Monday, March 28, 2011

In A Dark Time Look to the Poet

I have been finding it more difficult to blog lately as the events of the world lay heavy on my soul; the inequities I see all around; the absurd and expanding wealth of a few contrasted by the extreme hunger and pain of so many, perpetuated by too many lies and too much fear.

...and I don't want to fill these pages with simple lamentations about the conditions of the world when there is also beauty and hope to be found.

Some medicine arrived this morning: my good friend Alan Cohen sent this poem by the Nigerian poet Ben Okri. It reminds me how much the poetic voice can carry one through hard times and make sense of the often unbearable. Poets remind us that our souls are stronger than our circumstances and that when we are not sure where to turn, we can always turn to our imagination...and to the poet to wake up the imagination in us.

It also reminds us that our wounds are the fertile ground in which we may plant the seeds of our highest destiny.

An African Elegy
We are the miracles that God made
To taste the bitter fruit of Time.
We are precious.
And one day our suffering
Will turn into the wonders of the earth.
There are things that burn me now
Which turn golden when I am happy.
Do you see the mystery of our pain?
That we bear poverty
And are able to sing and dream sweet things
And that we never curse the air when it is warm
Or the fruit when it tastes so good
Or the lights that bounce gently on the waters?
We bless things even in our pain.
We bless them in silence.
That is why our music is so sweet.
It makes the air remember.
There are secret miracles at work
That only Time will bring forth.
I too have heard the dead singing.
And they tell me that
This life is good
They tell me to live it gently
With fire, and always with hope.
There is wonder here
And there is surprise
In everything the unseen moves.
The ocean is full of songs.
The sky is not an enemy.
Destiny is our friend.
- Ben Okri

Thanks Alan for spreading the gift of poetry.



PS Thanks also to Heather and Ruby for the poems that you sent to me and all of our mentors and my fellows in this work. There is nourishment all around.

No comments: