Sunday, October 12, 2008

Growth hurts

Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows; by being defeated, decisively
By constantly greater beings.

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Man Watching

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Life, blindly made

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
ché la diritta via era smarrita

In the middle of the road of my life
I awoke in a dark wood
Where the true way was wholly lost

- Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia, Inferno: Canto I
trans Dorothy Sayers and Barbara Reynolds

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


A hand moves, and the fire's whirling takes different shapes.
...all things change when we do.
The first word, Ah! blossomed into all others.
Each of them is true

- Kukei, 8th century Zen master
- trans. Jane Hirschfield

Friday, July 25, 2008

For a Nightingale

Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breaths. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or brush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
- David Wagoner from a Native American teaching tale

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Connections vs. Focus

In developing my thesis I need to narrow my interests to a single research topic. As my Profs say "Focus on one angel dancing on the head of one pin". But every time I look into my area of interest, I discover another interesting aspect - "Ooo shiny" or as an undergrad prof used to say "Every time I try to study something in isolation, I discover it is attached to the rest of the universe".

Monday, July 21, 2008

Life and Grad School

The way through the world
Is more difficult to find than the way beyond it
- Wallace Stevens
"Reply to Papini"