Autumn

The leaves are falling, falling as from far off,
as though far gardens withered in the skies;
they are falling with denying gestures.

And in the nights the heavy earth is falling
from all the stars down into loneliness.

We are all falling. This hand falls.
And look at others; it is in them all.

And yet there is One who holds this falling
endlessly gently in his hands.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

I first heard this song sung by the beautiful and talented Elizabeth Smith at the Atlantic Music Festival this past summer. Lee Hoiby had set this gorgeous poem to music, and the words just drew me in. I remember reading poetry by him in high school in my literature classes, and remembering that he was an exceptionally gifted poet. In fact, his creativity meant that he was remembered as the leading Christian existentialist poet of Germany. His own life was troubled; his mother mourned for a lost daughter and tried to project her desires onto him by dressing him in girls’ clothing. His parents’ marriage fell apart when he was nine. Eventually, years later, he started a relationship with a brilliant, widely-traveled, intellectual MARRIED woman who he remained friends with even afterwards. Later on, he began an affair with an artist. He had a pretty tumultuous life, later dying of leukemia.

But even out of a broken life can come beautiful poetry, and he has left many volumes of both prose and poetry which attest to that fact.

In my opinion, this poem sums up not just autumn, but the very fact of decay and death and falling and ending. The frailty and fragility of human nature. The fact that flowers have to wither sometime. The fact that we’re only a small, small planet in the midst of a sea of stars and galaxies. Hurtling through space, through gravity, to an unknown and uncertain future.

The inevitable fall, again and again.

And when we fall, we are hesitant to admit that we are so lost and drowning. Denying the pain for as long as we can, until we have no choice but to let go…

… until we are falling into unbearable grace; coming down to rest gently, our falls broken by forgiveness.

And I am utterly shattered by the beauty of it all.

Will You catch me when I fall?

First two pictures taken by me, last photo from Flickr

 

Summerfall

I keep on seeing with my mind’s eye a girl with paper butterflies cradled in the palm of her hand.

When the wind blows, she sets them free.

Palms open toward the sky.

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

Summer Storm

Disturbed from sleep

By a crack of thunder

As if someone drew his whip

Across the roof of the house

The quietly sleeping people

Roused, racing around the house

Closing all the windows and

Screen doors left open.

Action from the unexpected

This is summer.

At best.

No one knows when they hit.

Except perhaps…

The One cracking the whip.

Then go back to sleep

As before when it ends

And wake to a sunlit morning.

—————–

Lots of thunderstorms these days. Thunderstorm after thunderstorm after thunderstorm. One morning not too long ago we had a loud one. Since we leave our windows open because of the heat, my parents had to run around closing them. I woke up and then went back to sleep. When I woke up again the storm was gone. The sun had reappeared.

Such is the way of these summer storms.

Storm rolls in by Bitterroot.

Picture credits: Bitterroot

The Agony and the Ecstasy

I sculpt whole works out of words,

Just as a sculptor chips a David from his marble.

I paint pictures with words,

Just as an artist uses her brush and watercolors.

I make the words flow like melodies,

Just as the songwriter at her piano.

I am like the photographer,

With his eye out to capture the shot,

Pleasing to the eye.

Like all four, I struggle continously

To create what is set on me to create.

To follow where the muse takes me.

—————————-

Writing, like good art,

Is both sadness and joy

Beauty in the midst of pain

Both agony and ecstasy.

————————-

I wrote this when I was reading Irving Stone’s autobiographical novel about the great sculptor/artist/architect/poet Michelangelo. The title of the work was “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” Having watched the movie as well, this seemed very fitting. A writer in some ways is like an artist. Both have to struggle hard to depict what they’re thinking of painting/writing/sculpting out onto their mediums. I work on paper, they work on stone, canvas, or an instrument.

In the book, the author speaks of this as both Agony and Ecstasy. For while it can bring much happiness, it can also bring pain. It can feel like torture at some times, but at the same time nothing else can bring greater joy.

It really is both agony and ecstasy.

red-black by esperanza277.

Blurry Lines

Between fact and fiction

Between reality and fantasy

Between all the things we want to believe

And truth…

The lines are blurred.

————————

Between Oprah Winfrey and C.S. Lewis,

Between Billy Graham and The Secret

Between the Laws of attraction and the Bible

And yes, our own weaknesses

And truth…

The lines are blurred.

————————

Between crystals and inner guides

Versus the Spirit and the Word of God

Between the present and the past

Between levels of consciousness, warm energy

And truth…

The lines are blurred.

————————-

Between empty sex and love,

Between beauty and dross

Even our own selves and the Divine,

Between “Drawing bad circumstances toward ourselves”

And truth…

The lines are blurred.

—————————

Mere Christianity is no longer mere Christianity

God is now warm energy

Jesus is no longer God

We are no longer merely men

What happened to truth?

In the end, we don’t know what to believe.

—————————-

Whether to love only ourselves, or love only others, or love God

Where to draw the line?

roses 11.13.08 - 68 by laura padgett.

Smile

Fingers on the glass

Looking out at a world

Full of sadness and heartbreak

The young woman with her arms running scarlet

The young man breathing in the decay of pot,

His brains scalded and empty, afraid.

The old woman lonely and destitute

Except by one small cat,

Forgotten.

The teenager killed

Driving drunk one night

And the woman he murdered

The young girl losing her stomach contents

Into a porcelain basin, behind closed doors

The young wife, waiting for her husband to come home

Or not.

Maybe he is in the arms of another

So soon.

Still,

Breathing in the freshness after the rain,

I haven’t forgotten

How to smile

Through a Window by It'sGreg.

Sound of Creation

Notes spread over the paper

White sheets filled with black.

Scribblings

Trying to match the sounds in your head

To the marks on the page.

814037719_258fdab1a1You can hear it all around you

On this bleak, day of shadow.

The sounds are filling your head,

Trying to escape

Yet trying to stay true to the original

muse.

Are you an artist? or a madman?

At times you cannot tell the difference

Which is what and what is which?

You can only do what you must

Create.

Crumpled paper

Discarded in black and white balls

Littered all over the desk

One, thrown in a fit of

frustration

Comes to rest near the window panes

Looking out onto a world of greyness.

Ask yourself, is this the best I can do?

For now, it is.

——————-

You try to come as close as you can

Yet the words still fall short of the true beauty of

The rain.

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