Thursday, May 25, 2006

the recluse

A man is raisede up from the earth by two wings-simplicity and purity. There must be simplicity in his intention and purity in his desires.
If your heart be free from ill-ordered affection, no good deed will be difficult for you. If you aim at and seek after nothing but the pleasure of God and the welfare of your neighbor, you will enjoy freedom within.
If your heart were right, then every created thing would be a mirror of life for you and a book of holy teaching, for there is no creature so small and worthless that it does not show forth the goodness of God. If inwardly you were good and pure, you would see all things clearly and understand them rightly, for a pure heart penetrates to heaven and hell and as a man is within, so he judges what is without. If there be joy in the world, the pure of heart certainly possess it; and if there be anguish and affliction anywhere, an evil conscience knows it too well.
-imitation of christ, thomas a kempis

hams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous. If men would steadily observe realities only, and not allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compare it with such things as we know, would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights' Entertainments. If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetrywould resound along the streets. When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence-that petty fears and petty pleasures are butthe shadow ofthe reality. This is always exhilarating and sublime

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

life and fate

the ten thousand maniacs play on the speakers, and have kind of a distinctive vocal style. It has been raining every day now for the past few days but I managed to get the lawn mowed, which really needed to be done. There is always the weather, seeing the weather and wondering how things will go, and not knowing, and worrying, and experiencing this and that, and the real pain in this world, not able to separate out, or to get into any more detail that I have gone into already.
There are those who take chances, or maybe they just do what seemed right at a certain time, and perhaps it was the right decision, but at certain times, there can be the distinct feeling that something has gone very wrong.
I guess it could be worse. I could be like Keats and have died eleven years ago. On the other hand...

I heard to old, old men say,
'Everthing alters,
And one by one we drop away.'
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
By the waters.
I heard the old, old men say,
'All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the waters.'

somehow that poem makes me feel better. There is beauty out there apart from any particular thing.

Who will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood's woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, main,
And brood on hopes and fear no more.

And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love's bitter mystery;
For fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breat of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars.

No, my life is not this precipitous hour
through which you see me passing at a run.
I stand before my background like a tree.
Of all my many mouths I am but one,
and that which soonest chooses to be dumb.

I am the rest between two nots
which, struck together, sound discordantly,
because death's note would claim a higher key.

But in the dark pause, trembling, the notes meet,
And the song continues sweet.

I read it in your word, and learn it from
the history of the gestures of your warm
wise hands, rounding themselves to form
and circumscribe the shapes that are to come
Aloud you said: to live, and low: to die,
and you repeated, tirelessly: to be.
And yet there was no death till murder came.
Then through your perfect circles ran a rent
and a cry tore,
scattering the voices that not long before
had gently blent
to utter you,
to carry you,
bridge across the abyss--

And what they since have stammered
are the fragments only
of your old name.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The hour is striking so close above me,
so clear and sharp,
that all my senses ring with it.
I feel it now: there's a power in me
to grasp and give shape to my world.

I know that nothing has ever been real
without my beholding it.
All becoming has needed me.
My looking ripens things
and they come toward me, to meet and be met.

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

I have many brothers in the South
who move, handsome in their vestments,
through cloister gardens.
The Madonnas they make are so human,
and I dream often of their Titians,
where God becomes an ardent flame

But when I lean over the chasm of myself-
it seems
my God is dark
and like a web: a hundred roots
silently drinking.

This is the ferment I grow out of.

More I don't know, because my branches
rest in deep silence, stirred only by the wind.

We must not portray you in king's robes,
you drifting mist that brought forth the morning.

Once again from the old paintboxes
we take the same gold for scepter and crown
that has disguised you through the ages.

Piously we produce our images of you
till they stand around you like a thousand walls.
And when our hearts would simply open,
our fervent hands hide you.

I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.

Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that's wide and timeless.

So I sometimes like a tree
rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream
of the one its living roots

a dream once lost
among sorrows and songs.

Life sometimes gets to a place where there is a lot of nervousness and uncertainty, and then all one can do is listen to Jerry and relax, and know that everything is okay:
come on you pretty women
with your hair a hangin down
open up your windows
cause the candyman's in town
come on boys and gals
roll those laughing bones
seven come eleven
boys, I'll take your money home
look out look out the candyman
here he come and he's gone again
pretty lady ain't got no friend
till the candyman comes around again

I come in from memphis
where I learned to talk the jive
when I get back to memphis
be one less man alive
good morning mr. Benson
I see you're doing well
If I have me a shotgun
I'll blow you straight to hell
look out look out the candyman
here he comes and he's gone again
pretty lady ain't got no friend
till the candyman comes around again.
-and incredibly beautiful song by the Grateful Dead, American Beauty '72.

