Ron PriceMale, 70, Australia(7/17/2005 3:58:00 AM)
Rilke, Hardy and Me...some freeform.....Ron Price, Tasmania
THIS IS NOT AN ARRIVING
Love is...a high inducement to the individual to ripen...it is an exacting claim on him...love is burden and apprenticeship....(not) light and frivolous play...something new enters us in our sadnesses...the future enters into us this way in order to transform itself in us; therefore, be lonely and attentive when you are sad. In this way, destiny goes forth from within people, not from without into them. -Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, W.W. Norton, NY, pp.54-65.
Go into yourself and cleanse.
The list is long and will keep
you busy with its regularity
and it must be done
or your house, your home,
will not enjoy effulgent glories,
infinite and unseen grace,
divine knowledge or immortality.
What is this cleansing? A scouring
of your memory and imagination
of what is idle in the talking department
and what you hear
on that internal telephone receiver.
Accept your aloneness here,
your trust in God
and your holding to him
and try to do what you know
you should do-simple, that simple.
Can you hear the tremulous after-ring
of memory clarifying the message
of all that is unclear, undefined,
unknown, pointing toward a fate, a destiny,
like a wide, wonderful web that is finally
threading your life with its tender hand
and binding you with a million
infinitely fine lines, to focus you
like some precisioned instrument,
ready now, although often bloody
in the exchange? But you clean it off:
the bright red imaginings,
hot with heart’s intensity;
washing worldly affections,
clean and smooth with flowing water
from the tap of your mind.
Can you clear your eyes of all those
perceptual confusions, sadnesses,
that make you feel
so very useless and inadequate?
All is gestation and bringing forth,
pregnant with pain and soon-to-be-born,
hopes for the future; all is waiting
with deep humility and patience
for developing clarity, ripening,
waiting for the sap: no forcing here.
It will come. It will come.
This is not an arriving;
and love the difficult, the unsolved,
as you grow in and through them.
Use experience, here and now,
to rally toward exalted moments later,
toward the cleansing, the grace,
the quaffing of wisdom, the emptying out.
Life must be seen as difficult, serious
and approached with reverence:
not all this lightness, frivolity,
endless playing. Creative thoughts
come from many thousands of nights
and days of love and striving, endlessly:
filling thoughts with sublimity and exaltation.
The surface is so often bewildering;
go to the depths where meaning unfolds
like the petals of roses, a jacaranda
at last will be in bloom. Everyday
is a new beginning as we suck
the sweetness out of the trivial,
the profound and the funny;
while Thy servants who have gone,
work through us as part of our destiny,
as predisposition, as pulsation, gesture
rising out of the depths of time,
helping us hold to what is difficult.
FRESH CENTRE OF RICHNESS
I have a faculty...for burying an emotion in my heart or brain for forty years, and exhuming it at the end of that time as fresh as when interred.
-Thomas Hardy, Notebooks, in The World of Poetry: Poets and Critics on the Art and Functions of Poetry, Clive Sansom, selector, Phoenix House, London,1959, p.26.
Some would say that’s not a good idea, Thomas;
confusing burying with repressing is understandable.
For me burying is an unconscious process
associated with memory, so that remembering
is like creating something anew,
not always mind you, experiencing it
for the first time, again and again.
If I have any gift as a poet it is this
and it extends from strong experiences
to minute observations. This is the fresh centre
of richness which feeds imagination,
feeds the present with charged particles,
with blood and bone, with glance and gesture
and the poem rises and goes forth like a phoenix
from ashes where emotion lies burried,
exhumed fresh and tasted as if in some other world
by some other me, as if for the first time.