God of the golden bow, / And of the golden lyre, / And of the golden hair, / And of the golden fire, / Charioteer / Of the patient year, / Where – where slept thine ire?
The Mother Of GodThe threefold terror of love; a fallen flareThrough the hollow of an ear;Wings beating about the room;The terror of all terrors that I boreThe Heavens in my womb.Had I not found content among the showsEvery common woman knows,Chimney corner, garden walk,Or rocky cistern where we tread the clothesAnd gather all the talk?What is this flesh I purchased with my pains,This fallen star my milk sustains,This love that makes my heart's blood stopOr strikes a sudden chill into my bonesAnd bids my hair stand up?
The Song of Wandering AengusI went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread; And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout. When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame, But something rustled on the floor, And someone called me by my name: It had become a glimmering girl With apple blossom in her hair Who called me by my name and ran And faded through the brightening air. Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart, The holy tree is growing there; From joy the holy branches start, And all the trembling flowers they bear. The changing colours of its fruit Have dowered the stars with merry light; The surety of its hidden root Has planted quiet in the night; The shaking of its leafy head Has given the waves their melody, And made my lips and music wed, Murmuring a wizard song for thee. There the Loves a circle go, The flaming circle of our days, Gyring, spiring to and fro In those great ignorant leafy ways; Remembering all that shaken hair And how the wingèd sandals dart, Thine eyes grow full of tender care: Beloved, gaze in thine own heart. Gaze no more in the bitter glass The demons, with their subtle guile, Lift up before us when they pass, Or only gaze a little while; For there a fatal image grows That the stormy night receives, Roots half hidden under snows, Broken boughs and blackened leaves. For all things turn to barrenness In the dim glass the demons hold, The glass of outer weariness, Made when God slept in times of old. There, through the broken branches, go The ravens of unresting thought; Flying, crying, to and fro, Cruel claw and hungry throat, Or else they stand and sniff the wind, And shake their ragged wings; alas! Thy tender eyes grow all unkind: Gaze no more in the bitter glass.- The Two Trees
There were two people…things at the cave entrance,’ I whispered, shuffling as close to him as possible, my eyes trained on where the strangers had stood only seconds ago. At my words, Patrick seemed to jolt awake.‘Sometimes the fire makes shadows when it’s dying,’ he said, sitting up, his arm brushing against my side. ‘I’ve slept here many times and it happens,’ he added.‘No. They were real.’ My thudding heart was like thunder in my ears. ‘They were really tall and pale, and blond, really, really blond.’‘Maybe, as you were falling asleep tonight, you were thinking about the shadows at your window, which caused you to dream about two blond men?’ His warm breath tickled my hair. ‘And maybe, deep down, you have a thing for blonds. I’m a little offended, actually.
For eight years I dreamed of fire. Trees ignited as I passed them; oceansburned. The sugary smoke settled in my hair as I slept, the scent like a cloud left on my pillow as I rose. Even so, the moment my mattress started to burn, I bolted awake. The sharp, chemical smell was nothing like the hazy syrup of my dreams; the two were as different as Carolina and Indian jasmine, separation and attachment. They could not be confused.Standing in the middle of the room, I located the source of the fire. A neat row of wooden matches lined the foot of the bed. They ignited, one after the next, a glowing picket fence across the piped edging. Watching them light, I felt a terror unequal to the size of the flickering flames, and for a paralyzing moment I was ten years old again, desperate and hopeful in a way I had never been before and never would be again.But the bare synthetic mattress did not ignite like the thistle had in late October. It smoldered, and then the fire went out.It was my eighteenth birthday.
Strike, with hand of fire, O weird musician, thy harp strung with Apollo's golden hair; fill the vast cathedral aisles with symphonies sweet and dim, deft toucher of the organ keys; blow, bugler, blow, until thy silver notes do touch and kiss the moonlit waves, and charm the lovers wandering 'mid the vine-clad hills. But know, your sweetest strains are discords all, compared with childhood's happy laugh—the laugh that fills the eyes with light and every heart with joy. O rippling river of laughter, thou art the blessed boundary line between the beasts and men; and every wayward wave of thine doth drown some fretful fiend of care. O Laughter, rose-lipped daughter of Joy, there are dimples enough in thy cheeks to catch and hold and glorify all the tears of grief.
