The Sacred and the Profane  

"Man becomes aware of the sacred because it manifests itself, shows itself, as something wholly different from the profane." --- Mircea Eliade's The Sacred and The Profane

Temenos profanum
Arts & Letters Daily
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"A Presence"

A shadow dawns inside my shadow,
and a voice my voice contains; a hand has
curled like a glove on my strengthed hand--

A charge---a surge in color and sound,
that world in a heightened curve--has come,
force in the season, an enhancement of being.

I hear an interval that isn't a storm
calling: that voice commands the legions
of snow, and all my allegiance follows.

I swing into knowledge and fall, all
the way into tomorrow, away from friends,
thin voices that fade in this this new dawning.

--- William Stafford "Holding Onto to the Grass"

  posted by Stephanie @ 11:44 PM

Monday, March 05, 2007  



by Tomas Tranströmer Translated by Robert Bly

Men in overalls the same color as earth rise from a ditch.
It's a transitional place, in stalemate, neither country nor city.
Construction cranes on the horizon want to take the big leap,
but the clocks are against it.
Concrete piping scattered around laps at the light with cold tongues.
Auto-body shops occupy old barns.
Stones throw shadows as sharp as objects on the moon surface.
And these sites keep on getting bigger
like the land bought with Judas' silver: "a potter's field for
burying strangers."

From The Winged Energy of Delight: Selected Translations by Robert Bly, published by Harper Collins. Copyright © 2004 by Robert Bly. Reprinted by permission of Robert Bly. All rights reserved.

  posted by Stephanie @ 11:16 AM

Sunday, December 17, 2006  


Burrowing Creatures
by Kerry Hardie

There’s a poem I’m always trying to write. It always begins the same way.
Oh, listen, listen—
It is the urgency of the words that compels me. I know what the poem is about, it’s about the world and its shining. But what comes after these words is an emptying space.

Now I sit at the open window watching the sunlight lighting the mossy branches of the unleafed trees. I can hear the cawing of nesting rooks, the rushing of waters deep in the glen. There are molehills pimpling the lawn below me, more of them every morning when I wake. They upset the Administrator, each day he is more distressed. The lawn slopes down from the woods and has long since been taken by moss; now the molehills erupt in purplish indiscipline across its face. Myriad molehills, destroying the order of grass and moss. You can see that the owner is aging, her sight failing, her hands losing their grip. Moles have exquisite hands, I have seen them, dead, and hooked to the barbed wire of fences; they have hands like paddles, their fingers, jointed and short.
The barbed-wire fence is the modern form of a gibbet. Dead crows and foxes and moles hanging in lines, so that live ones will glance at their horrible end and stay clear. The public scaffold, set up at the crossroads or mounted high on the walls. I suppose it made sense. Seeing your neighbor swinging about in the wind might well stop you in your tracks. But how would it work for moles? Moles are all but blind and, anyway, live underground.

Wait, it’s coming again,
Oh, listen, listen—
The shining rises up with the words, then dies back down into the dark.

Kerry Hardie

  posted by Stephanie @ 7:25 PM

Monday, November 27, 2006  


March Lauds
by Jeffrey Pethybridge

And must again acknowledge
in the name of. Admit as insufficient
what love can’t brace or salvage
with more of this high-malarkey.

Thou (suspected, darkly). We’re low-
down among a many brittle
bulwark, choices: broke and slow
to see the littered yard, bare unbroken

branches amount to saved or even
safeground. Lord, we are sore, wintered.
Anxious nerved-strings whose notes leave
like floxe like shatter like arbitrary

noise. Come anchored; come and house;
unbury what thin leaf made through
snow and thaw. Sunned: then rises, roused,
sail-like in daylit wind and seek

a shore where is no shore but sea-
like-wind. And knows nothing of.
Until and even now the free-
borne thing, latent, but difficult to belief

whether or no this nascent day,
first-created light (green, glazed: bee-comb
colored) in the name of, will a way
alone a faith whether or no.

Copyright © Jeffrey Pethybridge

  posted by Stephanie @ 6:00 PM

Wednesday, October 18, 2006  


Keeping Things Whole

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.
We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

-- Mark Strand

  posted by Stephanie @ 9:34 PM

Monday, August 07, 2006  


5:13 Where is there hide enough to cover the whole world? The wide world can be covered with hide enough for a pair of shoes alone.

5:14 In the same way, since I cannot control external events, I will control my own mind. What concern is it of mine whether other things are controlled?

--- Santideva, The Bodhicaryavatara

  posted by Stephanie @ 9:40 PM

Saturday, July 08, 2006  


This Marriage

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm. May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.

  posted by Stephanie @ 6:54 PM

Wednesday, May 31, 2006  
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