this is a retrospective of the first 299 diary posts in the series. images for days 101-150 and selected poems below the fold.
Note - Several images depict graphic scenes of death and mutilation.
From Day 104
from The Marriage of Figaro
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Act Two, Scene One
Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro
Al mio duolo, a' miei sospiri;
O mi rendi il mio tesoro,
O mi lascia almen morir.
O love, bring some relief
To my sorrows, to my sighs;
O give me back my loved one
Or in mercy let me die.
From Day 128
from Rennyo's Letters
translated by Hisao Inagaki et al
When I deeply contemplate the transient nature of human life, I realize that, from beginning to end, life is impermanent like an illusion. We have not yet heard of anyone who lived ten thousand years. How fleeting is a lifetime!
Who in this world today can maintain a human form for even a hundred years? There is no knowing whether I will die first or others, whether death will occur today or tomorrow. We depart one after another more quickly than the dewdrops on the roots or the tips of the blades of grasses. So it is said. Hence, we may have radiant faces in the morning, but by evening we may turn into white ashes. Once the winds of impermanence have blown, our eyes are instantly closed and our breath stops forever. Then, our radiant face changes its color, and the attractive countenance like peach and plum blossoms is lost. Family and relatives will gather and grieve, but all to no avail?
Since there is nothing else that can be done, they carry the deceased out to the fields, and then what is left after the body has been cremated and has turned into the midnight smoke is just white ashes. Words fail to describe the sadness of it all.
Thus the ephemeral nature of human existence is such that death comes to young and old alike without discrimination. So we should all quickly take to heart the matter of the greatest importance of the afterlife, entrust ourselves deeply to Amida Buddha, and recite the nembutsu. Humbly and respectfully.
From Day 140
The Diameter of the Bomb
by Yehuda Amichai
The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won't even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
a circle with no end and no God.
From Day 143
Pentagon Ban on Filming Coffins Defied- - -
Agence France-Presse, Thursday 13 January 2005, 10:08
A US National Guard unit has defied a Pentagon request that sought to stop television news crews filming six flag-draped soldiers' coffins arriving in Louisiana.
The Pentagon has barred US media from filming the coffins of US service members arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
But the Louisiana National Guard allowed a CBS news crew on Wednesday to film the arrival of six soldiers' coffins at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, near New Orleans, Louisiana.
Despite the Pentagon request, Lieutenant-Colonel Pete Schneider, a spokesman for the Louisiana National Guard told CBS: "What we thought was, we're going to do what the family asked us to do."