attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity

Simone Weil on her birthday. First, from Gravity and Grace (1947): Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating. …We have to try to cure our faults by attention and not by will. The will only controls a fewContinue reading “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity”

in that clear unpeopled space

Poem by Ranier Maria Rilke. [From Possibility of Being: A Selection of Poems translated by J.B. Leishman, 1957.] This is the creature there has never been. They never knew it, and yet, none the less, they loved the way it moved, its suppleness, its neck, its very gaze, mild and serene. Not there, because theyContinue reading “in that clear unpeopled space”

this improvised temple

From The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder: There had been some changes made in the storage yard. Some of the ornate old porch pillars had been propped up around the lean-to so that they seemed to be supporting its sagging tin roof; the statue of Diana had been moved into position near this improvisedContinue reading “this improvised temple”

the imagination that can see what is there

From The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton: We must invoke the most wild and soaring sort of imagination; the imagination that can see what is there. The only way to suggest the point is by an example of something, indeed of almost anything, that has been considered beautiful or wonderful. George Wyndham once toldContinue reading “the imagination that can see what is there”

fills the young person’s head with the sound of voices

The poet, Plato writes in Phaedra, “clothes all the great deeds accomplished by the men of old with glory, and thus educates those who come after.” The poet’s myth teaches the Ideal Type by example, not by precept, and allows the student through his imagination to participate in the past, partaking of the Ideal. OftenContinue reading “fills the young person’s head with the sound of voices”