Tag Archive: dark

leonard cohen

You are with me still.

Even though I have been removed, and my place does not recognise me. Even though I have filled my heart with stones. And my beloved says, I will wait a little while behind the curtain – no, I have waited too long. You are with me still. Though I scorched away the tears of return in the forced light of victory, your rebuke still comforts me, you signify yourself among the dangers. Saying, Use this fear to know me, fix this exile toward my return. Though I am unwept, it is your judgement parches me.  Though my praises for you are under ban, it is the balance of your mercy. And you are with me still. Saying, Search this out, it is you who have hidden yourself. Saying, Clear me in your troubled heart. Saying, I will come to you. Saying, I am here. Though I add membrane to membrane against your light, and heap up cities on the husk of your rebuke, when the sun and the moon are shining in the other pan, and you advance me through the solitude by such a kind degree, and you create the world before my eyes, and the one who hides in self-disgrace cannot say Amen, O slow to anger, you are with me, you are with me still.


excerpt from Book of Mercy, Leonard Cohen


Darkness. It’s among us.

skin, pores
each breath
I cry
I pant
I pray


I will whisper to the roaring wind
and wrap my arms around you tight
tell me your darkest, fiercest fear…
I know it all will be alright.
Let me share my blanket,
light your own candle from mine.
We’ll vigil here, the long night through,
and pray tomorrow might be fine.

Talitha Fraser

Get out. Get it out.

Newell's Paddock wetlands reserve footscray Melbourne stormy sky


Get out. Get it out. Toxic darkness enveloping/tendrils tying me down/tie me down/tie me up/what choice do I have?/I choose you. I chose you/look how well that turned out/turn up/turn it up so I don’t have to hear my own thoughts/Loving isn’t enough. Why does it keep coming back to that?/ I have to follow the road that’s in front of me to walk/Choice. Choose. Chosen/ Chosen? Who says? How can you ever know?/Is it happening to us or do we make it happen?/Hallowed and hollow. Hallowed and hollow/Gravid and grave/Beginning and end bound together in the same ritual, the same act/What will you choose?/I’m sorry. I’m already on my knees… I don’t know which way to fall now the fall feels inevitable/ The King quote says ‘you only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love’ but I gave all of mine away.



God said: Let the dark be dark.
Let the stars shine properly.
And let darkness with no stars
heal the damage caused by light.
Men said: Let there be light all
night through, where there is no-one
much or no-one at all, let
the gathered haze from street-lamps,
undying brand-names, full-blaze
unpopulated windows
stain the undersides of clouds
even when nights are cloudless.
God said: Light itself needs rest.
Some things are best seen, unseen,
in darkness unhindered by
Great Light. Me, for example.

Robin Fulton Macpherson



God –
be the Creator to the void
that’s within me
light where there is dark
something where there is vacancy
sound where there is silence
sight where I am blind.



To explain: from the Latin ‘ex-planare’, to flatten, spread out, make level. A great bulldozer will push the mountains inside the abysses and everything will be become a luminous plain under midday sun.

To explicate: from the Latin ‘explicarte’, a verb derived from ‘plicare’ which means ‘to fold’. To explicate: To eliminate all folds where darkness abides; to spread the text out, so that light will illuminate the whole surface.

A good teacher is a luminous creature.  Whenever he gets darkness disappears.  He even carries candles in his pockets, which he lights whenever he finds a dark corner on his text: footnotes…

I became sure that I was no longer a good teacher when, instead of turning the lights on, I preferred to turn them off… and I feel sorry when the sun dispels it because my imagination together with elves and leprechauns, is deprived of the mist-eerie atmosphere without which it cannot breathe.

And I also love the darkness which abides inside the deep and lovely woods of Frost’s poetry, and the light which fractures through unquiet waters in Eliot’s poems, and the eerie atmosphere of the gothic cathedral, which reminds me of the entrails of the great fish inside the sea: a sunken cathedral… my whole Being reverberates, and I know that it belongs to the darkness of the woods, to the depth of the sea, to the mystery of the cathedral… If lights are turned on I am homeless…

I keep asking myself as to the reasons which led me astray and which force me to march in the opposite directions. But reasons I find none. Only suspicions…

I suspect that I do not want to decipher the mystery.  I want questions and not answers.  I want the sea and not the harbour.

p.8-9, The Poet, The Warrior, The Prophet



Camping for Easter in the Brisbane Ranges and I have brought along Cheryl Lawrie’s beautiful Pocket Liturgies for reflection…


you see all and know all
or so they seem fond of saying.

you call us beloved.
which is all well and good from your side
but you can have no idea how hard it is to be loved.

