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Posts Tagged ‘marcus aurelius’

Stoic Threads

            after Ruth Stone, “Train Ride”

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.   

     —Marcus Aurelius

The soul is stained,

is stained with red

from wishing things were different—

dark plum of longing,

burnt umber of craving,

the rubicund ache of desire.

Is it true, the soul is dyed

by the color of its thoughts?

Or perhaps the hues

are shed like veils,

shed like flimsy gossamer shifts,

and the moment we see

that they are thoughts,

they drop away

like robes that have lost

their clasps, yes, drop away

like silken shawls

that slip from naked shoulders.

But of course it’s true

the soul is dyed with the color

of its thoughts—takes on the blue

of avarice, the sticky green

of fear. Becomes the shining

golds of bliss or the navy folds

of loss. Or is it this—

the soul just seems

to don a colored dress,

like the pale rose wrap at dawn

that’s here then gone,

and the sky itself is clear.

Sometimes I feel soul stained

through and through.

Sometimes I shed even

the darkest hues,

like veils, like gossamer shifts.

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I choose to love the gray—

not because of any gray affinity,

but because the day is gray.

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You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.

            —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

 

 

And though the leaves blush golden and red

and though the sun cups my face like a hand

and though the chill air makes me catch my breath

 

the wind whispers, friend, remember your death.

And I feel so deeply, so wildly alive

as I climb the hill, slight burn in my thighs

 

but I cannot pretend I am deaf

as the wind whispers soft, remember your death.

The Roman generals had their slaves

 

whisper to them in their moments of greatness,

remember your death—even as the crowds cheered—

to help them remember be humble, be here.

 

And the wind whispers yes, whispers yes to me.

And reminds me to take each step gratefully.

Remember your death, it says. Live now.

 

And with every step, though I don’t know to whom,

I say thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

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Black Out

 

 

A blazing fire makes flame and brightness out of everything that is thrown into it.

            —Marcus Aurelius

 

 

Let me be fire.

Let everything

ignite me.

Let the whole world

be kindling.

I’ll take all fuel.

Let me flash.

Let me flare.

Let me make brightness.

Give me the dark.

Let me blaze there.

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