12 March 2016

Trying to lift my mood with a couple quotes…


I get nervous when I hear the telephone ringing. I never know whose voice is going to be on the other side of that line.

Are there some people who create works of genius for which they never get duly recognized? I think there are. This reminds me of something that William Blake wrote, in one of his “memorable fancies” from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, about two famous Hebrew prophets from long ago:

After dinner I ask’d Isaiah to favour the world with his lost works, he said none of equal value was lost. Ezekiel said the same of his.

Those sentences have always perplexed me; not because they’re hard to understand (in fact, they’re all too clear), but because they’re hard to accept. —I don’t trust fate, destiny, or the way things are.

I’m sad today because…

No, I’m not sad—I’m happy: I just changed my mind. I realized that it would be better to leave off whining, and to focus instead on the brilliant aspects of life. But not in a tacky way, I hope. …So I’ll try to lift my spirits by copying more words from old books…

Why did a couple of bible passages come to mind just now, seeing as I’m more of an infidel than a believer? Maybe my recent use of the word brilliant reminded me of the sapphire pavement under the feet of the God of Israel (Exodus 24:9-11); then, on impulse, I contrasted this with the darkness that surrounds the LORD in the 18th Psalm. Here’s the first of those two passages:

Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:

And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

In his commentary on this passage, from The Book of J (referring to the scripture’s author as “J,” and rendering the name Jehovah more properly as “Yahweh”), among many other stimulating remarks, Harold Bloom observes that “…this is Yahweh’s only appearance in the Hebrew Bible where he says absolutely nothing. J’s emphasis is clear: the seventy-four are on Sinai to eat and drink in Yahweh’s presence while they stare at him and he presumably stares right back.”

I didn’t intend to give reactions to these biblical passages—I only meant to copy them here, to give my mind something to think about other than sad boring everyday letdowns. So here are verses 7-20 of II Samuel 22 (which contains a version of Psalm 18):

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.

Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.

There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.

And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.

And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.

Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.

The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.

And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.

And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.

He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;

He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.

They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

I could continue copying David’s song—I find the whole thing sublime—but I stopped at this verse, to stress that last idea, which I love: Yahweh saves the singer because he delights in the singer.

Now I’ll end this blog, because I’m tired of typing; plus I feel that my mood has improved. It helps to assign oneself a little busywork, now and then, just to help time pass (time heals all wounds). …From this day forward, I hope that luck delights in me.

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