[we know the bit inside us
which is beyond loving;
too awful to be named,
too hard to save,
even for you.]

we confess that we do not believe you can change us
we confess that we do not believe that we can start again
we confess that we do not know how to have faith.

so do what you can with that.



[p.37, Hold This Space Pocket Liturgies by Cheryl Lawrie]


Let me learn how to be loved
how to let love in
how to give it freely
and receive it in
whatever form it might appear
let love in, and out, in and out
let us breathe
and give air to love


p.56 “Set the clock of your heart for dawn’s arrival.  Taste the joy of being awake”

I had set the reminder for the Night Watch but I wasn’t really yet asleep or yet awake or yet warm (I must have six blankets and have slept through in my long woolen cardy, ghoulish, but eventually warm).  There is a little electric fan heater but I know the energy they can go through and I like the idea that I can be active enough or layered enough or in bed enough  do not need it.  Although many of the curtains of the caravan are open or down there is no trace of dawn light yet – only darkness without and the wind.  Within my flickering candle to write by… me… and You.  In the mix of what my life is, this Awakening Hour has been the prayers I would read most often on a normal day – albeit closer to 8.30/9am – I think I like to start my day with this taste of joy and the call to be bigger than I am through somehow revealing love and light in the way that I live.  You do that for me.  Call me into a life worth living, call me into a life worth getting out of bed for. …which in fact, I will not do right now, but lie back and listen to the wind talking in the trees and watching the veil of the sky draw back.

So… Leunig… one of the question he is most often asked and is always baffled by, is what does a particular cartoon mean.  “People will say, ‘I don’t know what it means but I like it.’ And I’ll say, I don’t know either but I like it too.  I’m not trying to say anything but I hope it awakens something in you.”

…I hope it awakens something in you.


10am The Blessing Hour


I dwell in possibility
O Spirit of the Circling Hours,
bless me that I may be a blessing,
work through me, that I may be
your love poured out upon the earth.

I dwell in possibility.

p.82 Come into our potential with your wind and flame

Bring to our memory the truth that we are the temple out of which you pour your gifts into the world.  We are the temple from which you sing your songs.  We are the temple out of which you bless. Enable us to listen to the renewal you are trying to bring about in us and through us… May all the good that we long for come to pass.

Leunig is a blessing and, I think, Your faithful servant.  I so admire his not being constrained t o one medium or what he is “supposed” to do or say – letters, poems, paintings, cartoons, interviews, expositions, prayers – I don’t imagine there is much that Leunig holds back between contemplation of hisIMG_5082 big toe (an honest fellow) or his loneliness or his love life or his politics… this is all one and I envy that.  Even as I read/write that I am thinking to myself – whose permission am I waiting for?  to be my whole self?  I like to think I am getting there, learning – or unlearning – as the case may be.

Each day is a new day and I dwell in possibility.  This is one of the big lies of culture I think, that we ‘have’ to do these things – finish school, finish uni, get a job, get a house… do we ‘have’ to?  Once you are on the conveyor belt it can be hard to get off but I dwell in possibility.

Am I a temple?

Perhaps some other building turned to Your purpose, but the wilderness has broken in and the overhanging branches arch  protectively and let gentle dappled light through.  Let’s not renovate or do it up but make the ordinary sacred – the structures yielding to nature in time yet inside a beautiful sanctuary. Let there be gifts and songs and blessings… let it be fit for You to dwell.

12.30pm The Hour of Illumination

p.101 Let us bow to each other and pray for peace.

p.102 We pause to remember who we are: birth givers,
027peace033keepers, joy bringers, life bearers. Take heart.  We are the light of the world. in this hour of illumination let us shine into the broken places.

p.103 Trailing clouds of glory, we have come from the brightness of God.

p.105 In the middle of this day help me to stand before my life with an open heart.

This morning I wandered further along the road from the retreat centre.  I got out my new technicolored skipping rope and went up and down the road. My body memory recalling the hop-step motion of my feet and my wrists to swing forwards and backwards and side-to-side.  I imagine my movements are graceful, I suspect they are no such thing, but they feel so and I have a few moments of childlike abandon.


