There seems to be a wholly different language and vocabulary around poetry and creating to the point where I’m thinking ‘this is not something I can connect with, or ‘do’. However, I will continue to read the book somebody kindly lent me recently. Here is a quote which does ‘ring’, somewhat.
It is not any moment, but this very moment, that a Japanese poem contemplates and preserves; not any feeling, but the emotion pressed like wine from its underlying events. And there are underlying events – behind almost every tanka stands the essence of a particular story, a set of circumstances.
From Nine Gates, Entering – The Mind of Poetry by Jane Hirshfield
emotion pressed like wine from its underlying events. For me, emotion is welded to the event. No amount of pressing is going to sever the feeling from the underlying event since all of one’s senses are invoked. Recalling the circumstances surrounding my father’s death for example. It played out like a movie both at the time and now – filled with pathos yet from one place removed. Not exactly detached, that would be cold, more both in the film and watching it at the same time. I’m not having a problem with that.
beating the odds
This card arrived today from a good sangha friend. She wrote, “I believe I’m right in thinking that it will be 20 years since your Dad died. I think it’s on Wednesday 29th so you and he will be in my thoughts that day”. Many thanks, and even more thanks for taking care of me during the days following his death. I was not the easiest of people to take care of at the time. So sorry. Heck! I was getting around on crutches having broken my leg recently. I needed to be taken care of, obviously. Not obvious enough for me though.
Twenty years and much has happened since then. And, in a way, nothing has changed. The fact that he died on a railway platform and I was present, all be it several tracks from where paramedics were trying to revive him is emblazoned in my memory. Knowing how much he would not want to be revived, in my thoughts I spoke to the chap (for I didn’t know it was my father at the time) saying, “If you want to go now that’s fine. You are free to go”. And he did! He would have been glad to have beaten the ‘system’. I love him all the more for that and for going where and how he did. I’d imagined I would fall to pieces when he died, but I didn’t. Not then, later I howled.
My parents are burried side by side in our cemetary at Throssel.
This evening I learnt a sangha member in North America had announced to her community of trainees that their cancer had metastasised involving lung and other parts of the body. The merit of these images and this post is offered for the benefit of this dear woman who has been dealing with cancer for a number of years.
Dear Rev. Mugo,
Here are shots of a heron we saw at the north end of Druridge Bay on 17th (January). It was quite as cold as it looks. There’s something extraordinary about the stillness of a heron – how it stands, and stands, and stands, as if it had never been anywhere else.
And then it took off and I just happened to have the camera trained on it and caught that moment of perfectly balanced but dynamic form. But that we may all remain still, so still and then spread our wings and take flight in reflexive response to the air around us. I wish that for our sangha member and for all. It is a matter of faith, which has no object. Faith, or trust in that which underpins our lives.
Just the other day a large tree on the edge of the Throssel property blew over blocking the road. It appeared it was rotten and about due to fall over. So sad to see the gentle giant on it’s side, beached and dying. Now the tree has almost gone having been sawn up and stacked for firewood by a neighbour and one of the monks too.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
By Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877–August 9, 1962) taken from Wandering: Notes and Sketches
The above quote is part of a longer one in Brain Pickings titled Hermann Hesse on What Trees Teach Us About Belonging and Life.