Nov 3 – for angry moments in nervous times — David Whyte and Denise Levertov

November 3, Election Day 2020 – – for angry moments in nervous times

About midnight last night, I opened my window to say goodnight to 6 Mile and Livernois, and the city. Astonishing. After some days of damp and pretty dark, a nearly full moon lit up the night. This morning, softer light on traces of snow, with my iPhone promising little icons of sun. Grief requires stillness, but it is surely helped along by unexpected surprises and delicate beauty.

A thought about the news lately: fire and anger and fear do best when I can bring them to stillness, when their source in grief becomes accessible to me. There’s lots of anger in the land these days. Here are two poets who frequently grace this list, writing their way into holy sorrow. Try reading them, perhaps not both right in a row, with pauses in between to let the poets’ words seep into your evening.

Have a blest evening,

john sj

Post # 1 David Whyte “The Well of Grief”

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief,
turning down through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe,
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering,
the small round coins,
thrown by those who wished for something else.

David Whyte b. 1955
Risking Everything

Post # 2 Denise Levertov “the Mineshaft of passion”

And the poet–it’s midnight, the room is half empty, soon we must part–
the poet, his presence
ursine and kind, shifting his weight in a chair too small for him,
quietly says, and shyly:
“The Poet
never must lose despair.”
Then our eyes indeed
meet and hold,
All of us know, smiling
in common knowledge–
even the palest spirit among us, burdened
as he is with weight of abstractions–
all of us know he means
we mustn’t, any of us, lose touch with the source,
pretend it’s not there, cover over
the mineshaft of passion
despair somberly tolls its bell
from the depths of,
and wildest joy
sings out of too,
the scales of its laughing, improbable music,
grief and delight entwined in the dark down there.

Denise Levertov
b. October 1923 d. December 1997
“Conversation in Moscow” in Freeing of the Dust

from my window looking west – morning on November 3

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