“time as no more than an idea”

Just one photo for todays post – as time is short!?

The clock on the outside of Wells Cathedral, north facing wall, has the words “Nequid Pereat”. Now I have to admit that Latin was my very worst subject at school – I think I rarely got more than 30% as a mark in Latin exams. But apparently it means something like: nothing is lost or let nothing perish. I think it is derived from John 6:39 “this is the will of him who sent me, that nothing should be lost that he has given me”.

These are words of great encouragement and perhaps point to a deep truth that although life seems very transitory, in an evolutionary context nothing is ever lost, everything and everyone contributes to what comes next. Pythagoras said “everything changes, nothing dies”.

We are in winter and there has been much apparent ‘death’ in nature but also already signs of new life. In the human contaext I thought I would quote a wonderful poem by Mary Oliver: When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.



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