of silence,
weave it of listening,
listening, listening,
Layer upon layer?
But one must first become small,
Nothing but a presence,
Attentive as a nesting bird,
Proffering no slightest wish
Toward anything
that might happen or be given,
Only the warm, faithful waiting,
contained in one’s smallness.
Beyond the question,
the silence.
Before the answer,
the silence.

~ May Sarton, from Beyond the QuestionA Grain of Mustard Seed: Poems


Notes:

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it’s off to work I go

dancer-dust-cloud

After I had looked for a while at that daffodil before I got up,
I asked myself the question,
“What do you want of your life?”
and I realized with a start of recognition and terror,
“Exactly what I have— but to be commensurate, to handle it all better.”

– May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude


Notes:

Word. Full Stop.

wrinkle-face-close-up-portrait

Wrinkles here and there seem unimportant
compared to the Gestalt of the whole person
I have become in this past year.
Somewhere in The Poet and the Donkey Andy
speaks for me when he says,
“Do not deprive me of my age. I have earned it.”

– May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Notes:

That one. The quiet healing road.

face-portrait-duality

I am torn between two ways to handle this doldrum that has been going on for weeks, really since January, when I did at least get down a few small poems. The first way is to give in, to enjoy the light on flowers— yesterday white daffodils and white iris in the dusk— to enjoy this beautiful place, rejoice in the animal presences (Bramble at last comes up here to my study and curls up on the daybed…), to live the slow quiet rhythm of a day as a kind of healing. The other way is to ask a great deal more of myself, to drive myself, and hope to break through into deeper, more valid places.

~ May Sarton, Tuesday, March 9thThe House by the Sea: A Journal


Notes:

  • Image via Mennyfox55
  • Related posts: May Sarton
  • Inspired by Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” – […] I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.

all of a sudden in a supreme moment of light

light-neck-portrait

Yesterday I had a beautiful letter from Eugénie about old age (she is in her seventies).

Ici la vie continue égale et monotone en surface, pleine d’éclairs, de sommets et de désepérance, dans les profondeurs. Nous sommes arrivés maintenant á un stade de vie si riche en apprehensions nouvelles intransmissibles aux autres âges de la vie – on se sent rempli á la fois de tant de douceur et de tant de désespoir – l’énigme de cette vie grandit, grandit, vous submerge et vous écrase, puis tout á coup en une lueur suprême on prend conscience due “sacré.”

“Here life goes on, even and monotonous on the surface, full of lightning, of summits and of despair, in its depths. We have now arrived at a stage in life so rich in new perceptions that cannot be transmitted to those at another stage – one feels at the same time full of so much gentleness and so much despair – the enigma of this life grows, grows, drowns one and crushes one, then all of a sudden in a supreme moment of light one becomes aware of the “sacred.”

~ May Sarton, March 3rd,  Journal of Solitude


Notes:

 

Time to pull in the boundaries and lift the drawbridge

Roberta-zeta-illustration-red-hair

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

sleep-black-and-white

I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. I am still pursued by a neurosis about work inherited from my father. A day where one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room, not try to be or do anything whatever. Tonight I do feel in a state of grace, limbered up, less strained.

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly

black-and-white-bubbles-light
Under the light of eternity
things,
the daily trivia,
the daily frustrations,
fall away.
It is all a matter of getting to the center of the beam.

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude


Credits:

  • Image Source: Carolyn Cochrane
  • 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.”

di·lem·ma (n)

jump-hair-tuck

And it occurs to me that
there is a proper balance between
not asking enough of oneself and
asking or expecting too much.
It may be that I set my sights too high
and so repeatedly end a day in depression.
Not easy to find the balance,
for if one does not have wild dreams of achievement,
there is no spur even to get the dishes washed.
One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude


Notes: Image Source: Mennyfox55. Related posts: May Sarton

Happy Belated Birthday

zeke-vizsla-sleeping-dog-pet-adorable

I’m on the couch reading, or quasi-reading and surfing – flicking through May Sartons’ journals in The House By the Sea and Knausgaard’s essay in The New York Times Magazine on The Terrible Beauty of Brain Surgery.

Yet, I’m wrapped by the beat of something bigger. Sun beams pour through the windows, warming, and then disappear with cloud cover.  The bird feeder hangs on a cast iron hook and swings ever-so-gently to and fro in the northerly breeze which gusts to rattle the windows.  And Knausgaard from his essay,  “I didn’t understand the words, but the sound of them filled the air with mournfulness and humility. Man is small, life is large, is what he heard in the ring of that voice.”

Then there’s Zeke, napping, after his six-mile morning walk, drawing Sarton’s short breaths, in a ‘rhythm, a kind of fugue poetry.’

The couch, books by world class writers, a sleeping dog leaning in and a morning free of all commitments – Oh, the bliss of Saturday mornings… [Read more…]

New Year Resolve / To Shove Away The Clutter / To Come Back to Still Water

Austria,lake

The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.

Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.

Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.

For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

~ May Sarton, “New Year Resolve” from Collected Poems, 1930-1993


Notes:

 

Journaling yesterday. Blogging (in the “receptacle”) today. We are all in the same boat.

journals-diary-writing

Growing old is certainly far easier for people like me who have no job from which to retire at a given age. I can’t stop doing what I have always done, trying to sort out and shape experience. The journal is a good way to do this at a less intense level than by creating a work of art as highly organized as a poem, for instance, or the sustained effort a novel requires. I find it wonderful to have a receptacle into which to pour vivid momentary insights, and a way of ordering day-to-day experience (as opposed to Maslow’s “peak experiences,” which would require poetry). If there is an art to the keeping of a journal intended for publication yet at the same time a very personal record, it may be in what E. Bowen said: “One must regard oneself impersonally as an instrument.”

~ May Sarton, The House by the Sea (1977)

(Robert) Coles himself says elsewhere in the piece, “Not everyone can or will do that— give his specific fears and desires a chance to be of universal significance.” To do this takes a curious combination of humility, excruciating honesty, and (there’s the rub) a sense of destiny or of identity. One must believe that private dilemmas are, if deeply examined, universal, and so, if expressed, have a human value beyond the private, and one must also believe in the vehicle for expressing them, in the talent.

[…]

But I believe we learn through the experiences of others as well as through our own, constantly meditating upon them, drawing the sustenance of human truth from them, and it seems natural to me to wish to share these aperçus, these questions, these oddities, these dilemmas and pangs. Why? Partly, I suppose, because the more one is a receptacle of human destinies, as I have become through my readers, the more one realizes how very few people could be called happy, how complex and demanding every deep human relationship is, how much real pain, anger, and despair are concealed by most people. And this is because many feel their own suffering is unique. It is comforting to know that we are all in the same boat.

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude (1973)


Notes:

The word will get around

blue-jay-bird-feeder

I went out before breakfast
to fill the bird feeder.
So far only jays come,
but the word will get around.

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude


Notes:

  • Photograph of female bluejay at bird feeder by Cyanocitta
  • Dec 23, 2015 forecast – a high of 54° F. Tomorrow’s forecast: high of 66° F

 

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