Category Archives: Quotations

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Unseen Gifts

A recently read poem has been re-playing in my head:

The Uses of Sorrow

by Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.



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Happy Birthday, 上杉謙信

Happy Birthday to Uesugi Kenshin 上杉 謙信!

Although not within my top three Japanese favorite historical figures, he was regarded as one of the greatest Japanese daimyos in the Sengoku period.

I found his death poem, particularly moving:

「四十九年一睡の夢 一期の栄華一盃の酒」。

“Forty Nine Years; One night’s dream. A lifetime of glory; a cup of sake.”

Perhaps despite all that we seek or strive so hard for, in the end, it all comes to something so fleeting or simple?

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Autumn Of The Heart

In memory of an unforgettable lovely autumn vacation and a hopefully long-lasting friendship  in Korea, 2009.

a poet in training

The Arrow & Song
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

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Gravity or Reality?

“I remember, when I was a little kid, I was good at sports, and I could jump off the high board,” Prose says. “And then puberty hit, and suddenly I was looking to boys for direction. I remember that as a great loss. I still have to work my way back to where I was at 13.”

Francine Prose, Interview at NPR

The activity and age when it happened might have been different, but the sentiment rings true for me. I want to get back to how I was at thirteen, willing and ready to jump off whenever, where ever, whatever.

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