To a Child Dancing in the Wind W.B. Yeats


DANCE there upon the shore;  
What need have you to care  
For wind or water’s roar?  
And tumble out your hair  
That the salt drops have wet;         
Being young you have not known  
The fool’s triumph, nor yet  
Love lost as soon as won,  
Nor the best labourer dead  
And all the sheaves to bind.  
What need have you to dread  
The monstrous crying of wind?  

Has no one said those daring  
Kind eyes should be more learn’d?  
Or warned you how despairing  
The moths are when they are burned,  
I could have warned you, but you are young,  
So we speak a different tongue.  
O you will take whatever’s offered  
And dream that all the world’s a friend,  
Suffer as your mother suffered,  
Be as broken in the end.  
But I am old and you are young,  
And I speak a barbarous tongue.

A Drinking Song

WINE comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh. 

William Butler Yeats

Forty Years Later

(After the fall)

It is my prayer,
 it is my longing,
 that we may pass
 from this life together--
a longing which shall never perish from the earth, 
but shall have place in the heart of every wife that loves, 
until the end of time; and it shall be called by my name.

But if one of us must go first,
 it is my prayer that it shall be I;
 for he is strong, I am weak,
 I am not so necessary to him
 as he is to me --
life without him would not be life; 
how could I endure it? 

This prayer is also immortal, 
and will not cease from being offered up 
while my race continues. 
I am the first wife; 
and in the last wife 
I shall be repeated.

Mark Twain

To Jesus on Easter By Vassar Miller

You see the universe, as I see daylight,
opening to your heart
like fingers of a little child uncurling.

It lies to you no more than wood to blade,
nor will you tell me lies.
Only fools or cowards lie. And you are neither.

Not that I comprehend You, who are simpler
than all our words about you,
and deeper. They drop around you like dead leaves.

Yet I can trust you. You resembling me—
two eyes, two hands, two feet,
fives senses and no more—will cup my being,

spilling toward nothingness, within your palm.
And when the last bridge breaks,
I shall walk on the bright span of your breath.

Was that You?

Was that you,
that gentle wind in the trees that sway,
the wind that cools the shadows
on a steamy summer day?
Was that your breath, a soothing message from you
that moves the grains of wheat.

The devil has breath too,
and when it comes it breaks
the tall trees in two,
it rips and rages, destroying the old,
makes nothing new.
Father, thank you for your breath
that relieves us from the summer heat.

From A Year of Prayers by Jack Bartlett

The Prodigal Clippings

Can angels experience regret?
I’m thinking specifically of the
fallen ones, the ones herded up
and driven over the edge of the
clouds because of their mutiny?

Do you think one or two or three
of them might’ve enjoyed it for
a season, because c’mon it is fun
for a while, but then missed the
comfort of foursquare and pearl?

I bet they were welcomed home
with feasting and singing but I
believe there was also a price of
return: the prodigal clippings.

But, you say, what about grace?
Well, I say, ask them, they know,
for they are the angels of mercy.

John Blase

Putting it All Together

Many in our culture
regard youth as good
and old age as bad.
But is this true?

In the sage, youth and age are married.
Wisdom and folly each been lived fully.
Innocence and experience now support one another.
Action and rest follow each other easily.
Life and death have become inseparable.

The sage has experienced all opposites
and lets them come and go
without clinging or fretting.
Therefore the sage can talk without lecturing,
act without worrying about results,
and live in contentment with all events.

The first part of our life
was spent separating things into categories:
good and bad,
like and dislike,
me and you,
us and them.

Now it is time to put all the pieces back together
into a seamless whole. 

The Sage's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life 
by William Martin


We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry, hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.

Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?

Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,
"Honey I’m sorry I keep saying Hurry—
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother."

"Hurry up," she says, over her shoulder, looking
back at me, laughing. "Hurry up now darling," she says,
"hurry, hurry," taking the house keys from my hands.

**Marie Howe

Lessons in the Afterlife

after we get through
the narrow door,
save us from
the temptation
of charging forward
in Your banquet hall.

Let us remember
that rushing 
doesn't work 
in a place
where the last
are served first.

Selection from Sirach 3


My child, 
be humble 
in everything you do, 
people will appreciate it 
more than gifts. 

The greater you become, 
the more humble 
you should be; 
then the Lord 
will be pleased 
with you. 

The Lord's power is great, 
and he is honored 
by those who are humble. 

Don't try to understand things
that are too hard for you, 
or investigate matters 
that are beyond your power to know. 

Concentrate on the Law, 
which has been given to you. 
You do not need to know 
about things 
which the Lord has not revealed, 
so don't concern yourself with them. 

After all, 
what has been shown to you 
is beyond human power to understand. 
Many people have been misled 
by their own opinions; 
their wrong ideas have warped their judgment.