Poetic Depths And Pain

As you might gather by my blatherings, I love poetry. I wish I could write my own but am content with loving the poetic wisdom of others. Oh, let me be honest. I don’t really think I want to write my own as it would hurt too much. Good poetry involves pain as indicated by one of my favorite poets, Carl Sandburg, who noted, “The fire-born are at home in the fire.” And W. H. Auden noted of W. B Yeats, “Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.” And just this week I came across a poet, Matiullah Turab, who composes elegant poetry in the war-torn chaos of Afghanistan, reflecting the anguish that he and his fellow Afghani brothers and sisters endure daily. (NOTE: He is almost totally illiterate and must depend on friends to transcribe his spoken word or record them.)

We are verbal creatures in a world that, according to some, is a Word being spoken in a bleak void. And, according to this notion, each of us is himself/herself an individual word being spoken, with the capacity to delve into his/her heart and find his/her own voice. I haven’t found the courage to dive there yet and am not for sure I ever will and am not for sure that I even want to and if I don’t I do not feel that I will have to answer to any punitive deity about my “disobedience.” But these poets, including some of you who read this “stuff”, have taken this “dive” into subjective experience and produce lovely poetic wisdom for which I am so grateful.

I want to share yet another marvelous bit of wisdom which I just ran across moments ago in the Christian Science Monitor:

BY Richard Schiffman

to sink like a snapping turtle into the bottom-mud of memory
to repair like the bear to a den of transformation
to huddle like the mallard with the myriad ducks you are
to tuck butter-bill to feather sealed tighter than a letter
to ice over like a pond shut fast against the weather
to spin as the snowflake your own essential crystal
to rest not upon your laurels, but on something elemental
to flock not southward, but to the heart’s true north
to head not outward, but to your own magnetic core
to burst not as the blossom into a hemorrhage of petals
but like ice within some hairline crack or cranny
shattering from within the granite mask you’re wearing
revealing the clear, the sheer, the unbirthed face
that summer’s mazed exuberance swells to hide.



6 thoughts on “Poetic Depths And Pain

  1. Sandeep Bhalla

    This post reminds me of a Christian concept of ‘being possessed’ . It appears that we all are possessed by our habits. Be it music, food, poetry or whatever. But then what shall be the life without these tingling sensations.


  2. literary lew Post author

    Ooooh! That stings! It reminds me of the note from Buddhist lore of the Master responding to a silly question from a novitiate with a stinging blow from his stick. For, your observation does bring to the fore a fear of losing control and being “taken over” by something against my will and having this done so effectively that I have no knowledge of it.

    And, I think this fear is relevant to a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith—being “lost” or having “fallen.” And, I do subscribe to this “fallen” notion in that I know I labor under a persona, a false self, or “fig leaf,” that my ego has contrived to allow me to stay rooted in this “dog-and-pony show” that we are ensconced in. And, yes, as far as I know this “faith” that I purport to have is merely a bit of this ego fiction that I cling to out of this force of habit that you have astutely noted to have such a key role in human consciousness.

    I just don’t know. I just don’t know much at all. But I’m grounded enough in “reality” to know that I have “being” in this world to some degree and feel strongly that it is important that I function within it, “dog-and-pony show” though it might be. But, it is the only show in town; and, as I noted last week I think, I do believe there is “method to our madness,” individually and collectively, and that there is a “destiny that doeth shape our ends” (again, individually and collectively), “rough hew them how we may.” And my “faith”…specious thought it might prove to be…helps me do this.

    Re possession, I can’t help but share T. S. Eliot’s observation about the subject:

    We are only undeceived
    Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm
    In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
    But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble
    On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold
    And menaced by monsters, fancy lights
    Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
    Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly
    Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession
    Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God
    The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
    Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless


  3. Pingback: Poetry Had Got To Be Poetically Inscribed? « EssayBoard

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