Archive for January, 2007

All anyone could find in it:

a bed lumpy with books
old essays by students

old books
by former students

old checks
from students repaying loans

never cashed


“He was a university professor who ‘never earned a doctorate, taught a graduate seminar, or wrote a book’ He never married and, after entering Notre Dame as a freshman, never again lived outside a campus dormitory.

Yet O’Malley is widely esteemed as one of the great educators of our time. By all accounts, his lectures were inspiring and his devotion to his students unwavering. He knew them each by name and never forgot a one.”

from Journeys of Simplicity by Philip Harnden


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“God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.”

Dag Hammarskjold, Markings

quoted in This Sunrise of Wonder by Michael Mayne – one of my very favorite books.

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I have a bowl of paper whites,
Of paper-white narcissus;
Their fragrance my whole soul delights,
They smell delissus.
(They grow in pebbles in the sun
And each is like a star.)

I sit and scan the news hard by
My paper-white narcissus;
I read how fast a plane can fly,
Against my wissus.
(The course of speed is almost run,
We know not where we are.)

The grow in pebbles in the sun,
My beautiful narcissus,
Casting their subtle shade upon
Tropical fissus.
(No movement mars each tiny star;
Speed has been left behind.)

I’d gladly trade the latest thing
For paper-white narcissus;
Science, upon its airfoil wing,
Now seems pernissus.
(Who was it said to travel far
Might dissipate the mind?)

I love this day, this hour, this room,
This motionless narcissus;
I love the stillness of the home,
I love the missus.
(She grows in pebbles in my sun
And she is like a star.)

And though the modern world be through
With paper-white narcissus,
I shall arise and I shall do
The breakfast dissus.
(The tranquil heart may yet outrun
The rocket and the car.)

“Window Ledge in the Atom Age” by E. B. White

The Second Tree from the Corner

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“… any reasonable person who looks at water, and passes a hand through it, can see that it would not hold a person up…  But swimmers know that if they relax on the water it will prove to be miraculously buoyant…”

William Stafford

from Writing the Australian Crawl 

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“War is not an accident.

It is the logical outcome of a certain way of life.”

             A. J. Muste

            The Essays of A. J. Muste edited by Nat Hentoff

for more on the subject of peace, please see my olive leaves blog at <oliveleaves.wordpress.com>

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Its door opens near. It’s a shrine
by the road, it’s a flower in the parking lot
of The Pentagon, it says, “Look around,
listen. Feel the air.” It interrupts
international telephone lines with a tune.
When traffic lines jam, it gets out
and dances on the bridge. If great people
get distracted by fame they forget
this essential kind of breathing
and they die inside their gold shell.
When caravans cross deserts
it is the secret treasure hidden under the jewels.

Sometimes commanders take us over, and they
try to impose their whole universe,
how to succeed by daily calculation:
I can’t eat that bread. 

 William Stafford,  The Way It Is.

This is one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets.

William Stafford was also a conscientious objector.

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   “At the beginning of the Peace People movement, some of us started out to change Northern Ireland and the world. In the years since, I have come to believe that the real struggle starts in my own heart and in all our own hearts and that ‘inner change’ should be the first priority in life. Learning ‘to be still’ and peaceful is our daily work, a lifetime’s work, but it must be done. Otherwise, do we have anything to offer?”

 Mairead Corrigan Maguire, winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize


for more on the subject of peace, please see my olive leaves blog at <oliveleaves.wordpress.com>

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