Walking with Words

I recall Robert Frost saying how certain lines of great poetry have a way of clinging to one like burrs caught on a country walk. The line from a Shakespeare sonnet, ‘He that has power to hurt and will do none’, had meant much to him, he said.

Many people from my generation kept – do they still?- what were called ‘commonplace books’ in which they would jot down fragments of prose that they wanted to remember. I have kept countless small notebooks for such a purpose and opening them now I realise how certain sentences provide themes for quiet reflection and meditation. They are the kind of sentences one can take for a walk, mulling over them, letting the words sink deep. Here are a few for you to choose from:

From Lady Elwyn Jones (who wrote under the name of Pearl Binder):
‘I always travel slowly and obscurely on cargo ships and slow trains. I travel for the sake of what I see on the way.’

From Sir Isaac Newton:
‘To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.’

From Jack Kornfield:
‘To meditate and pray is like throwing the doors and windows open – and you can’t plan for the breeze!’

From an unknown source:
‘To enter silence is a journey. Enlightenment is to give birth to something within one’s self, to know that we are part of a greater whole.’

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