An empty mirror and your worst destructive habits,
when they are held up to each other,
that’s when the real making begins.
That’s what art and crafting are.
A tailor needs a torn garment to practice his expertise.
The trunks of trees must be cut again and again
so they can be used for fine carpentry.
Your doctor must have a broken leg to doctor.
Your defects are the ways that glory gets manifested.”
–Rumi, The Book of Love
“Stop reading. Lean back. Give me your mouth.
Your grace is as beautiful as sleep.
You move against me like a wave
That moves in sleep
Your body spreads across my brain
Like a bird-filled summer;
Not like a body, not like a separate thing,
But like a nimbus that hovers
Over every other thing in all the world.”
–Kenneth Rexroth, from When We With Sappho
“Advice to those about to acquire a Vermeer: Always look at it as it might appear in its average moments–not as it might glow in the light-dance of the fireplace, or burn from within on a fall Sunday morning when the amalgamation of the sun’s rays blasts red upon those fat dutch cheeks, or as you would make it glow when you return home flushed with the one victory or another, or with wine. None of that.
Rather think: What will this masterpiece look like at 2:45 on a February afternoon when you have run out of toilet paper and the roof leaks and a horse has just kicked in your kitchen door for the fun of it. And a dead badger is wedged high in the chimney, stinking up the house. Consider such moments as these, when you are about to acquire your Vermeer. But yes. She is as lovely as a Vermeer.”
–Roger Rosenblatt, The Book of Love