Friday Fish

I have a couple of enticing book reviews, a poem and a song all caught in the net this morning to share with you...

Have a great weekend !

Where Angels Are Born

"When Angels Are Born is an honest and heartfelt invocation, a calling out to the sacred that is so desperately needed today “in a world that undervalues such an intimacy of spirit.” It is also a spiritual journey where we are continually aroused from our sleep and brought to think and to feel our common human situation. We are encouraged gently to “pay attention” and to “welcome the embrace | of heaven found in a single moment, between breathing in and out.”

 Ron Starbuck’s psalms, or sacred songs and prose easily guides us onto the path of many contemplative traditions and mystics like Meister Eckhart and Thomas Merton. And in the light of those traditions, we are asked to travel further than the known, to “empty out our small separate selves and to recognize the truth of who we really are–”to become a sacrament of seeing.”

There are no clear cut answers offered to the great metaphysical questions but rather a deepening of those questions. He speaks directly into the heart of each of us, as though drawing from an ancient source, giving us voice to our deepest and most powerful intuitions and longings. 

The question of what does it really mean to be alive is echoed throughout the book and his penetrating verse assures us that the world is filled with the Absolute and that we need only to listen and discover for ourselves that we are not separate–that we are all part of something much larger.

 Even difficult spiritual concepts like compassion, emptiness, and rebirth are distilled down to their essence and made accessible in a language easily understood by the heart. In the poem “Death,” for example, Ron Starbuck says:

Look at someone you love today
For one minute,
As if you saw them
for the first time.
When Angels Are Born is a gift. It is a wonderful book that can be read again and again. It serves to remind us to ask what is being given to us in each moment. Ron Starbuck’s poetry encourages us to try to see the world through fresh eyes, and to open ourselves up to gratitude for this life, or as he so eloquently puts it: “to give birth to our own angels in the world every day.”

The Lord is found in unexpected places, and there are some quirky tales recorded in Joy Williams’s new book, “99 Stories of God”

This is one of the reviews from an Amazon reader
"This is her first collection in nearly a decade and it is well worth the wait. God is one of the characters here; Kafka, too; a hermit; a housekeeper. There are many more. The Lord of 99 Stories is often befuddled by his creation, which includes such normal American venues as the mall. The Lord goes through a lot of trouble when trying to adopt a turtle. The Lord hangs out with wolves in their den. The Lord also has a tricky time of it with a pharmacist. The Lord's world--the world of Joy Williams--is mysterious and suffused with yearning for a divine place that turns out to be remarkably like this place. What else is there? she seems to say. I doubt I'll read a better collection of stories this year"

Below are stories 5, 6 and 7

At some point, Kafka became a vegetarian.
Afterwards, visiting an aquarium in Berlin, he spoke to the fish through the glass.
“Now at last I can look at you in peace, I don’t eat you anymore.”
You know that dream of Tolstoy’s where he’s in some sort of bed contraption suspended between the abyss below and the abyss above? You know that one? Well, I gave it to him, the Lord said.
See That You Remember
Franz Kafka once called his writing a form of prayer.
He also reprimanded the long-suffering Felice Bauer in a letter: “I did not say that writing ought to make everything clearer, but instead makes everything worse; what I said was that writing makes everything clearer and worse.”

He frequently fretted that he was not a human being and that what he bore on his body was not a human head. Once he dreamt that as he lay in bed, he began to jump out the open window continuously at quarter-hour intervals.

“Then trains came and one after another they ran over my body, outstretched on the tracks, deepening and widening the two cuts in my neck and legs.”

I didn’t give him that one, the Lord said.

Not His Best

A Heliotropic Prayer Song
To the little sapling
growing in a crack
on the curb between
slabs of concrete,
maddening the nihilists
around it wondering
about the possibility
of an empty whole:
Whereof do you find nourishment?
I suspect that plants were never
as lonely as those of us who are
ambulatory would like to believe,
moving or not moving
being less important
than rootedness,
than having a home,
even when it’s paved over
and its only hope
is to live to see
the sun again.
Juan Pablo Laso

 Gladys Knight Friendship Train
 performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert
 in Oslo Norway December 11 2005.

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