love is an autocrat and won't be disobeyed

sometimes we manage to convince ourselves of that.

22 November 1983
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"At that instant he saw, in one blaze of light, an image of unutterable conviction, the reason why the artist works and lives and has his being--the reward he seeks--the only reward he really cares about, without which there is nothing. It is to snare the spirits of mankind in nets of magic, to make his life prevail through his creation, to wreak the vision of his life, the rude and painful substance of his own experience, into the congruence of blazing and enchanted images that are themselves the core of life, the essential pattern whence all other things proceed, the kernel of eternity."

At times it is a good life, with the evening sun
gilding the abbey tower, the brook's cold waters

sliding past and every hour in my Book
a blank page, vellum pumice-stoned

to chalky lustres which my inks suffuse:
saffron and sandarach and dragon's blood,
azure and verdigris. Monsters and every type of beast
curl round the words. Each man here has a past,

and each man reasons for his faith. I wronged
a woman once and nothing I did after could atone

or throw a light upon the blackness of that deed,
whose harm lay in the telling, not the doing.

My floor is strewn with thyme and rosemary
to mask the odours of my craft – fish glue,

gum resins, vinegar and oils. With these I shape
the hosts of the redeemed, and every face

takes on the features of a face I've known
and every angel's face beneath the shadow

of its many coloured wings is hers alone.

"I really believe that if there's any kind of God, he wouldn't be in any one of us -- not you, not me, but just this space in between. If there's some magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone else, sharing something. Even if it's almost impossible to succeed. But who cares? The answer must be in the attempt."

However deep asleep you think you are,
there always will be days like this —
a light, hair-tousling breeze and a sun that streams
into the dusty parlour of your heart.
Pray when it does that your heart, out cold
for the winter, stirs in its stockpile of leaves.
Or else, that you're caught off guard by the quickening
thump of your hoof-beat heart returning
from very far off: pray then for the stoutness of heart
to ride with it headlong into a poem like this one
where some part of everything never stops moving
under the light of that big old heart, the moon;
where even the moon up there in its ocean
of sky is afloat, and trembles with longing.

"and when i speak of neurosis i really mean nothing more than what we used to call romanticism: that is, wanting the impossible and then being unhappy if it was found to be impossible."

...saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.

put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.

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