A hunger for eternity

Certainly there is within each of us a self that is neither a child, nor a servant of the hours. It is a third self, occasional in some of us, tyrant in others. This self is out of love with the ordinary; it is out of love with time. It has a hunger for eternity.

Mary Oliver, Upstream

Our agenda

My analyst once said to me, “You must make your fears your agenda.” When we do take on that agenda, for all the anxiety engendered, we feel better because we know we are living in ‘bonne foi’ [good faith] with ourselves. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the perception that some things are more important to us than what we fear

James Hollis, Swamplands of the Soul

Being open

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

Izumi Shikibu c., 974 – 1034

The moon in Japanese poetry is always the moon; often it is also the image of awakening. This poem reminds that if a house is walled so tightly that it lets in no wind or rain, if a life is walled so tightly that it lets in no pain, grief, anger, or longing, it will also be closed to the entrance of what is most wanted.

Translation and commentary by Jane Hirshfield