Friday, October 19, 2007

the litany of farewell

Yesterday I had my final meeting with my spiritual director, Ken, who is also a dear friend and a lover of poetry. We shared poems as a part of our litany of farewell; I share some of them, now, with you.

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

"Live in the layers,

not on the litter."

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.


Stanley Kunitz



Fishing in the Keep of Silence


There is a hush now while the hills rise up

and God is going to sleep. He trusts the ship

of Heaven to take over and proceed beautifully

as he lies dreaming in the lap of the world.

He knows the owls will guard the sweetness

of the soul in their massive keep of silence,

looking out with eyes open or closed over

the length of Tomales Bay that the herons

conform to, whitely broad in flight, white

and slim in standing. God, who thinks about

poetry all the time, breathes happily as He

repeats to Himself: There are fish in the net,
lots of fish this time in the net of the heart.

Linda Gregg


By a departing light,

We saw acuter, quite,

Than by a light that stays.

There’s something in the flight,

That clarifies the sight,

And decks the rays.


Emily Dickinson
Peace,
Milton

3 comments:

David said...

Love "The Layers". Thanks and Godspeed.

Megwolff said...

I love "The Layers" too. Yours is an interesting blog...I will be back!:-)

Cecilia said...

Grace upon grace.

Pax, C.