Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Letters To a Not So Young Poet


Back on the grid after a storm that knocked out our electricity for 7 days.

This morning I'm wading slowly into my normal rhythm of writing and posting. For economies sake, I'm double posting today (FB and Blog). Probably a social media no no - but words want to make it on this page - and the clock is ticking once again in that way that jams up my creative juices.

So, here goes....

Post tropical storm; a forced off the grid retreat; stopped counting the days; settled into reading by candlelight a book I clung to for solace and direction when I was in my teens.

Now at midlife these words still ring true: "... here I feel that there is no one anywhere who can answer those questions and feelings which, in their depths, have a life of their own; for even the most articulate people are unable to help, since what words point to is so very delicate, is almost unsayable."  Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet.

Being without electricity, wifi, social media schedules, a full client load, etc. - slowed me down in a way that astonished me; turned me inward to my deepest questions; those "questions that can make or unmake a life, questions that have patiently waited for you, questions that have no right to go away" (David Whyte, from the poem Sometimes).

When the flow of life is radically altered by unpredictability, fear kicks in; unexpected change enters stage left and announces itself as the main character in this play of life. Yet sometimes, at these moments, something can break open in us; something amazingly fierce and present; something raw, partly formed, "almost unsayable" erupts.

I see these times as a call to listen deeper and more carefully, respond with courage, embrace unexpected change as a comrade, improvise, leap, braille into the unknown.

As always, the bigger the unexpected change; the more loss experienced, the harder it is to actually embrace change as a comrade. I get that. I also get that my loss of electricity was nothing compared to the loss of so many.

Yet I can't help but wonder if these unwanted, vigilantly avoided changes -  are when and where we find our most precious life gifts and comrades.

David says it best:
Sometimes 
Sometimes
if you move carefully
through the forest

breathing
like the ones
in the old stories

who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
and

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

questions
that can make
or unmake
a life,

questions
that have patiently
waited for you,

questions that have no right
to go away.

David Whyte from Everything is Waiting for You (2007 Many Rivers Press)

Yes, this is definitely a poem that asks me to KEEP LEAPING!




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