Thursday, February 28, 2008

Roses and compost

In the garbage, I see a rose
In the rose, I see the garbage,
Everything is in transformation,
Even permanence is impermanent.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh, "Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Mindfullness Verses for Everyday Living"

But so have I seen a Rose newly springing from the clefts of its hood, and at first it was fair as the Morning, and full with the dew of Heaven, as a Lambs fleece; but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgin modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on a darknesse, and to decline its softnesse, and the symptomes of a sickly age; it bowed the head, and broke its stalk, and at night having lost some of its leaves, and all of its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces.
-- Jeremy Taylor, "Holy Dying" (1651 -- A parallel book to his 1650 "Holy Living." This Christian devotional book greatly influenced John Wesley's teachings of Holiness of Heart and Life.)

The Rose.

How fair is the Rose! what a beautiful flower!
The glory of April and May:
But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
And they wither and die in a day.

Yet the Rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
Above all the flowers of the field!
When its leaves are all dead and fine colours are lost,
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!

So frail is the youth and the beauty of man,
Though they bloom and look gay like the Rose;
But all our fond care to preserve them is vain,
Time kills them as fast as he goes.

Then I’ll not be proud of my youth and my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade;
But gain a good name by well doing my duty:
This will scent like a Rose when I’m dead.
-- Isaac Watts, "Divine and Moral Songs" written around 1700 or so.

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