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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/15/21

From now on, we -- followed by reflection

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(Read aloud and slowly to the accompaniment of Klaus Schulze's "My Ty She".
Low volume. Start at 10.00. )

Stay here as my guest
You'll be in good hands
Trance is not difficult

Can teach us nothing
Though his eyes were open
In the middle of the night

Watched in dumb shock
Some things don't translate
Under existing conditions

His toes were webbed
As we have discussed
To get the children smiling

Filled with animal noises
I sang in the high mass
To meet the bear

We had to go naked
To the great mountains
Passed a burning house

Eaten up with fury
Robin's eggs and diamonds
Something fresh and new

All the props and sets
Living with his choices
Either of his horses

Some sort of compensation
That's most of us these days
Mad-rattling his shields

Fought hard for the sun
You may get thrown
In another darker story

Came at me like a tornado
From now on
It wouldn't have mattered

For so many centuries
Yielding up a vivid miniature
Behind all such moments

We finally gave up
Another space and time
Use to tirelessly repeat

Came to my house
With only inner traces
Taken as a whole

When it was over
Sufficient time had elapsed
There is only the spiral

High pitch of feeling
Whispered to him, saying
Why do you draw back?

Pulled back the blankets
Why do you draw back?
Whispered to him, saying

In their complex hearts
At their council
Blooming in secret

Saddened by the closure
His face was hot
More than a game

Straight spout of black
There was a poem called
Tear down your house

And all the rest
Tear down your house
The sorrow that he knew

The metal-walled community
I returned to them
Bore him along the horizon

Not vanishing then
He listened to her words
He tried to speak

Standing on a bridge
They assumed he was gone
Deeply held things

He had half-promised
Needing some kind of mirror
I write these pages

Took a deep breath
Have dared to dream
It poured hard all night

Tucked it under his arm
Once you have touched it
I'm going to mail it

Then fall into and sleep
In contemplating oldness
I feel such tiredness

Close-fitting grey hat
Around those dead cells
Watching them leave

For the time being
The trinket was passed around
They only seemed to retreat

Not a little nettled
One can imagine that
Sufficient time had elapsed

I am no longer young
We picked up the pace
Your own story grows

The lonely darkness
He went through the motions
Responsible as the stars

From every possible angle
Harmonize the art
Surprised you remember how


Books sourced:

The Real Wrexham G. Daves
The Magnificent Obsession L.C. Douglas
Gilgamesh -- A Verse Narrative Mason
How the Irish Saved Civilization T. Cahill
Endless Path R. Martin
And a Voice to Sing With J. Baez
The Drummer's Path S. G. Wilson
The Golem I. B. Singer
Albert Einstein In His Own Words Einstein

Reflection: So what is this poem about? I think it is about the responsibility (?) the burden (?) the other responsibilities of the shamanic poet, or poet-as-shaman.

The last stanza says it all: (In) The lonely darkness / He went through the motions / Responsible as the stars / From every possible angle / (to) Harmonize the art / Surprised you remember how

The poet evolves through many selves, many "I"s, not just in a lifetime but sometimes in the course of a single day. The worldly one who brings in the wood or washes the dishes or makes dinner, isn't of much use when it comes to writing a poem like "From now on, we". In the last line he is talking to himself. He is always surprised that he remembers how to "harmonize the art". The "art" is, of course, the writing of this kind of open-ended, soul-liberating poem that enters upon unexplored territory outside of my familiar beat. The "lonely darkness" is the self-imposed blindness of starting out in the pitch dark of uncharted space, inching my way along, feeling for objects, peering into the darkness for any kind of illumination.

I have written about this technique of repurposing fragments of sentences extracted from books pulled from my library. The justification for the invention of this "oracular" technique derives from the assumption that what we already know isn't working, that conventional metaphors aren't getting us to where we need to go fast enough, the assumption that time is short . . . That, if poets can manage it, they should use their art to journey shamanically, to press into the darkness, to "burn down the house" where you have been hanging your poetic hat. "Tear down" your poetic address and get naked to "meet the bear" in the great mountains. The challenge is, if one has it in them to be a shamanic poet, don't wait. This would be the time.

(Article changed on Mar 15, 2021 at 9:00 AM EDT)

(Article changed on Mar 15, 2021 at 9:26 AM EDT)

(Article changed on Mar 15, 2021 at 6:59 PM EDT)

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Gary Lindorff is a poet, writer, blogger and author of several nonfiction books, a collection of poetry, "Children to the Mountain" and a memoir, "Finding Myself in Time: Facing the Music" Over the last few years he has begun calling (more...)

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