jennywren: (Default)
( Saturday, September 8th, 2007 12:44 am)
Madeleine L'Engle has been one of my favorite writers for a long time. Everyone thinks of A Winkle in Time, but some of my favorite books by her were Many Waters, Dance in the Desert, A Ring of Endless Light, and The Crosswick Journals series. I admire her writing, creative, theology, poetry, and understanding of science. Here are some quotes and poems by this remarkable woman.


I Name you Echthroi. I Name you Meg.
I Name you Calvin.
I Name you Mr. Jenkins.
I Name you Proginoskes.
I fill you with Naming.
Be!
Be, butterfly and behemoth,
be galaxy and grasshopper,
star and sparrow,
you matter,
you are,
be!
Be caterpillar and comet,
Be porcupine and planet,
sea sand and solar system,
sing with us,
dance with us,
rejoice with us,
for the glory of creation,
seagulls and seraphim,
angle worms and angel host,
chrysanthemum and cherubim.
(O cherubim.)
Be!
Sing for the glory
of the living and the loving
the flaming of creation
sing with us
dance with us
be with us.
Be!"

from A Wind in the Door


Madeleine L'Engle's website


"We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes…" The Rock That is Higher: Story as Truth (1993)

"Poetry, at least the kind I write, is written out of immediate need; it is written out of pain, joy, and experience too great to be borne until it is ordered into words. And then it is written to be shared." The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L'Engle (2005)

* I endeavor
To hold the I as one only for the cloud
Of which I am a fragment, yet to which I'm vowed
To be responsible. Its light against my face
Reveals the witness of the stars, each in its place
Singing, each compassed by the rest,
The many joined to one, the mightiest to the least.
It is so great a thing to be an infinitesimal part
of this immeasurable orchestra the music bursts the heart,
And from this tiny plosion all the fragments join:
Joy orders the disunity until the song is one.
o "Instruments"

"We rebel against the impossible. I sense a wish in some professional religion-mongers to make God possible, to make him comprehensible to the naked intellect, domesticate him so that he's easy to believe in. Every century the Church makes a fresh attempt to make Christianity acceptable. But an acceptable Christianity is not Christian; a comprehensible God is no more than an idol." The Irrational Season (1977)

"I cannot believe that God wants punishment to go on interminably any more than does a loving parent. The entire purpose of loving punishment is to teach, and it lasts only as long as is needed for the lesson. And the lesson is always love." The Irrational Season (1977)

"I am convinced that each work of art, be it a great work of genius or something very small, has its own life, and it will come to the artist, the composer or the writer or the painter, and say, "Here I am: compose me; or write me; or paint me"; and the job of the artist is to serve the work. I have never served a work as I would like to, but I do try, with each book, to serve to the best of my ability, and this attempt at serving is the greatest privilege and the greatest joy that I know." The Irrational Season (1977)

"One of our children when he was two or three years old used to rush at me when he had been naughty, and beat against me, and what he wanted by this monstrous behavior was an affirmation of love. And I would put my arms around him and hold him very tight until the dragon was gone and the loving small boy had returned." The Irrational Season (1977)

"One reason nearly half my books are for children is the glorious fact that the minds of children are still open to the living word; in the child, nightside and sunside are not yet separated; fantasy contains truths which cannot be stated in terms of proof." The Irrational Season (1977)


"There's more to life than just the things that can be explained by encyclopedias and facts. Facts alone are not adequate." Penguins and Golden Calves (2003)

"I have advice for people who want to write. I don't care whether they're 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can't be a writer if you're not a reader. It's the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it's for only half an hour — write, write, write." Penguins and Golden Calves (2003)

"I've long since stopped feeling guilty about taking being time; it's something we all need for our spiritual health, and often we don't take enough of it." Walking on Water

"Darkness was and darkness was good. As with light. Light and Darkness dancing together, born together, born of each other, neither preceding, neither following, both fully being, in joyful rhythm." A Swiftly Tilting Planet

"My moments of being most complete, most integrated, have come either in complete solitude or when I am being part of a body made up of many people going in the same direction." The Irrational Season

"The only God worth believing in is neither my pal in the house next door nor an old gentleman shut up cozily in a coffin where he can't hurt me. I can try to be simple with him, but not vulgar. He is the mysterium tremendens et fascinans; he is free, and he understands the ousia of this frightened old child of his."Summer of the Great-Grandmother

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There'd have been no room for the child.
"After Annunciation", Weather of the Heart

"We are all supposed to be obedient to that love, but we forget love whenever we want power over someone else. We human beings mess it up, over and over again, but God comes into our lives to help us overcome our stiff-neckedness. Indeed, God so loved the world that he sent his only-begotten Son to live with us and teach us how to be the fully human creatures our Maker has always planned for us to be." Penguins and Golden Calves (2003)

"Love always has meaning. But sometimes only God knows what it is." The Love Letters

"We are the song of the universe. We sing with the angelic host. We are the musicians. The farae and the stars are the singers. Our song orders the rhythm of creation." A Wind in the Door

