Friday, 19 June 2009

Too many words

For reasons too complicated to explain, I'm trying to write poetry again. It's been over fifteen years since I did this with any regularity or fluency, other than the odd haiku (which doesn't really count).

The purpose of this means the poetry needs to be good. Better than good, really. IO hadn't planned to write anything myself. I've just not been able to find a piece of poetry that says quite what I'm trying to say, so I'm trying to cobble something together.

This evening, this is what I ended up with. I don't think it will work. I don't think it's amazing, and it's more prose than poetry. But it hints at what I'm trying to say, so I'm posting it in the hope that someone else can do better, or tell me how to make it better, or point me in the direction of the poem that already says this.


All creation is joined, connected. Quiet raindrops fall into turbulent seas, rippled mud puddles are secretly thundering waterfalls. Hot salt tears and delicate snowflakes are formed of one substance.

All creation is joined, communicating. The frantic pulse of photons through fibre-optic cables, the steady signal flash of a distant lighthouse, the lowly candle on a rough windowsill and the ancient constellations strung through the sky all glow with one light.

All creation is joined, growing. Seeds fall to earth and send forth new grain. Tangled, knotted vines bear fruit each season, again.

Flood our hearts with water from Your springs, bathe our wounds, heal our hurts, that we may pour Your generosity on one another.

Turn Your face upon us, that we may shine as stars with the knowledge of your goodness, and illuminate with wisdom the paths of all we meet.

Sustain us with bread from the grain of the earth, wine from the climbing vines, transform us with Your body and blood. Mould our lives to your service and help us to convey to all creation--joined, connected, communicating, growing creation--your ultimate, contagious compassion.


(Be gentle please, but truthful.)


it's margaret said...

Excellent reflection.

Too many words for poetry (to my taste).

Editing someone's work without being asked is dangerous --but how about something like this?

creation joined,
raindrops into turbulent seas
mud puddles thunder waterfalls
salt tears and
delicate snowflakes are one.

Too brutal? sorry.
Yell at me later!

it's margaret said...

I mean, that was just the first paragraph.... If that was an interesting track --the rest should follow!

Song in my Heart said...

Not too brutal--and I did all but ask for editing. I should have been more explicit, but it's difficult.

In fact, the first paragraph with that sort of modification has started setting itself, in my head, which is a VERY good sign.

Thank you, Margaret!

Song in my Heart said...

Also, Margaret, I would love to tell you more about what the secret project actually is, but I don't have a way of contacting you that isn't on your blog or mine for all to see and search. But do feel free to e-mail me (heartsong dot searcher at gmail) if you do want to know more.

Kathryn said...

It's lovely...some compelling images...but, as you say, too many words. You could, for the project, simply hone the second half (from "flood our hearts") - but it would be sad to lose the many unities you've presented. For me an important question would be whether those words are already waking other creativity in you.
But I think you should offer the work as a whole as an additional gift.
Hope that's vague enough...feel free to delete if you need to!

Ostrich said...

Gosh, you are so brave, not only to write for secret purpose but to blog it AND invite comments!

Theologically speaking, I think the heart of this is that we are one. One in Christ, one in creation, one with each other. That might be a way of distilling the beautiful imagery you have used. It is the fact that we are one that is the reason for our connectedness. Like the Trinity only making sense in its Oneness, its Unity. Christ unites us through the Eucharist. The most significant moment of the mass is actually the fraction, "Though we are many, we are one body". Here we see our God made broken to make us one body, and this one body is what then is sent out - Ite, missa est - to serve the broken body in the world.

Song in my Heart said...

Ostrich, thank you for your encouragement... it is difficult to try to write after so long not writing, and to get beyond the simple descriptions of the physical world and into explaining, on some level, the relationships behind them. Being anonymous here does help.

My experience of... of God, I guess, or certainly of something for which I lack other language, is one of overwhelming unity and interconnectedness. I don't understand the Eucharist and I stumble over Trinitarian theology and I can't even bring myself to say the Apostles' Creed because my intellect is not happy about it being true, but if any of it makes sense at all it is in a context of unity.

I do want to get more in there, somehow, about how our actions repeat themselves, rippling out into the world. Maybe I'm straying into saying what I've no right to say, proclaiming things of which I have no understanding, but I do have a strong sense of an invitation (responsibility? vocation?) to be transformed, yes, but also to transform others, a sense that love is what transforms and the most Christ-like thing we can do is to love one another. That seems, to me, to be the whole point, and without it any sacrament you can name is an empty ritual (Thank God, apparently empty ritual always has the potential to become sacrament, even if we can't tell at the time, but I digress.) If I could improve at only one thing I would hope to love better... in some ways I suppose that is the only thing that matters that I can really improve at and everything else is just pointing in that direction. I know that there is absolutely nothing that has helped me to love others as much as learning to feel loved by God myself, and I know I was only shown that love by human beings acting with love toward me, in all their brokenness and woundedness and imperfection. And I'm still learning, but I find to my delight that I don't have to know all of it all the time to pass it on: a partial transformation is still better than nothing, it's not an instantaneous change but a process of growth and even having grown just a little bit I can, sometimes, encourage others to grow, not by telling them what to do but just by loving them. Compassion really is contagious. And from what I can tell, that idea, that concept is central to aspects of this project that I can't explain here.

But I can't just waffle on like that! I want to find more clarity, and then I want to phrase it so that the beauty of the words will bypass the convolutions of rational thought and go straight to people's hearts. And then I want it to be settable, singable. And I haven't really written anything for fifteen years... maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew here.

I've got a start, I think. I'll see what else comes.

Song in my Heart said...

Kathryn, thanks for your comment. I'm not sure I can make any sense of the second half without the first, so I think I might go with Margaret's suggestion for the first three paragraphs and then see what can be done about making the second half more concise.

Another option would be to expand on the grain and fruit bits of the first half and cut out the bits about water and light (which are more sort of baptism and learning related than specifically about Eucharist). But water and light are pretty important too and I think that having the point about the unity and interconnectedness repeated is probably good, given the context is one where maybe not all the words will be clear. And they are relevant for other reasons I won't mention here.

I don't know if I could give the words alone as an additional gift... even after the extensive editing which will be required in any case, I don't even know how I'd present such a thing. But we can discuss that further elsewhere, I think.

Ostrich said...

I suggest you hone it down to the one essential thing which you want to say and then see how that one thing can be told in action. Our temptation is always to say too much, and in this case the music will say even more, and like the music it's the space in between that allows the spirit in. There's a wonderful prayer which says Hear our words, hear also our silences, hear what we cannot or dare not say, and meet us in the silence of our hearts. You don't have to say it all, just what you really need to be heard.

8thdayplanner said...

I don't know the first thing about editing, or poetry for that matter, but I read this last night and the line -

Hot salt tears and delicate snowflakes are formed of one substance.

is still with me. Nice imagery

it's margaret said...

megsbed at gmail dot com