The lord owns the earth and all it contains,
the world and all who live in it.
For he set foundation upon the seas,
and established it upon the ocean currents.
Who is allowed to ascent the mountain of the Lord?
Who may go up to his holy dwelling place?
The one whose deeds are blameless and whose motives are pure,
who does not lie,
or make promises with no intention of keeping them.
Such godly people are rewarded by the Lord,
and vindicated by the God who delivers them.
Such purity characterizes people who seek his favor,
Jacob's descendants, who pray to him.

Is this too religious for you? Too bad. It's my blog. Sometimes life is confusing and you just need to go back to a text, or at least that his been my habit in the few days of my vain life.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's nice to get some comments on my blog.

I checked out a copy of "The Journal of Henry D. Thoreau", edited by Bradford Torrey, from the osu library again. It must be out of print, because I've only seen it in the library. Something about it is quite remarkable, and I'll share with you, my readers, some of the better quotes. Thoreau, although he got cynical as he got old, was quite a thinker on the beauty of nature. He was also very solitary, which is a trait in common with me.

If there is nothing new on earth, still there is something new in the heavens. We have always a resource in the skies. They are constantly turning a new page to view. The wind sets the types in this blue ground, and the inquiring may always read a new truth.

What a hero one can be without moving a finger! The world is not a field worthy of us, not can we be satisfied with the plains of Troy. A glorious strife seems waging within us, yet so noiselessly that we but just catch athe sound of the location ringing of victory, borne to us on the breeze. There are in each the seeds of a heroic ardor, which need only to be stirred in with the solid where they lie, by an inspired voice or pen, to bear fruit of a divine flavor.

Whatever past or present wisdom has published itself to the world, is palpable falsehood till it come and utter itself by my side.

So that's it on Thoreau for now.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


People who write blogs should realize that it never makes them look good to call other people bad names. There is a lot of conflict in the world, and to avoid destructiveness and conflict, you have to avoid negativity in your own consciousness and emotions. If there is a disagreement, or others are doing things that you don't agree with, it really never helps to refer to them in degrading and nasty terms, and it ends up dragging you down in the mud too. My theory is that one should express his opinion calmly, and not get sucked into angry and emotional debates. If you are advocating peace, or the end to the war, you should be sure that there isn't anger and conflict within yourself.
On a related subject, Critical Mass bike ride really seems to me to be trivial at times. If you go out there and ride around and make a statement, fine, but if you go out there looking to get into a conflict with the police, and then that happens, you have noone to blame but yourself. If you really want to advocate bicycling, then bicycle every day, and that is the best way to promote bicycling. It seems to me that a lot of young people that are advocating causes like, for example, preserving the old growth, or riding bicycles, are basically going out there to look for a fight, so that makes them basically as morally compromised as anyone else. If you are going to complain about something other people are doing, make sure that you yourself are doing the right thing or you are just creating more problems.

On the other hand, people need to get out and protest unnecessary wars, unnecessary logging of old growth, and promote the use of bicycles. Critical Mass really just seems like an unnecessary stunt to me, though. Get out and ride the bike every day. Then every day there will be so many bikes on the road that people will have to start noticing them. Having a big herd of them out on only one day is just an annoyance, and pointless as well, because how many of those critical mass types really bicycle every day? On the other hand, maybe I'm being overly negative.

I guess I'm really the type of person that would rather look inward, or at least try to look inward and find peace, than to go out and try to effect change in the world. It's not that I am satisfied with how this country is being run, but I have always in the back of my mind living a life in connection with nature, separate from society.

I will arise and go now, and go to innisfree
and a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
and live alone in a bee-loud glade.

and I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
there midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
and evening full of linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I head the water lapping with low sound by the shore;
while I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Unrelated quote:

Job 35

Then Elihu said:
"Do you think this is just?
You say, 'I will be cleared by God.'
Yet you ask him, 'What profit is it to me,
and what do I gain by not sinning?'
"I would like to reply to you and to your friends with you.
Look up at the heavens and see;
gaze at the clouds so high above you.
If you sin, how does that affect him?
If your sinsa re many, what does that do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give to him,
or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself,
and your righteousness only the sons of men.