"I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be... This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages...the delayed adolescent, the childish adult, but that they are in me to be drawn on; to forget is a form of suicide... Far too many people misunderstand what *putting away childish things* means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I'm with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don't ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child's awareness and joy, and *be* fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup." A Circle of Quiet

"The way of peacemaking given us may be something so small that it seems hardly worth doing, but it is these small offerings which build our reflexes for the larger ones." The Irrational Season

"We've become too polite. We don't laugh and cry with God. We've forgotten the excitement of the Good News. What greater sign of the extraordinary, lavish marvelous love of God than the incarnation! God so loved the world and all of us in it that God elself came to live with us as one of us! Is it so good that we're afraid to believe it?" Penguins and Golden Calves

"When we pray with the mind in the heart, sunside and nightside are integrated, we begin to heal, and we come close to the kind of understanding which can accept an unacceptable Christianity." The Irrational Season

"No matter how many eons it takes, he will not rest until all of creation, including Satan, is reconciled to him, until there is no creature who cannot return his look of love with a joyful response of love." The Irrational Season

"A lot of the shadow self is the home of poetry, story, prayer. My deepest understandings are often released from the part of me of which I am least aware most of the time." Penguins and Golden Calves

"With the people I love most I can sit in silence indefinitely. We need both for our full development; the joy of the sense of sound; and the equally great joy of its absence." A Circle of Quiet

"Sometimes when we have to speak suddenly we come closer to the truth than when we have time to think." A Circle of Quiet

"Refusing to accept God's love because we're unworthy--of course we're unworthy!--is another golden calf." Penguins and Golden Calves

"When we make ourselves vulnerable, we do open ourselves to pain, sometimes excruciating pain. The more people we love, the more we are liable to be hurt, and not only by the people we love, but for the people we love." Penguins and Golden Calves

"What I believe is so magnificent, so glorious, that it is beyond finite comprehension. To believe that the universe was created by a purposeful, benign Creator is one thing. To believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed, broken, and all for love of us, defies reason. It is so wild that it terrifies some Christians who try to dogmatize their fear by lashing out at other Christians, because tidy Christianity with all answers given is easier than one which reaches out to the wild wonder of God's love, a love we don't even have to earn." Penguins and Golden Calves

Mrs Whatisit: [A sonnet] is a very strict form of poetry is it not? There are fourteen lines, I believe, all in iambic pentameter. That's a very strict rhythm or meter, yes? And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern. And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet, is it?

Calvin: You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?

Mrs Whatsit: Yes. You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.
A Winkle in Time

- Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) Thank you for being.
jennywren: (spinning earth)
( Saturday, September 1st, 2007 03:26 pm)
"When I step into this library, I cannot understand why I ever step out of it."
Marie de Sevigne

"It seems, somehow, that she has left her own world and entered the realm of the book."
Michael Cunningham

"The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."
— Charles du Bois

Traveler, there is no path —
Paths are made by walking.
--Spanish poet Antonio Machado

"With the roads to the exhalted places we all want to visit more crowded than ever, we look more and more, but see less and less. But we don't need more gimmicks and gadgets; all we need do is re-imagine the way we travel. If we truly want to know the secret of soulful travel, we need to believe that there is something waiting to be discovered in virtually every journey."
— by Phil Cousineau

"If we court the Beloved regularly, we will come to fall in love with what we are doing, how we are doing it, and for who we do it, and this pervasive sense of love taps out the rhythm of how we proceed. Every step takes us closer and closer to the arms of the Beloved, and every step is a venture onto hallowed ground."
— by Trebbe Johnson

Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
— Christina Rossetti, 1867
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jennywren: (Default)
( Friday, August 31st, 2007 10:53 pm)
"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." --John Steinbeck


Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language. Even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

-Poem by Rumi, Translation by Coleman Barks


The Five Days Remaining

The goods produced in the factories of space and time
Are not all that great. Bring some wine,
Because the desirables of this world are not all that great.

Heart and soul are born for ecstatic conversation
With the soul of souls. That’s it. If that fails,
Heart and soul are not in the end that great.

Don’t become indebted to the Tuba and Sidra trees
Just to have some shade in heaven. When you look closely,
My flowering cypress friend, you’ll see that these trees are not all
that great.

The true kingdom comes to you without any breaking
Of bones. If that weren’t so, achieving the Garden
Through your own labors wouldn’t be all that great.

In the five days remaining to you in this rest stop
Before you go to the grave, take it easy, give
Yourself time, because time is not all that great.

You who offer wine, we are waiting on the lip
Of the ocean of ruin. Take this moment as a gift; for the distance
Between the lip and the mouth is not all that great.

The state of my being – miserable and burnt
To a crisp – is proof enough that my need
To put it into words is not all that great.

You ascetic on the cold stone, you are not safe
From the tricks of God’s zeal: the distance between the cloister
And the Zorastrian tavern is not after all that great.

The name Hafez has been well inscribed in the books,
But in our clan of disreputables, the difference
Between profit and loss is not all that great.

-Poem by Hafez; Translation by Robert Bly
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jennywren: (spinning earth)
( Thursday, July 26th, 2007 03:33 pm)
If I can stop one Heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain
Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in Vain.

-Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
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