Thursday, January 02, 2014

the doors! the doors!

from "The Door That Ends All Doors"
(Thomas Merton) 

The three doors (they are one door).

1)  The door of emptiness.  Of no-where.  Of no place for a self, which cannot be entered by a self.  And therefore is of no use to someone who is going somewhere.  Is it a door at all?  The door of no-door.

2)  The door without sign, without indicator, without information.  Not particularized.  Hence no one can say of it "This is it!  This is the door."  It is not recognizable as a door.  It is not led up to by other things pointing to it:  "We are not it, but that is it--the door."  No signs saying "Exit."  No use looking for indications.  Any door with a sign on it, any door that proclaims itself to be a door, is not the door.  But do not look for a sign saying "Not-door."  Or even "No Exit."

3)  The door without wish.  The undesired.  The unplanned door.  The door never expected.  Never wanted.  Not desirable as door.  Not a joke, not a trap door.  Not select.  Not exclusive.  Not for few.  Not for many.  Not for.  Door without aim.  Door without end.  Does not respond to a key--so do not imagine you have a key.  Do not have your hopes on possession of the key.

There is no use asking for it.  Yet you must ask.  Who?  For what?  When you have asked for a list of all doors, this one is not on the list.  When you have asked for all the numbers of all the doors, this one is without a number.  Do not be deceived into thinking this door is merely hard to find and difficult to open.  When sought it fades.  Recedes.  Diminishes.  Is nothing.  There is no threshold.  No footing.  It is not empty space.  It is neither this world nor another.  It is not based on anything.  Because it has no foundation, it is the end of sorrow.  Nothing remains to be done.  Therefore there is no threshold, no step, no advance, no recession, no entry, no nonentry.  Such is the door that ends all doors;  the unbuilt, the impossible, the undestroyed, through which all fires go when they have "gone out."


Tuesday, December 31, 2013



High is the dryad's home,

A ballet of branches,
An invitation to the exile
To find new footholds;
To climb, veiled in verdant foliage,
Listening to the wind's music.


__________________

Ah, how I miss the green.

In my mind's eye today, the old year approached the new one, greeting it as if they had known one another forever. The new year, a tiny baby, squawked at the elder in surprise, but then the old year began to transform; layer upon layer was lifted from it until they gazed at one another, two strangely naked twins, and the new one took up the elder's innermost cloak and donned it, while the sage whistled and walked off the stage.


A joyful New Year to all.

The Action of the Beautiful


May Sarton (1912-1994)

I move through my world like a stranger

Where multiple images collide and fall,
Fragments of lakes, eyes.......or a mirror.
How to include, make peace with them all?
Only your face (is this too illusion?)
So poised between silence and speech
Suggests that at the center of confusion
An inward music is just within reach.
Can so much be spoken by an eyelid,
or the bent forehead so much light distill?
Here all is secret and yet nothing hid,
That tenderness, those deep reserves of will.
There is no future, past, only pure presence.
The moment of a glance is brimmed so full
It fuses consciousness to a new balance--
This is the action of the beautiful.
Lakes, mirrors, every broken radiance
Shine whole again in your reflective face,
And I, the stranger, centered in your presence,
Come home and walk into the heart of peace.

from In Time Like Air (1953-1958)

____________________________

And a poets' poem:

Prayer Before Work


Great one, austere,

By whose intent the distant star
Holds its course clear,
Now make this spirit soar—
Give it that ease.

Out of the absolute
Abstracted grief, comfortless, mute,
Sound the clear note,
Pure, piercing as the flute:
Give it precision.

Austere, great one,
By whose grace the inalterable song
May still be wrested from
The corrupt lung:
Give it strict form.

--May Sarton

Sunday, December 29, 2013

a redeemed tree




In the thin spaces a chill wind stirs,
Eagle and Raven hover over fates,
Peering through white-clad limbs
At a lone figure in a dark coat.

She has been lost in a thicket of words,
Wondering if is it possible to gather
Snow pearls and distill them into ice wine.
They are not yet ripe, she decides.

Memories shroud her with shiverings
Of an amber agony, of cruel enchantments,
Mirrored movements in pantomime,
Of shackles, and grimaces bone-deep.

(Yet only a small pebble, when placed
Near whole boulders glutted with sorrow,
Chanting a grievous list of complaints
to the crystal heart of earth.)


If only she might emulate a tree, lift her
Branches to this rising blessing,
Free her thoughts from their bonds,

Spilling a river of violet flame
Onto the eve of Epiphany.



when trees as gilded as bees

Above the 61st parallel, the colors of Autumn mark our parting with the bees, and the last days of real warmth. I had begun to transl...

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