Love is the only bow on Life’s dark cloud. It is the morning and the evening star. It shines upon the babe, and sheds its radiance on the quiet tomb. It is the mother of art, inspirer of poet, patriot and philosopher.It is the air and light of every heart – builder of every home, kindler of every fire on every hearth. It was the first to dream of immortality. It fills the world with melody – for music is the voice of love.Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to Joy, and makes royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods.
When I became convinced that the Universe is natural – that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world -- not even in infinite space. I was free -- free to think, to express my thoughts -- free to live to my own ideal -- free to live for myself and those I loved -- free to use all my faculties, all my senses -- free to spread imagination's wings -- free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope -- free to judge and determine for myself -- free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the "inspired" books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past -- free from popes and priests -- free from all the "called" and "set apart" -- free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies -- free from the fear of eternal pain -- free from the winged monsters of the night -- free from devils, ghosts and gods. For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought -- no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings -- no chains for my limbs -- no lashes for my back -- no fires for my flesh -- no master's frown or threat – no following another's steps -- no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain -- for the freedom of labor and thought -- to those who fell on the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound with chains -- to those who proudly mounted scaffold's stairs -- to those whose bones were crushed, whose flesh was scarred and torn -- to those by fire consumed -- to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons of men. And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness still.
Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. They knew that it took him six days to make the earth — all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space. They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death.At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow?I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man.Is there a God?I do not know.Is man immortal?I do not know.One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be.We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. We can tell the truth, and we can enjoy the blessed freedom that the brave have won. We can destroy the monsters of superstition, the hissing snakes of ignorance and fear. We can drive from our minds the frightful things that tear and wound with beak and fang. We can civilize our fellow-men. We can fill our lives with generous deeds, with loving words, with art and song, and all the ecstasies of love. We can flood our years with sunshine — with the divine climate of kindness, and we can drain to the last drop the golden cup of joy.
Dear Neil Armstrong,I write this to you as she sleeps down the hall. I need answers I think only you might have. When you were a boy, and space was simple science fiction, when flying was merely a daydream between periods of History and Physics, when gifts of moon dust to the one you loved could only be wrapped in your imagination.. Before the world knew your name; before it was a destination in the sky.. What was the moon like from your back yard?Your arm, strong warm and wrapped under her hair both of you gazing up from your back porch summers before your distant journey. But upon landing on the moon, as the earth rose over the sea of tranquility, did you look for her? What was it like to see our planet, and know that everything, all you could be, all you could ever love and long for.. was just floating before you. Did you write her name in the dirt when the cameras weren't looking? Surrounding both your initials with a heart for alien life to study millions of years from now? What was it like to love something so distant? What words did you use to bring the moon back to her? And what did you promise in the moons ear, about that girl back home? Can you, teach me, how to fall from the sky?I ask you this, not because I doubt your feat, I just want to know what it's like to go somewhere no man had ever been, just to find that she wasn't there. To realize your moon walk could never compare to the steps that led to her. I now know that the flight home means more. Every July I think of you. I imagine the summer of 1969, how lonely she must have felt while you were gone.. You never went back to the moon. And I believe that's because it dosen't take rockets to get you where you belong. I see that in this woman down the hall, sometimes she seems so much further. But I'm ready for whatever steps I must take to get to her.I have seem SO MANY skies.. but the moon, well, it always looks the same. So I gotta say, Neil, that rock you landed on, has got NOTHING on the rock she's landed on. You walked around, took samples and left.. She's built a fire cleaned up the place and I hope she decides to stay.. because on this rock.. we can breath.Mr. Armstrong, I don't have much, many times have I been upside down with trauma, but with these empty hands, comes a heart that is often more full than the moon. She's becoming my world, pulling me into orbit, and I now know that I may never find life outside of hers. I want to give her EVERYTHING I don't have yet.. So YES, for her, I would go to the moon and back.... But not without her. We'd claim the moon for each other, with flags made from sheets down the hall. And I'd risk it ALL to kiss her under the light of the earth, the brightness of home... but I can do all of that and more right here, where she is..And when we gaze up, her arms around ME, I will NOT promise her gifts of moon dust, or flights of fancy. Instead I will gladly give her all the earth she wants, in return for all the earth she is. The sound of her heart beat and laughter, and all the time it takes to return to fall from the sky,down the hall, and right into love.God, I'd do it every day, if I could just land next to her.One small step for man, but she's one giant leap for my kind.
