Today a friend send me a poem and asked me to read it and then a response by another person to it…she asked me to read the poem and the response and then see what I made of it…..as she was feeling a little unsettled by the response.
Here is the poem:
this is from Mary Oliver’s 1986 volume Dream Work:
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
and this a last bit of the response that kind of surprised her…
I was just thinking about finding happiness where I am and had a couple of
things that pointed to the notion that the only way to be happy was to go on
your own way. I wanted those ideas to be squashed before they were shared
around, so here I am squashing them.
Hope all of you look for your happiness within the life you are already leading.
These is what I felt….
Poetry is written by the poet for herself…not for the world…yet there is universal wisdom in the words…because poetry rises from the irrational wisdom of the heart…..only a broken heart…a heart that has endured a lot can write poetry…now by enduring I do not mean only in this life time but perhaps in other…when in a particular lifetime…the heart finally awakens and says NO MORE…I want to reign now…does poetry flow….
Now many are already born awakened like Tagore, Yeats…..many become poets later….they were already poets…they just did not know….but when they do…then all the pain comes forth….and with that immense beauty and wonder at the creation and human kind. This is true for all forms of creativity.
The person whose response surprised my friend probably belongs to a group of women who have probably found balance in their life…or have overcome the places where once confusion reigned…and that sometimes leads to non-compassion for those who have not….I have often seen this…such people sit on high pedestal and say ‘look find happiness where you are…” Or she is just another woman who is in deep denial of her deepest desires and needs and secretly grudges those who have owned theirs or is just shit scared of her family, spouse, children…etc.
What she says about finding happines where one is.. is true in a way and very ZEN like…but does not work for all sometime…some people just have to uproot all that is holding them back in the same place first…and then get back…some do…but then sometimes..the place they left and the people in that place are not willing to wait it out or be patient…..they just move on…sometime the one who left moves on….
Hard to judge here….Both are speaking their story….
But yes…the critique is harsh in saying that she would rather squash such voices and I feel she is very judgemental of people who ‘have’ to leave first to finally get home….
But I don’t know for certain either anymore….what is right/ what is not right? It is difficult to say….Who I thought I was I am not….? And I am not even sure of who I am anymore?
The dark night, where light, is still a way ahead up the tunnel is a space which is frightening and scary….one is truly alone with one’s own demons here…no one can enter and help…one either fights with the demons and lets them have their way or just looks at them and names them till they transform….tough, very tough…
I have often encountered each and every demon and still do, these days. The demon of greed that lures me with money and competition and makes me think I am superior or ‘special’ and do not have enough, the demon of sexual sensations with exciting lovers, demon of fear that makes me go sick and knotted with future worries that I won’t make it, demon of distrust that comes from shame, guilt hurt past wounds, which makes me look at each new lover and friend with mistrust and caution…so many…it is so tough to actually stay with these demons and see what they are trying to say to me…
I think the poet wrote this in her darkest moment when their was no one to pull her through but her own brave self….
The illusion of lovers, parents, friends, children, the whole life that one had built around these just start to crumble and you got to hold yourself with love and compassion and kindness…trusting that there is light not far away….
I hope this helps…