Monday, September 28 – “The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.”
I’ve lost count, maybe you have also: “Have you ever been in the presence of someone like Pope Francis?” “I’m totally worn out watching television these last days, glued to the screen, listening to Francis talk with people in fluent Spanish or halting English.” “Words fail me, he transcends ideology and steps deftly in and out of hard-edged political battles, taking positions but never attacking, never defending either.”
It happens that I flew into LaGuardia this morning for a one afternoon tv shoot about a pbs film in progress (David Grubin about Nicola Tesla). In my imagination as I looked out the taxi window, Manhattan looks worn out and happy and alive to its common humanity, just like Philly and DC. Flying in this morning I caught myself wondering what the Pope’s Philadelphia-to-Rome flight last night was like. Was everyone resting from the intensities?
Some rest for the imagination looks like a good idea today. Breathe a little. Rabindranath Tagore might help. “Number 5” a short poem that might release its annointing language best if it’s read with quite a few pauses. Out loud for sure.
This Monday lots of people seem to be coming to their jobs smiling and a little slap-happy.
Blessings on your day.
john st sj
I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side,
The works that I have in hand
I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face
my heart knows no rest nor respite,
and my work becomes an endless toil
in a shoreless sea of toil.
Now is the time to sit quiet,
face to face with thee
and to sing dedication of life
in this silent and overflowing leisure.
Tagore died in the city of his birth, Calcutta, in 1941. He vastly influenced poetry, sacred and secular, not only in India but around the world. He is the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. If you buy Gitanjali, a book of 100 short sacred poems, prepare yourself to only read one poem at a time so you can sit with it. These poems have no titles, only numbers.