September 2011 Archives

Hammurabi gave us a code which is honored to his very day by many nations, including my own, and by all heroes in cowboy and gangster films, and by far too many people who feel they have been insulted or injured, however slightly. However accidentally:

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
Revenge is not only sweet - it is a must!

What antidote can there be for an idea that popular and poisonous? Revenge provides revenge, which is sure to provide revenge, forming an endless chain of human misery.

Here's the antidote:

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.


Some of you may know that I am a Humanist, not a Christian. But I say of Jesus, as all Humanists do, ''If what he said was good and so much of it is absolutely beautiful, what can it matter if he was God or not?''

If Christ hadn't delivered the Sermon on the Mount, with its message of mercy and pity, I wouldn't want to be a human being.

I would just as soon be a rattlesnake.

- Posted from my iPhone

Smart guy gets girl.

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smart guy gets girl

My favorite selection from "A Father's Story"

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Cover of "Selected Stories"

Cover of Selected Stories

printed from the book Selected Stories by Andre Dubus

       I have said I talk with God in the mornings, as I start my day, and sometimes as I sit with coffee, looking at the birds, and the woods. Of course He has never spoken to me, but that is not something I require. Nor does He need to. I know Him, as I know the part of myself that knows Him, that felt Him watching from the wind and night as I kneeled over the dying boy. Lately I have taken to arguing with Him, as I can't with Father Paul, who, when he hears my monthly confession, has not heard and will not hear anything of failure to do all that one can to save an anonymous life, of injustice to a family in their grief, of deepening their pain at the chance and mystery of death by giving them nothing--no one--to hate. With Father Paul I feel lonely about this, but not with God. When I received the Eucharist while Jennifer's car sat twice-damaged, so redeemed, in the rain, I felt neither loneliness nor shame, but as though He were watching me, even from my tongue, intestines, blood, as I have watched my sons at times in their young lives when I was able to judge but without anger, and so keep silent while they, in the agony of their youth, decided how they must act, or found reasons, after their actions, for what they had done. Their reasons were never as good or as bad as their actions, but they needed to find them, to believe they were living by them, instead of the awful solitude of the heart.
       I do not feel the peace I once did: not with God, nor the earth, or anyone on it. I have begun to prefer this state, to remember with fondness the other one as a period of peace I neither earned nor deserved. Now in the mornings while I watch purple finches driving larger titmice from the feeder, I say to Him: I would do it again. For when she knocked on my door, then called me, she woke what had flowed dormant in my blood since her birth, so that what rose from the bed was not a stable owner or a Catholic or any other Luke Ripley I had lived with for a long time, but the father of a girl. 
       And He says: I am a Father too.
       Yes, I say, as You are a Son Whom this morning I will receive; unless You kill me on the way to church, then I trust You will receive me. And as a Son You made Your plea.
Yes, He says, but I would not lift the cup.
True, and I don't want You to lift it from me either. And if one of my sons had come to me that night, I would have phoned the police and told them to meet us with an ambulance at the top of the hill.
       Why? Do you love them less?
I tell Him no, it is not that I love them less, but that I could bear the pain of watching and knowing my sons' pain, could bear it with pride as they took the whip and nails. But You never had a daughter and, if You had, You could not have borne her passion.
       So, He says, you love her more than you love Me.
       I love her more than I love truth.
       Then you love in weakness, He says.
       As You love me, I say, and I go with an apple or carrot out to the barn.

posted from my iPhone

Fave bad pet pic #2

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Fave bad pet pic #1

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In the Basement of the Goodwill Store

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by Ted Kooser

In the musty light, in the thin brown air
of damp carpet, doll heads and rust,
beneath long rows of sharp footfalls
like nails in a lid, an old man stands
trying on glasses, lifting each pair
from the box like a glittering fish
and holding it up to the light
of a dirty bulb. Near him, a heap
of enameled pans as white as skulls
looms in the catacomb shadows,
and old toilets with dry red throats
cough up bouquets of curtain rods.

You've seen him somewhere before.
He's wearing the green leisure suit
you threw out with the garbage,
and the Christmas tie you hated,
and the ventilated wingtip shoes
you found in your father's closet
and wore as a joke. And the glasses
which finally fit him, through which
he looks to see you looking back--
two mirrors which flash and glance--
are those through which one day
you too will look down over the years,
when you have grown old and thin
and no longer particular,
and the things you once thought
you were rid of forever
have taken you back in their arms

- Posted from my iPhone

The Merger

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for my son.

Trying to think of something useful
To say about marriage, I remember
A morning when I was twenty-plus,
Self-absorbed in my tinny pink
Renault Dauphine, my Little Toot,
And I tried to get by a tank-truck on
A bendy road too briefly straight.
Shuddering, pedal floored, my frivolous
Vessel leveled with the cab
Like a pilot fish by a shark's grim grille.
Then there was a car ahead of us
And, as I tried to floor a pedal
Already on the floor, the blue
Of ice I hadn't seen. Spinning
Toward the implacable hugeness of the cab, looking up
Into the eyes of the truckdriver, I felt
Only the sweet certainty of
Submission, call it love, as if
Already I had left myself and could look
Down with the driver's godlike and loving
Eyes at a comical pink Dauphine
Sliding backwards down the road, then spinning
Again and into a snowbank, tilted
Against a tree. One flat tire
And a dent in the roof I pushed out myself.
I made it to work on time. Because
The truckdriver had seen the oncoming car
Before I had, had seen the patch of blue
And had slowed to let me by, I met
And married your mother, and you were born
And have grown up to meet and marry, and I
Have begun to understand the blindh
Release of self to the will of another
And the answering wise, dispassionate
Restraint of the merger we call marriage

by Charles W. Pratt

- Posted from my iPhone

Their lonely betters

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As I listened from a beach-chair in the shade
To all the noises that my garden made, 
It seemed to me only proper that words
Should be withheld from vegetables and birds.

A robin with no Christian name ran through
The Robin-Anthem which was all it knew, 
And rustling flowers for some third party waited
To say which pairs, if any, should get mated.

Not one of them was capable of lying, 
There was not one which knew that it was dying
Or could have with a rhythm or a rhyme
Assumed responsibility for time.

Let them leave language to their lonely betters
Who count some days and long for certain letters; 
We, too, make noises when we laugh or weep: 
Words are for those with promises to keep.

W. H. Auden

posted from my iPhone

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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