Why do I linger in places like this? Perhaps this is why…
‘Teach me mortality, frighten me
into the present. Help me to find
the heft of these days.’
Another place that you can find mental and spiritual space for peace and reflection is the old Jewish cemetery, and so here I returned this morning.
…two great gods in a vault of starlight
Play ponderingly at chess; and at the game’s end
One of the pieces, shaken, falls to the floor
And runs to the darkest corner; and that piece
Forgotten there, left motionless, is I….
Say that I have no name, no gifts, no power,
Am only one of millions, mostly silent;
One who came with lips and hands and a heart,
Looked on beauty, and loved it, and then left it.
Say that the fates of time and space obscured me,
Led me a thousand ways to pain, bemused me,
Wrapped me in ugliness; and like great spiders
Dispatched me at their leisure…. Well, what then?
Should I not hear, as I lie down in dust,
The horns of glory blowing above my burial?
-Conrad Aiken from Tetelestai
…nothing human remains. You are
the earth and air; you are in the beauty of the ocean
And the great streaming triumphs of sundown; you are alive
and well in the tender grass rejoicing
When soft rain falls all night…
-Robinson Jeffers from Hungerfield