Friday, December 24, 2010

Fra Giovanni: Written Christmas Eve, 1513

Tahquamenon Falls

Written on Christmas Eve, 1513

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there
is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in
this present little instant. Take peace! The gloom of the world is
but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is
radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.
And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering,
cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and
you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom,
with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel's hand
that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty,
believe me, that angel's hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder
of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content
with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its
covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have,
and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together,
wending through unknown country home.

And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends
greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that
for you, now and forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.

~ Fra Giovanni ~

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mary Oliver: White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field

White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field

Coming down out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful, and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings — five feet apart —
and the grabbing thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys of the snow —
and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes
to lurk there, like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows —
so I thought:
maybe death isn't darkness, after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us —

as soft as feathers —
that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow,
that is nothing but light — scalding, aortal light —
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(House of Light)

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