“Someday, emerging at last from the violent insight,

let me sing out jubilation and praise to assenting angels.

Let not even one of the clearly-struck hammers of my heart

fail to sound because of a slack, a doubtful,

or a broken string. Let my joyfully streaming face

make me more radiant; let my hidden weeping arise

and blossom. How dear you will be to me then, you nights

of anguish. Why didn’t I kneel more deeply to accept you,

inconsolable sisters, and, surrendering, lose myself

in your loosened hair. How we squander our hours of pain.

How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration

to see if they have an end. Though they are really

our winter-enduring foliage, our dark evergreen,

one season in our inner year–, not only a season

in time–, but are place and settlement, foundation and soil and home.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Tenth Elegy, Duino Elegies translated by Stephen Mitchell.


note: Duino Elegies translated by Stephen Mitchell is my favorite translation.

why treat life as a battlefield

The “reciprocal sustenance” of intertwining trees
words that animate a page
bringing playfulness and ambiguity
converging roads of destiny and invention.

What will bridge us to the sacred?
Awareness and hunger,
long hours looking at a river,
walking on a vast field of tulips?

I’m thinking of something else:
understanding on how to approach silence,
when the last days come, the attitude of surrender:
life, not as a battlefield,
not “to die bloodied and exhausted”

only want peace.

letter is obsolete?

“Christmas letter is obsolete.”

Facebook has been telling the story.

The letter is for emphasis:

What is remembered and forgotten,

the understanding of what  it meant.


The story began with a bear,

scary bear, went down the mountain

to meet me: imprinted in my mind.


The farthest we travelled, to the south,

Key West Islands, to visit friends.


One and a half hour drive  to the north

to visit vineyards and taste wines.


A teacher guided me

how to survive the forest

taught me what to eat, 

how to find water, shelter.


A cold spell 

descended in the village

the mountain, white again,

the bear in hibernation.


I did not know.

A tiger truly scared me.

A nurse examining my eyes every hour. 

monitoring my consciousness.

The wait and the healing.

I could drive at night again,

go to high altitude.


“I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.”

I like to believe it was true

in the first half of my life.

I’m way on the second half.

I surrendered my baton

to a higher power, the ancient One.


I will spread my arms

welcome the dawn,

place my palms together

and bow. Merry Christmas.



note:In the midst of Jesus’ anguished prayer asking his Father to take his cup of sorrow away…

“Then an angel appeared to him, coming from heaven to give him strength.“ (Luke 22:43)

from: Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J.M. Nouwen

photo: Key Wesuary, 2013

photo: Jerusalem, September 2010