Behold the Human Spirit

The son knelt beside his dying mother. He held her hand and stroked her hair, and tears fell from his face.

A silver necklace hung around her neck with a silver cross, upon which hung a crucified Jesus. She held it tightly, and said, “Save me.” She said it over and over again.

Her son held her right hand, and her left hand held the cross.

When she breathed her last breath and the light went out of her eyes, her son cried, “He will not save you, mother. I will save you. It is your spirit that gave me life. It is your spirit that is divine.”

And her spirit rose from her body into the air, and upwards through the sky, and into space, and into the heavens, and finally she was at the door of her home. But the door was locked and would not open.

In her right hand was a key. She unlocked the door, went inside and laid down to rest, smiling.

Inspired by the song Wings for Marie by Tool

How I Wish

How I wish
To reach back in time
And stay the hand
That pulls the card
That topples the house …

A house I truly loved.

If only I had known
The tears I’d shed.

No mortar of tears,
No walls of stone,
How fragile it all seems now
Having fallen.

The Human Heart

An edifice of stone crumbles into sand.
The human heart fails to beat (the drummer fallen)
And God the soul becomes,
Like a drop of rain falling into a fathomless sea.

Where then is the temple?
And what then is worship true?

Seek the human heart …

Quotes From the Twelve Caesars (4)

This will be my last post on Julius Caesar (the first of the twelve Caesars). We’ll be moving on to Augustus soon enough!

Julius Caesar was an enigmatic ruler; autocratic and narcissistic, and yet he identified himself with and perhaps even loved both Rome and her people.

According to Suetonius, he had often portended “It is more important for Rome than for myself that I should survive. I have long been sated with power and glory; but, should anything happen to me, Rome will enjoy no peace. A new Civil War will break out under far worse conditions than the last.”

Perhaps Caesar had an inexplicable premonition of his own death. Suetonius recounts that he had discussed with a friend his loathing of growing old and infirm, and said of death, “Let it come swiftly and unexpectedly.”

Translation By Robert Graves

Quote From the Twelve Caesars (3)

Julius Caesar was certainly a man of paradoxes, both in his own time, and in the annals of history.

Suetonius writes in The Twelve Caesars of Caesar’s appearance:

His dress was, it seems, unusual: he had added wrist-length sleeves with fringes to his purple-striped senatorial tunic, and the belt which he wore over it was never tightly fastened – hence Sulla’s warning to the aristocratic party: ‘Beware of that boy with the loose clothes!’

Suetonius also writes that Caesar’s enemies charged him with once being the catamite of King Nicomede of Bithynia, “a dark stain on his reputation.” I didn’t know what catamite meant, so I looked it up. It is “a boy kept for homosexual practices.”

Consequently, one of his detractors wrote:

The riches of Bithynia’s King
Who Caesar on his couch abused.

Translation By Robert Graves

Quote From the Twelve Caesars (2)

The year was 49 BC. Caesar had a choice to make. Start a civil war in the Roman Republic or obey the orders of the Senate to give up his armies.

Caesar was apparently conflicted on what to do. Then, as Suetonius recounts, this happened.

As he stood, in two minds, an apparition of superhuman size and beauty was seen sitting on the river bank playing a reed pipe. A party of shepherds gathered around to listen and, when some of Caesar’s men broke ranks to do the same, the apparition snatched a trumpet from one of them, ran down to the river, blew a thunderous blast, and crossed over. Caesar exclaimed: ‘Let us accept this as a sign from the Gods, and follow where they beckon, in vengeance on our double-dealing enemies. The die is cast.’

Magical times back in the ol’ Roman days!

Quote: The Twelve Caesars

This is from Chapter One of Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars. I’m reading the translation by Robert Graves, one of my favorite poets.

Here is the quote:

Is crime consonant with nobility?
Then noblest is the crime of tyranny –
In all things else obey the laws of Heaven.

Actually, this is a quote from a quote from a quote. Suetonius says that Cicero wrote in his book Essay on Duty that Julius Caesar quoted the words from a play by Euripides entitled The Phoenician Women. A rather literate bunch, these Romans!

It appears that Caesar used the quote to justify his bid for monarchical power.

Secret Garden

We dallied in the secret garden,
Our sitting legs variously crossed and uncomposed.
And our children played.
My child. And yours.
Naked essence unaware,
Of the gleaming watchtowers crumbling,
And all the world’s infirmities,
Beyond our idyll walls.