Only Lyrically

Month: December, 2012

from night to light

Rilke from The Book of Hours:

You, Darkness


You, darkness, that I come from
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes a circle of light for everyone
and then no one outside learns of you.

But the darkness pulls in everything-
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! –
powers and people-

and it is possible a great presence is moving near me.

I have faith in nights.

Rilke from The Book of Images:



Whoever you are: in the evening step out
of your room, where you know everything;
yours is the last house before the far-off:
whoever you are.
With your eyes, which in their weariness
barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold,
you lift very slowly one black tree
and place it against the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world. And it is huge
and like a word which grows ripe in silence.
And as your will seizes on its meaning,
tenderly your eyes let go. . . .

“to the stranger who has loved you all your life”

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

– Derek Walcott

In Place Of An Annual Inventory Of Verses


What’s playing? Angels In America still. The prophet just told the Mormon mother, “You comfort me, you do. You stiffen my spine.”

It’s playing along with the humming of the burly, black industrial fan.

And there’s a cool breeze going through the window. Windows almost always open now. I see the lampposts glazing up my neighbors’ windows far away across the wide street. And the trees are all aglow.

It would be nice to write right under one of those golden posts. I used to do that when I was a kid in Sampaloc, writing right under the lamppost at the foot of the rickety stairway, to get away from the clouds of nicotine and ganja puffed up by the men in the old apartment.

Of course if I do write under a lamppost now, passersby would probably think I’m loony.

Maybe they did too, when I was a kid. But the kid didn’t care. The kid will write no matter what, no matter where.

* * *

Next year, I turn 35. Mid-life.

Don’t you find the term “mid-life” strange? If 35 is mid-life, that assumes fullness comes at around 70. And who’s to say 70’s the end? The end can be sooner for some, and later for some. Well of course, they must have set 35 as an average.

I wonder what my average would be, as I reach the point of average. I don’t know if within eight months I can raise the average. Not too much of an average right now here, if I would take as a measure friends’ mid-life averages – businesses, careers, kids, marriages.

I got… Ethel Rosenberg praying the Kaddish for Roy Cohn, a humming black and burly industrial fan, and friends whose averages remind me of possibilities.

* * *

Last year, I wrote in the good Lasallians’ magazine:

I started this year, 2012, praying for a chance to walk with dragons – powerful men who will test my limits, from whom I will learn. I prayed for that because I wanted all the strength that my heart can hold, and I want greatness beyond what my mind can imagine.

Ever heard the expression, “Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.”?

I can hear my heart beating along earth-shaking strides.

The Baptist’s footsteps a few weeks ago were among those strides this year, as I was finally able to see him again after a long time. And listening to his footsteps inside his home, a home full of love and grace, I seem to hear the need for Jeniper to walk on her own in the wild next year. It can be rough and tough walking with dragons, after all, especially when you’re not one. But I am grateful, and I will forever, somehow, carry how it all felt.

Because that’s what Jeniper is, above anything, she feels.

I needn’t keep up with earth-shaking dragon strides. I ought to just listen to the good old heart. Beating.

And that can take care of everything.