February 26, 2010

An aperture, nothing more, but wide open

The past month has been a headlong sprint. Two things have brought spaciousness into my days and drawn me deeply into the present. One has been my family, and a great gift of all this snow has been that we have seen much more of each other than we had expected the month would allow. The other has been my students and the poetry we have been studying together.

Tonight, three poems -- all about sky and boundlessness -- surround me with presence and stillness.

In "Sky," Wislawa Szymborska says that "the highest mountains / are no closer to the sky / than the deepest valleys." She goes on: "Division into sky and earth -- / it's not the proper way / to contemplate this wholeness."

When Emily Dickinson says: "I dwell in Possibility -- / a fairer House than Prose," she names the openness of poetry. "For an everlasting Roof," she has "The Gambrels of the Sky."

In a translation of Muso Soseki, W.S. Merwin writes:

"In the world outside of things
there is nothing
to get in the way"

Near the end of Szymborska's poem, she clarifies that drawing a distinction between sky and earth:

"simply lets me go on living
at a more exact address
where I can be reached promptly
if I'm sought."

I am grateful both for my "exact address" and for my daily encounters -- with family, poetry, and learning -- that point to the "wholeness" Szymborska describes.

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness, Peter. I've been holding you in the light, waiting for this next post...perfect that it came from that last poetry class and this snow, snow, snow.