The sun, moon, and stars God gave to the world, but He embedded their glories in your countenance just for me. Woven in your hair are the sun's shimmering golden rays. From your face glows the pale luminescence of the moon. And in your eyes God sprinkled a million stars to twinkle against a backdrop of endless night. You are my celestial light.
He looked up to the gods but never accepted their eternal superiority. For better or worse, plotting their overthrow was the only aspiration that stoked the fires of destiny. Such an exalted ambition was worthy of a man who had long accomplished the chore of dominating human minds. A man so terrified of finding himself alone in a stratosphere where no one could understand just how exceptional he was. In that place, the presumed existence of gods was a great comfort, especially in a profession in which his rivals were mere mortals.
Happy the writer who, passing by characters that are boring, disgusting, shocking in their mournful reality, approaches characters that manifest the lofty dignity of man, who from the great pool of daily whirling images has chosen only the rare exceptions, who has never once betrayed the exalted turning of his lyre, nor descended from his height to his poor, insignificant brethren, and, without touching the ground, has given the whole of himself to his elevated images so far removed from it. Twice enviable is his beautiful lot: he is among them as in his own family; and meanwhile his fame spreads loud and far. With entrancing smoke he has clouded people's eyes; he has flattered them wondrously, concealing what is mournful in life, showing them a beautiful man. Everything rushes after him, applauding, and flies off following his triumphal chariot. Great world poet they name him, soaring high above all other geniuses in the world, as the eagle soars above the other high fliers. At the mere mention of his name, young ardent hearts are filled with trembling, responsive tears shine in all eyes...No one equals him in power--he is God! But such is not the lot, and other is the destiny of the writer who has dared to call forth all that is before our eyes every moment and which our indifferent eyes do not see--all the stupendous mire of trivia in which our life in entangled, the whole depth of cold, fragmented, everyday characters that swarm over our often bitter and boring earthly path, and with the firm strength of his implacable chisel dares to present them roundly and vividly before the eyes of all people! It is not for him to win people's applause, not for him to behold the grateful tears and unanimous rapture of the souls he has stirred; no sixteen-year-old girl will come flying to meet him with her head in a whirl and heroic enthusiasm; it is not for him to forget himself in the sweet enchantment of sounds he himself has evoked; it is not for him, finally, to escape contemporary judgment, hypocritically callous contemporary judgment, which will call insignificant and mean the creations he has fostered, will allot him a contemptible corner in the ranks of writers who insult mankind, will ascribe to him the quality of the heroes he has portrayed, will deny him heart, and soul, and the divine flame of talent. For contemporary judgment does not recognize that equally wondrous are the glasses that observe the sun and those that look at the movement of inconspicuous insect; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that much depth of soul is needed to light up the picture drawn from contemptible life and elevate it into a pearl of creation; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that lofty ecstatic laughter is worthy to stand beside the lofty lyrical impulse, and that a whole abyss separates it from the antics of the street-fair clown! This contemporary judgment does not recognize; and will turn it all into a reproach and abuse of the unrecognized writer; with no sharing, no response, no sympathy, like a familyless wayfarer, he will be left alone in the middle of the road. Grim is his path, and bitterly he will feel his solitude.
