We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.
—~John O’Donohue, from “The Inner History of A Day” (via armchairoxfordscholar)
In your otherwise beautiful poem one verse reads,
Every moment dies a man,
Every moment one is born.
If this were true the population of the world would be at a standstill. In truth, the rate of birth is slightly in excess of that of death. I would suggest:
Every moment dies a man,
Every moment 1 1/16 is born.
Strictly speaking the actual figure is so long I cannot get it into a line, but I believe the figure 1 1/16 will be sufficiently accurate for poetry.
I’m only here because I wandered in
Not knowing that a service would begin,
And had to slide into the nearest pew,
Pretending it was what I’d meant to do.
The tall candles cast their frail light
Upon the priest, the choir clad in white,
The carved and polished and embroidered scene,
The congregation numbers seventeen.
And awkwardly I follow as I’m led
To kneel or stand or sing or bow my head.
Though these specific rites are strange to me,
I know their larger meaning perfectly—
The heritage of twenty centuries
Is symbolised in rituals like these,
In special modes of beauty and of grace
Enacted in a certain kind of place.
This faith, although I lack it, is my own,
Inherent to the marrow of the bone.
To this even the unbelieving mind
Submits its unbelief to be defined.
Perhaps the meagre congregation shows
How all of that is drawing to a close,
And remnants only come here to entreat
These dying flickers of the obsolete.
Yet when did this religion ever rest
On weight of numbers as the final test?
Its founder said that it was all the same
When two or three were gathered in his name.
© Peter Kocan
“It is difficult to eat well outside the capital cities.” — Food writer Cherry Ripe on ABC Radio, 1/10/97
It’s a heartrending thing to see
A gourmet who’s been caught peckish
And who knows he will never make it back
To the capital by dinner time.
There’s the look of mute despair in the eye,
The slack lips and distended belly,
The hand clutching the empty champers bottle,
The weak voice crying out for caviar.
We found a whole car-load of them once,
Their BMW stalled by the roadside.
We somehow got them back to the homestead
And offered what we could for pity’s sake.
There was nothing appropriate in the house,
Just Mum’s Sunday roast with the trimmings,
Followed by the apple-pie and cream.
Of course they couldn’t swallow muck like that.
We had to watch them wasting away.
We buried the pitiful bodies by the creek.
You blame yourself, thinking they might’ve lived
If only you’d had a French chef standing by.
Now we brood continually upon
Hardships that we have never known,
The endless compassion that we owe
To palates more exquisite than our own.
Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me—the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.
—Anaïs Nin in her diary, February 1954. (via vcrfl)