Wednesday, February 10, 2010

snowy road

Photo by Thomas Merton

(A reader requested a "snow" photograph from Merton.  Being in Florida now, I can't really relate ...

Another photo of the hermitage in heavy snow is here.)

"prayer is something that happens to you ..."

"Prayer is something that happens to you (Romans 8:26-27), much more than anything you privately do. It is an allowing of the Big Self more than an assertion of the small self. Eventually you will find yourself preferring to say, “Prayer happened, and I was there” more than “I prayed today.” All you know is that you are being led, being guided, being loved, being used, being prayed through—and you are no longer in the driver’s seat.

"God stops being an object of attention like any other object in the world, and becomes at some level your own “I am.” You start knowing through, with, and in Somebody Else. Your little “I Am” becomes “We Are.” Please trust me on this. It might be the most important thing I could tell you."

Fr. Richard Rohr, from The Naked Now, pp. 102-103

HT to barefoot toward the Light

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lax - the peacemaker's handbook

Lax’s poetry is vertical, going down the page instead of across.  In order to get the cadence, you have to read and see the vertical lines as they go up and down and across the page as well, like stanzas. It does a number on your mind, reading this way.  You can't assume that you know what is coming next.

The St. Bonaventure Archive site has pdf files of one of Lax’s works - The Peacemaker’s HandbookPeacemaker’s Handbook was first published by Pendo Verlag of Zurich Switzerland in 2001.  Most of Lax's poetry was published by European book companies in English with facing German translated pages.  I could find many of them on Amazon.de, but not the U.S. site.

The reproduced text on the pdf's linked to below is a digital copy of the original typescript/printout submitted for that publication. It differs from the published version in regards to the arrangement of some portions of the text.   But it gives you a good idea of how Lax’s poetry should look on a page.  (I would love to see this book reproduced in America.)




Here is a little snippet from the Peacemaking part:

fight

fire

with

what
?

water

---

(seriously, though, you need to read the whole thing to get the breadth and depth of Lax's simple wisdom)

And here is a little snippet from the Contemplation part:

con
tem
pla
tion

is

watch
ing

---

what

hap
pens

if

you

watch

?

you

be
gin

to

see


---

Saturday, February 6, 2010

prophet and poet of slowness

Photo by Nicolas Humbert

It is said that those who knew Bob Lax consider it a particular stroke of good fortune.  From that point on, he became a part of their own life, in body and soul.  Even though I never met him, the more I come to know Lax, the more it seems like he is part of me too.  Or it's easier to find my own "Lax-ness" within.

Lax lived the last years of his life on a Greek island, writing.  Writing and living were not separate things for Lax.  His last notebooks - november 2, 1999 until march 2, 2000 - are collected in a work that is known as “acrobat off”.  It contains poems - or "momentos", as Lax called them - with names like: now is now, advice, end of the line, reporter in the land of dreams, train of thought.

Lax died in september 2000 in his childhood home in Olean NY.

I know that I can never do justice to Lax’s writings.  Even copying them here will not work, because there is an inherent rhythm and surrounding stand-stillness in the way that the word parts are laid out on the page that can’t be “blogged”.   Still, there are fragments that I am again drawn to.  Like this:

you

were

cre
a
ted

to

be

a

part


of

the



un
i
verse

(the

whole)



let

go

fall

in
to
place

&

you

will

dis
cov
er




what
ev
er

that

place

may

be

---

let

go

?

fall

in
to

place

?
that’s

the

clear
est

way

I

can

say

at

the

mo
ment




what

I

mean

what

I’m

try
ing



to

say

---

let

go

of

what

?

what
ev
er

i
dea

you

have

of

who

or

what

you

may

be



hold

on
to

noth
ing




just

fall

---

can

you

say

that

some

bet
ter

way

?

if

ev
er

I

fall

into

one
I

will

(time:
2:47
A.M.
Nov.
10)

---

fall

?

like


fall
ing




a
sleep


---

fall

in

love

---

fall




in
to




Tao

---

in
to

grace


---

(6:30
A.M.
Nov. 10)

rise

ear
ly

&

let

things

fall


into

place

---

Robert Lax, "you were created to be a part", p. 92 from the catalogue published in conjunction with the exhibition, Three Islands: Richard Stankiewicz, June Leaf, Robert Lax, held at the Museum Tinguely, Basel, between September 2004 and January 2005.