A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 25 December 2011

1000th Post

This blog is about many things, and one of those things is poetry. So first of all I'll celebrate my thousandth post with a new poem. Naturally it's about Christmas.

Supposing Christmas Never Came

Supposing Christmas never came —
Santa on strike, the reindeer sick,
the presents barely wrapped,
the wise men lost, their camels lame,
shepherds without their flocks
(due to an outbreak of ovine flu),
the Virgin Mary, virginal no longer,
painting the town red,
Joseph distraught, the Holy Child
sans swaddling clothes, sans stable,
mangerless, and the bright star
of Bethlehem now a black hole,
turkeys extinct and Christmas trees
dead as Dutch elms — then I’d ascend
some nearby mountain such as Scafell Pike
or one afar like Ober Gabelhorn,
Aiguille d'Argentière or Monte Rosa,
and meditate within a little hut
like Thoreau at the edge of Walden Pond
or Kerouac on Desolation Peak.
I’d view the frosted ridges, snowy crests
(real mountain chains not paper chains,
real snow not the stuff out of a can),
thinking of nothing very much but Zen,
and letting pure agape flood right in.

At this point I'd like to thank most warmly blog poets Ruth, Lorenzo, Rachel, Pat and Dominic, whose own poetry constantly inspires and encourages me to keep on writing poems myself.

I would never have believed, after starting this modest blog four and a half years ago, that I'd ever reach post number one thousand. Yet here it is. And I must honestly tell you that each and every post has been a joy. But without your readership, your loyalty and your comments, I'm sure I would have stopped long ago. For it's this reciprocality that lies at the heart of all our blogging enterprises — of this I have no doubt. I'd also like to acknowledge a few blog friends who have stuck with me for the long haul — Grizz and am come at once to mind. Readers come and go — that's only to be expected — but others stay religiously loyal, such as our wonderful friend and fellow traveller George, for instance. Apologies for missing out so many names here — there are dozens more. You know who you are, and I thank you all for reading my humble offerings from the bottom of my heart.

Our blogs are forever quoting words of comfort and wisdom from different saints and sages, poets and philosophers. I wondered if, to indulge me on my thousandth post, you might quote me one of your own very favourite sayings, aphorisms, adages, bons mots, proverbs, koans, stories, prayers or truths? Something that brings you hope and inspiration, and gives you the motivation to carry on journeying down life's rocky road. We could create a rich storehouse of enlightenment here! My own contribution would have to be the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Greetings to everyone in this strange time between Christmas and New Year.


pilgrimpace said...

Prompt me, God;
but not yet ...
the meaning is in the waiting

- RS Thomas

thank you Robert



Gerry Snape said...

St. Julian of Norwich...all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things shall be well.....

happy new year.

Grizz………… said...

Congratulations, my friend! Might I, on some distant day, put up my own 1000th post and think I'd done half as well. To that end, on those days when nothing I might say in a post seem's worth anyone's while—including my own—I take heart from this thought:

"Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." ——Henry Van Dyke.

You have much talent…and you use it very well. My days are regularly enriched by your posts.

Susan Scheid said...

"For it's this reciprocality that lies at the heart of all our blogging enterprises — of this I have no doubt." How right you are, and though I come late to this particular party, I am happy to be here to congratulate you on the 1000th post!

Vivien said...

All very best wishes for 2012!

am said...

Thank you for keeping on with your walking, your poetry, your splendid sense of humor, through 1000 posts.

"Mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."
(Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj)

Good to hear the St. Francis prayer as the New Year approaches.

ksam said...

You wanted quotes...and suddenly so many of us have gone quiet! Trying perhaps to think of something truly deep and meaningful to say (?)...and still I come back to my favorite line when contemplating something new..perhaps totally untried, mayhap even a tad "dangerous"...and for me it all comes down to..."Try it, what's the worst that could happen?"

Loren said...

Congratulations. Don't know if I have a favorite quote, but Emerson's "Things are in the saddle And ride mankind" constantly reminds me to pay attention to the important things, like long walks in the wild.

Grace said...

1000th post! Wow. Keep them coming.

A quote I am enjoying these days is: "I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive." ~ Joseph Campbell

Nick said...

It seems, then, that I'm a little late in finding you. Ah well, better late than never - and at least I get to enjoy the catching-up process. I look forward to it.

George said...

I don't know how I missed this, Robert, but it's probably attributable to the fact that my place has been inundated with family ( and a small amount of chaos) for the past few days. In any event, my heartfelt congratulations on the 1000th! As I've said before, every posting that I've read has been an insightful and memorable gift. Rest assured that I look forward to future postings.

Your solicitation of quotes, proverbs, or other favorite passages is a great idea, I can think of nothing more profound and meaningful that the St. Francis prayer that you have recited. I came across a quote last night that also speaks deeply to me. Attributed to Philo of Alexandria, the quote is: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."

Thanks again, Robert. "The Solitary Walker" is a blessing.

George said...

P.S. In my earlier comments, I forgot to mention how much I really loved this poem, Robert. I loved the underlying sentiment that that peace, meditation, insight, acceptance, and agape are always accessible to us, regardless of how we view the Christmas story. That to which every wisdom tradition points has always been there, will always be there, and is always waiting to embrace a searching, hungry heart.

Ruth said...

Robert, I love the humor and also depths of your poem; the questions of what one would do if all the trappings slipped away. It's simple, really, and yet a tremendous challenge to live this way. You, among a very few, bring that before me regularly here. (George is the other who comes to mind.) I appreciate and enjoy your space here more than I can say. Thank you for the kind words about my poetry. I feel honored that you read me and bring your own reflections and receptions to my lines.

One thousand posts, that is quite remarkable. And that you enjoyed every one is the very best news of all. On that I congratulate you, because numbers mean nothing, if done without joy. Bravo!

I am not one who remembers quotes. But the one that stands out in my mind most constantly, which came in a meditation, is: This moment is eternal.

And keep an eye out for a new project coming soon, about quotes . . .

Happy New Year!

Mark said...

This quote springs to mind, if only because I see it every day. When we got married one of my aunts thought she gave us a picture frame as a wedding present, so that it didn't look too bare she put something in it. We thought that the Apache Wedding Blessing in the frame was the gift and that the picture frame was merely there to preserve the poem...

"Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two bodies,
But there is onyl one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.

And may your days be good and long upon the earth."

gists said...

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau

Friko said...

Sorry I am so late in coming to you, dear Robert. I do want to wish you a Happy New Year though; but my favourite aphorism will have to wait. I promise to come back when the days are less hectic again.

Thank you for having been an inspiring fellow traveller in blogland.

Anonymous said...

My favourite quote ? Oh, the next one which talks to me, wich I'll need at that moment !

A Happy New Year to you Robert, thanks so much for sharing, words, thoughts, humour with all of us. Oh, and congratulations for this 1000th Post !

the cuby poet said...

I arrive on your 1000th post and this feels like a good time to start to follow you and to see where we go and what happens on the way.

Luiza said...

You don't stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing.


Congratulations Robert on your 1,000th Blog post. I have enjoyed following you over the years. I think in the quote above we could substitute 'playing' with 'walking' and it would be apt for us.

Happy New Year - I look forward to the next 1,000 posts.


Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Here I am, late to the party, and the New Year has already turned over in my part of the world... But here is my little quotation, one fit for a Camino walker: “Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.” ~John O’Donohue

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

I'll momentarily break my current silence to say thanks here and wish you the very best for this new year we have just embarked on.