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Tell a wise person, or else keep it silent.
Because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have been begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you are the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher lovemaking
sweeps you upward.

Distance does not make you falter,
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.

And so long as you haven’t experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.

Faith alone can give us the light to see that God’s will is to be found in our everyday life. Without this light, we cannot see to make the right decisions. …We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen. To keep ourselves spiritually alive we must constantly renew our faith.

The spiritual life is, then, first of all a matter of keeping awake. We must not lose our sensitivity to spiritual inspirations.

Thomas Merton. Thoughts in Solitude. (New York: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 1956). p 38-39.

emphasis mine

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” – Danny Kaye

A visionary is one who can find his way by moonlight and [can] see the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde

“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” – Andre Gide

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton

All the way to heaven is heaven.” – St. Catherine

emphasis mine

“The life of contemplation implies two levels of awareness: first, awareness of the question, and second, awareness of the answer. Though these are two distinct and enormously different levels, yet they are in fact an awareness of the same thing. The question is, itself, the answer. And we ourselves are both. ”

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. (New York: New Directions Books). p. 4

Our hearts and minds desire clarity. We like to have a clear picture of a situation, a clear view of how things fit together, and clear insight into our own and the world’s problems. But just as in nature colors and shapes mingle without clear-cut distinctions, human life doesn’t offer the clarity we are looking for. The borders between love and hate, evil and good, beauty and ugliness, heroism and cowardice, care and neglect, guilt and blamelessness are mostly vague, ambiguous, and hard to discern.

It is not easy to live faithfully in a world full of ambiguities. We have to learn to make wise choices without needing to be entirely sure.

emphasis mine

“Poetry is that which arrives at the intellect by way of the heart.” —R. S. Thomas

“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” —Robert Frost

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.” —Edgar Allan Poe

“That’s when the duende comes, through the empty arch of the body, a mental wind blowing relentlessly over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents; a wind that smells of baby’s spittle, crushed grass, and jellyfish veils, announcing the constant baptism of newly created things.”— Federico Garcia Lorca

“Truth is sacred and if you tell it too often nobody will believe it.” —G. K. Chesterton

Here’s a great site for more information on Black  (African American) History Month that emphasizes the history of black economic empowerment.

And another chance to hear my poem, “Recorded In Time.”

Rita Dove, poet

“Black On a Saturday Night”

“Ol’ Man River” – Aretha Franklin

“What a Wonderful World”

July 2020