The Loneliness of the Military HistorianConfess: it's my professionthat alarms you.This is why few people ask me to dinner,though Lord knows I don't go out of my way to be scary.I wear dresses of sensible cutand unalarming shades of beige,I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser's:no prophetess mane of mine,complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters.If I roll my eyes and mutter,if I clutch at my heart and scream in horrorlike a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene,I do it in private and nobody seesbut the bathroom mirror.In general I might agree with you:women should not contemplate war,should not weigh tactics impartially,or evade the word enemy,or view both sides and denounce nothing.Women should march for peace,or hand out white feathers to arouse bravery,spit themselves on bayonetsto protect their babies,whose skulls will be split anyway,or,having been raped repeatedly,hang themselves with their own hair.There are the functions that inspire general comfort.That, and the knitting of socks for the troopsand a sort of moral cheerleading.Also: mourning the dead.Sons,lovers and so forth.All the killed children.Instead of this, I tellwhat I hope will pass as truth.A blunt thing, not lovely.The truth is seldom welcome,especially at dinner,though I am good at what I do.My trade is courage and atrocities.I look at them and do not condemn.I write things down the way they happened,as near as can be remembered.I don't ask why, because it is mostly the same.Wars happen because the ones who start themthink they can win.In my dreams there is glamour.The Vikings leave their fieldseach year for a few months of killing and plunder,much as the boys go hunting.In real life they were farmers.The come back loaded with splendour.The Arabs ride against Crusaderswith scimitars that could seversilk in the air.A swift cut to the horse's neckand a hunk of armour crashes downlike a tower. Fire against metal.A poet might say: romance against banality.When awake, I know better.Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters,or none that could be finally buried.Finish one off, and circumstancesand the radio create another.Believe me: whole armies have prayed ferventlyto God all night and meant it,and been slaughtered anyway.Brutality wins frequently,and large outcomes have turned on the inventionof a mechanical device, viz. radar.True, valour sometimes counts for something,as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right -though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition,is decided by the winner.Sometimes men throw themselves on grenadesand burst like paper bags of gutsto save their comrades.I can admire that.But rats and cholera have won many wars.Those, and potatoes,or the absence of them.It's no use pinning all those medalsacross the chests of the dead.Impressive, but I know too much.Grand exploits merely depress me.In the interests of researchI have walked on many battlefieldsthat once were liquid with pulpedmen's bodies and spangled with explodedshells and splayed bone.All of them have been green againby the time I got there.Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day.Sad marble angels brood like hensover the grassy nests where nothing hatches.(The angels could just as well be described as vulgaror pitiless, depending on camera angle.)The word glory figures a lot on gateways.Of course I pick a flower or twofrom each, and press it in the hotel Biblefor a souvenir.I'm just as human as you. But it's no use asking me for a final statement.As I say, I deal in tactics.Also statistics:for every year of peace there have been four hundredyears of war.
A God who could make good children as easily a bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave is angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell--mouths mercy, and invented hell--mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's sizeBut when I start to tell them,They think I'm telling lies.I say,It's in the reach of my armsThe span of my hips,The stride of my step,The curl of my lips.I'm a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That's me.I walk into a roomJust as cool as you please,And to a man,The fellows stand orFall down on their knees.Then they swarm around me,A hive of honey bees.I say,It's the fire in my eyes,And the flash of my teeth,The swing in my waist,And the joy in my feet.I'm a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That's me.Men themselves have wonderedWhat they see in me.They try so muchBut they can't touchMy inner mystery.When I try to show themThey say they still can't see.I say,It's in the arch of my back,The sun of my smile,The ride of my breasts,The grace of my style.I'm a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That's me.Now you understandJust why my head's not bowed.I don't shout or jump aboutOr have to talk real loud.When you see me passingIt ought to make you proud.I say,It's in the click of my heels,The bend of my hair,the palm of my hand,The need of my care,'Cause I'm a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That's me.
