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Monday, March 31, 2014


Hidden                                                 Naomi Shihab Nye

If you place a fern
under a stone
the next day it will be
nearly invisible
as if the stone has swallowed it.

If you tuck the name of a loved one
under your tongue too long
without speaking it
it becomes blood
the little sucked-in breath of air
hiding everywhere
beneath your words.

No one sees
the fuel that feeds you.

Dear friend, I can believe in the influence of Mars as fully as I can in the aorta. It’s all invisible, in a normal day—though felt, as rhythm or excitement or pressure. You have the plate you can’t drink from. And that one’s missing an arm. And making art, too, is a kind of disappearing. A bucket with holes, on purpose.    Kate Greenstreet, from The Last 4 Things


The Ghost Back Home                       Fred Muratori
Even the Apocrypha make sense when you can't see life for
the vision of it. In spite of everything we don't know, which is
Everything Minus Us, nobody offers believable explanations.
Take that as a good sign. No one speaks on the ferry to
, either, and yet it gets us there, to a new shore, which
after several days or centuries resembles the shore departed
from. No details needed when a place describes itself (
Is is good
as said
, as Stevens might have written on the way to a poem.)
Imagined truth rolls bones with doubt. The question cannot
hear the questioner, and finds itself framed, in a museum, the
subject of a pamphlet visitors pocket but don't read. Walking the
perfectly arrayed bricks of Edgartown, you might pass expensive
cars in which lonely dogs bark as if they knew something dark
about you—an eighth grade prank that ended in sirens, what
you told your spouse about the scar on your abdomen. Dogs
seem to know everything that has never been recorded and
nothing that has. Now, while you're away from home, rumors
could be percolating through the damp soil of your back yard,
spreading beneath the lawn like an invisible fungus, preparations
in motion. On your return your friends will greet you differently,
like someone they knew once, years ago, but thought had died.


Still Life with Jonquils      by Andrea Hollander Budy

The usual bowl of fruit, yes,
and at attention in a blue porcelain vase
wands of jonquils not yet bloomed,

gray-green buds
like translucent cocoons,
their wet and yellow wings

stirring against the thinning threads
of gray, about to give way —
the way a woman whose wrist

has been lightly touched beneath
the starched tablecloth recognizes
a man's invitation, Its promise,

as the chatter of dinner guests blurs
into nonsense and she begins to feel
the invisible tug on the knot

fixed at the body's center
to be undone . . .

The painter knows
what not to execute, knows we bring
our own heat to the canvas,

knowing exactly how
these jonquils would look
if open.

But not letting them.


It has been said above that the doctrine of mystical “unknowing,” by which we ascend to the knowledge of God “as unseen” without “form or figure” beyond all images and indeed all concepts, must not be misunderstood as a mere turning away from the ideas of material things to ideas of the immaterial. The mystical knowledge of God, which already begins in a certain inchoative manner in living faith, is not a knowledge of immaterial and invisible essences as distinct from the visible and material. If in a certain sense nothing that we can see or understand can give us a fully adequate idea of God (except by remote analogy), then we can say that images and symbols and even the material which enters into sacramental signs and works of art regain a certain dignity in their own right, since they are no longer rejected in favor of other “immaterial” objects which are considered to be superior, as if they were capable of making us “see God” more perfectly. On the contrary, since we are well aware that images, symbols and works of art are only material, we tend to see them with greater freedom and less risk of error precisely because we realize the limitation of their nature. We know that they can only be a means to an end, and we do not make “idols’ out of them. On the contrary, today the more dangerous temptation is to raise ideas and ideologies to the status of “idols,” worshipping them for their own sakes. Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer, p. 104-5


Written by Allan Peterson

To have that letter arrive
was like the mist that took a meadow
and revealed hundreds
of small webs once invisible
The inevitable often
stands by plainly but unnoticed
till it hands you a letter
that says death and you notice
the weed field had been
readying its many damp handkerchiefs
all along

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