Saturday, December 8, 2007

yet more emily


"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

Emily Dickinson

you are blessed if this resonates with you.
you are twice blessed if you can hear the song in your soul.
thanks to gail for sending me this..

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

more emily dickinson

emily dickinson is a saint on the order of meister eckhart or julian of norwich. emily's 315 relates her experience when she is visited by the emperor of men. the bible calls this state "be still and know that I am God". thanks to eric for pointing out this poem.

He fumbles at your Soul
As Players at the Keys
Before they drop full Music on --
He stuns you by degrees --
Prepares your brittle Nature
For the Ethereal Blow
By fainter Hammers -- further heard --
Then nearer -- Then so slow
Your Breath has time to straighten --
Your Brain -- to bubble Cool --
Deals -- One -- imperial -- Thunderbolt --
That scalps your naked Soul --

When Winds take Forests in the Paws --
The Universe -- is still --

Sunday, November 25, 2007



En la inocente mirada de un niño
se enciende el misterio de las estrellas.
El asombro de esa mirada
interroga por la supuesta
proclamación de amor y paz;
bellas palabras que se deslizan por la lengua
y se columpian en los labios. Urge
una respuesta
ante el horror que se expande
como bombas de napalm,
destruyendo a su paso
la frágil luz de la inocencia.
Crecen campos de amargos silencios.
Legiones de pies descalzos y voces
selladas, perturban las pulcras
- manteles bordados en blanco -
donde se exhiben, a menudo,
las baratijas que conforman
un mundo indiferente.


In the innocent look of a child
the mystery of the stars blazes.
The astonishment of that look
he interrogates the would-be
proclamation of love and peace;
beautiful words that slide off the tongue
balance on the lips. It is urgent
an answer
in the face of the horror that spreads
as napalm bombs,
destroying in their passage
the fragile light of innocence.
Fields of sad silences grow.
Legions of bare feet and voices
sealed, they perturb the neat
- shrouds embroidered in white -
where they exhibit
the trinkets that conform
an indifferent world.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

centering prayer in reading pa

centering prayer reading [ reading berks county pennsylvania ] is a new website that is a short introduction to centering prayer.

we have started a twice a week centering prayer group at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County and the new website is designed as a handout for newcomers. our new group is about praying together celebrating resting in God's love - and not about endless discussions. so this handout is a good two minute introduction.

and i've learned in the process.

my friend h - who i can always rely on to keep me focused - noticed that the first iteration of this two minute introduction wandered off into all sorts of rabbit trails about psychological difficulties, dark night of the soul, and other stuff... and that i was violating the prime directive of centering prayer; which is "keep your focus on God's love... and if any thoughts get in the way, ignore them". so i stripped out all the rabbit trail stuff, and only left the essentials. it's a good thing i'm not vetted by the centering prayer people. they would probably defrock me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

mea culpa.. mea culpa...

a friend read my summary of the cloud of unknowing, and gently let me know that it had way too many words, and that not everyone was as familar with king james english as i am... so i listened. and i rewrote a much reduced summary of the cloud of unknowing in modern english

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

more cloud of unknowing

here's the full text of the cloud of unknowing in king james english, and here's the condensed version with a lot of the english modernized. i left the king james english when i thought it was poetic. but since my roots are in the king james bible, my idea of poetic might be different than yours.
enjoy :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

conventional wisdom of 1380

the cloud of unknowing was written around 1380, and this piece of conventional wisdom found it's way into the book. at first i was surprised. but then it made me wonder about the things we take for granted today and repeat as if they were fact. <--- For as I have understood by some disciples of necromancy, the which profess the advocation of wicked spirits, and by some unto whom the fiend hath appeared in bodily likeness: in what bodily likeness the fiend appeareth, evermore he hath but one nostril, and that is great and wide, and he will gladly cast it up so that a man may see in thereat to his brain up in his head. The which brain is nought else but the fire of hell, for the fiend may have none other brain. And if he might make a man look in thereto, he wants no better. For at that looking he should lose his wits for ever. ---> i wonder if the author of the cloud really believed this.....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Cloud of Unknowing

I was surprised the other day to find that the Cloud of Unknowing was not available on the internet..
The Cloud of Unknowing is an anomymous work from the late 14th century that is sort of a handbook for a novice entering the contemplative life. The original work has about 40,000 words, but I can summerize it in two sentences.

Seek the face of the Lord.
If any thoughts enter your mind, ignore them.

This prayer probably predates christianity, and is found in every major religion. In the 1960's, the prayer was repackaged and made into a business by three catholic priests and renamed 'Centering Prayer', here's the original 14th century text.

enjoy :)

Friday, August 31, 2007

emily doesn't live here any more

wednesday i spent most of the day and evening in emily dickinson's garden in amherst massachusetts. i wanted to see if i could catch the spirit of the place. i discovered not to my surprise that emily doesn't live there anymore.

her house is an historical preservation administered by amherst college and the caretakers are more interested in your not touching the precious objects than in emily or who she was. and please no pictures!

to misquote emily, her house|shrine is full of icons of an emily dimly remembered but carefully arranged and rearranged... just so.

emily was a mystery to her peers. and today, with dozens of academics offering their opinions about who she was and what she was about, she is an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a riddle.

and yes, i have yet another opinion.
emily was a saint of the highest order. up there with julian of norwich and marguerite porette.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

matteo da perugia

every monday evening, this group plays rennaisance and medieval music for diversion mostly. this evening, we played a canon by matteo da perugia. the difference was that this piece was in medieval notation. this is what we sounded like after two or three attempts. this piece is a round, which means that the group is divided into 3.. the second choir starts playing at the beginning of the piece after the first choir has played eight beats, and the third choir starts at the beginning after the second choir has played 8 beats.. all the parts are played on tenor recorder. this is what music looked like in the early 1400's.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tin-foil hats

Tin-foil hats are essential protection from alien mind control!
Don Quixote is likely the smartest man that ever lived. He is the first to discover the secrets of the tin-foil hat. He played the fool to divert attention from himself, but in reality, he was a brilliant scientist! The tin-foil hat offers absolute protection from alien mind-control. They are also an impenetrable barrier to remote viewing and from anyone reading your thoughts. Guaranteed!!! read more....

Friday, August 10, 2007

windows annoyances

my dell desktop is 10 months old, and part of my housekeeping is to verify that the windows xp core programs have not been violated.. so when i told windows to verify itself, it asked me to insert the original dell|windows install disk. it then had the nerve to tell me "Invalid CD"!!!... so i called dell support. and two hours later, we decided that the microsoft digital rights management people had locked down the software in such a way that i could no longer read my valid legal install disk. dell did not offer a solution.

i give up. i called apple and ordered an iMac. it will be here in mid september and by christmas, i'll be windows-free.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

dazed and confused

hola :)

i'm peter mitchell and i'm an addict.
reading my previous blog, i found the things that i'm addicted to are prayer and meditation, early music, a lot of geek stuff, and learning spanish..

i decided to switch from wordpress to blogger when upgrading wordpress on my own webspace got to be a chore, especially when blogger seemed to be so seamless compared to wordpress.

the dazed and confused tagline comes from my amazement at all the conflicting opinions in the blogsphere. but dazed and confused also validates a theory i learned a long time ago.

if you laid all the economists in the world end to end, they still wouldn't agree on anything.

stay tuned.