I AM NOT I

I am not I.
I am this one
Walking beside me whom I do not see,
Whom at times I manage to visit,
And at other times I forget.
The one who remains silent when I talk,
The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
The one who takes a walk when I am indoors,
The one who will remain standing when I die.
– Juan Ramon Jimenez

 

 

THE IDEAL

This is where I came from.
I passed this way.
This should not be shameful
Or hard to say.
A self is a self.
It is not a screen.
A person should respect
What he has been.
This is my past
Which I shall not discard.
This is the ideal.
This is hard
– James Fenton

 

LOVE AFTER LOVE

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
– Derek Walcott

 
 

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles
but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly
and sanely hour after hour, day after day.

 
Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had it to do over
again, I’d have more of them.In fact,
I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments.
One after another, instead of living so many
years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those people who never go
anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle,
a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter next time.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
– Nadine Stair (age 85)

 

THE GUESTHOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
– Rumi

 
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He who binds himself to joy Does the winged life destroy But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sunrise
-William Blake