Meditations on 68: Dare Be Beautiful

By Peter Y. Chou,

Line in Poem Literary Sources
Sing unto God, sing praises to his name:
He has decked heaven's vault with stars.
The doors of the sky are opened for me—
He pours his blessings forth, like rain,
King David, Psalms 68.3 (1000 BC)
Rig Veda, I. 68.5 (1500 BC)
Egyptian Book of the Dead, Ch. 68 (1250 BC)
Aquarian Gospel, Chapter 68 (1908)
again and again, ay, and again—
Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go,
a leaf of yellow color is going to fall
when beauty lived and died as flowers do.
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, p. 68 (1939)
Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat, Verse LXVIII (1190)
Robert Creeley, Selected Poems 1945-2005, Poem 68 (2008)
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 68, Line 2 (1616)
Be on guard against form when praying calmly.
With wisdom, withdraw from sense pleasures—
the sage is free from desires, devoid of passions,
the philosopher will not be grieved at dying.
Evagrios the Solitary, On Prayer, Text 68 (399 AD)
Bhagavad Gita 2.68 (480 BC)
Ashtavakra Gita, 18.68 (400 BC)
Plato, Phaedo, 68a (360 BC)
A student must first of all learn to doubt,
whose nature is tranquil can pursue learning.
The mind commands our nature and feelings.
Sage is like children in harmony with the Tao
Ch'eng I, Selected Sayings Section 68 (1107)
Chu Hsi, Chin-ssu lu, Ch. II, Section 68 (1200)
Chang Tsai, Correcting Youthful Ignorance, Section 68 (1077) Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Verse 68 (517 BC)
Rich rocks were ranged along that hill—
A rock is rough. A stone is smooth.
Water in the well has the spirit of life—
All things are already complete in oneself.
Pearl Poet, The Pearl, Line 68 (1400)
James Richardson, By the Numbers, Aphorism 68 (2010)
Wang Yang Ming, Ch'uan-hsi lu, I.68 (1528)
Ch'eng Hao, Selected Sayings Section 68 (1085)
We have no Gods of the winds to sail the boats
to travel allurring roads in the world of illusion.
The girl made of wood with old sea flowers
as the deep sea cold rose into her being.
Kenneth Koch, Collected Poems, Poem 68 "Poem" (2006)
A.E., Song and Its Fountains, Page 68 (1932)
Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets, Sonnet 68 (1959)
Tomas Transtromer, Half-Finished Heaven, Poem 68 (2000)
How vast the whale & its interior spaciousness
leagues of nowhere lie between them now
The power of the spirit makes me tremble
before Consciousness, bow in utmost reverence;
Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 68 (1851)
Emily Dickinson, Collected Poems, Poem 68 (1859)
The Book of Enoch, 68.2 (105 BC)
Paul Brunton, Notebooks, Volume 16, Part 4, 1.68 (1988)
The sunbeam comes upon this earth outstretched
sunlight in the yard was so poignant after the rain
The merry bells ring out, the people kneel;
with millions of cries which are wings.
Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali, Verse 68 (1912)
Stephen Mitchell, Parables and Portraits, Poem 68 (1990)
Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sonnet 68 (1941)
e.e. cummings, 73 Poems, Poems 68 (1963)
Just before dark big snowflakes fall—
The flower blooms, though it is not spring
With courage, we will preserve you forever
sing at yes of day for joy— dare be beautiful.
Robert Bly, Stealing Sugar, Poem 68 "The Ram" (2013)
Kabir, Songs of Kabir, LXVIII (1518)
Anna Akhmatova, Selected Poems, Poem 68 (1921)
e.e. cummings, Xaipe, Poems 68 (1958)

Meditation Notes to Poem:

This poem was written for my friend Cathy's 68th birthday on August 5, 2019.
For context of sources for the lines, consult my web page On Number 68 to see
how this poem was constructed. Despite the difference in space and time of the
composition of each line, what unites these writers quoted is the number 68.
    Writer's words appeared in verse 68, sonnet 68, chapter 68, line 68, or page 68.
The poem was arranged essentially in chronological order from "Sing unto God, sing praises to his name"— Psalms 68.3 of King David (1000 B.C.) and "The doors of the sky are opened for me" in Egyptian Book of the Dead, Ch. 68 (1250 B.C.) to Robert Bly's "Just before dark big snowflakes fall" from Poem 68 "The Ram" in Stealing Sugar from the Castle (2013).

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (9-16-2019)