The More Loving One

by W. H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well 
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least 
We have to dread from man or beast. 

How should we like it were stars to burn 
With a passion for us we could not return? 
If equal affection cannot be, 
Let the more loving one be me. 

Admirer as I think I am 
Of stars that do not give a damn, 
I cannot, now I see them, say 
I missed one terribly all day. 

Were all stars to disappear or die, 
I should learn to look at an empty sky 
And feel its total dark sublime, 
Though this might take me a little time. 

The Little Monk and the Samurai: A Zen Parable

A big, tough samurai once went to see a little monk.


He barked, in a voice accustomed to instant obedience.

"Teach me about heaven and hell!"

The monk looked up at the mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain,

"Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn't teach you about anything. 
You're dumb. 
You're dirty. 
You're a disgrace, an embarrassment to the samurai class. 
Get out of my sight. I can't stand you."

The samurai got furious. He shook, red in the face, speechless with rage. 
He pulled out his sword, and prepared to slay the monk.

Looking straight into the samurai's eyes, the monk said softly,

"That's hell."

The samurai froze, realizing the compassion of the monk 
who had risked his life to show him hell! 
He put down his sword and fell to his knees, filled with gratitude.

The monk said softly,

"And that's heaven."

To the Holy Spirit

O Thou, far off and here, whole and broken,
Who in necessity and in bounty wait,
Whose truth is both light and dark, mute though spoken,
By Thy wide Grace show me Thy narrow gate.

Wendell Berry


If Jesus preached this Sabbath,

Would He:

Ask his Father to disable all the smart phones
while He spoke?

Wait in silence
until all hearts were turned toward Him?

And after He spoke
would He ask
as He did of His followers,
"Do you understand what I have told you?"

And we nod our heads,
knowing we missed the kickoff
of the Cowboys game
cursing we will be behind 
the Baptists
at the cafeteria. 


Bomb (rosalarian.com)


Carl Sandburg

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. 
Shovel them under and let me work--
          I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:
          What place is this?
          Where are we now?

          I am the grass.
          Let me work. 

These poems, she said,

Robert Bringhurst

These poems, these poems,

these poems, she said, are poems

with no love in them. These are the poems of a man   
who would leave his wife and child because   
they made noise in his study. These are the poems   
of a man who would murder his mother to claim   
the inheritance. These are the poems of a man   
like Plato, she said, meaning something I did not   
comprehend but which nevertheless
offended me. These are the poems of a man
who would rather sleep with himself than with women,   
she said. These are the poems of a man
with eyes like a drawknife, with hands like a pickpocket’s   
hands, woven of water and logic
and hunger, with no strand of love in them. These   
poems are as heartless as birdsong, as unmeant   
as elm leaves, which if they love, love only   
the wide blue sky and the air and the idea
of elm leaves. Self-love is an ending, she said,   
and not a beginning. Love means love
of the thing sung, not of the song or the singing.   
These poems, she said....
                                       You are, he said,
                That is not love, she said rightly.

The Does' Prayer

The does, as the hour grows late,






The does, as the hour grows late,
They fold their little toesies,
the doesies.

Christian Morgenstern 
 translation by Max Knight

Blessing for the Raising of the Dead

This blessing
does not claim
to raise the dead.

It is not so audacious
as that.

But be sure
it can come
and find you
if you think yourself
beyond all hope,
beyond all remedy;
if you have
laid your bones down
in your exhaustion
and grief,
willing yourself numb.

This blessing
knows its way
through death,
knows the paths
that weave
through decay
and dust.

And while this blessing
does not have the power
to raise you,
it knows how
to reach you.

It will come to you,
sit down
beside you,
look you
in the eye
and ask
if you want
to live.

It has no illusions.

This blessing knows
it is an awful grace
to be returned
to this world.

Just ask Lazarus,
or the Shunammite’s son.
Go to Nain
and ask the widow’s boy
whether he had
to think twice
about leaving the quiet,
the stillness;
whether he hesitated
just for a moment
before abandoning the place
where nothing could harm
or disturb.

Ask the risen
if it gave them pause
to choose this life—
not as one thrust into it
like a babe,
unknowing, unasking,
but this time
with intent,
with desire.

Ask them how it feels
to claim this living,
this waking;
to welcome the breath
in your lungs,
the blood
in your veins;
to gladly consent
to hold in your chest
the beating heart
of this broken
and dazzling world.


(From The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky)

“Once upon a time there was a woman, and she was wicked as wicked could be, and she died. And not one good deed was left behind her. The devils took her and threw her into the lake of fire. And her guardian angel stood thinking: what good deed of hers can I remember to tell God? Then he remembered and said to God: once she pulled up an onion and gave it to a beggar woman. And God answered: take now that same onion, hold it out to her in the lake, let her take hold of it and pull, and if you pull her out of the lake, she can go to paradise. 

