You wouldn’t be a decent poet if you didn’t go through agonies to write – indeed to live. I’m afraid I’ve no respect for the bourgeois normalities – while at the same time wondering how I will ever get a secure foothold in life. It disturbs me that we can’t accommodate people who don’t fit. And it worries me that this post might not go anywhere!
Things have to come into existence through difficulty. Poetry. Why then do we have to normalize things so that nothing difficult can happen? No growth, no change, just a bourgeois sufficiency. Is this a reality? Is it the nature of things that misfits mustn’t fit? Only part of me is a misfit. There’s a part of everybody that is a misfit. Why can’t that part be allowed its space and yet supported too? Is it a psychological matter? What are we scared of?
Now this isn’t what I intended to write about. I don’t know where it came from. I think perhaps if the extremities of my nature could have been harnessed somewhere, society might have benefited. Or is change and growth only a personal matter? I look at life’s dramas – under instruction from the swirling wind outside – and I feel obliged to say – in answer to the wind – that life has its dramatist as well. It may be ‘divine providence’, destiny, karma, higher self, or whatever you like to call it, but there is an ordering and pattern to existence which is not just an individual matter. Difficult as it is, it’s a social question. And on another day I see the sun and the frost confront each other in mutual respect – neither one will allow its burning heart to overwhelm the other. Again the patterning of life stands clear. Nature and wholeness ask us to include the difficult. There is a meaning and a reason to it all. No one should be left not fitting. What doesn’t fit is valuable too.
This starts to sound like a personal plea to be given a place somewhere. But it’s not. I’m willing to cast all the difficulties of my life to the pyre in order to let the higher ordering presence announce itself. I think this is a worthy task for a poet and a human being. The higher presence accommodates us all in every respect – we should try to do that for each other too.
There’s a place in the year where frost meets sun
in perfect harmony. Their feet line up
and they stand face to face with deep respect.
I’d like to be there in attendance
and learn how neither lets its own heart burn
to the detriment of the other.
Within me forces like this work as well:
a life of all-consuming fire, orange
in its intensity, and a cooler
assimilation of truths, patterning
the ground with a fretwork of self-knowledge.
I watch as one retreats, the other gains,
and love the way they share the changing year.
And then again comes the circling wind,
a foe in friendship, forcing firmness
on natures too inclined to yield, and says,
‘There’s nothing you know that’s not better said
by nature’s drama, stillness turned by storm –
exult in me and win a heightened mind!’
‘But drama has its dramatist,’ I say,
‘and slower minds catch all the character
your blasts would overpower – watch well the man
who traces every path that fortune tracks
into his destiny and comprehends!’
‘Live and learn!’ assails the wind above me.
And surely I’ve come to my own track’s end,
where sun encounters frost and gilds the earth
with fraternal light; where wind’s high drama
musters the dramatist in me to speak.
Surely the orange fire creeping round my life
must bring home still more ancient trusts than these?
My offering is everything I’ve done:
choices, harms, hurts, sweetest hours and more – all
will go to the fire and leave me unscathed.
Give life to the All and receive it back
in a shape the world can contend with – this
is my track’s end, in frost and sun and wind.
Best wishes, today,
©Jay Landar 2013. All rights reserved
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