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To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.
n/a ; published in PM
Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

The Man Watching

by Rainer Maria Rilke

English version by Robert Bly
Original Language German

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend,
I can’t love without a sister

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestler’s sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

This IS how we grow: by being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings.

All men are sinners and miss the mark.

That bears repeating: ALL MEN ARE SINNERS AND MISS THE MARK.

We forgive others that we may be forgiven. If we refuse forgiveness forgiveness is refused us.

We are told though your sins be scarlet they shall be white as snow.

This is true.

But it takes having our sins be scarlet to understand the depth of that.

It takes being the worst sinner in eternity to understand the boundless grace which greets us.

Yes, take defeat from any brazen throat. There is no shortage of them.

No tree can grow to Heaven unless its roots reach down to Hell.

My roots reach down to Hell.

https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/acclaimed-toronto-film-archivist-faces-child-porn-charges

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/01/26/toronto-vintage-film-expert-denying-child-pornography-charges.html

Those stories have been spread around the world. The appropriate comments have been made by the uniformed.

Unreported is that the charges were withdrawn.

There was no evidence to support them.

Ben Hecht, a newspaper man, has a character in his play NOTHING SACRED say of journalists, “The hand of God, reaching down into the mire, couldn’t elevate one of them to the depths of degradation!”

In 1968 I began studying THE I CHING, an ancient Chinese text. The sages who created knew a thing or two.

THE I CHING teaches that before a name can be made great it first must be destroyed.

Some are aristocrats by birth. That makes them aristocrats in name only.

To be truly an aristocrat we must be the absolute best we can.

That means when we get knocked down we get up. We get up again, again, again, again and again.

John Ciardi, IN PLACE OF A CURSE

At the next vacancy for God, if I am elected,
I shall forgive last the delicately wounded
who, having been slugged no harder than anyone else,
never got up again, neither to fight back,
nor to finger their jaws in painful admiration.

They who are wholly broken, and they in whom
mercy is understanding, I shall embrace at once
and lead to pillows in heaven. But they who are
the meek by trade, baiting the best of their betters
with the extortions of a mock-helplessness

I shall take last to love, and never wholly.
Let them all into Heaven—I abolish Hell—
but let it be read over them as they enter:
“Beware the calculations of the meek, who gambled nothing,
gave nothing, and could never receive enough.”

Seneca, once a wealthy man by the world’s standards, lost everything in a shipwreck. He said, “No man should possess more than he can afford to lose in a shipwreck.”

He set a good example.

On the last day of his life a friend told me THE BUDDHA was invited to a feast given by one who hated him. THE BUDDHA told those who went with him to neither eat nor drink any of what was offered to him all of which was laced with poison. The lucky Buddha licks his lips when he sees poison coming.

Jesus said that one of the signs he is with us is that we shall be given a deadly cup and the poison we drink will not harm us.

While I am not to tempt God by drinking poison I am called, we are called, to drink dry the cup when it is given to us.

Jesus got kicked out of churches, synagogues and temples. For Christ’s sake stay away from such places.

Paul wrote there is utterly a fault among you that you take each other to court. He asks, “Can’t you let yourself be wronged?”

Was any person more wronged than Jesus of Nazareth?

I have no choice but to let myself be wronged.

Walk alone.

Jesus also calls for us to pray for those who do evil to us.

That keeps us from becoming them.

–Reg Hartt

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

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