Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Who is it that clasps and kneads my 
naked feet, till they unfold, 
till all is well, till all is utterly well? the 
lotus-lilies of the feet! 

I tell you it is no woman, it is no man, 
for I am alone. 
And I fall asleep with the gods, the gods 
that are not, or that are 
according to the soul’s desire, 
like a pool into which we plunge, or do 
not plunge. 

The operative word in these lines from D. H. Lawrence, who wasn’t a conventionally religious person, is “soul.” It’s a word that has become almost embarrassing for many contemporary people unless it is completely stripped of its religious meaning. Perhaps that’s just what it needs sometimes: to be stripped of its “religious” meaning , in the sense that faith itself sometimes needs to be stripped of its social and historical encrustations and returned to its first, churchless incarnation in the human heart. That’s what the twentieth century was, a kind of windstorm-scouring of all we thought was knowledge, and truth, and ours— until it became too strong for us, or we too weak for it, and “the self replaced the soul as the fist of survival” (Fanny Howe). Anxiety comes from the self as ultimate concern, from the fact that the self cannot bear this ultimate concern: it buckles and wavers under the strain, and eventually, inevitably, it breaks.

Wiman, Christian (2013-04-02). My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (pp. 90-91). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.


  1. Thanks for this. Hits my reflective mood this morning before I plunge into my own shining abyss. Ah poetry! A man can live perhaps 60 days without food, perhaps a week without water, but how long without poetry? The saying of what can't be said, the understanding or at least playing with what can't be understood.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments.


    1. much obliged.

      not sure how "thoughtful" - just passing on what I was reading yesterday (as I came off of the gamma knife table to zap yet more "spots" on my brain!) what a strange world we live in but this guy (Christian Witman) is hitting the nail on the head more often than not for me.

  2. 2Cents _________________________________

    who is it
    that has not " spots " ???

    SOUL __

    Soul -

    Soul -

    is thy soul -

    Perhaps a shadow only
    cast in total darkness -

    Blessings _______________________


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