The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her: here, woman, he said, take hold of it and I’ll pull. And he began pulling carefully, and had almost pulled her all of the way out, when other sinners in the lake saw her being pulled out and all began holding on to her so as to be pulled out with her. But the woman was wicked as wicked could be, and she began to kick them with her feet: ‘It’s me who’s getting pulled out, not you; it’s my onion, not yours.’ No sooner did she say it than the onion broke. And the woman fell back into the lake and is burning there to this day. And the angel wept and went away.”

Worst Comes to Worst

In the South Pacific Islands, there’s certain animals that don’t
Experience fear, like Galapagos iguanas

A newborn sea lion in the Galapagos Islands
They never had predators, so their adaptive responses
Evolved to be as calm as a pack of Dalai Llamas
So then, why do we have to live with violence
When this whole planet could be like a pacifistic island?
Do we need fear to escape invading aliens?

The only predators here are called Homo sapiens
And yeah, we can be dangerous but we can also be
Motivated by affection and reciprocity
Or by that Old Testament animosity: an eye for an eye
But that philosophy’s got the whole world blind
Let’s not pretend it’s gonna be a cake-walk to end it
If violence is an instinct, it’s not entirely senseless
But the logic of human destiny is reciprocal altruism

Yes we can change our perspectives
And as soon as this is widely comprehended
Then I predict we’ll be as calm as Galapagos finches

Worst comes to worst, my people come first
But my tribe lives on every country on earth
I’ll do anything to protect them from hurt
The human race is what I serve

Baba Brinkman

Lovers in a Dangerous Time

Bruce Cockburn

Don't the hours grow shorter as the days go by
You never get to stop and open your eyes
One day you're waiting for the sky to fall
The next you're dazzled by the beauty of it all
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This vibrant skin -- this hair like lace
Spirits open to the thrust of grace
Never a breath you can afford to waste
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime --
But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight --
Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
And we're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time 

Contains Flashing Images by Lily Hamourtziadou

The narrative of terror is 
the narrative 
of justifications, 
of explanations, 
of accusations. 

It is the narrative of 
the names and faces 
of the innocent. 

It is the narrative 
of the helpless and the poor, 
the millions of refugees, 
the bodies found and picked up 
from the streets of Baghdad, 
buried in mass graves, 
unidentified, unclaimed. 

We are the lucky ones, 
who witness the horror from afar, 
our TV screens, 
our newspapers, 
our computer monitors. 

We can watch in shock and awe, 
as it all unfolds, 
less and less frequently now, 
safe from the missiles, 
safe from the car bombs, 
the only danger 
those flashing images 
hurting our eyes. 

That’s why those reports come with a warning.

Every Grain of Sand by Bob Dylan

In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed 
There's a dyin' voice within me reaching out somewhere, 
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.

Don't have the inclination to look back on any mistake, 
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break. 
In the fury of the moment I can see the Master's hand 
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.

Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear, 
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer. 
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way 
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay. 

I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame 
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name. 
Then onward in my journey I come to understand 
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.

I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night 
In the violence of a summer's dream, in the chill of a wintry light, 
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space, 
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face.

I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea 
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other times it's only me. 
I am hanging in the balance of a perfect finished plan 
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.

Copyright © 1981 Special Rider Music


Saint Peter

Malcolm Guite

Impulsive master of misunderstanding
You comfort me with all your big mistakes;
Jumping the ship before you make the landing,
Placing the bet before you know the stakes.

I love the way you step out without knowing,
The way you sometimes speak before you think,
The way your broken faith is always growing,
The way he holds you even when you sink.

Born to a world that always tried to shame you,
Your shaky ego vulnerable to shame,
I love the way that Jesus chose to name you,
Before you knew how to deserve that name.

And in the end your Savior let you prove
That each denial is undone by love.

A Prayer in Brokenness

O God,

I cannot undo the past,

or make it never have happened!

– neither can You. There are some things

that are not possible even for You

– but not many!

I ask You,


and from the bottom of my heart:

Please, God,

would You write straight

with my crooked lines?

Out of the serious mistakes of my life

will You make something beautiful for You?

Teach me to live at peace with You,

to make peace with others

and even with myself.

Give me fresh vision. Let me

experience Your love so deeply

that I am free to

face the future with a steady eye,


and strong in hope.

Celtic Daily Prayer 

The Cure

Katharine Harer

baseball is a good antidote for death
where else do we mutter belief scream
hope over green grass bathed
in light where else do we coach the best
out of one another

it's all right baby
you can do it
settle down guy
you'll be okay just hang in there
we need you buddy
we need a spark
be the ignitor man

our whispered pleas combine over rows
of seats and peanut calls and pour into the ears
of our boys fixing them
with our best hope the best we have to give

nowhere else do we do this together
reverently from some untapped place
in our chests saved for our children
and our lovers we thought we'd used it up
but listen to us croon making our voices
carry just the right mixture
of love and demand

our throats are sore
the peanut shells under our feet flattened
from jumping up and sinking down again
our heats extended
pumping belief
into this one afternoon

you can do it
you can do it for us
do it now come on
do it now

The Greeter

Robert N. Watson

He’s not the Reaper, but he does stop by
To say, to everything that’s ever lived, “Nice try.”

