Sages of Silence and Fear

A painter and a poet. Martin and Stafford have been (and continue to be) elemental influences on me.

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Agnes Martin (Photo: Charles R. Rushton)

To discover the conscious mind in a world where intellect is held to be valuable requires solitude, quite a lot of solitude. We have been very strenuously conditioned against solitude. To be alone is considered to be a grievous and dangerous condition.

So I beg you to recall in detail any times when you were alone. You will find the fear that we have been taught is not one fear, but many different fears. When you discover what they are they will be overcome. Most people have never been alone enough to feel these fears. But even without the experience of them they dread them.

–Agnes Martin

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William Stafford

For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid

There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot – air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That’s the world, and we all live there.

–William Stafford

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8 comments

  1. wordwand’s avatar

    a lovely poem and post , inspirational .for me solitude is an opportunity to speculate and to reflect on myself, people and the world.

  2. Deborah Barlow’s avatar

    Thank you for making this connection Abderrahim.

  3. suburbanlife’s avatar

    Lovely reminders to go into those countries – solitude and fear – and discover ourselves and our place in the world. To these i would add – silence. G

  4. Maureen’s avatar

    Marvelous quote and so insightful a poem from one of my favorite poets. You’ve partnered them beautifully.

    I find it difficult to write without some solitude. My solitude is never lonely, though sometimes it surprises by what it reveals to me.

  5. Charles R. Rushton’s avatar

    You have attributed my portrait of Agnes Martin to Yosigo (Agnes Martin (Photo: Yosigo). Could you please correct this and change the credit line to Photo: Charles R. Rushton.

  6. Charles R. Rushton’s avatar

    You have attributed my portrait of Agnes Martin to Yosigo (Agnes Martin (Photo: Yosigo). Could you please correct this and change the credit line to Photo: Charles R. Rushton?

    Charles R. Rushton

  7. Deborah Barlow’s avatar

    Thank you for the correction Charles. I have changed the attribution. GREAT photo.

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