Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
If you have time to chatter,
If you have time to read,
Walk into mountain, desert and ocean.
If you have time to walk,
Sing songs and dance.
If you have time to dance,—excerpted from How To Live on the Planet Earth: Collected Poems
Sit quietly, you Happy Lucky Idiot.
Don’t you want to ask these people who take so much from us; don’t you want to ask yourself? Why do you need so much?
… the rest “Is This Not Enough?”
Is this not enough
This blessed sip of life?
Is it not enough
Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.—from Poor Man’s Pudding and Rich Man’s Crumbs
Poetry is not a fancy way of giving you information; it’s an incantation. It is actually a magic spell. It changes things; it changes you.
“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild.”—Stephen King
Thanks to Kyra Mills for sharing her beautiful artwork.
Men who look upon themselves as born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.
Regarding my Facebook friends list.
I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.—Bilbo Baggins, Eleventy-first Birthday Speech
He simply wasn’t all there. He wasn’t a complete human being at all. He was a tiny bit of one, unnaturally developed; something in a bottle, an organ kept alive in a laboratory. I thought he was a sort of primitive savage, but he was something absolutely modern and up-to-date that only this ghastly age could produce. A tiny bit of a man pretending he was the whole.
There’s something I should tell you
Before I take your blindfold off
I’ve been twisted and turned
By what I have learned
But my blood is warm
John McPhee on the father of his geologist traveling companion David Love.
… the rest “You Don’t Always Have One Available.”
In the earlier stretch of his life when John Love had slept out for seven years, he would wrap himself in his sougans and finish the package with
For George Floyd,
How shall Integrity face Oppression? What shall Honesty do in the face of Deception, Decency in the face of Insult, Self-Defense before Blows? How shall Desert and Accomplishment meet Despising, Detraction, and Lies? What shall Virtue do to meet Brute Force? There are so many answers and so contradictory; and such differences for those on the one hand who meet questions similar to this once a year or once a decade, and those who face them hourly and daily.
I don’t even have to do nothin’ to you. You’ll cause your own country to fall.
The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.
The world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home. Teachers are everywhere. What is wanted is a learner.
No domestic animal can be as still as a wild animal. The civilized people have lost the aptitude of stillness, and must take lessons in silence from the wild before they are accepted by it.
The true and durable path into and through experience involves being true to the actual givens of your lives. True to your own solitude, true to your own secret knowledge. Because oddly enough, it is that intimate, deeply personal knowledge that links us most vitally and keeps us most reliably connected to one another.
University of North Carolina Commencement Address, 1996
There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song — but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.
It’s peculiar, as soon as I am in the midst of nature and by myself, everything that is base and trivial vanishes without trace. On such days nothing scares me; and this helps me again and again.