Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Some beautiful quotations to share

I love coming across quotations which illuminate my world for me, and make me see things quite differently. I give you some that I have come across recently, and have been carrying around with me in my diary (yes, I still use a hand-written diary!). I glance at them now and again, and receive each time a renewal of that initial feeling of shock at words so simple and pure, and yet which say so much. Each of us will read some significance in them which is personal to us alone and to nobody else, such is the universal meaning hidden within them.

The first is by W B Yeats, and was sent to me by a friend of mine, both of us well beyond the 50 years of the poem, but the poem spoke to both of us nonetheless:

My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table top.
While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.
                                                        W. B.Yeats

The next two quotations are by that strange and idiosyncratic writer, Mervyn Peake, taken from the wall of an exhibition on his writings and drawings at the British Library:

“Neither be afraid of the unorthodox subject nor in finding delight in the contemplation of commonplace things. Anything, seen without prejudice, is enormous.”

"…. When every heartbeat hammers out the proof
That life itself is miracle enough.”
                                                        Mervyn Peake

And finally, in my eyes the purest of all these quotations, this time by an American poet, Samuel Mensashe, whose obituary I read on 22 August 2011, and about whom I knew absolutely nothing until then, but whose works I am now trying, with some difficulty, to track down:

For what I did
And did not do
And do without
In my old age
Rue, not rage
Against that night
We go into,
Sets me straight
On what to do
Before I die –
Sit in the shade,
Look at the sky

Old wounds leave good hollows
Where one who goes can hold
Himself in ghostly embraces
Of former powers and graces
Whose domain no strife mars -
I am made whole by my scars
For whatever now displaces
Follows all that once was
And without loss stows
Me into my own spaces
                                                       Samuel Mensashe

I think his phrase, I am made whole by my scars, is one we can take into the practice room with us, both as applied to ourselves, for surely we hope that we are whole when we practise, and eventually, too, we hope as applied to our patients. The healing, the “making whole” of their scars, will, we hope, apply to their physical scars, of course, but more profoundly still to their emotional scars, which should ultimately form the focus of our work at its deepest level.

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