time & eternity

Time and eternity

until the next wave the tide-

pool utterly clear



green of beer bottle

rounded by the violence

of the waves gleams there



in the mercury

of the upper ocean thanks

to man's unkindness



and these syllabics

inwrought with a timeless but

timely distinction

 

The Cabbage White and the Between

 

IMG_3876Between earth and sun

O intermediary

moth I rest in you

The erratic zig-zag of the cabbage white moth is hard to follow. Like one’s mind, perhaps, in its daily wanderings. In its worm stage, this particular moth is a pest; as its name suggests, it feasts on cabbage, and also broccoli and Brussels sprouts. But in its winged state, it has left the bad behind, or so the story goes. So as it rests in the heat of a summer afternoon, it seems to connect earth and sun as it is still for a minute if that. The between or “metaxy” is a state of consciousness recognized by Plato and poets everywhere (strange bedfellows, but that’s another story). With clear consciousness/conscience, we may enjoy our short lifespans,  flitting around in the luminous between, conscious of dimensions and directions beyond our kin. So I address the common moth as a fellow traveler in the between. The echo of Augustine’s question about existential rest — until I rest in Thee– should produce that verbal shock that provides the judgment within the judgment, as Hill would say, and also the slight shudder of the haiku twist with its comic or high/low touch. Interesting to me how much cultural work the haiku form is capable of.

Aging Lovers

I had a cancellation today so reviewed some materials ahead of schedule for another client– some Merton and R.S. Thomas. Doing so gave me a rare sense of relief from the demands of my schedule. A relaxation and opening of time. A poem popped:

 

What makes this moment

a way is the smile between

those aging lovers

 

 

A Song in Passing

A sudden coolness

of ambiguous bright clouds

passes overhead

 

a chill interrupts

my breathing have I been here

too long I mean here

 

too long the light’s red

I’ve not left the curb I have

time to spare again

 

in the August sun

at the corner of Ivy

and N. Vancouver

 

Impromptu

on a hill near home

a hill of burnt grass the salt

wind off the ocean

 

more home than my house

behind the hill I go there

to begin again

 

the wind in the pines

my father planted the house

his retreat my point

 

of departure now

the wind off the Pacific

endows the late hour

Poetry and Extremism

 

We live between the ultimates — between birth and death, between utter joy and utter despair, between immanent perfection and hopeless alienation. So we should not be shocked by extremists who want it all right now.  Poetry, as a medium of experience, exhibits the role of finesse in understanding and acting on our desires. Figures of speech like metaphor embody poetic finesse. They need to be taught as finesse between extremes unless they too become hardened into false certainties.