Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Space in which All Loveliness is Witnessed

Four a.m. clarity fades. I have to call it back, not unlike working with dogs, that hard-to-manage blend of forcefulness with love. Does tea help? Yes, tea helps.

And thinking of you, too, who gift me at odd hours without asking a thing in return. How happy "how happy chickadees make me" makes me. Well, wordiness. The way geographic distance inhibits the expression of a certain longing while laying manifest another.

Cave amans! Yesterday's lentil soup emptied into Mason jars today reheated and served with slivered apples. I mean the translucent red of the cardinal's wings in flight would break my heart if such a thing were possible (outside the nonsense of metaphor). Dried rose petals stain my fingers and the nights are full of rain.

But would you? The soft maroon fuzz of maple buds at a distance, the plenary warble of the brook in early spring, the first tentative thrust of daffodils. Be with me the space in which all loveliness is witnessed? Or are we - like wandering pine siskins - beyond that now?

Eschew code (he wrote). Some stones were meant for the garden, others the river, while I was meant for Latin. Shreds of birch bark cross what remains of the snow, nearly invisible, the perennial condition of those who consent to be Love's penumbral light. Mercy, beloved, mercy.


  1. This:

    "...nearly invisible, the perennial condition of those who consent to be Love’s penumbral light."

    Sigh. Just can't get past that "nearly"....

  2. I don't think a little visibility is the worst thing though yes, I hear you . . . at the end of her life Emily Dickinson consented to be "seen" by a doctor - she walked quickly past a half-open door while he stood at the other end of the hall . . . attempting diagnosis on a such a sliver . . . and yet glimpses do widen into vision, our mutual light getting brighter all the time . . .

  3. I think it's time I get to know Emily better.

  4. I was thinking about her today driving to town to buy meds for sick kids . . . how her sensibility informs my understanding of following Jesus, loving beauty, going to Heaven, all that . . . like Blake she was seeing angels, like Thoreau she heard with such clarity the sacred inner voice but she was so much more intense than those men, possibly because she was a woman, also because she had such passion - a lover's Lover - Wild Nights still makes me blush . . . the students love it, how hot she was, how unabashed . . .

  5. I wonder if feminine energy -- the yin in each of us -- is just by nature more fluid, more yielding, less reluctant to lose itself and that somehow contributes to a passion that does not demand to be contained. How threatening that idea would be to this masculine culture of ours (and I include both men and women in that).

    The poem is beautiful. I love how she uses so few words -- and such simple ones at that -- to convey something that sublimely surpasses language.

  6. Yeah . . . It gets progressively complex from one stanza to the next, the metaphor developing & the primal Christian imagery taking over so you wonder who she's got in mind, Christ, her sister-in-law, a man, all of them, none of them, what storm is coming and what calls to her so much deeper to keep her out at sea and away from this beloved other . . . she was very fond of bride/wedding language, understood it as a religious (in the richest sense of the word) calling . . .

    But then, too, it's just a great lusty poem, part of a long tradition . . .


  7. Sometimes, I just shake my head in wonder. Just as the image of Creation of Man holds great significance for me, so does this song. Springsteen isn't quite my Dickinson, but he's close...

    ...and this song always finds me. And, yes, I know: What is it for? :)

  8. I think the special songs and poems (and paintings and landscapes and birds et cetera) are reminders that God is alive and - usually - contain hints to help us remember - rediscover - God. Attention is never not merited!

  9. Indeed, it is what we are called to do:

    “Ten times a day something happens to me like this - some strengthening throb of amazement - some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”
    ― Mary Oliver

    Thanks, Sean, for the conversation....enjoy all of today's little miracles. :)