MAKE OF IT WHAT YOU WILL
and honi soit qui mal y pense
when posting poems and such try to explain them. They don’t need to, great art needs no explanation. (Or excuses.)
communicates. It’s mind reaching mind on possibly ever deeper levels. Arts bypass the rational to grab the emotional by the scruff and wring its furry little neck until it wakes up and screams a jubilant “YES!“. Hence the old Zen masters, forever running around bopping their thick students with a slipper.
So if a poet tells you about the majesty of ‘God’s grace’ … is he really dribbling religious propaganda, or trying to make a point with the few tools available?
In posting Abou bin Adhem recently, was I declaring myself a closet Christian, or Jew, or Muslim, or whatever-else-believes-in-angels … or was I merely making a point? If I had to analyse me I’d opt for ‘point’ but there you go; you see what you choose to see.
Perhaps, if you’re a good little student and listen to all the wise teachers your own name may one day go up on the scroll to rank even with bin Adhem’s—but don’t hold your breath: Adhem wasn’t faking it.
IN THE MEANTIME
let’s get into our Poem—
If the red slayer thinks he slays,
Or if the slain thinks he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near;
Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanished gods to me appear;
And one to me are shame and fame.
They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.
The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
IF I HAD TO
sum myself in just one above verse I’d be hard put. After a great deal of angst-uish I’d end up—reluctantly—with verse 2.
If I had to state my ‘spiritual’ ambitions I’d declare verse 4.
If I were in the least arrogant about my assured place at the right hand of God in Heaven it would be verse 3 of course. Or would it?
So what exactly is this blasted poet trying to tell us here—that he’s a closet Hindu?
I don’t think he’s trying to tell us anything Miss Scarlett, and I don’t give a damn.
I think he’s just sitting on a branch at dawn, chirping into the face of the rising sun … and I just love to listen to the dawn chorus.