Temet Nosce (Know Thyself)

This page exists as what used to be known as a "Commonplace Book" for the purpose of maintaining a log of the poetry and philosophy that inspires and propels much of my own thought and writing, and to share, with fellow sojourners, a collection of the beauty and wisdom of kindred souls throughout time. My hope is that we will collectively work towards the goal of a deep and sustaining self-knowledge that will, then, inspire and guide us to pursue beauty, peace and justice in our world.

“He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thomas Merton

"Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity." 
~ Thomas Merton

After A Month Of Rain, by Linda Paston

Everything I thought I wanted
is right here,
particularly when the sun
is making such a comeback,
and the lilac engorged
with purple has recovered
from its severe pruning,
and you will be back soon
to dispel whatever it is
that overtakes me like leaf blight,
even on a day like this. I can still
hear remnants of the rain
in the swollen stream
behind the house, in the faint
dripping under the eaves,
persistent as memory.
And all the things I didn't think
I wanted, cut like the lilac back
to the root, push up again
from underground.
~ Linda Paston "After a Month of Rain"  


"What matters is how quickly you do
what your soul wants."
~ Rumi

Salutation, by Ezra Pound

O generation of the thoroughly smug
and thoroughly uncomfortable,
I have seen fishermen picnicking in the sun,
I have seen them with untidy families,
I have seen their smiles full of teeth
and heard ungainly laughter.
And I am happier than you are,
And they were happier than I am;
And the fish swim in the lake
and do not even own clothing.
~ Ezra Pound, "Salutation"

"The Three Goals" David Budbill

The first goal is to see the thing in itself
in and for itself, to see it simply and clearly
for what it is.
No symbolism, please.
The second goal is to see each individual thing
as unified, as one, with all the other
ten thousand things.
In this regard, a little wine helps a lot.
The third goal is to grasp the first and the second goals,
to see the universal in the particular,
Regarding this one, call me when you get it.
~ David Budbill, "The Three Goals"

Ram Dass, Born 6 April 1931

"We're all just walking each other home."
~ Ram Dass 

Rings Of Passage, by Joanne Monte

There is a wind
breaking with eloquence, rain,
a thousand origami cranes for longevity;
and two women, hibakusha, in a garden
of castle rock, stepping stones,
a pond of blue feathers, hiding their faces
behind the fluttering motifs of bamboo
and pine, their skin peeled like a soft plum
exposing the red pit of a muscle. There is a sense
that here in this city, there is a language
we cannot speak. It's the translation we fear most,
like a stone that first glowed,
thrown into the river, widening the rings
of passage, but still visible, still spreading.
The faces we did not see where the mouth
of the river choked on burnt flesh;
where the willow, clutching the dark,
stood weeping over the corpses of children.
~ Joanne Monte "Rings Of Passage"