Some thoughts from André Gorz’s book Letter to D: A Love Story.
On love and life together:
I understood that pleasure is not something you give or take. It’s a way of giving yourself and calling forth the gift of self from the other person.
What captivated me about you was that you opened the door to another world for me.
You gave all of yourself to help me become myself.
You opened up the richness of life for me and I loved life through you – unless it was the reverse and I loved you through all living things (but that comes down to the same thing).
It’s fairly safe to say I probably haven’t lived up to the resolution I made 30 years ago: to live completely at one with the present, mindful above all of the wealth of our shared life.
You have to accept being finite: being here and nowhere else, doing this and not something else, now and not always or never … having only this life.
… you knew that a person who wanted to be a writer needs to be able to shut themselves away in seclusion, to make notes at any hour of the day or night; that their work with language goes on well after they’ve laid down their pen and can take complete possession of them without warning, in the middle of a meal or a conversation.
‘When everything’s said, everything remains to be said, everything always remains to be said’. In other words: it’s the saying that matters, not the said. What I’d written interested me a lot less than what I might write next.
… theory always runs the risk of blinding us to the shifting complexities of the real world.
the invisible walls,
the rotten masks that divide one man
from another, one man from himself,
for one enormous moment and we glimpse
the unity that we lost, the desolation
of being man, and all its glories,
sharing bread and sun and death,
the forgotten astonishment of being alive
From Octavio Paz’s long poem Sunstone / Piedra de Sol.
… Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
From ‘The Bright Field’ by R. S. Thomas
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes
From ‘Aurora Leigh’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
… there was an extra-ness in the air, as if a gate had been left open in the usual life, as if something might get in or get out.
From Seamus Heaney’s book District and Circle
It’s the really hungry who can smell fresh bread a mile away. For those who know their need, God is immediate – not an idea, not a theory, but life, food, air for the stifled spirit and the beaten, despised, exploited body.
Rowan Williams, as quoted by Sara Miles, Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion
In her poem ‘The Lord’s Prayer from Guatemala’ (1979), also published in Threatened with Resurrection/Amenazado de resurrección, Julia Esquivel envisages that:
churches abandon their structures of power and domination
and become instead a source of life and service
for all humankind.
For yours is the kingdom
belonging to no usurper,
yours is the power
belonging to no structure or organization,
and yours is the glory,
for you are the only God and Father
forever and ever, AMEN.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
I read this amazing e.e. cummings poem (from Complete Poems 1904–1962) in Janet Morley’s The Heart’s Time this morning, only to find that it also featured as part of the Easter Eucharist led by Peter Francis at Gladstone’s Library this morning. An unexpected blessing!