Monday, March 28, 2011

flood my eyes with light

"What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music.... And people flock around the poet and say: 'Sing again soon' - that is, 'May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful." - kierkegaard

The trees are still dead, the brown grass flattened and matted like tangled hair by the flooded riverbed, and the cloudless azure sky more suited to a place like Arizona seems like an irony with its clearness. We don't get skies like that here. But there is green coming up through the dead wood and the broken reeds, heart-shaped violet leaves.

"Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed." - pascal

I walked in the valley alone with God and my questions, drove home listening to Pearl Jam watched the light fade from golden to blue. I am thankful that this sea of emotions, this inarticulate ache, a sense of wonder at the strange beauty of creation even in its least sentimental seasons, a sense of things being so wrong and in need of righting, this cathartic sadness that shocks me out of a complacent existence, has precedence as the agony and ecstasy of the psalms resonates, the despair of human existence in Ecclesiastes, the anger and questioning and wonder of Job, the visions of medieval monastics, and of course, my favorite poet ever.

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre—
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fireV

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I rubbed an orange along the lines of my throat, to cool my blood.
Am I alive? Yes. I am stretched out like the arms of a Hindu effigy, or an animal that lives in the sea. Sometimes, I'm scared that I won't feel a damn thing. That is why I've stretched my body out. It's a net for a man. But man is made of water. And I am pressed, faced down, upon these boards. The muscles of my shoulders. My legs(But you cannot jump into the earth.) Yes, you can. Push harder.
-Bhanu Kapil