Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wholeness

In cultures other than mine there are ceremonies to restore balance, refit missing pieces into the spaces left by their exodus. My absence from self has been an itinerary of comings and goings for which no estimated times of arrival or departure were known.

Before poetry - appreciated and even studied long ago but not absorbed, not inhaled, no door opened wide enough for habitation, accommodating the bulky goods with which it travels - caught me, I assumed that my once-absent segments had all flown home. Now I find that what I took for life in full measure was more a silhouette. Poetry has a way of poking its fingers into vacant corners, eyebrows raised with the question, shouldn't there be something here?

Poetry, if it wanted to, could beat any self-help manual senseless. A poem is a far more believable testimonial: I survived to write this. Poetry doesn't tell you, it shows you. How is it that, over not so many months, a literary form, an art, has become teacher, guide, source of wisdom and the voice that keeps me awake at night (in a good way)? Painful shards of memory that used to steal my breath now look like material.

There is study ahead, there is travel. My fragments could turn up anywhere. They arrive in daily emails, my heart lurching in recognition. They emerge in posts and comments, they step shyly forward from links that have a telling glimmer: look here.

In a culture thought by some to be without shamans we are not lost or abandoned. The poets rattle and drum, they chant and dance. We are redeemed by words, their incantations point the way.

24 comments:

Laoch of Chicago said...

This is nice: poetic.

RachelVB said...

And they say poetry is dead. ha!
We are still light. We are still going.
xo

Vespersparrow said...

An old fashioned idea, Marylinn, but I still believe: poetry is a light, a fire, a torch held high, and will light the way, if we only let ourselves follow. It's all before you, dear friend. What a feast of riches, what a glorious journey you'll find yourself on. Love, Melissa

Antares Cryptos said...

Poetic and lyrical, how glad am I to have found this band of ours. :)

Jayne said...

Chills. At nearly fifty I'm just beginning to find poetry. Again, that is. And comforting. I've always loved poetry, but it seems to have so much more meaning for me now. Even a poem like "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (which my 8th grade son is studying) opens the damn. I want to dissect them all, mingle and spend time with poems. Poetry very much mirrors the fragments of our lives. I see this now, it has such a pull. I think my next writing course will be a poetry class. :)

Pamela said...

I am going to post a poem in honor of this post. It may be tomorrow before I find it. Ok to link back to this post?

Penelope said...

Hooray!

Elisabeth said...

Oh Marylinn you put it so beautifully.

My husband has just bought a book on how to read poetry. I shall show him your post here, especially these lines: 'Poetry has a way of poking its fingers into vacant corners, eyebrows raised with the question, shouldn't there be something here?'

Wonderful.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Laoch - Thank you. When I see your name, I picture you on one of your uniquely Chicago adventures.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - Not old fashioned, perhaps overlooked, but certainly the beacon you describe; our very beating heart. Sometimes I am fairly hopping with the wonder of it finding me. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - Dead? Oh, I don't think so. I can scarcely imagine anything more alive. Yes, still going. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares Cryptos - Thank you, and aren't we a fine band, diverse and compatible?

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jayne - Poetry swept me away shortly before my 66th birthday, a surprise comparable only to falling in love. How fine that it has returned for you as well. I am, some nights, sleepless with excitement for the journey. And our ride has just begun. <3

Marylinn Kelly said...

Pamela - What an honor, thank you. I look forward to your post. You are one of the poets who has set me on this path.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Penelope - It is Hooray!-worthy, a world that contains poets and their words. Thank you..each day a feast; we are so fortunate.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Elisabeth - Thank you. Oh, I wish your husband the unimagined wonder of this world. How I ever wandered from it, I'm not sure. All that matters is returning. Please be sure your husband knows he is not alone in setting out along this path.

grrl + dog said...

I do believe
that the shamans of the modern world
are the ones who step between realities
and we call them
"mad"

Pam Morrison said...

I love the bit about the lurching heart. It reminds me to keep my heart unmoored, not roped fast. x

Claire Beynon said...

Dear Marylinn - there is much to ponder here, much to rejoice in. A multitude of awakenings. Thank you.

One of the themes that particularly resonates with me in the here-&-now is your line 'Painful shards of memory that used to steal my breath now look like material.' I wonder if the ache we experience in the present - in the mysterious day-to-day adventure of our lives - is predominantly to do with both our personal and our global pasts? (How often I have to stop these days, sit myself down, recognize I have splinters in my 'feet' that are asking to be dug out so that I may walk less encumbered, less impaired?).

I delight in your discovery of poetry, Marylinn. Like the band, it - and we - contain(s) the universe.

L, C xo

wv. grance - grand, grace, dance (which is poetry which is life which is poetry) xo

Robert the Skeptic said...

Interesting to me is that upon being released from the hospital, I found comfort in a simple poem by Robert Lewis Stevenson.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - If those who work between realities are not mad at all, where does that leave everyone who pretends a disenchanted life is enough?

Marylinn Kelly said...

Pam - Thank you...yes, a little more space to roam...so much to be found farther out, where to rope can't quite reach.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - Grand, grace, dance...sometimes I think the pixie dust falls on the WV.

For our global pasts, I am quite sure that America ails from its Puritan ethic, something so ingrained in many of us, an impossible, constricting ideal. And then our personal histories, how false beliefs keep us small and unrealized.

But transcendent moments, even if they are only that brief, await. We become more. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Robert - That makes perfect sense to me. I am glad you are home from the hospital, happier still to know that poetry was a source of comfort. Heal well, please.