Friday, October 15, 2010

Poetry Power

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.
Robert Frost 

My Alma mater is Brigham Young University. My years there were a bit, I'll admit, innocent. 
But innocence is not such a bad thing. While I was maybe not in the "real world", I was in a garden of play... everything green, everyone singing, everyone smiling. At least, that is how it was for me. 

But Adam and Eve got kicked out of paradise, and so did I. Well, I graduated, actually, but still kicked out in a sense. Whereas before opportunities abounded to bump into friends and to hold hands and dance, now I have to create my own. And whereas dance teachers at BYU are challenging, they are not brutal. Anywhere else? I feel like my teachers aren't happy unless I am lying in a heap at the end of class, bawling.

But this is how it is supposed to be. This is how people become real. Still, I like to find ways to create that sense of unity, not just within a community, but within the self.

I had the opportunity to meet Patricia T. Holland, and a warmer, lovelier woman you will never find. She has written a lot of what I am trying to say here:

One of the things that I have found feeds my positively ravenous soul and returns me to that natural state of acceptance and even play is poetry. I don't go heavy duty with it: just one a day. Most of the time, nothing much happens. I have the feeling of, That was nice, and I go on with my day. But once in a while, I stumble upon a poem that transports me to another time and place, and I am reborn.

Here is one such. I shared it with my mom, and she loved it! Maybe you will like it too.

The Visionary
by Rainer Maria Rilke

I see from looking at the wind tossed trees-
whose branches beat against my trembling windows
the storm's effect that raged through sullen days,
 And hear the far horizon speak of things
that I cannot endure without a friend
nor love without a sister's presence

There goes the storm, and in its wake he alters
Shapes, driven on across the woods, across all time
and everything looks as if it were ageless:
the landscape- like a verse out of the book of psalms-
remains unshaken, forceful and eternal.

How little are the things with which we wrestle
What with us wrestles, how so much greater is!
If only we would let ourselves be conquered
as things are overcome by a great storm,
we would expand in space and need no names.

When we victorious are, it is over small things,
and though we won, it leaves us feeling small.
What is eternal, and what is not common,
does not want to be bent by human strength.
This is the angel who in ancient times
appeared to wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when his opponent's sinews during fighting
began to stretch like long metallic strands
that felt beneath the angel's gripping fingers
like singing strings responding with deep song.

Whoever was defeated by the angel-
and often one decided not to fight-
left walking proud and upright, full of strength,
and greater still for having felt the power
of these strong hands that molded him, as if
to change his shape.
For winning does not tempt him!
The secret of his growing lies in this:
by being totally defeated and disarmed
by even greater forces and their cause.

No comments: