In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread:
you put this rather beautifully,
and gave me leave to sing my work
until my work became the song.

In sorrow shalt thou eat of it:
a line on which a man might ring
the changes as he tills the ground
from which he was taken. Thistle, thorn

(in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed),
these too shall it bring forth to thee,
all the days of thy life till the end,
the synagogue of the ear of corn.

Poem and plowman cleave the dark.
One can’t eat art. But dust is art,
and unto dust shall I return.
O let my song become my work.

Amanda Jernigan, Adam’s Prayer




what we need is here

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

Wendell Berry



On my last birthday I was ninety-three years old. That is not young, of course.

In fact, it is older than ninety. But age is a relative matter.

If you continue to work and to absorb the beauty in the world about you, you find that age does not necessarily mean getting old.

At least, not in the ordinary sense.

I feel many things more intensely than ever before, and for me life grows more fascinating.


“Nothing holds firm.  Everything is here today and gone tomorrow.   But the good things of life– truth, justice, and beauty– all great accomplishments need time, constancy, and memory, or they degenerate. The man who feels neither responsibility towards the past nor desire to shape the future is one who forgets.  And I do not know how one can really get at such a person and bring him to his senses.”                                                



-Dietrich Bonhoeffer (d. 1945)


the endless knot


The endless knot is one of the eight fortunate symbols in Tibetan Buddhism. It has many meanings.

It is a pattern that is closed in on itself with no gaps, signifying the interrelatedness of everything.

It shows that the apparent disharmony and contradictoriness of the world we see is, seen properly, an illusion, disguising a world that is balanced, complete, and utterly interconnected.

In particular, it signifies the union of compassion and wisdom: that they are two aspects of the same thing.

When given as a gift, it indicates a deep karmic connection between giver and receiver, but in the context of a universe in which, seen with the eye of enlightement, all the scattered and disparate components are similarly, intricately, linked.

At the level of giver and receiver, it says “I love you.” At the level of the consciousness of the Buddha mind, it says “love.”


with thanks to Tom Davis


morning rain


The dawn light. A light rain.
I hear it on the treetop leaves.
Then, the mist. The morning wind
blows it and the clouds away.

Now colours deepen, and a sense of grace:
the presence of water.
And then, across the landscape
the smell of morning rain.


Du Fu (712-770 AD) tr. Tom Davis




Look: how they grow to be each other.
In their veins there is only God.
Each other’s axis, a shimmering shape
that glows, like fire, a rapture, a delight.
They thirst, and are each other’s wine;
see, how they are each other’s seeing.
Let us let each rejoice into the other:
outlasting self, outlasting all.

Rilke, The Lovers, transl. Tom Davis.



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