Category Archives: TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS

There should be those among whom we can sit and weep and still be counted as warriors. Native American.

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I have spent too long
telling the world the world is the world
and poetry is made of language.
Today on the Bedford platform, I began
the great poem: weeping openly on the public
telephone—the way some were staring
as they swirled past, the way some
weren’t—yes: it was truth
at last.

—Jan Zwicky

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one of my favourite poems

LES MURRAY

An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow

The word goes round Repins,
the murmur goes round Lorenzinis,
at Tattersalls, men look up from sheets of numbers,
the Stock Exchange scribblers forget the chalk in their hands
and men with bread in their pockets leave the Greek Club:
There’s a fellow crying in Martin Place. They can’t stop him.

The traffic in George Street is banked up for half a mile
and drained of motion. The crowds are edgy with talk
and more crowds come hurrying. Many run in the back streets
which minutes ago were busy main streets, pointing:
There’s a fellow weeping down there. No one can stop him.

The man we surround, the man no one approaches
simply weeps, and does not cover it, weeps
not like a child, not like the wind, like a man
and does not declaim it, nor beat his breast, nor even
sob very loudly—yet the dignity of his weeping

holds us back from his space, the hollow he makes about him
in the midday light, in his pentagram of sorrow,
and uniforms back in the crowd who tried to seize him
stare out at him, and feel, with amazement, their minds
longing for tears as children for a rainbow.

Some will say, in the years to come, a halo
or force stood around him. There is no such thing.
Some will say they were shocked and would have stopped him
but they will not have been there. The fiercest manhood,
the toughest reserve, the slickest wit amongst us

trembles with silence, and burns with unexpected
judgements of peace. Some in the concourse scream
who thought themselves happy. Only the smallest children
and such as look out of Paradise come near him
and sit at his feet, with dogs and dusty pigeons.

Ridiculous, says a man near me, and stops
his mouth with his hands, as if it uttered vomit—
and I see a woman, shining, stretch her hand
and shake as she receives the gift of weeping;
as many as follow her also receive it

and many weep for sheer acceptance, and more
refuse to weep for fear of all acceptance,
but the weeping man, like the earth, requires nothing,
the man who weeps ignores us, and cries out
of his writhen face and ordinary body

not words, but grief, not messages, but sorrow,
hard as the earth, sheer, present as the sea—
and when he stops, he simply walks between us
mopping his face with the dignity of one
man who has wept, and now has finished weeping.

Evading believers, he hurries off down Pitt Street.
from
The Weatherboard Cathedral, 1969

http://www.lesmurray.org/pm_aor.htm

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Truth’s best ornament is nakedness.

German

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 it wasn’t pretend, I wasn’t in a fairytale or a fable. I shut my eyes and absorbed the silent whoomp that always accompanies this revelation. It’s the sound of the real world, gigantic and impossible, replacing the smaller version of reality that I wear like a bonnet, clutched tightly under my chin.”

― Miranda July, It Chooses You

I might not be able to hold my drink or my man, but what I can hold, is a tune. Point me in the right direction and give me a bloody mic.”

― Lindsey Kelk, I Heart New York

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You can’t stay the same. If you’re a musician and a singer, you have to change, that’s the way it works.

Van Morrison

REST AND DREAM

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“Cucumber and bergamot,” Clary said. “Is there anything else you hate that I ought to know about?”

Jace looked at Dorothea over the rim of his teacup. “Liars,” he said.”

― Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

“Even the strongest and bravest must sometimes weep. It shows they have a great heart, one that can feel compassion for others.” —Cornflower”

― Brian Jacques, Redwall

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“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today and yesterday.”

“The prudence of the best heads is often defeated by the tenderness of the best hearts” — Henry Fielding

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“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

“You don’t blast a heart open," she said. "You coax and nurture it open, like the sun does to a rose.

― Melody Beattie, The Lessons of Love: Rediscovering Our Passion for Live When It All Seems Too Hard to Take

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“We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child’s spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active. We may even suffocate life itself. That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendour during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.”
― Maria Montessori

Russian — He hunting two hares does not catch even one.

"Eastern Proverbs and Emblems Illustrating Old Truths"

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http://andrewlansdown.com/fiction/novels/the-red-dragon/

Andrew Lansdown 2006

Your mother once told me, “Life will toughen him up soon enough. Your job is to keep him tender.”’ He looked out the shed door, then back at Colyn. ‘So leave the fox cubs to me, son. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to have a grown-up heart.’

foto – kitten hunting in raleigh 2010