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Accidental manifesti
SSar's Beast
I have been reading at least one thing. Around here, that's unusual. Because someone had recommended it for wedding readings, and because I love Rilke, I got "Rainer Maria Rilke: Letters to a Young Poet" out of the library. It has been a wonderful read; moving, earnest, steadfast, and including some thoughts on gender development that were pretty special for the early 1900s. It was especially moving to read in context for the first time a quote about dragons and princesses that I had used for a fantasy story oh, eight years ago. I wish I still wrote! I owe so much to that story, and the future and past of its protagonist.

As well as Rilke, I collected a few general poems, and I realised that two of them could stand for my religious views, in a way. For the same reason, they won't be represented at the ceremony - but I shall copy them over here. Thoughts welcome.

Abou Ben Adhem

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Woke one night from a dream of peace,
And saw within the moonlight of his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel, writing in a book of gold:

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The angel raised his head,
And with a look made all of sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”

“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee then
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
He came again, with a great awakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed.
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

-James Henry Leigh Hunt

From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in the Nothing all Things end in -- Yes --
Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
Thou shall be -- Nothing -- Thou shalt not be less.

-Omar Khayyam (et al.) via Edward Fitzgerald.


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