I have never stopped thinking of myself as a beginner. Auguste Rodin
Now that I’m retired and done being chosen Or rejected, respect mine to give again, I want to grow large, as large as the twelve Year old who dived off a wooden platform under Weeping willows and swam the longest of Man-made lakes to impress Rachel Kerwood, Not sure he could make it an acceptable risk, So that when he climbed out on the other side Green pond scum clinging emeralds to a milk White back, he sat beside her in the sweet grass Eating black walnuts cracked open with a rock, Talking of things he could only speak of Because he’d swum through the silken stillness In the middle of the deepest lake, where Pure artesian springs turned the water cold, And sullen bullheads grew twice normal size.
One might be weary of flesh. One’s own, another’s. Flesh of neighbor, stranger, passerby. Flesh of the real or the imagined lover, or secret flesh that mind and heart deny. One might be shut of it, freed from the nerve, but flesh is merciless, confines us, binds us to our servitude to cleft and curve. Even You have been a slave to this, true Spirit, on that wild night, delirious, piercing the meat of life. And since? Scandal to our atoms when flesh, merging with flesh, happens on You in single, paradoxical bliss. Perhaps all earth shall plunge toward sun, savage with desire to be One.
Before the dust had settled from the tramping boots, he’d appeared. Eyes beheld him to their confusion but when he breathed upon them they remembered the spring green hills of Galilee, the cool evening air scented of olive, laurel, clematis, myrtle. A peace they could not reckon. A dove called.
Left to the silence, they could hardly recognize themselves. How strangely their voices sounded and what unlikely things they must have said.
During Hitler’s siege of Leningrad in the winter of 1941–42, the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and the entire Leningrad Philharmonic were evacuated from the city. A performance of Shostakovich’s seventh symphony, dedicated to the city of Leningrad, was planned for August 9, 1942. There were barely enough musicians left in the city to perform it. The score had to be flown in over German lines, and musicians were pulled from the front lines to bolster the meager ranks of musicians left behind. This performance was a show of resistance in a city which had just lost 1.2 million people (NPR, November 2).