It was decades ago when a young tyke’s mother shared these words that her son had just recently spun together. I was just stunned as the image was so compelling and this was made even more so by the fact that the lad was no more than three or four years old at most.
This child’s world was still pristine and on a particular morning he had awakened to an intense awareness of the world’s beauty, later describing it to his mother as “puppies and flowers all over the place.” Now when I heard these words, I had long-since been jaded into submission by my culture but these words were evocative, they were “words fitly spoken” and they reached into my heart. They still do today and I have a hunch they will do the same with some of my readers.
I can faintly recall some of that pristine beauty of the world but only faintly. Very faintly. I think that very early on I had that beauty taken from me; or, to be honest, I willingly abdicated and opted to imbibe of the “well-words and ready phrases that built comfortable walls against the wilderness” that my world offered. It is always easier to do that than to maintain one’s reality, stick to an inherent virtue, and be true to one ’s self.
And look what that kid was doing that morning. He was having an intense, subjective moment and he was able to capture it and put it into words. That was a poetic moment. And here I want to share Archibald MacLeish’s description of poetic moments like that:
WORDS IN TIME
Bewildered with the broken tongue
of wakened angels in our sleep
then lost the music that was sung
and lost the light time cannot keep!
There is a moment when we lie
Bewildered, wakened out of sleep,
when light and sound and all reply:
that moment time must tame and keep.
That moment like a flight of birds
flung from the branches where they sleep,
the poet with a beat of words
flings into time for time to keep.