A few months ago, I saw ‘As You Like It’ at the Botantical Gardens… it was over the top and beautiful and funny.  I was much taken with the idea of leaving [bad] love letters in the trees that did not rhyme or make sense but were somehow endearing yet for being sincerely felt.  Today I did this for You – what faltering words do I have to try and describe You or worship You that haven’t already been said before? Let’s laugh at me together and find me endearing for a whimsical love sincerely felt…

ACT III  SCENE II The forest.
[Enter ORLANDO, with a paper]
ORLANDO Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love:
And thou, thrice-crowned queen of night, survey
With thy chaste eye, from thy pale sphere above,
Thy huntress’ name that my full life doth sway.
O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books 5
And in their barks my thoughts I’ll character;
That every eye which in this forest looks
Shall see thy virtue witness’d every where.
Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree
The fair, the chaste and unexpressive she.


TOUCHSTONE For a taste:
If a hart do lack a hind,
Let him seek out Rosalind.
If the cat will after kind,
So be sure will Rosalind.
Winter garments must be lined,
So must slender Rosalind.
They that reap must sheaf and bind;
Then to cart with Rosalind.
Sweetest nut hath sourest rind,
Such a nut is Rosalind.
He that sweetest rose will find
Must find love’s prick and Rosalind.
This is the very false gallop of verses: why do you
infect yourself with them?
ROSALIND Peace, you dull fool! I found them on a tree. 90
TOUCHSTONE Truly, the tree yields bad fruit.




Like Leunig, I don’t suppose I am satisfied with communicating.  I want to talk to You in poems and journals, prayers, reading, walks, talks, storytelling, listening and notes left in the trees for You to find.  Bio-degradable paper with native daisy seeds in it! But I couldn’t quite bring myself to leave them up.  Others won’t know what they are made of and it wouldn’t do to antagonise or pollute in the name of God.  How am I to speak of You? How am I to speak to You? Show me the way that You would have me go, step by step and day by day, moving forwards, being found.

3.30pm The Wisdom Hour

p.125 We seek to live a more contemplative life, so that we will not have to wait until we are dying to learn to live… Give us the grace of tender seeing. Help us to recognise and honour the wise one who lives at the core of our being. May we always be open to being taught.

I had a nap in my last “hour”. I wanted to be warm and rest and rest in You. But now, as day deepens, I am out and about again.  I might pass this way but once – through the chestnut orchard, qi gong in a clearing… I tried to move like the wuthering wind and the singing bird, holding myself and the others in this space, opening ourselves to You and the tenderness that comes of that – from the holder to the touched.  I tried to get to the creek but I did not really know where I was going – all was lush and green and somewhat impassable (at least per this afternoons excursion) and I wandered away to find an old swing hanging low amidst the carpet of fallen orange leaves, walking onwards I have found a tree. A good climber. And here I am, rugged up, in my blanket, in a tree…




the day is good to me
feeds and fills
there isn’t really silence
just listening
becoming attuned
to the world around
and surrounding me,
to myself and to You.

Talitha Fraser

We have a little halfway house between our cabins where we can share resources… this quote from Teresa was there – so soon after the symposium!


6.30pm The Twilight Hour

p.144 My eyes scan the horizon of your goodness… a thousand colours is your face.

p. 145 …beautiful has been my daily bread.

p. 146 It is well with my soul.  All shall be well.
Come, sit at our table.  Be present in the bread we break and share.

205We shared communion, You and I, and I have attempted to set things in order for tomorrow as we will be leaving early – rendered slightly complicated by the power going out but here indeed is living simply after all and, possibly, my cue to go to bed at 8pm at night because it’s dark. I’m in bed and have only a warm glow of a candle to see by – pretty but perhaps not functional… at least for this.  Perhaps it depends what you are trying to do… what then by candlelight?

Candles are often romantic light. Softening edges, smoothing out wrinkles.  Gentle light for tender things like touch and feelings… holding back the dark.  I can be beautiful by this light too.  More helpful.  More comforted.  We take all of who we are wherever we go and while mistrust is a bedfellow so is faith.  While loneliness may pay a visit, faith dwells here and I am never alone.  In our darkness there is no darkness. And the softness and the sensations and sleep and serenity are all my own.

9pm The Great Silence

p.167-8 O Holy One, in whose light and shadows we 216
have journeyed through this day… Remember then…
the powerful and strong searchlight of faith… Let us place ourselves in the protective care of the angels and into the cupped hands of the Divine.

p.168-9 I yearn to be held in the great hands of your heart – oh let them take me now.  Into them I place these fragments, my life and you, God – spend them however you want.  In this hour of deep silence when all things are hushed, I carve out a space in the darkness for you, O beloved, to dwell.