The Figure a Poem Makes
No one can really hold that ecstasy should be static and stand still in one place. It begins in delight, it inclines to the impulse, it assumes direction with the first line laid down, it runs a course of lucky events, and ends in a clarification of life — Not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion.
~ Robert Frost
That ‘momentary stay against confusion’ is the lighthouse that allows us to reset our intentions towards kindness and towards kinship, words that share a root etymologically.
~ Jane Hirshfield, from an interview I listened to recently but forgot to take note of the website when I took note of her words
I have found poetry. Not that poetry was lost, of course. Some of my favorite bloggers write poetry, beautiful poetry. It would be more appropriate for me to say I’ve brought poetry back into my life in ways other than reading the poetry my fellow bloggers write so beautifully. I’ve become the stereotypical yoga teacher, reading a poem out loud prior to practice. The non-stereotypical part is that I don’t teach anyone (other than myself) and the only beings that hear me are the plants and animals that are nearby first thing in the morning when I give my recitations.
I wonder if the trees and deer understand a word I say? I wonder if they appreciate the poetry or at least the rhythm of some of it?
I have been trying to find the words to describe my morning ritual/practice of being with the sunrise. It is movement, breath, meditation, devotion, an acknowledgement of the new day. It is prayer and poetry, especially now that it actually includes poetry. Poetry speaks in ways that I cannot. Poetry can soothe, provoke, awaken, help me to remember.
Reading Jane Hirshfield’s “My Proteins” reminds me that I am me and not-me, that the human body is host to millions of other lifeforms. Her poem “The Envoy” (“There are openings in our lives/of which we know nothing…”) brings me to Rumi’s “The Guest House” (“This being human is a guest house/Every morning a new arrival.”). One day there was Izumi Shikibu, a Japanese poet born around 976 C.E. She is considered a member of the Thirty-Six Medieval Poetry Immortals, an “exemplar of Japanese poetic ability” (Wikipedia).
Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.
~ Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani
And so, perhaps my evolving morning practice is an opening, for the light of morning, for the light of poetry, for finding my own light. This thought of openings where the light enters is now reminding me of Leonard Cohen, another poet, and “Anthem” (“…The birds they sang/At the break of day…”). In case you want more without clicking on the link:
We asked for signs, and the signs were sent
The birth betrayed, the marriage spent
Yeah, the widowhood of every single government
Signs for all to see I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up a thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
It’s a rainy day here on the ranch. The remnants of tropical storm Beta have been moving through since yesterday. It poured and poured and poured this morning. I sometimes wonder if we’re going to be washed away by all the rain that has been falling here.
Thank you so much for your responses to yesterday’s post. All your wonderful shares made me realize that it’s doing no one any good to remain silent. It made me wish we could gather somehow in order to talk with and support each other. Maybe I could even use my new teacher training certificate and actually teach a little yoga. Nothing major. Just some gentle moves, some breath, a chance to let the body speak and process this collective trauma we’re being subjected to before relaxing into our own beingness. Someone could sing or chant or read some poetry. Snacks and drinks when we finish. Perhaps more chatting until we’re talked out and the breath comes a little easier, a little less hitched to fear and anxiety.
In the meantime, there is Walktober, our group walk (ride, etc.). I had to go back to remind myself of the dates. Ah, here we go: October 3-18 are the official dates. As always, let me know if you need more time. Chances are pretty good I won’t do the round-up post until November anyhow. That is usually how it works out, or has been working out the past few years. Please join us. It’s always so much fun to see where others live and walk (or cycle or skate or swim or move in some way).
Thank you for stopping by today. I don’t think we’re going to see much at sunset this evening, but you never know. Sunset is scheduled for 6:53 PM. Let’s meet out at the Point if it isn’t raining. Maybe even if it is raining. It’s nice to be out by the water, and it’s certainly warm enough for a walk in the rain.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,546) We still have the right to vote. 1,547) Sharing our thoughts and grief and fears. 1,548) The occasional glimpse of sunlight through the clouds in between batches of rain. 1,549) M, always. 1,550) The way the breath can calm the body.