Thursday, May 24, 2007


1) "When your faith crosses your aspirations you are cast dejected to the wayside. There is nothing more dismal than when your desires are quelled by everything that you feel know to be true. You cannot have your dreams because you’ve placed you’ve placed all of your values in certain ideals. That is the risk of faith though, and if we truly have it, it will impinge on our life." -Nemo (

2) The Dead Faith

She made a little shadow-hidden grave,
The day Faith died;
Therein she laid it, heard the clod's sick fall,
And smiled aside-
"If less I ask," tear-blind, she mocked, "I may
Be less denied."

She set a rose to blossom in her hair,
The day Faith died-
"Now glad," she said, "And free at last, I go,
And life is wide."
But through long nights she stared into the dark,
And she knew she lied.

- Fannie Heaslip Lea

I know I keep going on and on about this, but I sort of had to. The above poem I found over Pesach in the front of one of my sister's vampire books. Source aside (mind you I know nothing of the poetess) I found the imagery stark, bare, and powerful, and I wanted to share it; but I forgot until it was just recently called to mind by this post on Nemo's blog. (I really hope this attempt at linking works; I'm still just very bad at the linking thing.) Anyway, I thought the two quotes presented an interesting contrast in perspective, and I wondered what others might have to say about it...


Blogger Nemo said...

Am I aloud to comment and comment on my own writings?

Thanks for reading the old stuff BTW.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

Yes of course you're allowed to comment! I have another post in the offing based on another old post of yours, but I'd like to give this one some time first...anyhow, how'd you like the poem?

10:28 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

I like the poem a lot, and I like the juxtaposition. I think it's true- the skeptics of the blogosphere seem to keep hanging around the believers, seem not to wander as far afield as you might think, seem to be wistful for the believers' naivety- it's hard to know if it's just because that's what they're used to or if faith really is more comforting, for all of it's annoying limitations.

Or perhaps it's just "grass is greener" kicking in.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Firstly, to give you some contextual background, I wrote that despondently when I was making what was a monumental deliberation for me then. This really has nothing to do with being one of the "skeptics of the blogoshphere."

Anyhow, I see two strikingly different approaches to faith and how it seems to be disillusionment...

Approach: Author #1 cherishes the value of faith whereas Author #2 is trying to be rid of it.

Disillusionment: Author #1 imposes faith on himself whereas Author #2 finds faith inescapable.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Really? I didn't read the second author as saying that Faith was inescapable. I think that Faith truly died. What author 2 discovered was that the craved freedom was an empty, dark, and scary place.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

I agree with Tobie, although there does seem to be an element of denial in the poem of the second author; by which I mean, there's a feeling that after having gone through this elaborate charade of burying her faith, the protagonist still can't seem to get beyond it, or away from it. It remains unclear to me whether the girl in the poem still feels trapped by the old faith, or lost without it.
I have to say though, that the first author didn't exactly sound like he was cherishing his faith; it sounded more like lamenting to me. But the interesting thing in the comparison was, to me at least; both protagonists felt imprisoned by their faith. One is resigned to living within the imprisonment, and the other escapes. And both still feel imprisoned. So I guess the question is, which way are we really free?

3:04 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

Its interesting that you all read the two of them as two contrasting selections. When I read them, the first naturaly read through in the the second, and the second was an extention of the first, such that they both where really comentary on the other.

and it seemed to me that in the second it was almost like someone might feel about having an abusive parent. When they are alive you hate them and wish that they were gone, and yet when they dye you cry and scream from the pain and miss them every single day.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"And free at last, I go,
And life is wide... And she knew she lied."

I read this as though it seemed to her that she had rid herself of the restraints of faith, she realized {maybe subconsciously} that she could not bury her faith at all.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

HNC: the contrast lies in practical application. Author of first said quote acknowledges but accepts his imprisonment. In the second quote, the girl rids herself of the constraints of faith. The question is - a)has she actually shed her manacles? and b)if she has, is she really freed, or simply abandoned? I think your analogy to the abusive parent is actually quite apt.

Nemo: This is what I'm wondering - is it that she actually still believes, or only that she realizes how empty and frightening the world is without faith?

8:45 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

But miri, surely you realize that noone strictly responds in one way or another? In a fictional world we see people fitting in to neat boxes, but in real life that is not so.

Faith is a relationship we have whether we want it, together with its ups and downs. I have heard of far to many people who attempted to abandon their faith, only to find that they burried a manaquin and faith was hiding in the closet biding her time.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

HNC: There is that. However, you're ignoring the aspect which I think might be most important - the bit where people shed their faith because they feel their faith abandoned them. That's a slightly more complicated sequence of events isn't it?

3:33 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

it acts complicated but I'm not so sure it is.

If they are upset that their faith "abandoned them" then they evidently value their faith and love it dearly, because otherwise who cares that it abandoned them? For such people they continue to be angry and unhappy with their faith eventhough they bury it because its always stuck their in the closet, reminding them everytime they go looking, and the casket in the ground is empty.

But then on you might be asking the wrong person, I'm horridly stubborn about such things, especialy when the situation is (theoreticaly) temporary and I might get back to being happy with it in the future. (see my blog, this post spurred some complaining)

Like everyone my thoughts are clouded by my own personal experiences and biases, none of us but the fancifull are ever Truly objective.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Miri- I would hardly call my passage imprisonment. Nowhere did I say that it was ensnaring- limiting, yes, but not ensnaring. The point of the passage was a deliberation of values: what I believe in vs. what I want to do. I think mine is a grievous celebration of faith prevailing over compelling desires. It's not that I resent faith, it's that I wish, on a human level, that I could broaden it somewhat.

2:03 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

Nemo- ensnaring implies entrapment, which of course could not apply if you were born frum, since entrapment implies a former freedom. I may have exaggerated your point, but I think the difference between what you were saying and what I was saying is purely semantic ; limiting implies confinement, so imprisonment may have been a little more melodramatic, but not really a different point.
By the way, orthodox judaism doesn't have to be as limited as people make it out of fear. I'm not sure, but I suspect Chabbad doesn't have to be either.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Arghh... now I'm depressed! Stupid word verification ruined 20 minutes of typing {shoulda copied it, eh?}and I'm not ready to type it again and my computer is now on Low battery.

In short, I totally disagree with your whole thing about FFBs and I don't agree, in my very partial opinion, with the way you looked at my writing.

Maybe I'll do this again in the morning.

5:58 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

I'm sorry if you feel I have misinterpreted your work. I'm just saying what I thought it sounded like. In any case, I wish you better computer luck tomorrow.

3:41 PM  

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