Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life Contracts and Death is Expected


When you are in the wilderness, the first thing is to admit it.

Do not go about in denial.


In a wasteland, there are yet landmarks. Overhead is the sun, in its various angles, now high and small and hot, now low and large and tending toward cool or beginning to warm.

And there are spindrels of stone on the horizon, and a valley off somewheres and a low tree or a rock like a family huddled under a hail of fire.

There may yet be clouds on the horizon. There may be birds, according to their kinds.


Needless to say, there is danger all around, but it is insensate. It is impartial. And being impartial, it lacks all remorse. 

For remorse is a human thing, and it can find no purchase here.


What is called for is finding shade when the sun is high, and seeking moisture in the low places, and above all doing only that which is compelled. 

Leaving off what is no longer useful. 


Also, taking stock of supplies. Conserving same. 

Requiring of the mind a certain discipline. 

And recognizing the beckoning lights on the horizon as mirages, for there is only more desert and no oasis there. 

No sweet water nor date palms nor rest to be had.


Do not get me wrong. This place is where I have come to with my own two legs walking and my eyes open and mostly clear. Some days the wheel turns and lifts you up to the heavens and then it yet turns and you are cast down low with the low creatures, with the snakes and the crawling things in the dirt and the foul places and this, too, is meant to be.


This is holy.

This is holy.

This is holy.


So my prayer is this: let me be awake. Let me cast my eyes upon it and let me see it. Give me the strength to look and not to refrain from it. Give me the strength to say to this also, 'yes'. 


And again, yes.


My small suffering turns my eyes to real suffering which does not cease upon this earth. My small suffering opens my heart to suffering which cannot be bounded, which cannot be explained but only endured. Though it be unendurable. Though it be without end. 

This too, this too.


My prayer for all of us is that suffering may be ameliorated by lovingkindness and right understanding and right acts. Baring that, may those who suffer be comforted, no matter what or why. 

Peace be upon them.

And also on you.


I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

-Wallace Stevens
 Thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird



Blogger 21k said...

But no, it is the anticipation of the whistle, the beauty, the innuendo, the anticipation that soars.

Love is so easily cured by culmination.

8:06 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Somehow these acts, these physicalities, both in their actualities and in their innuendo, their before and during and just afters, are both the antidote to emotion and the trigger.

What's necessary is the act of looking, of seeing what is.

What we do after that is up in the air.



6:11 AM  
Blogger dottie kee bones said...

endings = beginnings.

i hope it doesn't sound trite, because i mean it the total opposite way.

i love that poem.

2:26 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Dottie Bones-

I know you mean it in the total opposite way from trite.

And thanks. That's how I took it.

3:49 PM  
Blogger 21k said...

I like the darkness here when things are just too fucking bright in the world


8:21 PM  
Blogger ButtonHole said...

We can't really separate the anticipation from the having, can we? Because without ever having had, we wouldn't know what to want, even if we long with a vague sense of disquiet. The same with Stevens' point about memory: the moment or the memory? What good is a moment if we don't remember it? And we can't have an after without a before.

Just a beautiful post, truly.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

suffering: ... "ameliorated by lovingkindness and right understanding and right acts...."

completely heartening - thank you for the inspiration and sense of proportion.


9:01 PM  
Blogger LKD said...

"I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after."


I prefer both.

5:56 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


I think of you and your family often. I hope you are all well and happy. It cheers me to have you stop by!



Always a good idea when presented with a choice to take both!

We get both anyway, don't we?



5:42 AM  
Blogger Dr. Joanne Cacciatore said...

Beautiful post. Thank you.

7:28 AM  

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