Wednesday, July 24, 2019

forgetting the body

Riding on the inner side of the blackbird's
Wings, I feel the long
Warm flight to the sea;
Dark, black in the trees at night.
Along the railroad tracks
In men's minds wild roses grow.
Lingering as ripe black olives
I go down the stairs of the little leaves,
To the floating continent
Where men forget their bodies,
Searching for the tiny
Grain of sand behind their eyes.

~ William Duffy

Introductory notes by Robert Bly 
to The Lion’s Tail and Eyes, Poems written out of laziness and silence.

“One purpose of poetry is to forget about what you know, and think about what you don’t know. There is an old idea that only by leaving the body can a man think. Such a leaving concerns the body of knowledge as well as the physical body. After all, as Montale says, if the purpose of poetry lay in making oneself understood, there would be no purpose in writing it.”……. 

“The fundamental world of poetry… the inward world. The poem expresses what we are just beginning to think, thoughts we have not yet thought. The poem must catch these thoughts alive, holding them in language that is also alive, flexible and animal-alike as they. 

The poem with images is therefore like a lion about to come into existence. A person meets the poem among trees at night. On the path in front of him, he sees a lion who does not know he is there. The lion is changing from his old ancient substance back into a visible body. So far the tip of the tail, the ears, the eyes, and perhaps a paw or two have come.”


erin said...

and is it not, too, to search out the one inarguable solid in the vast flotsam/jetsam? (the solid might just be a deceit and yet we search for it.)


Dean Keller said...

erin, thanks for your apt observation.

yes, so often our choice, and here arises pain,suffering, the effort and disappointment.

so many varied voices have pointed inward yet it takes a personal courage, a desperate longing, to let go, to abandon the search, to leave the grasping and pushing away behind and float.

Mystic Meandering said...

I recently read this about poetry - "Poetry is an immense conversation of the Soul" - Jo Harjo, Native American Poet Laureat... I tend to agree :)

Dean Keller said...

leading us into our own dark mist, or off an edge we've clung to,
showing a glimpse what we've past by without notice,
leaping from the comfort of a word to what precedes,
resting there, refilling ourselves