In the dining room there is a brown fish
hanging on the wall who swims along
in his frame while we are eating dinner.
He swims in candlelight for all to see,
as if he has been swimming forever, even
in the darkness of the ink before someone thought
to draw him and the thin reeds waving in his stream
and the clear pebbles strewn upon the sand.
No wonder he continues his swimming
deep into the night, long after we have
blown out the candles and gone upstairs to bed.
No wonder I find him in the pale morning
light, still swimming, still looking out at me
with his one, small, spellbound eye.
“Zero Circle” by Rumi
Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
To gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.
“ I must confess that I have enjoyed being on this mountaintop and I am tempted to want to stay here and retreat to a more quite and serene life. But something within reminds me that the valley calls me in spite of all its agonies, dangers, and frustrating moments. I must return to the valley. Something tells me that the ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in the moment of conflict and moment of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy. So I must return to the valley – a valley filled with the misguided blood thirsty mobs, but a valley filled at the same time with the little Negro boys and girls who grow up with the ominous clouds of inferiority forming in their little mental skies; a valley filled with millions of people who because of economic deprivation and social isolation, have lost hope, and see life as a long and, desolate corridor with no exit sign. I must return to the valley – a valley filled with literally thousands of Negroes in Alabama and Mississippi who are brutalized, intimidated, and sometimes killed when they seek to register and vote. I must return to the valley all over the South and in the big cities of the North – a valley filled with millions of our white and Negro brothers who are smoldering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.”
Martin Luther King, Jr Jan 27th 1965