Dignity by Too-qua-stae

And what, in fact, is dignity? In those
Who have it pure, it is the soul’s repose, 
The base of character—no mere reserve 
That springs from pride, or want of mental nerve.
The dignity that wealth, or station, breeds, 
Or in the breast on base emotion feeds, 
Is easy weighed, and easy to be sized—A bastard virtue, much to be despised.

True dignity is like a summer tree.
Beneath whose shade both beast, and bird, and bee,
When by the heated skies oppressed, may come,
And feel, in its magnificence, at home;
Or rather like a mountain which forgets
Itself in its own greatness, and so lets
Vast armies fuss and fight upon its sides,
While high in clouds its peaceful summit hides,
And from the voiceless crest of glistening snow,
Pours trickling fatness on the fields below;
Repellant force, that daunts obtrusive wrong,
And woos the timid steps of right along;
And hence a garb which magistrates prepare,
When called to judge, and really seem to wear.
In framing character on whate’er plan,
‘Tis always needed to complete the man,
The job quite done, and Dignity without,
Is like an apple pie, the fruit left out.

Isola Tiberina, Roma
Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

I worried by Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

– Mary Oliver

Collage by Carolina Perrone

Peace prayer – Saint Francis of Assisi

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.
Amen.

Acrylic painting by Carolina Perrone

Signore, fa di me
uno strumento della Tua Pace:
Dove è odio, fa ch’io porti l’Amore,
Dove è offesa, ch’io porti il Perdono,
Dove è discordia, ch’io porti l’Unione,
Dove è dubbio, ch’io porti la Fede,
Dove è errore, ch’io porti la Verità,
Dove è disperazione, ch’io porti la Speranza,
Dove è tristezza, ch’io porti la Gioia,
Dove sono le tenebre, ch’io porti la Luce.
Maestro, fa che io non cerchi tanto
Ad esser consolato, quanto a consolare;
Ad essere compreso, quanto a comprendere;
Ad essere amato, quanto ad amare.
Poiché, così è:
Dando, che si riceve;
Perdonando, che si è perdonati;
Morendo, che si risuscita a Vita Eterna

I am the great sun

I am the great Sun, but you do not see me. 
I am your Husband, but you turn away. 
I am the Captive, but you do not free me. 
I am the Captain you will not obey. 
I am the Truth, but you will not believe me. 
I am the City, where you will not stay. 
I am your Wife, your Child, but you will leave me. 
I am that God, to whom you will not pray. 
I am your Counsel, but you do not hear me. 
I am the Lover, whom you will betray. 
I am the Victor, but you do not cheer me. 
I am the Holy Dove, whom you will slay. 
I am your Life, but you will not name me. 
Seal up your soul with tears and never blame me. 

Charles Cosley, Norman Crucifix, 1632.

Photo by small circle big circle

Praying by Mary Oliver

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Photo by small circle big circle

Still I rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Graffiti by C215 – Venice, Italy

The summer day – by Mary Oliver

Photo by Small Circle Big Circle

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean —

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it that you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?

– Mary Oliver