Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope—
Not the prudent gates of Optimism,
Which are somewhat narrower.
Not the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense;
Nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness,
Which creak on shrill and angry hinges
(People cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through)
Nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of
“Everything is gonna’ be all right.”
But a different, sometimes lonely place,
The place of truth-telling,
About your own soul first of all and its condition.
The place of resistance and defiance,
The piece of ground from which you see the world
Both as it is and as it could be
As it will be;
The place from which you glimpse not only struggle,
But the joy of the struggle.
And we stand there, beckoning and calling,
Telling people what we are seeing
Asking people what they see.
— Victoria Safford from The Small Work In The Great Work (essay)
Days pass when I forget the mystery
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their coloured clothes, caps and bells.
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamour
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything
other then void; and that O Lord
Creator, Hallowed One, you still
hour by hour sustain it.
— Denise Levertov from Sands of the Well