The story was called 'Annika and the Bears.' The beginning of the story is really the end, and Annika is staring wide-eyed into new velvet-black darkness. The eyes she stares with were brown once, sparkling and the exact color of root beer, but are now an empty ice-blue, almost white. Annika is waiting for her body to grow warm so that she can fall asleep and, as she waits, she remembers life outside this darkness, remembers the world she loved and how it changed. Once, her home was called the Land of Spring and Fall because that's what it was, a place in which the seasons didn't turn in a circle, but moved like a seesaw, Fall becoming Spring becoming Fall becoming Spring. And there had been a moment every year when the seesaw hit a perfect balance. This was Annika's favorite time because blossoms burst from branches alongside red and gold leaves, crocuses opened between rows of corn, and baby animals were born under autumn skies. In the Land of Spring and Fall, it was never too cold or too hot to play outside; brooks never froze or dried up; leaves never fell from the trees; and people and animals never grew old or died. But when a witch appeared in the land, a witch who was furiously angry, but for no reason anyone could understand, and the witch cast a spell that plunged the land into a never-ending winter. In Winterland, terrible things began to happen. People and animals got sick, with wrenching coughs and burning fevers. Desperate for warmth, the people began to kill their friends the animals in order to wrap themselves in fur coats. Food became scarce, and everyone began to fight over what little there was. And strangest of all, one by one, every living, breathing creature in the land began to turn as white as chalk, as colorless as snow with no sun shining on it. One day, Annika sat at her window, looking sadly at the blank world, when she saw, trudging across the snow, her beloved friend John the bear and his family of bears. Some of the bears were white, some were a dull gray, but only John was still a rich chestnut brown. The bears walked with their immense heads hanging down and some of them cried, dropping tears onto the snow. Before they hit the ground, the tears turned to ice. Annika ran outside, calling John's name. He stopped and looked at her with his kind eyes and told her that they were going away, to a cave deep inside one of the high hills that surrounded Winterland. 'To sleep,' he said. 'To wait.' Annika threw her arms around John, buried her face in his beautiful fur, and then stood and watched as the procession of bears patiently resumed their long journey.That night, Annika woke up with a start. She sat up in bed and saw that the hair falling over her shoulders was as white as milk, and she ran to the mirror. As she stared at her reflection, the pink began draining from her cheeks. 'Oh no,' she whispered. 'It's happening. I'm turning into someone else. A winter girl.' In a flash, she had on her shoes and her thickest wool coat and was out the door. The trail of crystal tears the bears had left gleamed in what little moonlight could force its way through the clouds and, slogging through snow, cold eating into her bones, Annika followed the trail. When she got to the cave and moved away the rock that blocked the entrance, all the bears were asleep, except John. He rested his paw on the patch of soft dirt next to him. 'For you, dear heart,' he said sleepily. Then he moved the rock into place and lay back down. Annika curled up between John and another bear, listening to their slow breathing, readying herself for sleep. The bears' bodies warmed her own from the outside in. The last thing to get warm was her heart, and then Annika fell asleep.The story ends this way: 'Imagine the deepest sleep you've ever slept. Multiply its deepness by the number of stars in the sky and the number of fish in the sea. Then you will know the sleep of Annika and the bears.
Xander Stryker." A thick, rich voice filled the hall. The speaker stopped at the altar, standing in a blue robe. His thick brown hair was slicked back and tied in a small ponytail in the back and his solid blue eyes--matching the shade of his robe--shifted from one to the other.Xander blinked several times, clearing the grogginess from his mind, and began to sit up, nodding his respects at the newcomer."My name is Ronen," the newcomer said, bowing his head as he took a step towards him, "and it will be my pleasure to guide you through the change." he stopped for a moment, smiling warmly, before carefully lifting Xander’s left arm. Before continuing, he locked his gaze on Xander's, "You are sure that this is what you want?"Xander nodded.There was a sharp sting then as Ronen bit into his wrist and Xander flinched before a warm rush made the pain subside and the room began to spin. Thrown off kilter, Xander felt himself start to fall as the poison seeped into the veins of his arm and, after a long, lingering moment, crawled past his shoulder and into his chest--into his heart--where it suddenly exploded into a full-body inferno.He was burning to death!When he was certain that he was on fire there was a sudden cool rush; a wave of ice that ran through the length of his body and seeped into his core until he found his eyelids and pried them open. The image of Depok and Ronen came into focus and he was vaguely aware of Depok's left hand on his shoulder as the pure-blood pulled his fangs away from his wrist.Mind still reeling, Xander noticed, not without a bit of shock, that he was still lying on top of the altar. A moment later, his eyes rolled back in his skull and the lights from the candles melted into a solid glow that swallowed him and faded to black. As Death swooped down and enveloped him, he heard Depok's voice in the distance:"Welcome home, Xander.