Men cry out under a load of oppression;
they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.
But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker,
who give songs in the night,
who teaches more to us than to the beasts of the earth
and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?'
He does not answer when men cry out
because of the arrogance of the wicked.
Indeed, etc.

This kind of relates to my own belief that you can do anything you want, but you may as well do the right thing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I feel a vague sense of angst, as if things are not going well. Sure, it is sunny; sure, the little kitten is happy playing with various cords and moving objects, but there is a vague sense of angst, as if the world was slightly out of tune.

"I met Brother Lawrence for the first time today. He told me that God had been especially good to him in his conversion. He was eighteen at the time, and still in the world. He told me that it had all happened one winter day, as he was looking at a barren tree. Although the tree's leaves were indeed gone, he knew that they would soon reappear, followed by blossoms and then fruit. This gave him a profound impression of God's providence and power which never left him. Borther Lawrence still maintains that this impression detached him entirely from the world and gave him such a great love for God that it hasn't changed in all of the forty years he has been walking with Him."
-from the Practice of the Prescence of God by Brother Lawrence.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

An artist-by Robinson Jeffers

The sculptor we knew, the passionate-eyed son of a quarryman,
Who astonished Rome and Paris in his meteor youth,
and then was gone, at his high tide of triumphs,
Without reason or goodbye; I have seen him again
lately, after twenty years, but not in Europe.

In desert hills I rode a horse slack-kneed with thirst.
Down a steep slope a dancing swarm
Of yellow butterflies over a shining rock made me hope
water. We slid down to the place,
The spring was bitter but the horse drank. I magined
wearings of an old path from that wet rock..
More than the spalls you saw by accident.
(the sculptor)
What I see is
the enormous beauty of things, but what I attempt
Is nothing to that. I am helpless toward that.
It is only to form in stone the mould of some ideal
humanity that might be worthy to be
Under that lightning. Animalcules that God (if he were
given to laughter) might omit to laugh at.

Those children of my hands are tortured, because they
feel, he said, "the storm of the outer magnificence.
They are giants in agony.
But in their eyes they have peace. I have lived a little and
I think
Peace marrying pain alone can breed that excellence in
the luckless race, might make it decent
To exist at all on the star-lit stone breast.

I hope," he
said, "that when I grow old and the chisel drops,
I may crawl out on a ledge of the rock and die lika a

These fragments are all I can remember,
These in the flare of the desert envening. Having been
driven so brutally forth I never returned;
Yet I respect him enought ot keep his name and the place
secret. I hope that some other traveller
May stumble on that ravine of Titans after their maker
has died. While he lives, let him alone
-robinson jeffers

This poem is basically about how there is beauty out there, beyond anything we can passably see with our eyes or know in any empirical sense.

the weather is hot and there are plants out there that need water.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

little kitty and big kitty Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 06, 2006


The ways of the world are cloudy to me, and I don't understand much about anything, it seems, as the weather grows alternately hot and cold and the flowers continue to do what they do, and the books stay on the shelves, and the cats stroll around and play with bits of paper and string., and the stapler just sits there like it has some function, and the people of the world go about their business, and do what they usually do, and

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

walk across town

i went for a walk around town, starting near fred meyer, then over past the high school, down past that little one-block park that is always filled with high school kids smoking cigarettes and then downhill to ninth street, where I usually cross over, but this time I went down ninth, which turns into a quiet street by the time you pass harrison, and is fairly nice especially this time of year, then I continued on past Monroe, and then a couple more block past the house where I used to live back ten years ago, a little old house kind of in the shadow of a really lousy apartment building, but it was nice to live there because it was about five blocks from the beanery in a really mellow part of town, that has some very nice houses. Then I continued down to the beanery, past the photo shop, and past safeway and the coffee roasting place, stopped in for a water at the bean, where the usual crowd was having a nice time sitting outside, and then walked past the skate park and over the bridge, turning at the first left, crystal lake drive, then down past Evanite and down to the boat landing. One option is to take the more open route through all the soccer fields, which I opted to do because it wasn't all that hot. Nobody was around. I came to Willamette part, and started walking along the river, and stopped for a drink from the fountain near all the barbeque equipment, and then up the trail through all the blackberry bushes, and then continuing along the river for a little ways. You can see the new developement of "legend" homes, that all look like cookie cutter houses. On the left you can see the river splitting up into two branches, which I think is "Kiger Island" although i could be wrong. The trail doesn't continue for long, but it is nice. It took me 1.5 hours one-way, and so i walked for 2.5 hours total today, because I took the bus back from downtown to give my feet a rest. Then I mowed the lawn.