The perils of life

        “It’s a dangerous thing to have a soul.”  John O’Donohue, “Inner Landscape of Beauty.”*
         “The greatest peril of life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of souls.”  ~Aua,
            Canadian Inuit shaman, 1922.
During the saddle shoe, pink poodle-skirt era
of my 8th grade Chicago dreaming,
the Lubavitcher Rebbe, a being completely

unknown to me, spoke what reassures
me now:  “The nature of the times allows
for the co-existence of opposites.”*

In these stained and broken times,
I listen to the Sages who instruct us:
“Grab and eat; grab and drink.” Then assure us: 

Even those of us subsisting at the lowest spiritual level
can dare to perform deeds that may tip the balance
and transform this world toward the Good.**

For each of us carries within our boundaried
beings, the staggering  breathtaking weight
of all we’ve ever been and are about to be, plus

the limitless dimensions of Holy Mystery.
Most days I struggle to navigate the perils of this life,
soul intact.  But yesterday as I struggled  through two feet

of  new soft snow, to empty the compost,
I felt all the strengths and beauties of my dreamy youth
restored to me in gasping, triumphant joy.
                                                                        12/18/2020
*  recorded by Knud Rasmussen, Intellectual Life of the Iglulik Eskimos, 1922.
** On Being podcast at 41’30”, https://onbeing.org/programs/john-odonohue-the-inner-landscape-of-beauty-aug2017/ .
***Likkutei Sichhos, Bereshit, Vol. 1, Mikketz, p.514.
****The William Davidson Talmud, Eruvin 54a, Shmuel to Rav Yehuda.
      https://www.sefaria.org/Eruvin.54a.4?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en .

4 comments

  1. What a perfect poem for today. I’m looking out at our compost pile in the new snow. And another reminder: our souls are called to joy as well as the work of healing the world. Wonderful, Sue. I’m so happy you are posting these.

    Like

  2. I love this.

    For each of us carries within our boundaried beings, the staggering breathtaking weight of all we’ve ever been and are about to be, plus

    the limitless dimensions of Holy Mystery. Most days I struggle to navigate the perils of this life, soul intact. But yesterday as I struggled through two feet o f new soft snow, to empty the compost, I felt all the strengths and beauties of my dreamy youth restored to me in gasping, triumphant joy.

    On Mon, Feb 14, 2022 at 17:10 Singing Frog Press wrote:

    > SingingFrogPress posted: ” “It’s a dangerous thing to have a > soul.” John O’Donohue, “Inner Landscape of Beauty.”* “The greatest > peril of life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of > souls.” ~Aua, Canadian Inuit shaman, 1922.During the sad” >

    Liked by 1 person

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