There was five golden rules. My dad made me write them over and over until I knew them like I knew my own name...Number five: never have a fire in the daytime, 'cause people could see the smoke and come and get us.Number four: if I ever see anyone other than my dad, I run, and keep running.Number three: always say my prayers, so as God don't get mad at me and decide to come make me sick too.Numer two: never forget to pray for my momma, 'cause she was the best and prettiest lady God ever made.Number one: never, ever leave the woods.
1. Myth: Without God, life has no meaning. There are 1.2 billion Chinese who have no predominant religion, and 1 billion people in India who are predominantly Hindu. And 65% of Japan's 127 million people claim to be non-believers. It is laughable to suggest that none of these billions of people are leading meaningful lives.2. Myth: Prayer works. Studies have now shown that inter-cessionary prayer has no effect whatsoever of the health or well-being of the subject.3. Myth: Atheists are immoral.There are hundreds of millions of non-believers on the planet living normal, decent, moral lives. They love their children, care about others, obey laws, and try to keep from doing harm to others just like everyone else. In fact, in predominantly non-believing countries such as in northern Europe, measures of societal health such as life expectancy at birth, adult literacy, per capita income, education, homicide, suicide, gender equality, and political coercion are better than they are in believing societies.4. Myth: Belief in God is compatible with science. In the past, every supernatural or paranormal explanation of phenomena that humans believed turned out to be mistaken; science has always found a physical explanation that revealed that the supernatural view was a myth. Modern organisms evolved from lower life forms, they weren't created 6,000 years ago in the finished state. Fever is not caused by demon possession. Bad weather is not the wrath of angry gods. Miracle claims have turned out to be mistakes, frauds, or deceptions. We have every reason to conclude that science will continue to undermine the superstitious worldview of religion.5. Myth: We have immortal souls that survive death.We have mountains of evidence that makes it clear that our consciousness, our beliefs, our desires, our thoughts all depend upon the proper functioning of our brains our nervous systems to exist. So when the brain dies, all of these things that we identify with the soul also cease to exist. Despite the fact that billions of people have lived and died on this planet, we do not have a single credible case of someone's soul, or consciousness, or personality continuing to exist despite the demise of their bodies.6. Myth: If there is no God, everything is permitted.Consider the billions of people in China, India, and Japan above. If this claim was true, none of them would be decent moral people. So Ghandi, the Buddha, and Confucius, to name only a few were not moral people on this view.7. Myth: Believing in God is not a cause of evil.The examples of cases where it was someone's belief in God that was the justification for their evils on humankind are too numerous to mention.8. Myth: God explains the origins of the universe.All of the questions that allegedly plague non-God attempts to explain our origins still apply to the faux explanation of God. The suggestion that God created everything does not make it any clearer to us where it all came from, how he created it, why he created it, where it is all going. In fact, it raises even more difficult mysteries: how did God, operating outside the confines of space, time, and natural law 'create' or 'build' a universe that has physical laws? We have no precedent and maybe no hope of answering or understanding such a possibility. What does it mean to say that some disembodied, spiritual being who knows everything and has all power, 'loves' us, or has thoughts, or goals, or plans?9. Myth: There's no harm in believing in God.Religious views inform voting, how they raise their children, what they think is moral and immoral, what laws and legislation they pass, who they are friends and enemies with, what companies they invest in, where they donate to charities, who they approve and disapprove of, who they are willing to kill or tolerate, what crimes they are willing to commit, and which wars they are willing to fight.
