Pic & Poem of the Week: September 4, 2016

Craftsmanship divine and human

(Click picture to see larger image)

Loving Working

Work was a shining refuge when wind sank its tooth
into my mind. Everything we love is going away,
drifting ā€“ but you could sweep this stretch of floor,
this patio or porch, gather white stones in a bucket,
rake the patch for future planting, mop the counter
with a rag. Lovely wet gray rag, squeeze it hard
it does so much. Clear the yard of blowing bits of plastic.
The glory in the doing. The breath of the doing.
Sometimes the simplest move kept fear from
fragmenting into no energy at all, or sorrow from
multiplying, or sorrow from being the only person
living in the house.

By Naomi Shihab Nye

12 thoughts on “Pic & Poem of the Week: September 4, 2016

  1. great response, RICK

    the inhabitants of the Bible Belt include some whose image of ‘the God of Wrath’ is so dreadful, hell WOULD be more preferable than an eternity with this monster . . . . . hence the doctrines taught in their Churches bespeak tormenting women and abusing children as ‘biblical’ and condemning all manner of folks to hell who are not like themselves and hate the same people

    could be that BBB was brought up in a setting ruled over by this ‘God of Wrath’ philosophy, and she has ‘had it’, and my goodness, I can understand how this can be for her

    Your response addresses her situation very well indeed. Proud of you. May she one day encounter the God of all Mercy and find peace. That she came here is not necessarily the visit of a troll although that is very possible, but it might be even so, a place to express freely some strong feelings of rejection of a view of God so dreadful that hell is preferable . . . . . that is not necessarily the expression of a person who has no need for better than that in her life. And that expressed need for ‘better than that’ has found a place to be heard and also to be understood, yes.


  2. BBB, of course it is perfectly possible and natural to be a cheerful, contented atheist. But, if I may venture a remark, the end of your message sounds just a tad unhappy. Before you can order me to stop, I’m gonna say a quick prayer to whoever that things lighten up for you and the gun range no longer looms as The Answer.

    As my doctor once told me (then said he’d deny it if questioned,of course), if you want to have a well-provided old age, just find a federal judge you don’t like and shoot him. Federal prisons are pretty clean and well-run; you’re allowed to have TV; and, having shot the judge, you’ll be assured of Hell after all. šŸ™‚


  3. –> “If I believed in God, Iā€™d put a bullet through my head to ensure Hell.”

    I assume this is because your view of God is of a God who is someone you’d rather not spend eternity with. I could then counter with, “If that’s your view of God, some people have shown you the wrong view of God.”

    That leaves you with a third option, believing in a God you WOULD want to spend eternity with.


  4. BBB, I understand the first part of your comment, but find the second part unnecessary and silly. It reveals nothing that would contribute to a healthy human life. But then again, perhaps you are just trolling for reaction from people you consider backward and bound by superstition. Oh well, I guess you got it.


  5. I’m atheist. I understand that the banquet will end. I still enjoy my friends, laugh, drink, work and laugh again. Impermanence, rotting in the ground, does not rob me of my brief joy. If I believed in God, I’d put a bullet through my head to ensure Hell. We have open carry laws here. The gun range awaits. Greetings from Texas.


  6. Sometimes the simplest move kept fear from
    fragmenting into no energy at all, or sorrow from
    multiplying, or sorrow from being the only person
    living in the house.

    Sorrow, regret and grief and I are too well acquainted. ‘Doing’ sometimes helps.

    Thanks, CM


  7. But the poem speaks the wisdom of Ecclesiastes to me: in view of life’s impermanence, find joy in your work and do it with all your might. Rightly viewed, we are not ignoring or running from our transience, we are keeping fear at bay by embracing the goodness to be found in a transient existence. The Preacher tells us this is good, along with fully enjoying the fruits of our labors.


  8. Despite its title, this poem does not seem to me to be about “loving” working. It seems, instead, to be about being driven to work to avoid the painful awareness of impermanence. Sometimes distraction from the prevalence of impermanence is a good and salutary thing, and work can certainly help one manage a too keen sense of transience that might otherwise lead one down dead ends of fear and sorrow.

    But habitual avoidance of the reality of impermanence and transience, instead of their integration into ones awareness and life, can lead to habituation to the methods of avoidance, which is a certain path to workaholism for some. This poem seems to show the poet at or beyond the threshold of just such habitation and addiction to work as avoidance. If this is “love”, it doesn’t seem to me to be the good or healthy kind.


  9. Ah, the transience of life . . . . To leave a mark that we were here, we apply ourselves with our working, but still ‘all we do is dust in the wind’? Or is every kindness a witness that we were here and we, too, were human?

    “Sit with God as you might with the ocean. You bring nothing to the ocean, yet it changes you.ā€ (S. Caulfield)


  10. The glory in the doing. The breath of the doing.
    Sometimes the simplest move kept fear from
    fragmenting into no energy at all

    Yes, again and again.

    I love the photograph. Textured beauty. Zoom in, look closely, smell the grain, be amazed.


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