Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quote of the Week

(One of the new programs I'll be launching for this blog is to put up a "quote of the week." Sometimes it is the well-put aphorism, the nugget of truth, that abides with us far longer than the ten-page essay does, so I think it's worthwhile to highlight important thoughts in this way. Now, it would be easy enough to collect quotes haphazardly through a Google search, but the quotes I put up on this blog will all be selected from my own readings. In most cases, these will all be quotes which have stuck with me or impacted my thinking during the week. I'll also try to give a little context for each quote.)

Seneca, in his Letters from a Stoic (or, Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium), puts great stress on the good life as that which continually strives for moral improvement. He does not let us sit content with the current status of our souls. Although Seneca wasn't a Christian, his advice is a good challenge for us in our journey of sanctification. We are to be the sort of people who examine our own lives, seek out our faults, and constantly amend our way of life to better accord with holiness and virtue:

"Of this one thing make sure against your dying day--that your faults die before you do."


I've been going through a poetry-drought for nearly a year now. The muse seems to be silent. But today I worked at it a little bit. Although I depend mostly on inspiration and mystical bursts of literary beauty to write my poetry, truly good poetry takes hard work--work that I, too often, don't have the discipline to give it. But today I worked at it through the simple form of haiku. Of course, haiku being a Japanese form, some of the rules change or are lost when using it as an English device. I appreciated working with the form, though, because the tightness of the structure gives the poems the poignancy of a "literary snapshot," encapsulating no more than a feeling, an image, or a single thought. Anyway, here are a few miscellaneous haiku I wrote today, in an effort to get back to writing poetry:

In the rain, again
I stand amid falling hopes
And pray for refuge


O Thou tragic Christ--
Descending, crimson in death
Rent by wood and nails


She smiles like sunshine
Through a dim, plate-glass window
On a dreary day


God made grackles, too
I remind myself of that
When they mob my tree


Pause yourself, silent...
Listen, listen achingly
To the still, small voice