Showing posts with the label Li-Young Lee

Descended from Dreamers

by Li-Young Lee And what did I learn, a child, on the Sabbath? A father is bound to kill his favorite son, and to his father's cherishing the beloved answers Yes. The rest of the week, I hid from my father, grateful I was not prized. But how deserted he looked, with no son who pleased him. And what else did I learn? That light is born of dark to usurp its ancient rank. And when a pharaoh dreams of ears of wheat or grazing cows, it means he's seen the shapes of the oncoming years. The rest of my life I wondered: Are there dreams that help us to understand the past? Or is any looking back a waste of time, the whole of it a too finely woven net of innumerable conditions, causes, effects, countereffects, impossible to read? Like rain on the surface of a pond. Where's Joseph when you need him? Did Jacob, his father, understand the dream of the ladder? Or did his enduring its mystery make him richer? ** Why are you crying? my father asked in my

To Hold

by Li-Young Lee So we're dust. In the meantime, my wife and I make the bed. Holding opposite edges of the sheet, we raise it. billowing, then pull it tight, measuring by eye as it falls into aignment between us. We tug, fold, tuck. And if I'm lucky, she'll remember a recent dream and tell me. One day we'll lie down and not get up. One day, all we guard will be surrendered. Until then, we'll go on learning to recognize what we love, and what it takes to tend what isn't for our having. So often, fear has led me to abandon what I know I must relinquish in time. But for the moment, I'll listen to her dream, and she to mine, our mutual hearing calling more and more detail into the light of a joint and fragile keeping.

Standard Checklist for Amateur Mystics

by Li-Young Lee A lamp so you can read the words on the tablet. A hand to copy the sentences you find. A hand for you to rest your head. Feet to dance the gist of what you find. A bird to scour your heart. A bird to help you pronounce the sentences. Breath to fan the fire's nest. A kiln to test the choice. A crown to keep underfoot. Two eyes to see the one in one. Three to see the two in one. Seven to see the all in one. A hand to cross out your name. A donkey to carry your shit. A monkey to filch change and food. A brother to point the way. A sister to redeem the refused. A sister to ransom straw. A sister to wake you with kisses when you've fallen asleep at your opus.