Quite unbidden the spring lambs have come bounding into my poems in recent days. I don’t know how to account for them or what exactly I should do with them. I am, by proxy, their shepherd because I am the one with the pen (the writing-pen, that is) even though they came by their own accord, survivors of the night. There are such strong emotions attached to them – they’ve changed the earth just by being there; they come from such a deep, dark – light-filled – place; and they’ve been sent – no other word is possible
I wonder how to make this accessible to other people. These lambs are, in one sense, the parts of my life: the different phases, the experiences, the living encounters. They bring tears to the eyes, they are so lovely and joyful and sad. I wouldn’t miss out on anything. I wouldn’t lose a single lamb. If one went missing and fell down onto a ledge I would go to any lengths to get it back.
Isn’t this true for everyone? Much as you may hate things that have happened to you and curse against the sky for bringing you such misfortunes, nevertheless – they are your lambs. They’re all you have – it would be inconceivable to do without them. You can’t change the past – therefore be its shepherd.
Ah, but this has such intensely religious overtones! I – you – are the proxy for whom or what? Who sends those lambs back from the night? All I can say is that experience itself would turn you into a religious thinker.
At all times in this website I’m trying to be open to people of different religions and backgrounds. Beauty, mystery, love, romance, poetry are all universal. But experience takes you into religion. Those very tears do. In the Gospel of St John, Jesus says to Peter, ‘Feed my lambs’. ‘Feed my lambs’ – and then, twice, he says, ‘Feed my sheep’. When nothing else is possible isn’t that what you must do? And in doing so aren’t you feeding the essential phases, experiences and encounters of your own life, in their lesser or greater stages of maturity? And do those experiences not come bounding back from the night, sufficient to bring tears to your eyes?
By proxy you are the shepherd. I don’t need to say who you stand for. Everyone in their own belief can answer that. There is not one person in the world who does not know that figure, if they open their eyes to it. The name doesn’t matter – the figure is the embodiment of all experience.
This has become far more intense than I intended! Do we dare to speak about religion? Well, when it comes jumping out of your poems you can’t help it. I acknowledge the image of the Lamb as it appears in the Passover, in Ramadan, or in other religious festivals. The point is to find it in actual experience.
I do firmly believe the gentleness of truth and understanding can reconcile all differences. Look into your own being! I tell you, there are countless religions jostling for position inside one human psyche! The Spring of the Heart I’m looking for is the one where all the lambs will be happy.
Strange to find invisibilities best
when riotous sap rises in all things:
but there was a thought nobody noticed
in the still heart where galaxies began –
that thought is still there, spinning hearts and heads,
unwintering green in its centrifuge.
Sometimes I’ve found the lambs of my own life
in its early peace, in its musical calm –
I know them by the gentle weathering
in their eyes when they spring out of night’s depth.
Speak, with night looking over your shoulder?
Easier again to let those spring lambs
come leaping by their own untrammeled choice
into an earth that’s changed because of them.
By proxy, there’s a shepherd at the gate
who might as well be me in penmanship.
Now to the work of growth and change, oh this!
so deeply loved, that train of dawns and dusks –
I wonder if the single lamb is all
which comes to me, for words of calm and hope?
Best wishes, today,
Pictures: author unknown
©Jay Landar 2013. All rights reserved
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