Monthly Archives: December 2013

Love Is Most High

leather-email01Love is most high
More high than sky
More salty than the tear
From my Beloved’s eye
And sweeter than a drop of dew
Born in a strand of morning’s new

For love is tall
More tall than all
More patient than the ancient earth
Awaiting autumn’s fall
And restless as a song of spring
Unthroated and untiring

For love is first
More first than thirst
More swift than any arrow
Of a blessed cherub cursed
More instant than the kiss of death
More languishing than heaven’s breath

For love is free
More free than we
More innocent and ignorant
Of our necessity
More yielding than the tempered shield
That binds the fortress to the field

For love is true
More true than blue
More black and red and lavender
Than anybody knew
And how about the fool love is
How cruel love is and old

For love is bold
More bold than told
More telling than a corpse can say
Once she has gone to cold
More fleeting than a shadowplay
More durable than this fine day

For love is high
More high than sky
More all than all
For love is all


On Being a Towering Figure

The towering figure called Nelson Mandela has died.
This is the poem that got him through prison:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
~ Invictus, by William Ernest Henley

Did Mandela know as a boy that he would be towering?
Did it come to him in jail?
Did he know what he was in for?
What he would shoulder and carry and marry?

He said: “There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

What determines small? What determines towering?
A script at birth or the one we write ourselves?
Are there costs of playing large and none of playing small?

As kids at play, we jump to be the hero, the king, the queen, the princess. Perhaps the wicked witch. Not the girl in the back of the alley nobody ever sees.

What do we amplify in ourselves to play it big and silence to play it small?
Conversely, what do we amplify in ourselves to play it small and silence in ourselves to play it big.

Nelson Mandela gave himself messages beyond the ones he was given and that determined his way. I will settle for the life I am capable of living.

He got to be right. We all do.Whatsoever we choose comes packaged with a voice within us that draws all the corresponding stuff of living to carry us along. Towering situations, opportunities, challenges, emotions, events, language and people for the one with a passion for towering. Small situations, opportunities, challenges, emotions, events, language and people for the one with a passion for small things. What deals do we make with our voices. What bargains with our souls? Or is someone else steering our ship?

We’re all of us a blank page at the beginning. Powerful beyond belief. Until we know something for ourselves, we take the belief of others. So what separates a towering figure from a small one? Nothing. Nothing but belief. Either way we choose it, it will take our full effort. The effort to be towering; the effort not to be. The rich man has his impoverishments; the poor man his riches.

Nelson Mandela lived the life he believed he was capable of living. Fate met him on the way, on the highway, because he believed it would. His voice said to him:

I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul.

Today I ask myself: Am I?

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