Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Debt We Must All Pay

Man is born to trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward.--Eliphaz (to Job) ca A Long Time Ago

Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here. -- King David ca 1000BC

Life is suffering.--Siddhartha Guatama, the Buddha ca 530BC

But learn that to die is a debt we must all pay. --Euripides ca 430 BC

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Poor Life This

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Death By Small Doses

To follow yesterday's post of Ode To Life by Pablo Neruda, here is another poem by the same name. I've been told that it is also Neruda, but after scouring a dozen of his books I can find no trace of it. I don't know if it is his or not. Internet sites credit it to Neruda, but where is the paper version of it?

Regardless of who wrote it, it is an intriguing poem. The two are very different in many ways, but both sound clear and ringing warnings, and each are woven throughout with hope and possiblility.

Ode To Life

Slowly dies he who becomes a slave to habit,
repeating the same journey every day,
he who doesn’t change his march, he who doesn’t risk

Thursday, December 8, 2011

His Mistaken Solitude

Today I walked around mulling over this question of life: What is it? Why do I sometimes feel very much alive and sometimes I feel hardly alive? Do the dead still feel, to themselves, as if they lived? And as I mused I noticed a bumper sticker that read simply: "Smile. You're Alive!" And so I smiled. Because I'm alive. And I can.

Then I came home and looked up the following poem by Pablo Neruda. While this is called Ode To Life, Neruda also wrote another poem that is much more well known and has the same title. I'll post it tomorrow.

Ode to life
The entire night
armed with a hatchet,
has broken me with grief,
but sleep

Monday, December 5, 2011

We Die In Earnest

What is our life? A play of passion,
Our mirth the music of division,
Our mother's wombs the tiring-houses be,
Where we are dressed for this short comedy.
Heaven the judicious sharp spectator is,
That sits and marks still who doth act amiss.
Our graves that hide us from the setting sun
Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.
Thus march we, playing, to our latest rest,
Only we die in earnest, that's no jest.

What really is our life? Is it, as Sir Walter Raleigh said, just a "short comedy"? Or should we complain with MacBeth that:

So Remembering

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sheltered From Winds That Beat On Thee

Amy Carmichael: no soft slippers on her feet, no dainty parisian meals to be toyed with and coyly pushed around her plate, no doting hubby protecting her from the scars of the world. In her mission in India she faced the harsh realities of sin in our world, of destroyed lives, of meager rations and little hope for improvement. She willingly sought that life as a young woman, raised in a world of plenty, and more than plenty. Why? For others? Yes. For the girls whom she rescued? Yes! But there seems to be much more to it than that, as this poem and many of her others hint at.


From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,