remembered, if not understood

I am not always sure what I make of Adrienne Rich’s poetry, but if she gave me nothing else but the phrase ‘the dream of a common language’ it would have been enough.  May she rest in peace.

If from time to time I envy
the pure annunciations to the eye

the visio beatifica
if from time to time I long to turn

like the Eleusinian hierophant
holding up a simple ear of grain

for return to the concrete and everlasting world
what in fact I keep choosing

are these words, these whispers, conversations
from which time after time the truth breaks moist and green.

from “Cartographies of Silence”
The Dream of a Common Language


Stumbleupon is proving rather addictive.

Tonight it offered up this old friend:

Listen to the MUSTN’Ts, child,
Listen to the DON’Ts
Listen to the SHOULDN’Ts
Listen to the NEVER HAVEs
Then listen close to me–
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

–Shell Silverstein


I read The Wasteland today —
for the first time in a long time.

I do not understand it all, and I don’t try to.  Not really.  I’ve never thought that was the point.

But reading it again after a long pause, I realised how much it shapes my experience.
It feels familiar.  Life long.

The poem is
for me at least
more a process — a shape of living — than a thing to understand.

Having gone away, and come back after a few years, I see more, understand more than I did.
there are ways in which my life has converged with the poem
ways in which is hasn’t
but what is being done feels familiar
the way of seeing, hearing, perceiving
the way of life

tears come too.  Sometimes as Lear enters with the woman’s anxiety.
Sometimes with lilacs.
Today, with Da, Datta, a moment’s surrender.

Elizabeth, you do not like this poem?  Tell me:  what is is about?

I am not sure I like it either, but there it is.  A part of me now.  An inescapable truth.