ah yes I know them well who was the first person in the universe before there was anybody that made it all who ah that they dont know neither do I so there you are they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I nearlost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we areflowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his lifeand the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because Isaw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always getround him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till heasked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over thesea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of Mulveyand Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and thesailors playing all birds fly and I say stoop and washing up dishes theycalled it on the pier and the sentry in front of the governors house withthe thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanishgirls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions inthe morning the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs and the devil knows whoelse from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market allclucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleepand the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps andthe big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands ofyears old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans likekings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda withthe old windows of the posadas glancing eyes a lattice hid for herlover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and thecastanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchmangoing about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O andthe sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets andthe figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streetsand the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and thejessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I wasa Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like theAndalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed meunder the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and thenI asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would Iyes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yesand drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes andhis heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
(Ivan) Hold your tongue, or I'll kill you!(The devil) You'll kill me? No, excuse me, I will speak. I came to treat myself to that pleasure. Oh, I love the dreams of my ardent young friends, quivering with eagerness for life! 'There are new men,' you decided last spring, when you were meaning to come here, 'they propose to destroy everything and begin with cannibalism. Stupid fellows! they didn't ask my advice! I maintain that nothing need be destroyed, that we only need to destroy the idea of God in man, that's how we have to set to work. It's that, that we must begin with. Oh, blind race of men who have no understanding! As soon as men have all of them denied God -- and I believe that period, analogous with geological periods, will come to pass -- the old conception of the universe will fall of itself without cannibalism, and, what's more, the old morality, and everything will begin anew. Men will unite to take from life all it can give, but only for joy and happiness in the present world. Man will be lifted up with a spirit of divine Titanic pride and the man-god will appear. From hour to hour extending his conquest of nature infinitely by his will and his science, man will feel such lofty joy from hour to hour in doing it that it will make up for all his old dreams of the joys of heaven. Everyone will know that he is mortal and will accept death proudly and serenely like a god. His pride will teach him that it's useless for him to repine at life's being a moment, and he will love his brother without need of reward. Love will be sufficient only for a moment of life, but the very consciousness of its momentariness will intensify its fire, which now is dissipated in dreams of eternal love beyond the grave'... and so on and so on in the same style. Charming!Ivan sat with his eyes on the floor, and his hands pressed to his ears, but he began trembling all over. The voice continued.(The devil) The question now is, my young thinker reflected, is it possible that such a period will ever come? If it does, everything is determined and humanity is settled for ever. But as, owing to man's inveterate stupidity, this cannot come about for at least a thousand years, everyone who recognises the truth even now may legitimately order his life as he pleases, on the new principles. In that sense, 'all things are lawful' for him. What's more, even if this period never comes to pass, since there is anyway no God and no immortality, the new man may well become the man-god, even if he is the only one in the whole world, and promoted to his new position, he may lightheartedly overstep all the barriers of the old morality of the old slaveman, if necessary. There is no law for God. Where God stands, the place is holy. Where I stand will be at once the foremost place... 'all things are lawful' and that's the end of it! That's all very charming; but if you want to swindle why do you want a moral sanction for doing it? But that's our modern Russian all over. He can't bring himself to swindle without a moral sanction. He is so in love with truth-.
To HelenI saw thee once-once only-years ago;I must not say how many-but not many.It was a july midnight; and from outA full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,With quietude, and sultriness, and slumberUpon the upturn'd faces of a thousandRoses that grew in an enchanted garden,Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe-Fell on the upturn'd faces of these rosesThat gave out, in return for the love-lightThier odorous souls in an ecstatic death-Fell on the upturn'd faces of these rosesThat smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted by thee, by the poetry of thy prescence.Clad all in white, upon a violet bank I saw thee half reclining; while the moonFell on the upturn'd faces of the rosesAnd on thine own, upturn'd-alas, in sorrow!Was it not Fate that, on this july midnight-Was it not Fate (whose name is also sorrow)That bade me pause before that garden-gate,To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?No footstep stirred; the hated world all slept,Save only thee and me. (Oh Heaven- oh, God! How my heart beats in coupling those two worlds!)Save only thee and me. I paused- I looked-And in an instant all things disappeared.(Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!)The pearly lustre of the moon went out;The mossy banks and the meandering paths,The happy flowers and the repining trees,Were seen no more: the very roses' odorsDied in the arms of the adoring airs.All- all expired save thee- save less than thou:Save only the divine light in thine eyes-Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.I saw but them- they were the world to me.I saw but them- saw only them for hours-Saw only them until the moon went down.What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwrittenUpon those crystalline, celestial spheres!How dark a woe! yet how sublime a hope!How silently serene a sea of pride!How daring an ambition!yet how deep-How fathomless a capacity for love!But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,Into western couch of thunder-cloud;And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing treesDidst glide away. Only thine eyes remained.They would not go- they never yet have gone.Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,They have not left me (as my hopes have) since.They follow me- they lead me through the years.They are my ministers- yet I thier slaveThier office is to illumine and enkindle-My duty, to be saved by thier bright light,And purified in thier electric fire,And sanctified in thier Elysian fire.They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),And are far up in heaven- the stars I kneel toIn the sad, silent watches of my night;While even in the meridian glare of dayI see them still- two sweetly scintillantVenuses, unextinguished by the sun!
