Posts Tagged ‘sun’

enlightenment

it happens daily —
the world turns, the sun rises
— my own blindness kills

This poem was born out of a feeling of regret. I dreamed I turned up to play French horn in an orchestra, but then realised I had no French horn. Awake, I fell to thinking of my teenage years and how lazy I was in regard to French horn practice. I now practice yoga on a daily basis, and because my body is old, I notice the stiffness immediately if I miss a day’s practice. I fell this morning into wishing I had realised the importance of practice. Who knows I might now be a professional musician. And this feeling of regret forced me to consider the totality of what we owe to this life or to ourselves by being alive. I suppose you could say I fell to regretting not having achieved enlightenment in this life. The subject of enlightenment was already fairly close the surface of my preoccupations since Friday night when a Buddhist friend used the term in a Buddhist sense and I found myself rebelling inwardly — I doubt whether it’s either helpful or meaningful, to accept enlightenment as something the Buddha achieved and the rest of us can only strive after in a futile sort of way. My poem wanted to bring back ‘enlightenment’ to the literal meaning of the literal light which fills our physical world. But of course I end up, in the poem, with a metaphorical blindness nevertheless.

I am that

the play of the sun
and the drama of the clouds
— simple rhetoric —
by which God speaks to the heart
using a person’s own voice

In my dream I was in Rome, walking along a river, presumably the Tiber. But the buildings on the opposite side of the river were a long way away and in real life the Tiber is not that broad. It felt a bit like Venice where you often find yourself gazing at buildings on the skyline, across water. The sky became very dark. I noticed I was able to look directly at the sun because it was partly shrouded in cloud. A massive storm cloud lay directly overhead, but it was moving swiftly and I awaited the return of the sunlight any moment. I wanted to convey in my poem a sense of awe at knowing oneself caught up in some huge massive impersonal drama involving simultaneously both Nature and Civilisation — and the paradox by which this drama is also the fact of my own individual existence — hence felt at the most intimate and personal level. I only arrived at the title after completing the poem, and I had to google it just to be sure it was a genuine Sanskrit saying (which it does seem to be). I’ve no idea where I would have heard it originally. In a book no doubt, in the days long before the internet.

what are we?

oats — primaeval slime,
sweet alchemy — cooking like
pondlife in the sun

I have oats almost every single morning. Either as porridge or else sprinkled on yoghurt. I really like the simplicity of the taste (providing it’s organic). I dreamed I was somehow trying to cook oats at the bottom of a pond, and worrying I would never be able to use the quantity I’d cooked, but now it was cooked, it wouldn’t store long. Woke up switched on the TV and a repeat of Andrew Marr’s History of the World was on some obscure channel, describing how 13,000 years ago someone must have once first thought of planting a seed instead of eating it. Mostly we planted grasses. Wheat, rice and corn are apparently grasses. I expect oats are too. Finding a title for the poem presented something of a challenge, as it often does. All my life I have tended to hear the question ‘Who am I?’ as somehow missing the point. I am more challenged to know what I am. I suspect there may be a link here with my hypothetical autism. But I have noticed in recent years I’m beginning to phrase it more naturally now as: ‘What are we?’ This somehow softens the abstract quality of ‘What am I?’ Obviously the Andrew Marr was a gift, in the way it presented ‘us’ as a single phenomenon — the human race.

dawn

shot through with garish
purple, turquoise and orange
– the sky’s defiant

I was worried the last couple of days that my poems were much too prosaic, as though I were just putting together words in some kind of way that ignored the emotional dimension. So I’m making a deliberate effort this morning to be ‘poetic’. If that sounds like a nightmare proposition, at least it does seem to have encouraged me to capture something of the nightmare quality of last night’s dream. It wasn’t an outright nightmare at all. But there was a very intimidating Japanese or oriental lady, who ruled a household with an absolute rod of iron. I was on the phone to her. The poem’s imagery doesn’t derive literally from the dream. But the ‘feel’ is about right.