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In Honour Of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Laybrother of the Society of Jesus by Gerard Manley Hopkins Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say; And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field, And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day. On Christ they do and on the martyr may; But be the war within, the brand we wield Unseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled, Earth hears no hurtle then from fiercest fray. Yet God (that hews mountain and continent, Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment, Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more) Could crowd career with conquest while there went Those years and years by of world without event That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door. I dedicate this to my friend Tom Marshall, S.J., who died on March 11, 2010 . A laybrother of the Society of Jesus, a Zen priest in both the Soto and Rinzai lineages, and my hero. May he rest in peace. More poe


by Stanley Moss In writing, he moved from the word I, the word once a serpent curled between the rocks, to he, the word once a hawk drifting above the reeds, back to we: a nest of serpents. Of course the hawk attacked the serpents. She became a cloud, nursed us, mothered us, scrubbed us with rain. I, once a serpent, know the Chinese character for he is a standing figure, the sign for she is a kneeling figure, the word cloud is formed by two horizontal waves above a plain, and that in writing Chinese you must show feeling for different parts of the word. Writing contains painting and painting writing. Each is bird and sky to the other, soil and flower.


by Hafiz Once a young woman asked me, “How does it feel to be a man?” And I replied, “My dear, I am not so sure.” Then she said. “Well aren’t you a man?” And this time I replied, “I view gender as a beautiful animal That people often take for a walk on a leash, And might enter in some odd contest To try to win strange prizes. My dear, A better question for Hafiz Would have been, ‘How does it feel to be a Heart?’ For all I know is love, And I find my heart Infinite And everywhere!”

from The Way of Chuang Tzu

A point of view from The Way of Chuang Tzu via Thomas Merton: Chuang Tzu and Hui Tzu Were crossing Hao river By the dam. Chuang said: "See how free The fishes leap and dart: That is their happiness." Hui replied: "Since you are not a fish How do you know What makes fishes happy?" Chuang said: " Since you are not I How can you possibly know That I do not know What makes fishes happy?" Hui argued: "If I, not being you, Cannot know what you know It follows that you Not being a fish cannot know what they know." Chuang said: "Wait a minute! Let us get back To the original question. What you asked me was ' How do you know What makes fishes happy?' From the terms of your question You evidently know I know What makes fishes happy. "I know the joy of fishes In the river Through my own joy, as I go walking Along the same river."

Monet Refuses the Operation

by Lisel Mueller Doctor, you say that there are no haloes around the streetlights in Paris and what I see is an aberration caused by old age, an affliction. I tell you it has taken me all my life to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels, to soften and blur and finally banish the edges you regret I don't see, to learn that the line I called the horizon does not exist and sky and water, so long apart, are the same state of being. Fifty-four years before I could see Rouen cathedral is built of parallel shafts of sun, and now you want to restore my youthful errors: fixed notions of top and bottom, the illusion of three-dimensional space, wisteria separate from the bridge it covers. What can I say to convince you the Houses of Parliament dissolve night after night to become the fluid dream of the Thames? I will not return to a universe of objects that don't know each other, as if islands were not the lost children of o

The Alchemist in the City

by G. M. Hopkins My window shews the travelling clouds, Leaves spent, new seasons, alter'd sky, The making and the melting crowds: The whole world passes; I stand by. They do not waste their meted hours, But men and masters plan and build: I see the crowning of their towers, And happy promises fulfill'd. And I - perhaps if my intent Could count on prediluvian age, The labours I should then have spent Might so attain their heritage, But now before the pot can glow With not to be discover'd gold, At length the bellows shall not blow, The furnace shall at last be cold. Yet it is now too late to heal The incapable and cumbrous shame Which makes me when with men I deal More powerless than the blind or lame. No, I should love the city less Even than this my thankless lore; But I desire the wilderness Or weeded landslips of the shore. I walk my breezy belvedere To watch the low or levant sun, I see the city pigeons veer, I mark the tower swall