Friday, January 11, 2008
(image from source)
The Life of the Poet, the Poetry of Life
Everything we do in life, like every poem we write, is an essay, in its original sense of an attempt or effort. We set ourselves high standards: in the case of poetry, we try to emulate our ideals, the Mary Olivers or Li-Young Lees who speak with enchanted tongues, who track poetry into the hidden lair of its creation and bring out rare and dazzling specimens.
We know that we will never attain their transcendent levels. We know that each attempt to trap the ineffable will end in only partial success, if not downright failure.
This is of no importance to us who are dedicated to the art. Our effort is to touch the innermost parts of the soul, the tissues and membranes of our true being, to translate that brief inseeing into words as bright and truthful as we can, to combine what beauty we can capture with whatever wisdom we may possess.
And so with kundalini itself, the Goddess who speaks in unfathomable tones. We read of perfect experience, we study the models of “how things are supposed to be.” But none of us (that I know of) ever reaches that goal of absolute perfection. Instead we sway and waver, exult and mourn, move forward with assurance and then falter—we are imperfect beings striving for perfection in an uncertain process. Nonetheless, we proceed with our labors and are grateful for our task.
And this is enough for the true poet, the devoted practitioner, or the true artist of life.
December 29, 2009