I saw thee once - only once - years ago:I must not say how many - but not many.It was a July midnight; and from outA full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber,Upon the upturn'd faces of a thousandRoses that grew in an enchanted garden,Where no wind dared stir, unless on tiptoe -Fell on the upturn'd faces of these rosesThat gave out, in return for the love-light,Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death -Fell on the upturn'd faces of these rosesThat smiled and died in the parterre, enchantedBy thee, and by the poetry of thy presence.Clad all in white, upon a violet bankI saw thee half reclining; while the moonFell upon the upturn'd faces of the roses,And on thine own, upturn'd - alas, in sorrow!Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight -Was it not Fate, (whose name is also Sorrow,)That bade me pause before that garden-gate,To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?No footsteps stirred: the hated world all slept,Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven! - oh, G**!How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)Save only thee and me. I paused - I looked -And in an instant all things disappeared.(Ah, bear in mind the garden was enchanted!)The pearly lustre of the moon went out:The mossy banks and the meandering paths,The happy flowers and the repining trees,Were seen no more: the very roses' odorsDied in the arms of the adoring airs.All - all expired save thee - save less than thou:Save only divine light in thine eyes -Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.I saw but them - they were the world to me.I saw but them - saw only them for hours -Saw only them until the moon went down.What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwrittenUpon those crystalline, celestial spheres!How dark a wo! yet how sublime a hope!How silently serene a sea of pride!How daring an ambition! yet how deep -How fathomless a capacity for love!But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,Into a western couch of thunder-cloud;And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing treesDidst glide away. Only thine eyes remained.They would not go - they never yet have gone.Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,They have not left me (as my hopes have) since.They follow me - they lead me through the years.They are my ministers - yet I their slave.Their office is to illumine and enkindle -My duty, to be saved by their bright fire,And purified in their electric fire,And sanctified in their elysian fire.They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope,)And are far up in Heaven - the stars I kneel toIn the sad, silent watches of my night;While even in the meridian glare of dayI see them still - two sweetly scintillantVenuses, unextinguished by the sun!
Activities such as chanting, bowing, and sitting in zazen are not at all wasted, even when done merely formally, for even this superficial encounter with the Dharma will have some wholesome outcome at a later time. However, it must be said in the most unambiguous terms that this is not real Zen. To follow the Dharma involves a complete reorientation of one's life in such a way that one's activities are manifestations of, and are filled with, a deeper meaning. If it were not otherwise, and merely sitting in zazen were enough, every frog in the pond would be enlightened, as one Zen master said. Dōgen Zenji himself said that one must practice Zen with the attitude of a person trying to extinguish a fire in his hair. That is, Zen must be practiced with an attitude of single-minded urgency.
Far over the misty mountains coldTo dungeons deep and caverns oldWe must away ere break of dayTo seek the pale enchanted gold.The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,While hammers fell like ringing bellsIn places deep, where dark things sleep,In hollow halls beneath the fells.For ancient king and elvish lordThere many a gleaming golden hoardThey shaped and wrought, and light they caughtTo hide in gems on hilt of sword.On silver necklaces they strungThe flowering stars, on crowns they hungThe dragon-fire, in twisted wireThey meshed the light of moon and sun.Far over the misty mountains coldTo dungeons deep and caverns oldWe must away, ere break of day,To claim our long-forgotten gold.Goblets they carved there for themselvesAnd harps of gold; where no man delvesThere lay they long, and many a songWas sung unheard by men or elves.The pines were roaring on the height,The wind was moaning in the night.The fire was red, it flaming spread;The trees like torches blazed with light.The bells were ringing in the daleAnd men looked up with faces pale;The dragon's ire more fierce than fireLaid low their towers and houses frail.The mountain smoked beneath the moon;The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.They fled their hall to dying fallBeneath his feet, beneath the moon.Far over the misty mountains grimTo dungeons deep and caverns dimWe must away, ere break of day,To win our harps and gold from him!