Barbara Koenen

Inspiration...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vajL48mwsCA

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SOLOMON TO SHEBA

Solomon says to the messengers from Sheba,
"I send you back as messengers to her.

Tell her this refusal of her gift
of gold is better than acceptance,

because with it she can learn what we value.
She loves her throne, but actually it keeps

her from passing through the doorway
that leads to a true majesty.

Tell her, one surrendering bow is sweeter
than a hundred empires, is itself a kingdom.

Be dizzy and wandering like Ibrahim,
who suddenly left everything.

In a narrow well things look backward
from how they are.  Stones and metal objects

seem treasure, as broken pottery does
to children pretending to buy and sell.

Tell her, joseph sat in such a well,
then reached to take the rope that rose

to a new understanding.  The alchemy
of changing life is the only truth.

Rumi
1200
translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

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first Jock he
was kilt a handsome
man and James and
next let me
see yes Will that was
cleverest
he was kilt and my youngest
boy was kilt last with
the big eyes i loved like you can't
imagine Harry was o
god kilt he was kilt everybody was kilt

they called them the kilties.

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lis
-ten


you know what i mean when
the first guy drops you know
everybody feels sick or
when they throw in a few gas
and the oh baby shrapnel
or my feet getting dim freezing or
up to your you know what in water or
with the bugs crawling right all up
all everywhere over you all me everyone
that's been there knows what
i mean a god damned lot of
people don't and never
never
will know,
they don't want

to
no

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look at this)
a 75 done
this nobody would
have believed
would they no
kidding this was my particular

pal
funny aint
it we was
buddies
i used to

know
him lift the
poor cuss
tenderly this side up handle

with care
fragile
and send him home

to his old mother in
a new nice pine box

(collect


e.e. cummings
1926

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves:
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel secure around you.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God
that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

Nelson Mandela 1994 Inaugural Speech

(thank you Jane Fulton Alt)


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Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.



Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.



Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.


Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- Dylan Thomas, 1934

Links:
http://rugsofwar.wordpress.com/ 

http://fantastic-dl.blogspot.com/  a great site that aggregates images/artworks/artifacts from around the world. 

Poems:

PUT THIS DESIGN IN YOUR CARPET

Spiritual experience is a modest woman
who looks lovingly at only one man.

It’s a great river where ducks
live happily, and crows drown.

The visible bowl of form contains food
that is both nourishing and a source of heartburn.

There is an unseen presence we honor
that gives the gifts.

You’re water.  We’re the millstone.
You’re wind.. We’re dust blown up into shapes.
You’re spirit.  We’re the opening and closing
of our hands.  You’re the clarity
We’re this language that tries to say it.
You’re joy.  We’re all the different kinds of laughing.

Any movement or sound is a profession of fiath,
as the millstone grinding is explaining how it believes
in the river!  No metaphor can say this,
but I can’t stop pointing
to the beauty.

Every moment and place says,
"Put this design in your carpet!"

Like the shepherd in Book II,
who wanted to pick the lice off God's robe,
and stitch up God's shoes, I want to be
in such a passionate adoration
that my tent gets pitched against the sky!

Let the beloved come
and sit like a guard dog
in front of the tent.

Whent he ocean surges,
don't let me just hear it.
Let it splash inside my chest!


-  Rumi (1200)
translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne
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                                                             …To be
locked in the past means, in effect, that one has no past, since one can never assess it, or use it:  and if one cannot use the past, one cannot function in the present, and so one can never be free.  I take this to be, as I say, the American situation in relief, the root of our unadmitted sorrow, and the very key to our crisis.

It has always been much easier (because it has always seemed much safer) to give a name to the evil without than to locate the terror within.  And yet, the terror within is far truer and far more powerful than any of our labels:  the labels change, the terror is constant.  And this terror has something to do with that irreducible gap between the self one invents – the self one takes oneself as being, which is, however, and by definition, a provisional self --  and the undiscoverable self which always has the power to blow the provisional self to bits.  It is perfectly possible – indeed, it is far from uncommon – to go to bed one night, or wake up one morning, or simply walk through a door one has known all one’s life, and discover, between inhaling and exhaling, that the self one has sewn together with such effort is all dirty rags, is unusable, is gone: and out of what raw material will one build a self again?  The lives of men – and, therefore, of nations --- to an extent literally unimaginable, depend on how vividly this question lives in the mind.  It is a question which can paralyze the mind,  of course; but if the question does NOT live in the mind, then one is simply condemned to eternal youth, which is a synonym for corruption.

 - James Baldwin
Nothing Personal, 1964