Adam's Complaint

Denise Levertov

Some people, 
no matter what you give them,
still want the moon.

The bread, 
the salt, 
white meat and dark,
still hungry.

The marriage bed 
and the cradle,
still empty arms.

You give them land, 
their own earth under their feet,
still they take to the roads

And water: dig them the deepest well, 
still it’s not deep enough
to drink the moon from. 

The Candidate

They did their best
to keep the marginals
from the Candidate.

The children.
The sick.
The possessed.

 For a moment
they let down
their guard,
 and find Him
dining with sinners.

And the Twelve
with Him
"How is this guy 
ever gonna be 
our Messiah?"



how the Arsonist
thought He
was gonna
cause a revolution.

All will burn
then turn
and be reborn.

His first attempt
was a fizzle.

And before 
going on the lam,
He sent His Spirit
down to set off
 a global warming.

And from His hideout,
only the Arsonist
appreciates the sad irony.

 His followers
hearing His story
in quiet,
air conditioned comfort. 

Good morning - Midnight!

Emily Dickinson

Good morning—Midnight!
I'm coming home,
Day—got tired of me—
How could I—of him?

Sunshine was a sweet place—
I liked to stay—
But Morn—didn't want me—now—
So good night—Day!

I can look—can’t I—
When the East is Red?
The Hills—have a way—then—
That puts the Heart—abroad—

You are not so fair—Midnight—
I chose—Day—
But—please take a little Girl—
He turned away!

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam trans. Edward Henry Whinfield 1883

In a lone waste I saw a debauchee,  
He had no home, no faith, no heresy,  
No God, no truth, no law, no certitude;  
Where in this world is man so bold as he? 



Stephen Dunn (2012)

The Lord woke me in the middle of the night,
and there stood Jesus with a huge tray,
and the tray was heaped with cookies,
and He said, Stephen, have a cookie,

and that's when I knew for sure the Lord
is the real deal, the Man of all men,
because at that very moment
I was thinking of cookies, Vanilla Wafers

to be exact, and there were two
Vanilla Wafers in among the chocolate
chips and the lemon ices, and one
had a big S on it, and I knew it was for me,

and Jesus took it off the tray and put it
in my mouth, as if He were giving me
communication, or whatever they call it.
Then He said, Have another,

and I tell you I thought a long time before I
refused, because I knew it was a test
to see if I was a Christian, which means
a man like Christ, not a big ole hog.

Hands-off Policy

Robert Capon

 God still insists on running the world
 without running it at all. 

The question is put loud and clear: 
Why in God’s Name won’t You show up? 

And the response comes back 
as supremely unsatisfying as ever. 

To show up would be
 to come in your name, 
not Mine. 

No show, 

And, of course, 
no answer.


The underlings protested
to Moses
about their circumstances.
the lack of food
and drink.

So, Moses stepped out
to talk it over with 
his Boss,
and returned
with His instructions.

And as Moses came back
to the assembly,
he became increasingly
fed up about
the situation.

He got on his podium,
he raised his voice,
and said,
"You want water!

The ungrateful 
slurped it up
without a thank you.
Moses received 
a memo from Corporate
stating his project
was suspended


The Boss
saw that 
Peter had 
management potential
and gave him the
keys to the Kingdom
and the powers of
and binding.

And then,
Jesus gave
the executive summary
of how it was all
going to go down,

complete with 
murder and

After hearing this,
the newly minted executive
said the words
a manager should never verbalize,
“Have you really thought this through?”

So after hearing this,
Corporate does
what Corporate does,
and shamed him
in front of his peers
for not being in favor 
of the Plan.


Daydream #852

I think I could
a best selling
self-help book.

It would be an
budget spreadsheet
with the categories
already filled in:


And written 
to the
of each item is:
How much can I budget of this today?

Working title: Life Budget

But that can change 
if you come up with 
a big enough advance
and an endorsement
from Joel Osteen.

Loaves and Fishes

 David Whyte

This is not
the age of information.

This is not
the age of information.

Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.

This is the time
of loaves 
and fishes.

People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.

Idiot Psalm 12

Scott Cairns

A psalm of Isaak, amid uncommon darkness

O Being both far distant and most near,
             O Lover embracing all unlovable, O Tender
             Tether binding us together, and binding, yea
             and tenderly, Your Person to ourselves,

Being both beyond our ken, and kindred, One
             whose dire energies invest such clay as ours
             with patent animation, O Secret One secreting
             life anew into our every tissue moribund,
             afresh unto our stale and stalling craft,

grant in this obscurity a little light.