April 14, 2017

In a Handful of Dust


What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

-- from The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

"It is too little to call man a little world; except God, man is a diminutive to nothing.

Man consists of more pieces, more parts, than the world; than the world doth, nay, than the world is. And if those pieces were extended, and stretched out in man as they are in the world, man would be the giant, and the world the dwarf; the world but the map, and the man the world. .... Man hath not that innate instinct, to apply those natural medicines to his present danger, as those inferior creatures have; he is not his own apothecary, his own physician, as they are. Call back therefore thy meditation again, and bring it down: what's become of man's great extent and proportion, when himself shrinks himself and consumes himself to a handful of dust; what's become of his soaring thoughts, his compassing thoughts, when himself brings himself to the ignorance, to the thoughtlessness, of the grave?"Meditation IV by John Donne.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at April 14, 2017 12:28 AM
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On October 13, 1994, the famous astronomer Dr. Carl Sagan stated: " "We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam

Dust magnified can be noticed as quite complex ... intricate, interesting. Our planet, "us" as dust ... insightful I think though Sagan likely thought of it quite differently than I.

Dust- fine, dry powder consisting of tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground or on surfaces or carried in the air:

for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. ~Psalm 103:14
to the One who remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever ~Psalm 136:23

I'm thinking of this with your "lying in the dust, looking at the stars" Advent offering (Dec2013)


Posted by: DeAnn at June 26, 2014 6:35 AM