“Alone” ~ Edgar Allan Poe
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were ~ I have not seen
As others saw ~ I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I lov’d, I lov’d alone.
Them ~ in my childhood ~ in the dawn
Of a most stormy life ~ was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold ~
From the lightening in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by ~
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
How swiftly the days pass! It makes us realize how few are the years we have left. Friends enjoy the cherry blossoms together on spring mornings, and then they are gone, carried away like the blossoms by the winds of impermanence, leaving nothing but their names. Although the blossoms have scattered, the cherry trees will bloom again with the coming of spring, but when will those people be reborn? The companions with whom we enjoyed composing poems praising the moon on autumn evenings have vanished with the moon behind the shifting clouds. Only their mute images remain in our hearts.Though the moon has set behind the western mountains, we will compose poetry under it again next autumn. But where are our companions who have passed away?
~ Nichiren Daishonin circa 1280 C.E. written to Niike Saemon-no-jo, an official in the Kamakura Shogunate
On this Memorial Day, please do not lament the loss of loved ones, but rather, celebrate their lives and be reminded of how much they meant to your heart.
This is going to be short. I do not understand why people have to be so nasty and hurtful to others when it is actually they themselves who are the ones who are unhappy with their lives. If you are unhappy with your life, do not blame others, do not respond to emails meant to remedy problems with harsh words designed to discourage and belittle, just fix your life so you are not unhappy. If it is a person whom you are supposed to trust and rely on, and they betray that trust in some way, take a good long look at why you are still in that relationship. Take a hard and sometimes painful action to return yourself to happiness in some other way, but don’t deliberately set out to use your words as swords to belittle, discourage, disrespect, and hurt a person who has nothing to do with why you are unhappy. That is not something I understand.
From Ten Poems to Last a Lifetime: “Sunset” by Rainer Maria Rilke
Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you,
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to the earth,
leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs ~
leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.
~ Translated by Robert Bly