Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
~Gerard Manley Hopkins from “God’s Grandeur”
– let me yell for joy at what I have been given,
at the blessedness that I have been afforded,
at the long seasons of grace
you have spun out for me
in a great summer taffy of a life.
~A.G. Harmon from patheos.com
What is all this juice and all this joy?
~Gerard Manley Hopkins from “Spring”
These summer mornings I awake in a Gerard Manley Hopkins landscape~
the young poet priest combined words in suspended rhythm,
recreating the world found outside our windows
entirely in our minds even when our eyes are closed.
What is this taffy-stretched joy I feel when witnessing
what must have moved him to write?
What can be more powerful
than words that awaken in us dawn’s redeeming light?
Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?
Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts?
Why are we reading, if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage and the hope of meaningfulness, and press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?
What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and which reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered?
Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love?
We still and always want waking.
~Annie Dillard from “Write Till You Drop”
I am bewildered by life most of the time. Anyone looking at these online pages can see the struggle as I wake each day to seek out what I’m called to and how to make this sad and suffering world a better place.
I have so little wisdom to offer a reader other than my own wrestling match with the mysteries we all face.
When a light does shine out through darkness, I am not surprised. It was there all the time, but I needed the eyes to see such beauty laid bare.
Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,
then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?
This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—
maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,
dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,
and, if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.
~Billy Collins “Morning”
Dawn is a new gift every day,
even if the shortest night was sleepless,
and the longest day won’t return for another year.We get up
to see just what might happen
as you never know what might be
just over the horizon
as we round the solstice corner
to face the darkening.That’s why we bother.
Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy.
These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.
A solstice moment
when light replaces
where darkness thrives:
there is a wounding
that tears us open,
so joy can enter the cracks
that hurt the most.
The birds they sang
At the break of day
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be
Ah the wars they will
Be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
Bought and sold
And bought again
The dove is never free
You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen from “Anthem”
Our cracks expand with age:
do they not heal as quickly
or are we more brittle than before?
I know how my eyes leak,
my heart feels more porous.
The events of the day break me open even wider.
Let the light pour in
and illuminate our wounds old and new.
Let the world know
that from the hurt comes healing.
May we become the perfect offering.
They know so much more now about
the heart we are told but the world
still seems to come one at a time
one day one year one season and here
it is spring once more with its birds
nesting in the holes in the walls
its morning finding the first time
its light pretending not to move
always beginning as it goes
~W.S.Merwin “To This May”
Each morning is a fresh try at life,
a new chance to get things right
even if all our yesterdays are broken.
So I drink in the golden dawn,
take a deep breath of cool air
and dive in head first
into light and blossoms,
hoping I too just might
stay afloat today.
When you consider the radiance,
that it does not withhold itself
but pours its abundance without selection
into every nook and cranny not overhung or hidden;
when you consider that air or vacuum,
snow or shale, squid or wolf, rose or lichen,
each is accepted into as much light as it will take,
then the heart moves roomier,
the man stands and looks about,
the leaf does not increase itself above the grass,
and the dark work of the deepest cells
is of a tune with May bushes
and fear lit by the breadth of such
calmly turns to praise.
~A.R. Ammons from “The City Limits”
in fact, in truth,
–whether we accept or believe or not
makes not one whit of difference–
God Himself who pours His radiance
into every nook and cranny,
even into the dark corners of our doubting hearts.
He pulses there,
hidden and forgotten,
circulating life and light
until we find our voice
that turns, illuminated, to praise.