Sunday, February 28, 2010

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

--W.B. Yeats

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Light and Life

Eventually is no significance.
The universe expands to a standstill
or collapses to a point, and whether
we curse the darkness or light a candle
does not amend the outcome.
We exist to become more perfectly . . . alone.
Still, a man who squeezes light from his own skin
reminds his neighbors that a man may choose
extinction in the manner of a star.

--James Sutton

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Seventh Seal

I saw a really old foreign film the other day. In it, a knight on his way home from the Crusades strolls into a church confessional and spits some of the hardest lines in cinema. The subtitles read:

"The emptiness is a mirror in which I see my own face. And it fills me with loathing and horror. My indifference to my fellow men has cut me off. I live now in a world of phantoms. A prisoner of my own dreams.

I want to know.

Is it so hard to grasp God with one's own senses? Why must he hide in a mist of vague promises and unseen miracles? How are we to believe the believers when we don't believe ourselves? What will become of us who want to believe but cannot? And what of those who neither will nor can believe? Why can I not kill God within me? Why does he go on living in this painful, humiliating way? I want to tear him out of my heart, but he remains a mocking reality that I cannot shake off.

I want knowledge. Not faith or conjecture, but knowledge. I want God to reach out his hand, show his face, speak to me.

I cry to him in the dark, but no one seems to be there.

Then life is senseless terror. No man can live with death knowing that everything is nothingness.

One day, they will stand on the far edge of life, peering into the darkness.

My life has been nothing but a futile wandering. A great deal of words without meaning. I say that without bitterness or self-reproach because I know it is the same for most men. But I want to use my reprieve for one meaningful deed.

This is my hand. I can move it. Blood pulses through my veins. The sun is high in the sky and I, Antonius Block, am playing chess with Death."

Ingmar Bergman wrote these lines, I think. I am afraid to say them out loud.