Li Ch’ing-Chao (c. 1084 to 1150)
Cold Mountain 199
Under vast arrays of stars, dazzling depths of night, I light a lone lamp among cliffs. The moon hasn’t set.
It’s the unpolished jewel. Incandescence round and full, it hangs there in the blackest-azure skies, my very mind.
"If your characters aren’t feeling bad about themselves, if they aren’t worrying, they’re not real."
"Also in this He shewed a littil thing the quantitye of an hesil nutt in the palme of my hand, and it was as round as a balle. I lokid there upon with eye of my understondyng and thowte, What may this be? And it was generally answered thus: It is all that is made.
I mervellid how it might lesten, for methowte it might suddenly have fallen to nowte for littil. And I was answered in my understondyng, It lesteth and ever shall, for God loveth it; and so all thing
hath the being be the love of God.”
– Julian of Norwich
"Light itself has become unnatural or spiritual, in a certain sense it is the substance out of which the visions are formed." - Klaus Berger on Redon
The Abandoned Valley
Can you understand being alone so long
you would go out in the middle of the night
and put a bucket into the well
so you could feel something down there
tug at the other end of the rope?
~ Jack Gilbert
For there is a boundary to looking.
And the world that is looked at so deeply
wants to flourish in love.
Work of the eye is done, now
go and do heart-work
on all the images imprisoned within you; for you
overpowered them: but even now you don’t know them.
– Rilke, from “Turning-Point”
"Home" – William Alexander Percy
I have a need of silence and of stars;
Too much is said too loudly; I am dazed.
The silken sound of whirled infinity
Is lost in voices shouting to be heard.
I once knew men as earnest and less shrill.
An undermeaning that I caught I miss
Among these ears that hear all sounds save silence,
These eyes that see so much but not the sky,
These minds that gain all knowledge but no calm.
If suddenly the desperate music ceased,
Could they return to life? or would they stand
In dancers’ attitudes, puzzled, polite,
And striking vaguely hand on tired hand
For an encore, to fill the ghastly pause?
I do not know. Some rhythm there may be
I cannot hear. But I oh, I must go
Back where the breakers of deep sunlight roll
Across flat fields that love and touch the sky;
Back to the more of earth, the less of man,
Where there is still a plain simplicity,
And friendship, poor in everything but love,
And faith, unwise, unquestioned, but a star.
Soon now the peace of summer will be there
With cloudy fire of myrtles in full bloom;
And, when the marvelous wide evenings come,
Across the molten river one can see
The misty willow-green of Arcady.
And then the summer stars … I will go home.