Tagarchief: poetry

2018 May The Road be with you


A lighthouse be,
mirror the beauty
of that inward eye,
echo the silence and
become the sea, turn,
return, a beacon be,
reflect the answer,
come with me,
to any ship then
you will be as is
to time eternity

L’Albatros ~ Charles Baudelaire


Souvent, pour s’amuser, les hommes d’équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.

À peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l’azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d’eux.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu’il est comique et laid!
L’un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L’autre mime, en boitant, l’infirme qui volait!

Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l’archer;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l’ empêchent de marcher.

Charles Baudelaire

The Albatross

Often, to amuse themselves, the men of a crew
Catch albatrosses, those vast sea birds
That indolently follow a ship
As it glides over the deep, briny sea.

Scarcely have they placed them on the deck
Than these kings of the sky, clumsy, ashamed,
Pathetically let their great white wings
Drag beside them like oars.

That winged voyager, how weak and gauche he is,
So beautiful before, now comic and ugly!
One man worries his beak with a stubby clay pipe;
Another limps, mimics the cripple who once flew!

The poet resembles this prince of cloud and sky
Who frequents the tempest and laughs at the bowman;
When exiled on the earth, the butt of hoots and jeers,
His giant wings prevent him from walking.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

Synchronicity: Poetry of Coincidence

What about synchronicity? The root of the word carries the ancient Greek equivalent for ‘together’ (συν – sun) and ‘time’ (χρονοσ – chronos, referring to the mythological Titan Kronos, who ate his children, or the ancient Greek god Chronos). And where did the Greek get it from? Tracing the origin and meaning of words is tracing the origin of man, of life, of the universe. And at a certain point man had to fill in the space “beyond the words”.    Classical texts dealing with that space often start with: “in the beginning”. Those texts are a result of an oral tradition that took centuries to become finally written down. The texts themselves are then a new starting point of a written tradition, resulting in man trying to decipher its origins…: nihil nove sub sole.

Carl Jung coined the word synchronicity to describe “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events, an acausal connecting principle.  Plainly put, it is the experience of having two (or more) things happen coincidentally in a manner that is meaningful to the person or persons experiencing them, where that meaning suggests an underlying pattern”.

But synchronicity, coincidence, happenstance, hazard, seriality, serendipity, (good or bad) luck, fortune,  what ever you call it, what all these words have in common is the feeling of resonance. One is suddenly struck. It is an instant process of fine-tuning, as if one tries to find the right tone with a tuning-fork and suddenly hears no more difference between the fork and the instrument. It strikes like lightning, instantly. Heart and soul, body and mind, past, present and future become part of the same universal orchestra. One song, in key.

This song to some can sound familiar, heavenly and be a confirmation. Others feel terrified or just use another key. But: all are touched by the melody. No one is indifferent. How come? Can one become more “in tune”? What about “the space beyond words? What about the beginning…? 

For man, it all started some nine months before his birth: conception, the perfect resonance. If everything on that particular moment hadn’t been in tune, how would you have been able to read this, how would you have been able to BE? That moment certainly is beyond words indeed. Even when you read this, creation is still at work, in you, in everything. As it always has been, and will.  So, there is no need to worry about the origins. The origin always is at hand. In you. Now.

However, since birth man learned how to adapt in order to communicate, to survive, leaving the space beyond the words, leaving his home. The melody became a far away and distant sound. Not easy to sing if you can’t remember the song. Slowly, almost imperceptibly  he drifted away, but deep inside he felt the longing. And then, once and a while, lightning struck, thunder roared: resonance came in. Remembrance surfaced in a split second. Does this mean man has to live his life in a permanent thunderstorm?   Of course not. On the contrary. That sudden wakeup call just reminds him of his home. And the more he feels “at home”, the more the longing will disappear, the more he will become in tune. Thunder and lightning will then only be thunder and lightning. Integrating those  wakeup calls, leads to  a fulfilling, peaceful life, anchored in this very moment. This process of integrating in fact is no more than drawing water from one’s own well. And that’s where it all began, didn’t it? 

A helpful tool in the process of fine-tuning and resonance is the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, a great tool, using “the poetry of coincidence”. A beautiful methaphor is described in the Buddhist story of Indra’s Net: 

“Far away in the heavenly abode of the great God Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out indefinitely in all directions, in accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities. The artificer has hung a single glittering jewel at the net’s every node, and since the net itself is indefinite in dimension, the jewels are indefinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude. A wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is infinite.”  
(Thu-Shun 600 BC) 

Although these texts speak to us from a very distant past, they both are an interesting description of the communication tool we use today as our favourite worldwide toy: the inter-net. Whether this toy is used the way it was described thousands of years ago is another question…